Tudor USCC: Long Beach race report
Porsche North America Racing walked away from the Long Beach round of the 2014 Tudor United SportsCar Championship with a brace of strong points finishes, helping the Stuttgart manufacturer retain their lead in the constructors’ standings.
The two American factory entries qualified fifth and sixth, with the Daytona-winning #911 Porsche 911 RSR of Nick Tandy and Long Beach rookie, Richard Lietz heading the charge.
Two-time Long Beach winner, Patrick Long, and teammate, Michael Christensen had been just a tenth slower as Porsche North America Racing locked out the third row of the GTLM, behind the two Corvettes, and the pair of RLL BMW Z4s.
At just 100 minutes long, the third round of the 2014 championship (taking place on the storied Long Beach Street Course) was defined by the processional nature that so often accompanies street circuit racing.
With the lead Corvette of Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia escaping into an early lead it would never relinquish, the majority of the GTLM-class action was found in the battles for second through to sixth.
After both the #911 and #912 RSRs made their single pitstops (with Tandy and Long taking over the running respectively) it looked as if the two Porsches would have to settle for finishing in their qualifying positions.
|1||Andy Priaulx/Bill Auberlen||#55 BMW Z4 GTE||90|
|2||Nick Tandy/Richard Lietz||#911 Porsche 911 RSR||88|
|3||Patrick Long/Michael Christensen||#912 Porsche 911 RSR||86|
|4||Dirk Müller/John Edwards||#56 BMW Z4 GTE||84|
|5||Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner||#4 Corvette C7.R||84|
|6||Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia||#3 Corvette C7.R||82|
However, a lengthy pitstop to repair a door on the championship-leading BMW of Andy Priaulx and Bill Auberlen elevated the two Weissach machines to fourth and fifth.
While Tandy was left with a lonely run to the finish, Long was engaged in a tense battle with the recovering Auberlen over the remaining forty minutes of the Long Beach race, eventually seeing off the BMW by a scant 0.3 seconds.
The result leaves the Tandy/Lietz RSR just two points behind the Priaulx/Auberlen BMW in the drivers’ and teams’ standings. A further two points behind lies the Long/Christensen 911, resulting in a weekend where Porsche made the most of a difficult situation.