Farnbacher Loles Racing capped its rookie American Le Mans Series season with a GT2 podium finish – following a record class pole position – at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif.
As in previous years, the season finale on the 2.238-mile road course was slowed by numerous caution periods, especially during the opening stint, with more than half of the four-hour race run under caution. Despite the slow pace, the Farnbacher Loles crew overcame bad luck on the caution timing to score the class podium. But a loose spring put the team's No. 87 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR outside the required technical specification and the car was excluded from race results.
Dirk Werner of Kissenbrück, Germany, started from the GT2 pole. He was passed at the start of the race, but regained the class lead during his first driving stint. Bryce Miller of Summit, N.J., took over at the one-hour mark, returning to the track fifth in class. He pitted for a driver change just past the halfway point, but the car's distance from the fuel rig caused the hose coupling to lock and the team incurred a penalty for fueling while working on the car. Werner fought back from fifth in class, two laps behind the class leader, to finish just one lap down, in third place.
However, the post-race technical inspection found the car to be lower than the required ride height and it was excluded from race results. The car's right-front spring perch had loosened during the first hour of the race, collapsing the spring and dropping the right front of the car below the required ride height.
car time driver action
87 start Werner GT2 pole
25m Werner regained GT2 lead
1h change pit – Miller in, four tires, fuel
2h18 change pit – Werner in, four tires, fuel
2h26 Werner stop/go penalty for fueling while working on car
2h31 Werner pit – fuel
2h54 Werner pit – four tires, fuel
[quotes obtained before post-race inspection]
Bryce Miller: "It's a good result, a podium result, but there is a little bit of disappointment that I reserve because I know we had the winning car today and the best car on the track. Dirk drove great in his last stint, but we fell out of sequence early with the timing of the yellow flags and it put us down a lap with the rest of the field behind us. But I think the team is here to stay, to run at the top and compete for championships. It's certainly been exciting to have been a part of it."
Dirk Werner: "A podium for the last race of the season is good for the team. Although we had the fastest car today, we got a little bit unlucky with a few caution situations that put us a lap down. But I think we can be really happy because we were the best Porsche today and we showed good speed and good teamwork. I'm very happy that we could help Porsche to win the manufacturers' championship. That makes us proud and Porsche happy."