Magnus Racing Porsche Fights to Challenge Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458
The Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series season came to an end this weekend which also was the last race for the series before it merges with the American Le Mans Series. Coming into the final race both Porsche and Ferrari had a chance at both the GT class manufacture’s championship and the GT class driver’s championship.
For Porsche the hope was on the number 44 Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car having a good race and getting enough points to finish ahead of the number 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458. Unfortunately, for them an on track incident kept them from having a very good finish. They were looking good enough for a podium finish but the incident forced them back in the pack and they ended up finishing 13th in the GT class. Finishing at all was an amazing accomplishment as the car was badly damaged in the incesent.
For Ferrari things worked out very well with the number 63 Ferrari 458 taking the class victory. For Porsche fans one of the winning drivers will be vary familiar as Leh Keen was on the winning team. Leh started the season driving the number 59 Brumos Racing Porsche, until Brumos decided to get out of the series. Mr. Keen had also won the championship in the Brumos car a few years back.
Let us know what you thought of the race in the comments.
Race Results – GT Class
1. No. 31 Lawson Aschenbach/Darnestown, MD; Eric Curran/Holyoke, MA; Marsh Racing Corvette – 162 laps
2. No. 63 Alessandro Balzan/Italy; Leh Keen/Charleston, S.C., Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 – 162 laps
3. No. 64 Johannes van Overbeek/Oakland, CA; Jeff Westphal, San Carlos, CA, Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 – 162 laps
4. No. 57 John Edwards/Cincinnati, Ohio; Robin Liddell/England, Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro – 161 laps
5. No. 93 Michael Marsal/New York; Tom Kimber-Smith/Great Britain, Turner Motorsports BMW M3 – 161 laps
6. No. 75 Antonio Garcia/Spain; Jan Magnussen/Denmark, Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT-R – 160 laps
7. No. 61 Alex Tagliani/Montreal; Jeff Segal/Miami, R.Ferri/Aim Motorsport Ferrari 458 – 159 laps
8. No. 18 Mark Greenburg/Jamaica Plains, Mass.; Richard Lietz/Austria, Muehlner Motorsports America Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – 156 laps
9. No. 73 Patrick Lindsey/Santa Barbara, Calif.; Patrick Long/Playa del Rey, Calif., Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – 151 laps
10. No. 66 Damien Falkner/Ireland; Richie Stanaway/New Zealand; TRG-AMR Aston Martin Vantage – 106 laps
11. No. 69 Emil Assentato/Locust Valley, NY; Anthony Lazzaro/Acworth, Ga., AIM Autosport Ferrari 458 – 105 laps
12. No. 46 Al Carter/Greenville, DE; Eric Lux, Williamsville, NY, Fall-Line Motorsports Audi R8 – 83 laps
13. No. 44 Andy Lally/Newport, NY; John Potter/Salt Lake City, Utah, Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – 67 laps
14. No. 94 Bill Auberlen/Redondo Beach, Calif.; Paul Dalla Lana/Canada, Turner Motorsports BMW M3 – 2 laps
15. No. 18 Bob Doyle/Killingworth, CT; Kyle Marcelli/Toronto, Muehlner Motorsports America Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – DNS
Manufacturer Final Point Standings – GT Class
1. Ferrari – 372
2. Porsche – 357
3. Chevrolet – 334
4. BMW – 320
5. Audi – 164
Team Point Final Standings – GT Class
1. No. 63 Scuderia Corsa – 341 points
2. No. 44 Magnus Racing – 331
3. No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports – 330
4. No. 69 AIM Autosport – 317
5. No. 73 Park Place Motorsports – 303
6. No. 94 Turner Motorsports – 299
7. No. 61 R.Ferri/Aim Motorsports – 293
8. No. 31 Marsh Racing – 277
9. No. 93 Turner Motorsports – 272
10. No. 18 Muehlner Motorsports America – 205
Three Porsche customer teams entered four 911 GT3 Cup cars in today’s final GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series race anticipating a dramatic two-hour, 45-minute GT fight for the championship. The GRAND-AM Championship Weekend at Lime Rock Park offered a three-way battle for the Rolex GT team, driver and manufacturer’s championships with Magnus Racing carrying the banner for the German marque. When the checkered flag flew for the final time over a GRAND-AM field, the teams had their dramatic race but fell just short of a title.
Magnus Racing’s championship aspirations nearly came to an end before five minutes had ticked from the race clock. John Potter (Salt Lake City, Utah), starting 11th in the GT class, was hit from behind by another GT class car on the second lap of the race. The contact resulted in the No. 44 spinning into the path of oncoming traffic. Now sitting sideways across the track, a GX class car made heavy contact to the nose of the Magnus entry doing substantial damage to the radiators and left front suspension. The team was able to make repairs and return the track with one-hour and 40-minutes remaining.
Despite being 61 laps down to the GT class leader, the impressive performance of the Magnus crew allowed Andy Lally (Dacula, Ga.) – making his 239th-career GRAND-AM start, more than any other competitor – to finish 13th. The points awarded for the position were just enough to give Magnus Racing second in the GT championship, one point ahead of Stevenson Motorsports.
“What a gutsy performance from the Magnus Racing Porsche crew,” offered Lally after the race. “Our car was destroyed; totaled; wrecked; done … But after Potter was punted off the track and then t-boned on lap two, the crew got to work, pieced this car back together and got me and John onto the track for 67 laps and a 13th-place finish. That effort gave me the required 30-minutes, Potter his 30 minutes, and made the difference between second in the championship rather than the fourth a DNF would have given us. This is the best crew is motorsports.”
Porsche finishes second in the manufacturer standings. The 357 points, just 15 behind Ferrari, came by virtue of the highest placing Porsche customer team in each race. Magnus Racing won one race (Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca) and had a string of consistently strong finishes while Park Place Motorsports earned three second-place finishes in 2013.
An eighth place finish by Mark Greenburg (Jamaica Plains, Mass.) and Porsche factory pilot Richard Lietz (Austria) in the No. 19 Muehlner Motorsports America Porsche was the best result for a 911 GT3 Cup car on the day. The run was made the more impressive as the program was not announced until just the day before on-track action began on the 1.5-mile Connecticut track.
Park Place Motorsports looked likely to close its rookie season with a fourth podium finish of the year. However, with just minutes remaining in the race, the No. 73 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup entry shared by Porsche factory driver Patrick Long (Playa del Rey, Calif.) and Patrick Lindsey (Santa Barbara, Calif.) was hit from behind by a Daytona Prototype (DP) competitor entering Lime Rock’s uphill chicane. Long pulled the damaged car to the side of the track dropping it from second-place to ninth in the final running order.
“Richard Westbrook came over and apologized to me, saying that he made a massive error and he was sorry,” said Long after the incident. “We had caught up to the number 31 Corvette, less than a second behind, but I don’t know if we could have passed them or not. I was hoping that, through traffic, and some advantage with braking, we might have had a shot to win. Still, this Park Place team has made a huge progression from the beginning of the year until now, and the crew has done a great job keeping us competitive against a very tough field.”
His teammate, Lindsey, continued: “We were in position for a podium at the end. With the on-track incident putting Patrick off the track at the end, we didn’t get that top finish, but we were competitive as we have been all season. I am very proud of the Park Place Motorsports team.”
A second Muehlner Motorsports America was awarded 15th in the final standings. Damage sustained in Saturday morning qualifying kept the No. 18 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup driven by Bob Doyle (Killingworth, Conn.) and Kyle Marcelli (Toronto) from taking the green flag.