Farnbacher Loles Racing enjoyed a strong five-hour run in the Petit Le Mans race on Saturday evening, but didn't see the checkered flag. The team's three drivers all led the American Le Mans Series GT2 class during the early hours of the 10-hour event, but a hit from a prototype car eventually took the No. 87 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR out of the race.
Dirk Werner of Kissenbrück, Germany, started from second on the GT2 grid and took the class lead after 75 minutes. Bryce Miller of Summit, N.J., and Jörg Hardt of Bonn, Germany, followed, both holding the lead.
Just before the four-hour mark, Hardt was hit by a prototype car, forcing an early pitstop and dropping him back to third. He quickly regained second, but was back in pit lane less than an hour later with a flat left-front tire. Werner took over, returning to the track sixth in class, three laps behind the GT2 leader.
He regained two positions, despite a recurring left-front tire problem that indicated the car's alignment or suspension were damaged by the prototype hit. Hardt drove the final stint for the team. He was running fifth in class when the left-rear wheel hub broke, taking him out of the race.
car time driver action
87 start Werner GT2 second
29m Werner pit – four tires, fuel
1h15 Werner GT2 leader
1h36 change pit – Miller in, four tires, fuel
2h17 Miller pit – fuel, coolsuit box
3h18 change pit – Hardt in, four tires, fuel
3h54 Hardt hit by No. 50 Zytek prototype
3h56 Hardt right front vibration; pit – four tires, fuel
4h45 Hardt flat left-front tire
4h49 change pit – Werner in, four tires, fuel
5h40 Werner pit – four tires, fuel
6h23 change pit – Hardt in, four tires, fuel
7h29 Hardt left-rear wheel hub break, out of race
Jörg Hardt: "I'm really unhappy. The first problem was when I drove, the contact with the LMP [Le Mans prototype]. Second, with the flat tire, I was also in the car. And the third and last time was also me, so I'm not the luckiest man on the team. On the last one, I went into turn one and when I started to brake, the left rear broke. In the middle of the corner, it snapped. I can't find the right words for this. At the beginning of the race, we were leading or in second place, then it went [bad]."
Bryce Miller: "It's really an unfortunate result because the team worked so hard. They put so many hours in this week and I think everyone is just emotionally exhausted at the moment. Everything was going so well in the beginning – it showed that the car was capable of a podium, if not a win. It is difficult for everyone involved because we know the car was capable of a really good result."
Dirk Werner: "In the beginning, the race went very well for us and all of us led the race for most of our stints. Then a prototype hit our car. Obviously, the car got hurt too much and we had to end our race before we got to the finish. It's very sad – the car was good for a win today. Again, the team didn't get the payoff it deserved for a lot of work and putting together a very good car. I think all bad luck has an end, so hopefully at the next race, it will happen."