Winning is proving to be habit forming for Mazda Team Joest. Only seven days after the No. 55 RT-24P gave the manufacturer its first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship victory at Watkins Glen, Oliver Jarvis and Tristan Nunez combined to make it two in a row in the sister No. 77 Mazda in Sunday’s Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Jarvis took the checkered flag 1.699s ahead of Harry Tincknell, who joined Jonathan Bomarito in the No. 55 Mazda.
“This is an amazing track — I love it — and not easy with the traffic,” Jarvis said. “I had a few contacts with the traffic but I got lucky. I feel sorry for the No. 55 — they had a perfect weekend before a problem on the pit stop — but that’s the way it goes. We had the pace last weekend [at Watkins Glen], but it went their way. This weekend, it went our way.”
After one hour and 52 minutes of green flag racing — dominated by the two Mazdas — a pair of late cautions set up a sprint to the finish.
The second incident — a frightening Turn 3 accident that saw the No. 50 Juncos Cadillac DPi-V.R literally buried in a tire wall – led to a brief red flag. Victor Franzoni was transported to a local hospital, where he was reported awake and alert while awaiting further evaluation.
Following the Franzoni incident, the race went back to green with 15 minutes remaining, with tight battles in the three contested classes. Racing resumed with Mazdas running 1-2 followed by the two Team Penske Acuras, both Action Express Cadillacs and the CORE autosport Nissan.
While Jarvis was able to pull away in the lead, Tincknell had some pressure from Dane Cameron in the No. 6 Acura. Pipo Derani in the No. 31 Whelen Cadillac took fourth from Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura, with Derani briefly challenging Cameron for third — and the DPi points lead. Colin Braun then attempted to follow Derani past Taylor for fifth, but spun after light contact with the Acura driver. Filipe Albuquerque regained sixth in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac, only to go off in Turn 1 with a mechanical failure in the closing laps.
At the checkered flag, Cameron took third in the No. 6 Acura ARX-05 with Juan Pablo Montoya. He was followed by Derani in the No. 31 Cadillac DPi-V.R started by Felipe Nasr; Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Penske Acura started on the pole by Helio Castroneves; Renger van der Zande in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac started by Jordan Taylor; and Braun, who vacated the pole in order to have Jon Bennett start the race in the No. 54 Nissan Ligier JS P217. Braun joined the race one lap down, but came up short in a bid to repeat his 2018 CTMP victory.
Matt McMurry was joined in the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA Gibson in winning LMP2 by Dalton Kellett, who made his first IMSA start. The battle for the class ended when Cameron Cassells went off late in the race in the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA Gibson started by Kyle Masson, bringing out the first caution of the event.
Porsche GT Team extends GTLM win streak to five
Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor scored the fifth consecutive triumph for the Porsche GT Team in GTLM, dominating the race in the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR. Bamber took the lead at the one-hour mark after taking over from Vanthoor, and led the rest of the way.
“It feels amazing,” said Bamber, who joined his teammate with a four-point lead atop the point standings. “Everyone at Porsche has been working really hard since we started the season with a new car. Laurens did an amazing stint. The last couple of laps were pretty intense. The BMW turned it up. Now, we can go on to the next one.”
Vanthoor made his first stop at the 44-minute mark, which gave his Porsche clean air that paid off when his competitors made their green-flag stops.
“We opted to stop early, and we were lucky because a safety car during that stint would have been bad,” Vanthoor said. “But it worked out perfectly for us. Earl could make a good gap, and our strategy paid off. Last week at Watkins, we were on the unlucky side. This week it worked, but that’s the name of the game. That’s three wins for us, five for Porsche, it’s pretty incredible.”
Jon Edwards and Jesse Krohn finished second, 1.208s back in the No. 24 Team RLL BMW M8 GTLM, followed by Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet in the No. 911 Porsche, and Conor De Phillippi and Tom Blomqvist in the No. 25 BMW. Krohn led the opening 49 laps before losing the class lead to Pilet on the lap before his pit stop.
Auberlen wins 59th career race in Turner BMW
Bill Auberlen scored his 59th career North American sports car triumph in his 420th race in a BMW for Turner Motorsport in GTD. Robby Foley started the No. 96 BMW M6 GT3 on the pole and led the opening 41 laps before giving way to Trent Hindman in the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3. Auberlen took over in third at the 50-minute mark and needed only six laps to cycle back to the lead — and then stayed out front for the remainder of the event.
“The competition is so heavy in this class, and when you win here, it’s something to be proud of,” Auberlen said. “These guys should all be real happy.”
“I tried to control the pace, be consistent in traffic, do nothing silly and hand over the car in the lead,” Foley said. “This was my first win, and I hope we can keep this going.”
Hindman and Mario Farnbacher finished second, 2.074s back after running in that position for most of the race. Townsend Bell and Frank Montecalvo took third in the No. 12 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3, followed by Patrick Long and Patrick Lindsey in the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
Ten of the 12 GTD starters finished the race on the lead lap, 11 seconds apart at the checkered flag.
Jack Hawksworth went to the garage just before the one-hour mark when his No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus was collected by Scott Hargrove in the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche. Hargrove spun in Turn 5 and cut in front of Hargrove when he returned to the track. Hargrove and Zach Robichon finished fifth, although Hargrove was effectively finished for the day.
Next up for the WeatherTech Championship, the GTLM and GTD classes will compete in the Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park on Saturday, July 20.