Staring second and first on the streets of Long Beach didn’t let the two Porsches to run away with the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s 100-minute race, but a late-race battle went Earl Bamber’s way and secured victory for the Porsche GT Team.
Among the shortest races on the schedule, the sprint race south of downtown Long Beach had action from the start.
Following an early yellow flag for Jon Bennett’s DPi automobile into the Turn 6 tire barrier, both Porsches continued to lead, chased by Corvette Racing’s pair of yellow race cars along with the No. 66 Ford GT.
The Ford s second caution at the 34-minute mark pitted before the race & rsquo — and vaulted into the lead with Dirk Mueller behind the wheel. The move dropped the Porsches into the clutches of a surging Jan Magnussen in the No. 3 Corvette C7.R.
Magnussen managed to pass the No. 911 Porsche piloted by Patrick Pilet but couldn’t get around Mueller, who himself was passed in startling fashion by Bamber. Bamber made it work on another lap and took the lead Following a push the front stretch and an pass attempt.
Bamber went on to cruise to the checkered flag with a margin of victory of 4.473 minutes — but it wasn’t over Mueller.
S Ford balked coming out of Turn 8, inducing Magnussen to make front-to-rear contact that was hard. The Ford spun and the Corvette went on to finish in the position.
Magnussen’s teammate Tommy Milner brought the No. 4 Corvette into the finish line in the next position, 5.619 seconds in arrears of Bamber having been gifted a spot on the podium due to the Ford’s death.
The rest of the course finished one lap down from the winner with Mueller ending the race in fourth ahead of Pilet.
Next up for the the WeatherTech Championship is your Acura Sports Car Challenge, set for May 3–5.