Words and images by Matthew Boyce
Felipe Nasr and Matt Campbell took a flag-to-flag victory Sunday during the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at Road America. Nasr drove his No. 7 Porsche 963 to victory ahead of the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-06 of Tom Blomqvist by a margin of 4.635 seconds. Nasr held a large advantage over the rest of the GTP field until the final round of pit stops, where the No. 60 was able to make up ground on the No. 7. Blomqvist closed a 15 second gap down to less than two seconds with under five laps remaining. Nasr was able to navigate through traffic more efficiently than Blomqvist securing the win in the process.
After trouble struck the No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac during the morning warm up session, the No. 7 Porsche started the race from the pole position. The No. 31, driven by Alexander Sims in the morning warm up, spun the car in turn 13 making heavy rear-end contact with the concrete barriers. With only two hours before the green flag dropped, the Action Express Racing crew were able to get the car ready for the race. The car dropped to the back of the GTP field after missing the recon lap. Sims and co-driver Pipo Derani had to settle for a sixth place finish in class, handing the points lead over to the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport Acura.
With their third place finish, the No. 10 Acura did indeed gain the GTP class points lead despite not capturing a single checkered flag during the 2023 season. Finishing fourth in class was the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac of Renger van der Zande and Sebastien Bourdais. JDC-Miller Motorsports continued their progress with their customer Porsche 963 finishing another strong fifth place with drivers Mike Rockenfeller and Tijmen van der Helm. Gimmi Bruni and Harry Tincknell drove the debuting No. 59 Proton Competition Porsche 963 in eighth, while both of the BMW M Team RLL machines were forced to retire.
In the LMP2 class, the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca 07 Gibson of Paul-Loup Chatin and Ben Keating took the win and also gained the LMP2 class points lead after the No. 04 CrowdStrike Racing by APR car suffered a late race issue. Finishing second in class was the No. 35 TDS Racing Oreca of Giedo van der Garde and John Falb after the car underwent a rebuild after a practice crash on Friday. TDS Racing's second entry, the No. 11 Oreca, completed the podium at the hands of Steven Thomas and Mikkel Jensen.
The LMP3 class was yet again won by the No. 74 Riley Ligier JS P320 Nissan of Gar Robinson and Josh Burdon. The class lead was held for the majority of the race by the No. 33 Sean Creech Motorsport Ligier of Nico Pino and Joao Barbosa until the final 15 minutes of the race when Burdon overtook Barbosa for the class victory. Completing the podium in the LMP3 class was the No. 13 AWA Duqueine D08 of Orey Fidani and Matt Bell.
The No. 23 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 of Ross Gunn and Alex Riberas claimed their second consecutive GTD-Pro class victory Sunday after the No. 3 Corvette Racing machine was penalized and had to serve a drive thru penalty late in the race. The penalty came after the car was determined to not adhering to the minimum refueling time under the teams final pit stop. This handed the class win over to the No. 23 Aston Martin, who finished ahead of the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 of Ben Barnicoat and Jack Hawksworth. The No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R GTD finished in third despite the late race drive thru penalty. WeatherTech Racing's Mercedes AMG GT3 Evo relinquished second place in class late in the contest to pit for fuel, handing second over to the No. 14 Lexus. The pit stop placed the WeatherTech car last in the GTD-Pro class.
For the fourth time this season, Paul Miller Racing claimed the top step of the GTD class podium with drivers Madison Snow and Bryan Sellers extending their class points lead in the process. The No. 1 BMW M4 GT3 finished first ahead of the No. 70 Inception Racing McLaren 720S GT3 of Frederik Schandorff and Brendan Iribe while the No. 32 Team Korthoff Motorsports Mercedes AMG GT3 finished in third with drivers Mike Skeen and Mikael Grenier. The Team Korthoff Motorsports team recovered from a crash in practice on Friday to finish on the podium.