ELKHART LAKE, Wis. - Following an incident in the morning warmup session involving the pole-sitting No. 31 Action Express Racing/Whelen Engineering Cadillac V-Series.R, Porsche Penske Motorsport took center stage with its No. 7 Porsche 963 en route to a first-place finish at Road America in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, with Matt Campbell and Felipe Nasr picking up their first overall win of 2023.
Campbell and Nasr maintained their lead throughout the race and dominated the track for the entire duration. A late surge by Tom Blomqvist in the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-06, alongside Colin Braun, posed a potential challenge to Porsche.
However, Nasr managed to fend off the competition and secure the No. 7's first IMSA GTP win. This victory marked the sixth different GTP winner in seven races.
Nasr expressed his relief and satisfaction with the team's performance over the weekend, highlighting the successful collaboration and setup for the race. Campbell's solid qualifying effort and strategic driving further contributed to their triumph.
The victory brought immense pride to the entire crew of the No. 7 team. Campbell established a comfortable lead during the initial stint, while Nasr efficiently maintained the gap and controlled the race after taking over during the first pit stop. The team's excellent pace and skillful traffic navigation contributed significantly to their success.
"For us, it was of course a big advantage that we were allowed to start from pole position after the Cadillac had an accident in the warm-up," Campbell said. "On this track, it makes a huge difference which side of the grid you start on. There's a lot of dirt off the racing line, but fortunately, we managed to avoid this and turned considerably faster opening laps than our pursuers.
"Our Porsche 963 was really great to drive in the race – that was somewhat of a surprise after our difficulties on Friday, which makes our performance all the better. I'm thrilled about our first victory with the No. 7 car in the IMSA series."
Blomqvist made a valiant effort in the No. 60 Acura, narrowing the gap to Nasr but ultimately settling for second place, due to traffic-related challenges in the final laps. Despite their impressive performance, Blomqvist acknowledged the fortunate circumstances that favored their competitors.
Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport emerged as significant winners of the weekend, securing the championship lead after Action Express and the No. 25 BMW M Hybrid V8 encountered difficulties. Despite victory still eluding them, Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque claimed third place in the No. 10 Acura, using consistency to put themselves in the title conversation.
Pipo Derani originally qualified the No. 31 Cadillac on pole, but the setbacks in the morning warmup necessitated substantial repairs. Despite a challenging race, the team's sixth-place finish prevented a complete catastrophe, salvaging what could have been a disastrous day in the championship.
BMW M Team RLL encountered a horrible race as both of their Hybrid V8s struggled with pace and encountered mishaps. Connor De Phillippi's spin on the first pace lap and additional issues hindered their performance, which proved to be a Road America race to forget for the entire organization.
Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande in the No. 01 Cadillac failed to make a significant impact on the race, finishing fourth. At the same time, JDC-Miller Motorsports demonstrated improvement with their Porsche 963, securing a fifth-place finish.
Ben Keating and Paul-Loup Chatin secured the first LMP2 victory of the year for the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca 07-Gibson, capitalizing on their competitors' troubles. Keating highlighted their strategic decisions and strong start, which allowed them to capitalize on mistakes from others and secure a crucial victory for the championship.
Giedo van der Garde and John Falb claimed second place in the No. 35 TDS Racing Oreca 07-Gibson, followed by Mikkel Jensen and Steven Thomas in the No. 11 TDS Racing entry. George Kurtz and Ben Hanley, who started from pole, faced late-race difficulties that pushed them to the back of the field.
In the LMP3 class, the No. 33 Sean Creech Motorsports Ligier JS P320 led most of the race, but Josh Burdon in the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier eventually took the lead. Burdon's strategic approach and efficient driving allowed him to secure victory alongside co-driver Gar Robinson.
Nico Pino and Joao Barbosa (No. 33 Ligier) finished second, while Matthew Bell and Orey Fidani claimed third in the No. 13 AWA Racing Duqueine.
The No. 23 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 took its second consecutive GTD Pro class win, with Ross Gunn and Alex Riberas riding a hot streak after scoring victories at Lime Rock Park and now Road America. Meanwhile, the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing BMW M4 GT3 of Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow picked up their fourth win of the season in GTD.
When the checkered flag waved, the top-three finishers were:
1. M. Campbell, F. Nasr, No. 7 Porsche Penske Motorsport - Porsche 963
2. T. Blomqvist, C. Braun, No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian - Acura ARX-06
3. R. Taylor, F. Albuquerque, No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport - Acura ARX-06
The next race in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is the Michelin GT Challenge at Virginia International Raceway, scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 27 at 2 p.m. ET on USA Network.