Darren Law spent the night hours of les 24 Heures du Mans exactly where he wanted to be – leading the LM GTE Am class. Law, of Phoenix, and his Flying Lizard Motorsports co-drivers Seith Neiman (San Francisco) and Spencer Pumpelly (Atlanta) kept their No. 81 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR at the head of the class for more than five hours during the classic 24-hour race in Le Mans, France, but were forced into early retirement with an engine electronics problem.
The trio showed promise early in the week, posting the second-fastest class lap times during practice and qualifying on June 8. They stayed in contention through the final qualifying sessions, ultimately starting the June 11/12 race from third on the class grid.
They maintained a top-five position through the first hours of the race, then Law took the class lead just past the 11-hour mark. Law, Neiman and Pumpelly all led the class, at one point increasing their lead to more than a lap over the next competitor. They relinquished the lead during the 16th hour, but held a strong second place until they lost power and were out of the race at 17h19. The retirement left them fifth in final GTE Am results.
"Le Mans was such a great experience this year," Law said. "It was my third time there and we were very well-prepared. We went into the race very confident.
"We had a really great race going; we were never out of contention. The crew worked well, pitstops went perfect, the strategy was exactly as we intended and none of us as drivers put a scratch on the car. We led all through the night and into the morning, but with approximately six hours left, the engine let go and our race was done. I am really disappointed because we had such a great chance at winning our class."
The Le Mans event was Law's third race start in two weeks. He earned top-five Daytona Prototype finishes in Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series races at Lime Rock Park (Conn.) and Watkins Glen International (N.Y.) en route to Le Mans. He will return to North-American competition next week, running a double schedule of Rolex Series and American Le Mans Series races for the rest of the year.
Darren Law drives the No. 5 Action Express Racing Porsche-powered Riley Daytona Prototype in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, the No. 44 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in the American Le Mans Series GT class and the No. 81 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in les 24 Heures du Mans GTE Am class. The versatile Phoenix driver is also the chief operating officer of the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving and a partner in the Thermal Motorsports Track and Club (thermal122.com). He is supported by CDOC (cdoc.com) and OMP Racing (ompamerica.com).