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Porsche Has Big Day at VIR

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, August 23 2015

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Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet led every lap en route to their third consecutive TUDOR United SportsCar Championship victory in the No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR in Sunday’s Oak Tree Grand Prix at VIRginia International Raceway.

The factory-backed team scored its second consecutive 1-2 finish, with the No. 912 entry of Earl Bamber and Joerg Bergmeister taking second, 27.267 seconds behind. Unofficially, Pilet took over the points lead in the GTLM class.

“What a day,” Steffen Höllwarth, program manager for Porsche’s Tudor United SportsCar Championship. “It doesn’t get better than this. Every team member has contributed to this success. Although we were second and third in qualifying yesterday, we were the last to leave the pits in the evening, and this morning we were the first at the track. This effort has paid dividends. We found a super setup for our 911 RSR, which was definitely the key to our success. A very special thanks to Michelin, as well, for the excellent tyres.”

Tandy missed two races earlier in the season to compete in other races in Europe, and scored the overall victory in June’s 24 Hours of Le Mans co-driving a Porsche prototype with Bamber and Formula 1 racer Nico Hulkenberg.

“This victory means a great deal to me,” Pilet said. “To win three races in a row is difficult in any championship. But it is especially gratifying when you achieve this with Porsche in one of the world’s most competitive sports car series against such strong opposition. First victory at Le Mans, then the wins here – it looks like 2015 is turning into a very special year for me as a race driver. I’m enjoying the success and I’ve not had enough of it yet.”

The TUDOR Championship’s GTLM and GT Daytona (GTD) classes were featured in the two-hour, 40 minute race, which ran without a full-course caution. Tandy started the race from the pole, with Pilet retaining the lead on their first pit stop on lap 30. With temperatures hovering in the mid-80s, Tandy returned to the car on the final stop on lap 61.

The No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari of Pierre Kaffer and Giancarlo Fisichella gave the Porsches a run for their money. Kaffer made a thrilling charge late in the race in a bid to take second from Bamber, only to come up 0.575 seconds shy of the No. 912 Porsche as the Ferrari finished third for the second consecutive race.

Sweedler, Bell Claim First GTD Victory Since 2014 Rolex 24 At Daytona

Bill Sweedler and co-driver Townsend Bell earned their first victory in the GT Daytona (GTD) class since their win at the inaugural race of the TUDOR Championship, the 2014 Rolex 24 At Daytona.

Their victory in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Robert Graham/Royal Purple Ferrari 458 Italia marks the first TUDOR Championship win of the season for Ferrari.

Sweedler took the lead 27 minutes into the Oak Tree Grand Prix after battling pole-sitter Dion von Moltke in the No. 48 Castrol EDGE Audi R8 LMS since the start. The Ferrari held the top position in the class for the majority of the race, only giving up the lead to the Audi for a brief three laps and the No. 007 TRG-AMR car for one, before Bell once again snatched it. The Scuderia Corsa duo are now second in the points with 226.

Kuno Wittmer drove the No. 007 Royal Purple/Orion Energy/LaSalle Solutions/PassTime USA/Mellow Mushroom Aston Martin Vantage to a second place finish, allowing co-driver Christina Nielsen to extend her GTD points standings lead to six points, 232-226, over Sweedler and Bell. Nielsen took over the GTD points lead from Haase and von Moltke after placing second at Road America two weeks ago.

Team Seattle/Alex Job Racing drivers Mario Farnbacher and Ian James captured the team’s third podium finish of the season, placing third inSunday’s race. The team gained one place in the standings, putting them in fifth with 213 points.

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, August 23 2015
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