Pfaff, Heart of Racing take GTD PRO, GTD honors at CTMP

Richard Dole/Lumen

Pfaff, Heart of Racing take GTD PRO, GTD honors at CTMP

IMSA

Pfaff, Heart of Racing take GTD PRO, GTD honors at CTMP

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The GTD races in the Chevrolet Grand Prix for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park were all about control, and the cars leading at the end of the first lap were also leading when the checker fell.

For Mathieu Jaminet and Matt Campbell, in the hometown favorite No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R, it was about using the pace they had exhibited all weekend to set the tone of the GTD PRO race. While it looked like Corvette Racing’s Jordan Taylor and Antonio Garcia, and the No. 23 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage of Ross Gunn and Alex Riberas might have something for them — both keeping close tabs on the Porsche — it was an illusion.

“I think they were pretty much controlling it as they wanted to,” said Taylor, who took the first stint in the Corvette. “I think our car was strong on the long run. We saw that on the first one where it went green for the whole way. We knew our car was gonna be strong on tire degradation. It didn’t have outright pace, but I think, over the long run, we had the advantage so that’s why we were able to close it back in at the end of my stint. Unfortunately it didn’t go green [for a long run] at the end, but once we were close, it seemed like they could just find find a little extra when they needed to. I think second for us was maximizing it.”

The Pfaff drivers discounted that thought, and they had even taken only two tires in the first stint to try to maintain track position.

“I could see he was pushing all the time,” said Campbell, who finished in the No. 9. “I could see where [Garcia] was sort of starting to look in places if he was close on restarts and such, and I could see where the car was strong, so I always wanted to make sure I had a little bit of a buffer and gap going into those places and just trying to manage the tire. You know, it wasn’t easy out there to be able to keep him off and you know think about the end of the race. But yeah, we got there in the end, but for sure they were always on our heels.”

Jaminet, who had put the car on pole and started the Porsche, concurred: “It wasn’t easy. No, no, no. We saw that it was a pace and fuel game, especially with with the Corvette. When they went by the Aston they were they were quite quick. Taking only two tires on the left side is something we never experienced before. So the car wasn’t so easy to drive and [I was] saving a lot of fuel.”

The win for Pfaff, based about an hour west of CTMP, was extremely popular with the Canadian fans that packed the circuit, and important to the team as well.

“We haven’t been back to [CTMP] in a few years and myself and Mathieu have never been here either,” said Campbell. “To be able to get a win for the team on home soil — it’s extra special. We’ve got so many supporters, family and fans out here and to see all the plaid gear around, it’s super special and and to come away with a victory at home is perfect.”

Jaminet and Campbell already had a healthy points lead that they extended. The second-place finish for Taylor and Garcia moves them into second place in the points standings, ahead of VasserSullivan’s Ben Barnicoat.

Disaster struck immediately for the GTD polesitting VasserSullivan Lexus RC F with Frankie Montecalvo at the wheel. Lance Willsey lost the No. 33 Sean Creech Motorsports Ligier LMP3 under braking for Turn 1 at the start, nosed into the wall, and bounced into the No. 12 Lexus. The Lexus suffered right-rear suspension damage, and went behind the wall after limping around the 2.459-mile circuit. The crew made repairs to the No. 12 and returned it to the track, but 17 laps down.

No. 27 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 GTD: Roman De Angelis, Maxime Martin. Lumen

That left the No. 27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage of Canadian Roman De Angelis and Maxime Martin in a lead they would never relinquish, although Phillip Ellis in the No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes AMG was pushing them hard at the end and earned a second-place finish for Ellis and Russell Ward. It was the second victory in a row for the No. 27, although in a race that, while it doesn’t count for the overall GTD championship, it does count toward the Sprint Cup title.

“The Mercedes was really strong at the end of the race,” said Martin. “It was definitely not easy, but we had a really good race car and it was a good track for us. Roman did a fantastic job and I think, for his home race, it’s fantastic for him to win and for the team to have a back-to-back win is amazing.”

Earning their first GTD podium, Aidan Read and Ryan Eversley scored a third-place finish in the No. 51 Rick Ware Racing Acura. The team, which is only running the Sprint Cup races, is new for this season.

“Strategy was a part of it; executing was also a part of it,” said Read. “I think we had quite a strong race car today, and it was fast in the right places which helped us to make moves we needed to, and it kind of led us in the right direction to make the most of our strategy. There’s been moments of promise throughout the season, but this is the first time that it’s all come together with a result. It’s really welcome for the team. They really deserve it — for all the hard work and some tough races. It’s also motivating for everyone to keep this program rolling.”

The GTD PRO and GTD teams head to Lime Rock in two weeks for a standalone race for the GT cars; the first of two this season.

RESULTS

MX-5 CUP | ROUND 9 – ROAD AMERICA

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