Pruett holds off late charge from Brundle to win at COTA

Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas have earned Chip Ganassi Racing the overall victory at COTA.

Pruett holds off late charge from Brundle to win at COTA
Race start
#25 8Star Motorsports ORECA FLM09: Luis Diaz, Sean Rayhall
#93 SRT Motorsports Dodge Viper SRT: Jonathan Bomarito, Kuno Wittmer
Trophy problems for Chip Ganassi
PC class podiun: first place Luis Diaz, Sean Rayhall, second place Jon Bennett, Colin Braun, third place Mirco Schultis, Renger van der Zande
P class podium: first place Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas, second place Gustavo Yacaman, Alex Brundle, third place Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi
#01 Chip Ganassi Ford/Riley: Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas
#42 OAK Racing Ligier HPD: Gustavo Yacaman, Alex Brundle
#3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia
#2 Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD ARX-03b: Ed Brown, Johannes van Overbeek
Race start

How is it possible to go faster than your competitors, work traffic, and still save enough fuel to make it to the checkered flag?

That’s why he’s Scott Pruett, and we’re not.

After a generally disappointing season, Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas pulled a rabbit out of the hat for Ford and the whole Ganassi Racing team with a solid win at the Lone Star Le Mans race at Circuit of the Americas. It was Pruett’s 59th victory. “We’ve had a real up and down season,” Pruett said. “We needed this.”

Starting third on the grid, the team won a close battle in the closing stages against the second-place Ligier/Honda of Oak Racing and Gustavo Yacaman and Alex Brundle, and the Action Express Corvette with Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi, which finished third. Those two cars lost a legitimate shot at catching Pruett in lapped traffic – a pair of gad-battling BMWs in particular -- and Pruett coasted under the checkered flag easily.

“I knew the 42 car (Brundle) was coming hard,” Pruett said, “but traffic worked in our favor.” He ran out of fuel on the cool-down lap, he said, and parked the car on the track.

In GT Le Mans, the two factory SRT Vipers took first and second, after problems sidelined the faster Porsche 911 RSRs of Nick Tandy and Jorg Bergmeister in the 911 car, and Patrick Long and Michael Christensen in the 912. The 911 finished 45th in the 51-car field, while number 912 was third in class behind the Vipers – Jonathan Bomarito and Kuno Wittmer in the winning number 93, with Doninik Farnbacher and Marc Goossens close behind in the number 91.The two factory Corvettes had a terrible day, finishing ninth and 10th in class.

In Prototype Challenge, a second-place finish for the Core team of Colin Braun and Jon Bennett was good enough to wrap up the drivers’ championship. Winning the race, though, was the 8 Star team of Luis Diaz and Sean Rayhall. Braun was leading but received a 30-second penalty – which, he said, he did not think he deserved – and was not able to make up the difference.

Viper sweep

In GT Daytona, Ben Keating and Jeoren Bleekemolen made it a Viper sweep, with Keating’s lone privateer number 33 overcoming an early oversteer problem to take the victory over John Potter and Andy Lally in the Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT America. It was the Viper’s second victory.

Overall, it was a solid relatively clean race, though multiple drivers said traffic was a factor almost every lap. There were 10 Prototypes, 11 Prototype Challenge cars, 11 GT Le Mans entries, and 20 GT Daytona cars, but the Fall-Line Audi R8 of Charles Espenlaub and Charlie Putnam never started.

At the moment, track crews are working hard to clean the track – the rubber debris was substantial – and repair some of the green “indoor-outdoor carpet” that lines some corners, that was torn up in the race, though it is supposed to last at least 10 years. The World Endurance Championship takes to the track shortly for their six-hour race.

For the TUDOR Championship teams, the season ends in a couple of weeks at Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.

 

shares
comments
ESM to skip Petit Le Mans in order to run WEC Six Hours of Shanghai
Previous article

ESM to skip Petit Le Mans in order to run WEC Six Hours of Shanghai

Next article

Barbosa and Brundle discuss intense late-race fight for second

Barbosa and Brundle discuss intense late-race fight for second
Load comments
The significance of the next step in WEC/IMSA convergence Prime

The significance of the next step in WEC/IMSA convergence

Following the latest convergence connection permitting Le Mans Hypercars from the FIA World Endurance Championship to compete against LMDh entries in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship from 2023, it could open up enticing options not only to manufacturers but also for the calendar and race formats

WEC
Jul 13, 2021
Why a Mazda IMSA Prototype title would bring bitter joy Prime

Why a Mazda IMSA Prototype title would bring bitter joy

Can Mazda win this year’s IMSA Prototype championship? Undoubtedly. But it will be the culmination of an achingly hard struggle, after which the brand has decided to quit. David Malsher-Lopez tells the story of a bizarre blend of heartache and positivity.

IMSA
Apr 6, 2021
The GTE dilemma that IMSA has created for the WEC Prime

The GTE dilemma that IMSA has created for the WEC

The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s decision to scrap its GT Le Mans class for 2022 raises the question of whether the FIA World Endurance Championship should phase out GTE cars. But it's a much harder decision than it appears on the surface.

WEC
Feb 3, 2021
Nine things to watch at the 2021 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona Prime

Nine things to watch at the 2021 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona

After a 100-minute sprint race to whet the appetite, the 2021 IMSA SportsCar Championship gets underway properly this weekend. With plenty of significant changes during the winter, here are the key points you need to keep an eye on

IMSA
Jan 29, 2021
Why Magnussen is relishing a fresh start in sportscars Prime

Why Magnussen is relishing a fresh start in sportscars

Having gone over seven years without a race win through spells with McLaren, Renault and Haas, Kevin Magnussen's departure from Formula 1 for IMSA with big-hitters Chip Ganassi Racing could give him what he craves most - a chance of success

IMSA
Jan 29, 2021
Oliver Gavin's Corvette Racing highlights Prime

Oliver Gavin's Corvette Racing highlights

Oliver Gavin has stepped down from the full-time Corvette Racing line-up after a stellar career with the team spanning nearly 20 years. He looks back on a stint that encompassed, among other successes, five Le Mans 24 Hours victories.

Le Mans
Jan 28, 2021
How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends Prime

How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends

Victory at last year's Spa 24 Hours meant Nick Tandy had completed the unofficial sextuple crown of the world's six biggest endurance races, becoming the first Briton to do so. Ahead of his fresh start with Corvette Racing, he explains how he did it…

Le Mans
Jan 24, 2021
The 12 greatest Sebring 12 Hours ranked Prime

The 12 greatest Sebring 12 Hours ranked

The 2020 edition of the Florida sportscar classic is finally taking place this weekend, eight months after its traditional date in March. That meant there was plenty of time for Motorsport.com to pour over its previous 67 races and select the best.

IMSA
Nov 11, 2020