IMSA Points Updates after VIR
IMSA Points Updates after VIR
The 2019 IMSA season nears its conclusion after the Michelin GT Challenge at VIRginia International Raceway.
Most championship pictures are clearer, but one class has gotten significantly tighter. The IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge TCR class is microscopically close in both the driver and manufacturer championships. Additionally, the GS class has two manufacturers tied for first.
PORSCHE VS. PORSCHE TO THE FINISH
Following Porsche GT Team’s 1-2 finish in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, it’s now highly likely either of its two pairings will clinch the GT Le Mans driver title. Which pairing that is, though, remains to be seen.
Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet’s win closed the gap to teammates Laurens Vanthoor and Earl Bamber by three points to 11. Porsche is assured the manufacturer championship provided either of the two cars starts the last two races.
“When you battle and you work as a unit, I think it’s really told this year we have two sides of the garage working together,” Tandy explained. “We have two cars, four to six drivers, that are all working together and not against each other and pretty much just staying focused, and that’s what we need to score points in endurance races.”
Pilet, noting he won his 2015 championship without Tandy, added: “That was OK because he got to win Le Mans. But a championship is something he is still missing, and deserves.
“But it’s quite simple, until the end we will give everything. For us, it’s easy, we’ll see what the No. 912 has done.”
At 21 points back in third place, Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia face a near impossible task of making up the difference to secure a third straight title. They’d need both Porsche pairings to hit trouble as well as end a now more than two-year drought in-between victories.
GTD TITLES NEARING COMPLETION
Potentially, both the full-season GT Daytona and WeatherTech Sprint Cup titles can be clinched at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Trent Hindman and Mario Farnbacher extended their full-season lead to 37 points with a runner-up finish and issues for their closest rivals. The pairing will also try to overtake Zacharie Robichon in Sprint Cup. Robichon holds a one-point lead over Hindman and Farnbacher.
PILOT CHALLENGE TCR BATTLE TAKES CENTER STAGE
What looked like a class that had the most potential to see a runaway championship run has closed significantly over the summer months. That is the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge TCR class.
Just nine points cover the top three pairings. Bryan Herta Autosport’s pair of Mark Wilkins and Michael Lewis hold just a five-point lead over teammates Mason Filippi and Harry Gottsacker. The young duo is surging and has scored three straight podium finishes. L.A. Honda World’s Shelby Blackstock and Tom O’Gorman remain alive too in third.
The manufacturer’s battle is even tighter. Honda leads Audi by one point, and Hyundai by two. Both of these titles will come down to the final race at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, the FOX Factory 120.
Courtesy of their seventh straight top-four finish, CarBahn by Peregrine Racing’s Tyler McQuarrie and Jeff Westphal hold a 24-point lead over their closest rivals. Bad luck hit both the MIA McLaren and Bimmerworld BMW at VIR, halting both team’s title hopes. It’d take a rough Monterey for the No. 39 Audi to bring the others back into play. Among manufacturers though, Mercedes-AMG and Audi are tied for the class lead.
FORTY7 CLOSEST TO TITLE
A gearbox issue took ANSA Motorsports’ Leo Lamelas and Neil Alberico out early at VIR. That has all but assured Forty7 Motorsports’ Rodrigo Pflucker and Austin McCusker the LMP3 class title in IMSA Prototype Challenge, provided they start and finish in the top-20 at Michelin Raceway.