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Taylors Win Lone Star Le Mans At COTA

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, September 17 2016
Ricky and Jordan Taylor drove the No. 10 Corvette DP to victory at COTA on Saturday. (File photo)

Ricky and Jordan Taylor drove the No. 10 Corvette DP to victory at COTA on Saturday. (File photo)

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Jordan Taylor survived a late-race unforced spin and went on to win the Lone Star Le Mans IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Series race at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas on Saturday.

Taylor was leading at the time of the spin but kept the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP running and on the track. The spin did allow the Corvette DP of Dane Cameron to close in, but Taylor held off the challenge to get the victory.

“It was obviously a good day, our third win of the year,” Taylor, who shared the seat with brother Ricky Taylor, said. “We had a strong car so I knew we had a shot at it when Ricky won the pole. Then Ricky had a flawless run, pulled out a 10-second lead and I knew, basically with me finishing it, it was up to me to lose it. I think we pulled it out to 15 seconds and then something happened – either I made a mistake by spinning or we had a traction-control problem.

“I spun, and the next five laps we were fighting what turned out to be traction-control problems and I was probably freaking out on the radio a little bit. Thankfully, the guys got it sorted, we fixed it. By that time, we only had a two-second lead so the race was back on. It got a little close, but the only thing that made it close was traffic coming and going. It was a good race. We had a little battle, but obviously a great day for us.”

Cameron finished second, 1.4 seconds back.

Joao Barbosa gave Corvette DPs a podium sweep as he finished third for Action Express. Christian Fittipaldi drove the first stint.

Entering the season-ending Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on Saturday, Oct., Eric Curran and Cameron unofficially have 285 points to 284 for Fittipaldi and Barbosa, with the Taylor brothers third with 278 points.

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In GT Le Mans, the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR, driven by Earl Bamber in the final stint, got its first win of the season. Frederic Makowiecki drove the first stint in the car.

Teammate Nick Tandy finished second in his RSR.

Both Porsches spent much of the race battling and chasing the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE co-driven by Toni Vilander and Giancarlo Fisichella before a mechanical problem removed the Ferrari from contention with under 30 minutes remaining in the two-hour, 40-minute race. With under 20 minutes remaining, Bamber drove his No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR past teammate Nick Tandy in the nearly identical No. 911 entry to take the lead.

“We didn’t have as big of a fight as we hoped, but we got a 1-2 for Porsche,” said Bamber, a 2015 overall winner at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. “It shows that we continue to fight every weekend. We have to maximize every effort, and when the people are there to make a few mistakes, we are there to be able to get a great result or a podium.”

He pulled away over the remaining distance to win by 6.399 seconds. It was Porsche’s second GTLM class victory of the season, and first since Tandy and 2015 GTLM champion Patrick Pilet won in the No. 911 Porsche at the BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach in April.

“I’m really happy to win here,” Makowiecki said. “So many times we were close to a win, but we missed it. We showed again today we were strong. We were consistent there in the long run. We got some contact, but we were in P2 speed with the Porsches. The car was fast in the long distance. We always did a great job, and we were really strong with our teamwork. I’m really proud of today’s achievement because we always give our maximum. Today, we finally got the result from all the hard work we’re used to putting in.”

Antonio Garcia rounded out the top three in a Corvette C7.R.

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In GT Daytona, Jens Klingmann drove the No. 96 BMW M6 GT3 to victory.

Klingmann and co-driver Bret Curtis earned their second class victory of the season.

Curtis started the race from eighth on the GTD grid and worked his way up to second in class before pitting under full-course caution 47 minutes into the race to hand the car off to Klingmann. The German driver rejoined the race in 10th place, but methodically worked his way forward and moved into the top five less than 20 minutes into his driving stint.

Klingmann took the lead with 50 minutes remaining when leader Madison Snow made his final pit stop in the No. 48 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 and pulled away over the remaining distance, beating Snow’s No. 48 co-driver, Bryan Sellers, to the stripe by 15.717 seconds.

“It’s tremendous,” Curtis said. “We had a really tough race at VIR a few weeks ago with high hopes of having a good result. I didn’t think we had the car to win today going into the race, but when we got in the car it was really strong and I was just hanging in there in the fast corners. I knew if I brought the car home clean and gave the car over to my co-driver, he’d have a shot of bringing it home, and he really did. He made some moves and did a great job.”

Alessandro Balzan was third in the No. 48 Ferrari 488.

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In Prototype Challenge, Renger Van Der Zane took top honors.

Van der Zande passed James French with seven minutes remaining, going on to score the fourth victory of the season for the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport ORECA FLM09, started by Alex Popow, extending their lead in the championship with one race remaining.

Van der Zande beat a rapidly closing Tom Kimber-Smith to the checkered flag by 0.844 seconds. Entering the finale at Road Atlanta, the Starworks drivers hold a 10-point lead (329-319) over Kimber-Smith and Robert Alon, who started the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA FLM09 from the pole.

“This was a really hard fight,” van der Zande said. “For my first stint I had Tom (Kimber-Smith) on my tail the whole time. It was a very clean race, with a lot of almost touching. Then at the end, I was able to catch James (French) on traffic, and we had a clean fight as well. It was well done for James. He’s improved so much it’s unbelievable.”

Kimber Smith was second and French third.

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, September 17 2016
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