Sometimes a racer tries a move that just makes you shake your head and go “nah.” Nah, man. Naaaaaah. Today, it happened in the last five minutes of the WeatherTech Sports Car Championship race at Long Beach. What on earth was this Porsche driver thinking?
The Grand Prix of Long Beach was starting to look like Corvette Racing’s to lose with No. 4 out in front of the GTLM class and No. 3 right behind. According to NBC Sports, Corvette Racing was hoping to score its 100th GT racing win today.
Then No. 3 Corvette driver Antonio Garcia spun out with a little over nine minutes to go. Garcia lost control and ended up going nose-forward into one of the Long Beach street circuit’s walls. According to Corvette Racing, Garcia told the team that contact from behind was the cause of the spin, however, it doesn’t look like the Porsches behind Garcia were that close from the exterior view.
This left Tommy Milner in the No. 4 vulnerable out front, without his wingman keeping the two Porsches on their tails at bay. Milner still managed to hold on to the win, even all by himself. Well, that is until Frederic Makowiecki in the No. 912 Porsche decided to try a risky dive-bomb with just over two minutes to go that resulted in Mako pit-maneuvering Milner’s Corvette.
What? Nah. Just nah. That’s not how racing works. That’s not a line that would have made it around that tight bend at that speed with a Corvette also trying to make it around the corner. Holy red mist, man. Nope.
Nick Tandy in the No. 911 sister car took the opportunity to move on through to take the lead and eventually take the overall win.
The commentators’ reaction to this move was priceless. No. 912 was called in to the pits for a drive-through penalty, but given that they reached pit lane with barely over a minute left in the race, it wasn’t going to finish. Mako’s car was also smoking from damage sustained in the impact. If it wasn’t done time-wise, it was done mechanically.
Ever the professionals, Porsche’s Twitter presence opted not to go into detail as to the cause of the, ahem, two-car spin-out:
They did, however, retweet a screenshot of the aftermath that showed Tandy going on through:
Seriously, though, what?
Porsche’s No. 911 car ended up as the GTLM-class winner, followed by the punted No. 4 Corvette and the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE in second and third place, respectively.
Milner was quite blunt when speaking to Racer with his assessment of what happened, explaining that there’s a right and a wrong way to end up finishing second:
I just got wrecked, basically. Two Porsches running nose to tail. It is pretty clear what happened there. It is pretty disappointing that is the kind of racing here where we are better than that for sure. At the end of the day, it could have been worse for us for sure. Second place is obviously great points. Disappointing but certainly could have been a lot worse.
I don’t mind finishing second if it is clean and it is the right way, but that wasn’t the right way. It hurts a little bit to be second the way it happened, but again, end of the day second place is good points for us. We can hold our heads high that we raced as hard as we could today, the right way.
In the other classes, Ricky Taylor made a brilliant first-lap pass around the pole-sitting No. 5 Action Express Daytona Prototype that put the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Daytona Prototype out in front early. It sailed home to an overall win, with both drivers artfully keeping the other Prototype-class cars behind it and ending with a 2.958-second lead in front of the next car.
This calls for a juice-box toast.
The two Mazda Prototypes did not make the podium despite their best efforts and second-place position early on, however, their fourth and fifth place overall finishes are their best to-date.
The Prototype Challenge class almost looked as if there would be shake-up of its podium near the end, with third-place contender Kyle Marcelli eating the wall hard in the No. 38 car on the last lap. Drivers Marcelli and James French had built up such a lead on the rest of the PC field, though, that they ended with a third-place finish anyway. Ultimately, the No. 85 JDC Motorsports car took home the Prototype Challenge class win.
GT Daytona was sadly missing from this race. Please add GT Daytona somewhere next year. Thanks in advance.
Full results can be found here.
UPDATE: Results for this race remain unofficial, as IMSA plans to investigate a few things.
UPDATE #2: According to an IMSA representative, technical inspections were cleared early Sunday morning and provisional results were released then. The GTLM result stands as-is.