Winward Mercedes takes double GT victory at Indianapolis
It was an amazing day to be in a Mercedes AMG at Indy, and fewer so to be a polesitter as WeatherTech Racing and Winward Racing took the respective victories in GTD PRO and GTD within the TireRack.com Battle on the Bricks for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. And whereas they couldn’t convert their pole place right into a victory, Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow nonetheless sealed up the GTD championship and their second consecutive Dash Cup championship for Paul Miller Racing.
Klaus Bachler had put the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R on the GTD PRO pole and began outdoors general GT polesitter Snow. However when the inexperienced waved, however earlier than the sector crossed the beginning/end line, Bachler made a giant transfer to the within. Drivers aren’t speculated to depart their respective columns till they go underneath the inexperienced flag, and Bachler was given a drive-through penalty, successfully ending any hope for he and Patrick Pilet to safe victory.
That left Jules Gounon within the lead, and he and Daniel Juncadella drove the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes AMG to their third victory of the season, the others coming within the Rolex 24 at Daytona and at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
“It at all times tastes good to win a race, our third one of many season after a troublesome summer time season, I’d say,” mentioned Juncadella. “Sadly, quite a lot of issues out of our management within the final couple of occasions simply didn’t actually go in our favor results-wise. I believe performance-wise we weren’t far off. However we simply didn’t have the smoothest of weekends. We needed to take some threat missing tempo to the opposite automobiles, however clearly this occasion we’ve been stronger. I believe the Mercedes AMG GT3 is superb round right here. Each Joules and I raced prior to now within the Indy 8 Hours. I received final yr, I used to be second two years in the past, in order that reveals that it fits our automobile, fits our driving and at the moment was a clean, clean race.”
Ross Gunn and Alex Riberas completed second within the No. 23 Coronary heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3, forward of Jack Hawksworth and Ben Barnicoat within the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC-F. The victory moved Gounon and Juncadella into third within the GTD PRO standings, 39 factors behind the Corvette Racing duo of Jordan Taylor and Antonio Garcia. Barnicoat and Hawksworth nonetheless command the championship, and can seemingly seal the GTD PRO title with a begin in Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Highway Atlanta subsequent month.
Snow led the primary stint from the GTD and general pole within the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing BMW M4 GT3, however was quickly going through an assault from Mikael Grenier within the No. 32 Korthoff/Preston Motorsports Mercedes AMG. Grenier received round, however wasn’t there for lengthy earlier than he had contact with the No. 33 Sean Creech Motorsport Ligier LMP3 of Lance Willsey and spun it, resulting in a drive-through penalty for incident accountability.
That put Snow again into the lead, however when the second of two full-course cautions got here on the good time for GTD groups to back-time the pit stops to make it to the top, the Paul Miller squad didn’t carry him in immediately and the No. 1 misplaced the lead once more. Sellers would ultimately get the automobile again to the entrance, however Philip Ellis was coming arduous within the No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG he had taken over from Russell Ward, adopted intently by Loris Spinelli within the No. 78 Forte Racing Powered by US RaceTronics Lamborghini Huracán. Sellers held them off for some time, however didn’t interact within the fight that adopted, which noticed Spinelli take the lead after some contact with Ellis, and Ellis regaining the lead doing the identical.
“I simply received out of a battle with Bryan, which was all clear and truthful, which might have been good to look at, I suppose,” Ellis recounted. “Then Loris got here alongside and thought he’d play … I don’t know what his mission was, however he tried to go me on the grass. Mainly, drove by way of our automobile. Fortunately nothing too badly broken and in the long run I simply gave again what he dished out.”
Spinelli and Misha Goikhberg ended up second, whereas Sellers cruised house third forward of the No. 27 Coronary heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 of Roman De Angelis and Marco Sorensen, precisely what Sellers wanted for he and Snow to clinch the championship, The No. 96 Turner Motorsports BMW M4 GT3 of Patrick Gallagher and Robby Foley completed fifth.
The GTD win was the fruits of an ideal weekend for Winward Racing, because the day earlier than, his father Bryce Ward and Daniel Morad took the GS win within the four-hour Michelin Pilot Problem race.
“That was our first double win,” mentioned Ward. “And for the previous couple of years right here this workforce has type of been feast or famine. We received rather a lot final yr; this yr we’re struggling on account of various things – typically efficiency, typically errors, and typically simply dangerous luck, so it’s it’s very nice to see all of it come collectively right here for each automobiles and that type of reveals the potential the workforce and what the group of fellows now we have is able to.”
Second place within the GTD championship is virtually determined as nicely, as Sorensen and De Angelis have 179 factors in hand over Vasser Sullivan Racing’s Aaron Telitz and Frankie Montecalvo.