To Austin With Two Races Remaining In 2014 Season
Corvette Racing Holds Slim GTLM Lead
Ferrari, BMW, Porsche Teams Tied Atop GTD Standings
There are close battles in both GT classes of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship entering Saturday’s Lone Star Le Mans at Circuit of The Americas. With only two races remaining, Corvette Racing’s Antonio Garcia has had his GT Le Mans (GTLM) lead trimmed to only six points, while five drivers representing three teams are tied atop the GT Daytona (GTD) standings.
The championship battles will play out live on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 2 and in a two-hour telecast in front of a FOX network television audience on Sunday (start times to vary by market).
After building an impressive lead on the strength of four consecutive victories earlier in the season, Garcia’s No. 3 Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R has missed the podium in the last three races. Garcia has earned 270 points, followed by Jonathan Bomarito and Kuno Wittmer, who have tallied 264 points driving the No. 93 SRT Motorsports Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R.
“The last two races have been difficult to keep up with the rest of the field,” Garcia said. “All we can do is be as prepared as possible.”
Garcia’s best finish in the past three races was fourth at Indianapolis. He is coming off a seventh-place finish at Virginia International Raceway, where regular co-driver Jan Magnussen was unable to drive after being involved in an incident during practice. Magnussen, who will be back for the Austin event, was replaced at VIR by Jordan Taylor.
Meanwhile, Bomarito and Wittmer won at Indianapolis, finished third at Road America and took fifth at VIR to close on the leading Corvette.
“It’s going to be a hot one at Austin,” Wittmer said. “We’re winding down the season, and we’re in a better position for the championship. The priority is the championship versus a win here.”
Six drivers representing two manufacturers are knotted for third with 250 points each. BMW Team RLL’s Bill Auberlen and Andy Priaulx (No. 55 BMW Z4 GTE) and John Edwards and Dirk Mueller (No. 56 BMW Z4 GTE) share the position with No. 91 SRT Motorsports Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R co-drivers Marc Goossens and Dominik Farnbacher. Another two points back is the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 Italia, 248 points, on the strength of back-to-back victories by co-drivers Giancarlo Fisichella and Pierre Kaffer in the most recent races at Road America and Virginia International Raceway.
The battle for the GTLM Manufacturers Championship is even closer. Porsche currently leads the way with 276 points, but Chevrolet is just two points back. Dodge is third with 273 points, just one point ahead of BMW. Ferrari is fifth, with 264 points.
GTD Battle Royal Features Five-Way Tie In Driver Points, Three-Way Tie Among Manufacturers
While GTLM is close, GTD is even closer, with five drivers representing three teams and three manufacturers sharing the lead with 244 points each.
Townsend Bell and Bill Sweedler in the AIM Autosport Ferrari 458 Italia, Dane Cameron in the Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 and Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America co-drivers Leh Keen and Cooper MacNeil currently hold a share of the lead with only the events at Circuit of The Americas and Road Atlanta remaining.
Bell and Sweedler have dominated the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup races on the schedule, with the drivers of the No. 555 REVO/Robert Graham/Royal Purple Ferrari 458 Italia opening the year with a win in the Rolex 24 At Daytona and then finishing second in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida and the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen. An eighth-place finish at VIR reduced their once-healthy lead in the standings.
Cameron scored his third victory of the season (and second in a row) at VIR in the No. 94 Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 to grab a share of the lead. He co-drives with Markus Palttala, who has shared all three victories but missed the race at Indianapolis in July.
Also sharing first are MacNeil and Keen. The pilots of the No. 22 WeatherTech Porsche 911 GT America finished in the top five in seven of the nine races to date, with their best finish second at Road America.
Ferrari leads the GTD Manufacturers Championship by three points, 283-280, over BMW. Porsche is third, just one point back of BMW, while Audi is fourth with 266 points and Dodge is fifth with 225.
The inaugural TUDOR Championship season wraps up with the Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda at Road Atlanta on Saturday, Oct. 4.