LAKEVILLE, CT (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Ford Chip Ganassi Racing’s Richard Westbrook passed Earl Bamber with a tick over 6-and-a-half minutes remaining to win IMSA’s Northeast Grand Prix Saturday afternoon at Lime Rock Park.
The victory was the first IMSA WeatherTech Championship GT Le Mans (GTLM) victory of the season for Westbrook, co-driver Ryan Briscoe and the No. 67 Ford GT of Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team.
“I had to pick my moment,” Westbrook said. “I just had to be patient with the 912 and when the opportunity came, it was a matter of taking it. There was a lot of marbles off-line. I got it just right.”
The Ganassi team utilized a three-stop strategy whereas Bamber and his Porsche GT team opted for a two-stop strategy and for a large portion of the race it looked like it would pay off. The Porsche GT teams combined to lead 140 of the race’s 182 laps around the 1.474-mile circuit.
“We didn’t think we’d have the pace, so we went into the race with the goal of doing a three-stop strategy,” said Briscoe. “We knew the tire life on two stops was going to be really difficult for everyone, so we just committed to it and knew we had to put the lap time in on fresh tires when everyone else was falling off and it worked out.”
Bamber and co-driver Laurens Vanthoor wound up second for their fifth podium result in seven races on the season.
The No. 66 Ford GT made it a double-podium for the Ganassi team as co-drivers Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller, the defending race winners, finished third.
“It was just an amazing race to be part of, fighting with two Porsches and my teammate, it was really close out there,” said Westbrook.
Bamber and Vanthoor’s second place finish extended their Championship lead in the GTLM standings to 8-points, 218-210, over their No. 911 Porsche teammates Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet, who finished fourth.
The next race for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is the IMSA Road Race Showcase at Road America on Sunday, August 4th.