Tudor USCC: Circuit of The Americas race report
In a day of near misses of Weissach, Porsche North America Racing saw their hopes of a first USCC victory since Sebring extinguished as the no. 911 Porsche of Nick Tandy and Jörg Bergmeister ground to a halt with just 18 minutes of the Lone Star Le Mans to go.
The factory Porsche 911 RSRs had been on the pace since the start of proceedings at Austin, Texas’s Circuit of The Americas – the current home of the US Grand Prix – with Tandy qualifying the first of three works Porsche 911 RSRs in second, just 0.1 behind the pole-sitting Dodge Viper.
Starting the lead 911 RSR entry in the two-hour, 45-minute race, German driver, Bergmeister initially dropped down the order. However, a well-timed full course caution period after three quarters of an hour allowed the no. 911 car to leap to the head of the GTLM field as Tandy took over during the first round of pitstops.
Initially, it looked as if the no. 93 Viper would close Tandy down however, it eventually became embroiled in a battle with the no. 912 911 RSR driven by Michael Christensen which saw the Dodge challenge eventually drop away.
As the race entered into its second half, Tandy and Bergmeister enjoyed a solid lead, sometimes verging on 40 seconds, over the no. 93 Viper (with the no. 912 Porsche having been passed for third by the second Dodge Viper SRT around the 90-minute mark).
Yet, as Tandy looked set to take a first victory since his season-opening triumph at Daytona, the no. 911 ground to a halt, coasting into pitlane with less than 20 minutes left to run, denying the British ace and temporary USCC partner, Bergmeister a much needed victory in Porsche’s chase of 2014 manufacturers’ honours.
This left the Viper duo to take a one-two for the Detroit firm as Patrick Long was able to provide Porsche with some consolation, bring the no. 912 home in third after another strong run for the American and first-year Porsche factory driver, Christensen.
For Austin, Porsche North America Racing chose to enter a third car to aid Weissach’s quest for the manufacturers title. Like the regular 911 RSR entries, the no. 910 car of Patrick Pilet and Frédéric Makowiecki proved fast.
However, it was an eventful weekend for the French duo with the car losing its qualifying times after not running the mandatory camera pod. Makowiecki then incurred a drive through penalty during a scintillating opening charge. However, Pilet was able to bring the car home fifth as Porsche retained the points lead.