Is it Porsche’s turn again?
Is it Porsche’s turn again?
The first 15 races in TUDOR United SportsCar Championship history have seen 15 different drivers capture the GTLM class pole position.
That amazing streak should tell you two things according to BMW Team RLL’s Dirk Werner, the latest to join the pole position honor roll.
“Fifteen different pole winners in 15 races is an incredible record and it tells you that there are a lot of good drivers and that all the teams and manufacturers are very, very close,” said Werner, who teamed with co-driver Bill Auberlen to take the class win at Long Beach.
While the poles have been widespread, the factory dominated GTLM class has produced a stirring game of high stakes leapfrog when it comes to winning the races.
That may suggest that the Sahlen’s Six Hour at Watkins Glen may be the perfect opportunity for Porsche and JÃ¶rg Bergmeister to jump to the fore.
The Porsche North America factory team opened the TUDOR Championship in 2014 with big wins in the first two events, the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
But, just when it looked like the Porsche team may be unstoppable, Corvette Racing reeled off four consecutive wins, taking Long Beach, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Watkins Glen and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park before the midseason adjustment of performance shuffled the deck.
That saw the rise of the Viper and Risi Ferrari teams, who combined to then split the next four races, with Viper scoring wins at Indianapolis and Circuit of The Americas while Risi’s Giancarlo Fisichella and Pierre Kaffer claimed victories at Road America and Virginia International Raceway.
Then to further stir the mix, the Falken Porsche of Wolf Henzler and Bryan Sellers hopped to a win at the 2014 season ending Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.
The game continued as the 2015 season opened with Corvette, which had gone without a podium over the last five races in 2014, leaping back to the front with Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia taking the first two races in the new season at Daytona and Sebring.
Finally, after posting five second place finishes in the first 13 TUDOR Championship races, the factory BMW Team RLL got on the board in a big way at Long Beach with Bill Auberlen taking the pole and Werner the fastest race lap as they combined for the team’s first TUDOR Championship win.
Their BMW teammates John Edwards and Lucas Luhr then backed that up by leading a big 1-2 BMW finish at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
With all the GTLM teams but Corvette Racing taking advantage of the long 24 Hours of Le Mans schedule break, competitors have refined, tested, simulated and thoroughly prepared for Watkins Glen.
With teams narrowly bunched within a few hundredths, the smallest gains in lap times, consistency, pit stops and overall performance can pay big dividends.
So, as BMW will look to make it three in a row, the Porsche, Risi Ferrari, Falken Porsche and Corvette Racing teams are ready to make their next moves and continue the best game of leapfrog in racing today.