- Pfaff Motorsports’ Mathieu Jaminet edged out a Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R GTD driven by Jordan Taylor for overall honors at Virginia International Raceway on Sunday.
- Taylor closed within 0.823 seconds at the checkered flag.
- Matt Campbell and Jaminet now lead the GTD PRO championship by 265 points over Corvette’s Antonio Garcia and Ricky Taylor with just one race remaining (Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta).
It’s all coming to light for Toronto-based Pfaff Motorsports and drivers Matt Campbell and Mathieu Jaminet.
The team, whose red livery design derives from the checkered winter jackets commonly worn in Canada, gambled and won on a late-race fuel strategy with their 911 GT3R at VIRginia International Raceway. On a sweltering summer day, the winning factory Porsche drivers almost clinched the WeatherTech Championship in GTD Pro with one race remaining.
The Corvette Racing runner-up of Andy Garcia and Jordan Taylor tried a different fuel strategy, banking on a brief stop in the first round of refueling to gain track position with an eye to managing tire wear on race day. 90 degrees. But a yellow flag across the field nullified his 10-second lead. Taylor closed within 0.8sec at the end, when Jaminet gave up much of his lead margin to save fuel in the final two laps. The Frenchman ran out of his cool-down lap and was pushed into Victory Lane.
“We took it out of strategy, we ran out of fuel there on the lap,” Campbell said. “It was a crazy race, but in the end we got another win.”
The strategy of the last pit stop made the difference for Pfaff, said Jaminet, who struggled with handling after the decision to use only two rear tires and use the minimum amount of fuel. But he had enough margin to go through the last two laps in fuel saving mode. “The car was very difficult to drive,” he said. “I had to push flat out but we were pretty tight on fuel at the end so we had to save quite a bit (fuel) in the last two laps. It was a good calculation from the boys. We maximize everything.”
On a weekend where cars were often racing onto the grass surrounding the bucolic and slippery 3.27-mile course, VasserSullivan’s Lexus RC F GT3 scored a clean third place for Jack Hawksworth and Ben Barnicoat. But his entry into the Pro class fell behind six of the GTD entries due to pit strategies during the two-hour, 40-minute sprint and he finished ninth overall.
The 10-hour Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta will be the final event on the 10-race GTD Pro calendar. With only four other contending teams and a commanding lead, Pfaff just needs to score points in last place to finish ahead of the Corvette and Barnicoat drivers.
No. 57 Winward Mercedes wins in GTD; De Angelis takes advantage in points
On a wild day for Windward Racing, drivers Russell Ward and Philip Ellis joined the crowd in contention for the WeatherTech Championship GTD title with a second consecutive victory aboard their Mercedes AMG GT3.
After Ward put the car on the class pole and at the front of the 12-car GTD field, a malfunctioning air gun at the first pit stop cost track position. Ellis jumped onto the grass and gathered a trackside banner battling for position in the Esses against Maxime Martin’s Aston Martin. Windword recovered by catching the GTD leaders and making a late fuel stop with eight minutes to go.
Tire management was the key. “It was just a rocket ship, especially with old tires,” Ward said. “It really lasted the whole period. My turn was just to try and keep it in a safe position, be conservative with the car and tires and make sure I hand it over to Philip in the same position. We all act amazing.”
Ellis’ work at the finish included a final pass for the lead from Martin, trying to stretch fuel consumption and give the Heart of Racing Team a third GTD victory this season. As it was, the Aston, started by Romain De Angelis, was the only car to finish the race with just three fuel stops.
Stevan McAleer, the points leader going into VIR, was knocked out of contention when a loose wheel on his AMG GT3 forced an unscheduled pit stop that dropped him a lap down. His teammate Mike Skeen helped the team recover to eighth in class.
Heading into Petit Le Mans, a group of drivers is in contention, led by De Angelis after risky fuel tactics pushed him past Porsche drivers Jan Heylin and Ryan Hardwick and McAleer in qualifying.
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Paul Miller Racing BMW Wins Sprint Cup
Returning to the BMW fold this year, New Jersey BMW dealer Paul Miller’s team won the Sprint Cup for GTD entrants by starting the VIR race.
Drivers Bryan Sellers and Martin Snow, who finished third in VIR, scored one victory (Lime Rock) in the inaugural season of the BMW M4 GT3 during all seven Sprint Cup races.
Driving a Lamborghini, Sellers and Paul Miller Racing won the drivers’ and teams’ championships in 2018 and the Michelin Endurance Cup in 2020.
“It’s always great when you can go into a race weekend, into a season and check off the boxes that you wanted to accomplish, and we did that with the Sprint Cup,” said Miller, whose team missed the Rolex 24 at Daytona because his el new M4 GT3 was not available. “This season, we wanted to learn more about the car, compete at the front of the field, hopefully win some races and win the Sprint Cup, and we’ve done it!”
The Sprint’s seven-race schedule kicked off in Long Beach and came down to the six GTD teams that chose to go for points at the Canadian Motor Sports Park round in early July. The Mosport race counted toward the Sprint Cup, but did not count toward points toward the full-season championship in GTD. Offering only Sprint Cup points, IMSA tried to encourage teams to go to Canada without penalizing those who decided to avoid the hassle of crossing the border with a carrier, as well as the paperwork associated with COVID.
With so few subscribers, IMSA will not continue with the Sprint Cup in 2023.