Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR Victorious in ALMS Lime Rock GT Battle
LIME ROCK, Conn. – July 7 — The Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, fielded by Flying Lizard Motorsports, has won the GT class at the American Le Mans Series Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park, beating world’s fastest BMWs, Ferraris and Corvettes. It was Porsche’s first win of the season in the series after the year had started with bad luck and misfortune.
For Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Long (USA), it was also their first win of the season, and Porsche’s first win since Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta last year, and put them back in the championship chase – a championship they won together in 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2010.
Leh Keen and Cooper MacNeil in the WeatherTech Porsche 911 GT3 Cup won GTC class, furthering Cooper’s points lead in the class. This class featured identically-matched Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race cars. Damien Faulkner and Peter LaSaffre were second in their Green Hornet Porsche, while Alex Welch and James Sofronas were third in their GMG Porsche.
In GT, besides the Long/Bergmeister win, the Team Falken Tire Porsche of Wolf Henzler and Bryan Sellers was seventh; the Paul Miller Porsche of Bryce Miller/Sascha Maassen was eighth and the Seth Neiman/Marco Holzer Flying Lizard Porsche was ninth.
“This victory was a long time coming – since Petit Le Mans last year. We have had some mistakes this year, like our pit problems at Laguna, but mostly learning the car and bad luck, like being rear-ended before the green flag at Sebring, have kept us off the podium. Today we were flawless, from driving well to pit strategy, and the Porsche was great. We are still perfecting the set-up for this new RSR, but we felt we made good strides today,” said Bergmeister, who scored his 35th ALMS win in his 100th start. Joerg has also won six of his last seven races at Lime Rock.
“We really earned this one, and beating this GT field means a lot. Our tire selection from Michelin allowed us to go a stint-and-a-half on a set of tire, and the increased grip with our aero package we introduced at Laguna gave us better performance here than last year,” said Long.
Team Falken Tire’s GT3 RSR had a disappointing weekend after its positive experiences, including leading the class late in the race in May at Laguna.
“We had a tough race today and didn’t finish as well as expected. Our set-up was not where we wanted to be. The only thing we can do is keep working hard and test tires and try to get better for the next races,” said Wolf Henzler, who has an ALMS championship under his belt (with Joerg Bergmeister in 2008) and a Le Mans GT win (2010).
Falken team manager Derrick Walker revealed that loss of tire pressure started the downward spiral in this race for their Porsche.
“Shortly after Bryan felt a vibration, with the loss of pressure, we obviously realized we had a different kind of vibration from racing problems we are used to. From that point we were in experimental mode. We were going through the range of everything we had with a keen eye on making sure it was safe. We have to remind ourselves that this is a tire development program. I think the real winners today were the pit crew. The boys were ready for anything that came at them, jumping over the wall and throwing tires on the car. If it comes to quickest tire changes and pit stops, the boys took the cup there,” said Walker, whose relationship with Porsche goes back to the company’s lone IndyCar win in 1989.
“Experience and keeping our cool brought the Alex Job WeatherTech Porsche to the top step of the podium today. We had a good set-up, and despite the fact I was punted off the track twice, we had enough of a lead to stay out front in the class. With Cooper leading the points, a first-place finish was important for our championship chase,” said Leh Keen, who is also the defending Rolex Grand-Am GT champion with Andrew Davis in the Brumos Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
“It was drizzling at the start of the race, but the sky wasn’t that dark and the pavement wasn’t changing color, so we knew we were okay with slicks rather than rain tires. We got off to a good start, and the car was perfect for the entire event – a great achievement as we were struggling earlier in the weekend before capturing the pole yesterday. This win puts us in a great position for the next group of races – four in seven weeks,” said MacNeil.
Unofficial points after Lime Rock – Round four of the ALMS Series – next race 7/21 at Mid-Ohio
Points are awarded 20-16-13-10-8-6-4-3-2-1
Manufacturers Points :
Chevrolet (Corvette) – 78
BMW – 68
Porsche – 59
Ferrari – 55
Gavin/Milner – 72
Garcia/Magnussen – 64
Hand/Mueller – 60
Bergmeister/Long – 39
Sharp/van Overbeek – 39