Pfaff Motorsports Takes GTD Victory and Climbs to Second in Standings at WeatherTech Raceway
By Mark Robinson
WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca: Unofficial Results
MONTEREY, Calif. – After running in the shadow of its sister car most of the year, the No. 4 Corvette finally emerged Sunday under the bright California sky.
Tommy Milner and Nick Tandy collected their first full-points victory of the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, winning the GT Le Mans (GTLM) portion of the Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. The drivers of the No. 4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R outpaced No. 3 Corvette teammates Jordan Taylor and Antonio Garcia to collect the 18th win of Milner’s IMSA career and the 16th for Tandy.
Milner and Tandy have won twice before this season, but those triumphs came in the Motul Pole Award 100 qualifying race for the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January and the non-points Chevrolet Sports Car Classic at Detroit in June. They had finished second to Garcia and Taylor on three occasions in 2021 before turning the tables on Sunday.
“It feels like we have a monkey off our back a little bit with getting a full race win,” Milner said following his third WeatherTech Raceway victory. “We’ve had really fast Corvettes all year long, even last year with Olly (Gavin). For one reason or another, we couldn’t put it together. … It feels great today to get that win.”
The No. 4 shadowed the No. 3 most of the race, with Taylor and Garcia leading 68 of the first 74 laps. The decisive moment came in the final round of pit stops. Tandy stopped two laps later than Garcia but nearly cost himself the win with a hasty departure along the tight pit exit lane. Tandy locked his brakes entering the hairpin exit, slid into the dirt and briefly onto the track before veering back onto the pit exit lane to complete a legal return to the track just in front of Garcia.
From there, Tandy steadily edged away for the win. The No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19 shared by Cooper MacNeil and Matt Campbell finished third.
“The previous stop, I exited the pit and braked way too early (in the pit exit lane) and thought I’d given up too much time,” explained Tandy, who won at WeatherTech Raceway for the second time. “Knowing it was going to be close on where we were going to come out on the last stop, I braked a little later – not by much – but she didn’t want to stop. The front wheel locked and took a little trip across the gravel. I managed to get back into the pit exit before blending on the track. There was no real harm done.”
Garcia and Taylor still maintain a comfortable 187-point lead in the GTLM standings over Milner and Tandy with three races remaining.
Pfaff Motorsports Wins Second Straight GT Daytona Race
Pfaff Motorsports is getting hot at the right time, putting drivers Zacharie Robichon and Laurens Vanthoor squarely in the GT Daytona (GTD) championship conversation. Robichon and Vanthoor won for the second straight race on Sunday, taking the No. 9 Plaid Porsche 911 GT3R to victory lane at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. On the heels of a win last month at Road America, Robichon, Vanthoor and the No. 9 moved into second in the GTD season standings and closed within 27 points of the lead.
“The target was clear from Day 1 that we wanted to try to win the championship because we are a new team together,” said Vanthoor, who joined Pfaff this season after driving the previous four years for the Porsche GT Team in GTLM, winning the 2019 championship. “For me also, it was a bit of an adaptation coming from GTLM to GTD; it is a little bit different.
“I think that we are now in a good position but there are still three races to go and a lot that can happen. But for me, I always set myself personally a goal. And this year it’s really been to win the championship, so I hope we can fulfill that.”
Robichon started in the No. 9. Vanthoor, the GTLM winner last year at WeatherTech Raceway, slid into the cockpit an hour into the race during the first pit stop. He soon passed Patrick Long in the pole-sitting No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche for second place. Following a lightning-quick final stop from the Pfaff crew, Vanthoor took the lead and held it for the final hour.
Vanthoor finished 5.512 seconds ahead of Bryan Sellers in the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 – the fifth podium finish this year for Sellers and co-driver Madison Snow who are without a win. Long and co-driver Trent Hindman finished third in the No. 16 Porsche.
“I think a huge shout-out has to go to the team,” Robichon said, “because in my first stint there were a couple issues that I immediately pointed out to them and they rectified it to give the absolute best possible car to Larry. I think we all saw what he did.”
Robby Foley and Bill Auberlen, who led almost half the race in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3, finished fourth to retain the GTD championship lead by 27 points over Robichon and Vanthoor. No. 23 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 pilots Roman De Angelis and Ross Gunn fell to third in the season points chase but still lead the IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup standings by 168 points over Auberlen and Foley.
Both GT classes are in action again at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sept. 25. Live coverage begins at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN and IMSA Radio.