Farnbacher Loles Racing came within 600 feet of victory on Friday evening, relinquishing a one-two GT class result just before the finish line in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montréal. The team's No. 86 and 87 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars led almost all of the two-hour race, but both ran out of fuel on the last lap. Team strategists had gambled on a single pit stop, expecting more caution periods to stretch the cars' fuel, but the race was slowed by only two caution flags for 19 minutes. The team's No. 88 Porsche retired early from the race with a damaged radiator.
Eric Lux of Jacksonville, Fla., started the No. 86 Porsche from the class pole position and held the lead through his stint. He stopped for a driver change during the first caution period, handing off to Leh Keen of Charleston, S.C. A miscue on the pitstop delayed his return to the track, giving the lead to the No. 87 Porsche. Keen worked back from seventh to second with two minutes remaining, but the lack of fuel slowed him to finish fifth.
Bryce Miller of Summit, N.J., drove first in the No. 87 Porsche, maintaining a close second in class behind Lux. He also pitted during the first caution and Dirk Werner of Kissenbrück took the wheel, returning to the track as GT leader. He held the lead until the final moments of the race, when he slowly crossed the finish line in fourth place.
Dave Lacey of Toronto started the No. 88 Porsche from 10th on the GT grid. He gained a lap at the start of the race, then encountered problems with the gearbox and had to pit for repairs. He returned to the track 19th in class, but immediately reported a radiator leak and was forced to park off-track, retiring from the race.
car time driver action
86 start Lux
42m change pit – Keen in, four tires, fuel
87 start Miller
42m change pit – Werner in, four tires, fuel
46m Werner GT lead
88 start Lacey
3m Lacey no clutch, stuck in third gear
5m Lacey pit – gearbox checked, fuel, 60-second penalty for
working on car without jacks
11m Lacey back on track
12m Lacey water leak, radiator damage, parked off track
Gregory Loles, team owner: "No regrets. Nine times out of 10 on a track like this, our call would have been right. This track is so tight, it historically has a lot of yellows. You can't assume it will stay green for an hour and 10 minutes – testament is how many teams made the same call. We just fell a little bit short. Obviously, the cars were good, the drivers were great and we'll be ready for next time."
Dino Loles, team owner: "It was another very exciting race in the Grand-Am series, but unfortunately, this one didn't go quite our way at the end. We felt we should have been able to make one stop and hope for some cautions – as had been the pattern in previous years and that far in the race – but we got a little bit unlucky. Hats off to the guys who played it more conservatively. It really worked out for them. But we're very proud of our effort and we're looking forward to [the next race, in] New Jersey, where we'll have a five-car effort."
Leh Keen, No. 86: "We had good cars, both cars were strong and both cars could have won this race. We just needed to last half a lap more with fuel – we were one straightaway away from winning the race. I got the burble at the very end and we were conserving fuel, going half-throttle on the straights. With the way the fuel cell sloshes, if the hairpin [last turn] had been a left-hander, we probably would have been all right. But because it's a right-hander and you're in the turn a long time, the fuel sloshes and starves the car of fuel. Our goal is top-five, so although we could have won today, I'm pretty content with fifth."
Eric Lux, No. 86: "It was an eventful day. This track is very challenging because it's so narrow, it gives you the feeling of a street course, but it's also very high-speed in some areas. Having two classes out there at the same time makes the racing quite exciting and difficult. The team gave us a great car again for the race, as they did in qualifying. It was a two-hour race, not the usual two-hours 45 [-minutes], so there were all kinds of strategies in play. We took the gamble and at the last corner, we ran out of fuel. But it's better to run out of fuel than for something else to happen. You've got to take those gambles sometimes and you don't always come out on top."
Bryce Miller, No. 87: "We had the winning car today, for sure. That showed in the race. It's unfortunate, because if we had just one less lap or one more lap of yellow, we would have won. But we can go to the next race knowing that we can run at the front and that the car is good to win a race, so that is motivating. This is still a good result and I'm happy that we were able to deliver a top-five finish for our sponsor, IPC/Positron, that was here cheering us on today."
Dirk Werner, No. 87: "It was an amazing finish for the series, but unfortunately, not an amazing finish for us. We were running well the whole weekend, with a very fast car. I think we did everything right. Another stop would have made it, but I think it was the right decision. It seems that this year is not supposed to be ours, but we still have two races to go."