It was Porsche taking GTD glory in IMSA’s visit to Laguna Seca. The Team Seattle/Alex Job team were strong. Race review with photos from Jim Fonseca
MONTEREY, Calif. (May 1, 2016) – After winning the GT Daytona (GTD) class TOTAL Pole Award on Saturday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Alex Riberas said, “Everybody tells me this is a Porsche track.”
And in Sunday’s two-hour Prototype Challenge (PC)/GTD race at the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda at least, it truly was a Porsche track. Riberas quickly pulled out into the lead in the No. 23 Heart of Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R for Team Seattle/Alex Job Racing and stayed there throughout his hour-long driving stint.
Co-driver Mario Farnbacher made it more of the same through the second half of the race, as the No. 23 Porsche led every lap en route to its first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship victory of the season. Farnbacher finished 3.632 seconds ahead of Alessandro Balzan in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3.
It was the second WeatherTech Championship victory for Riberas and his first since co-driving with Farnbacher and Ian James to the GTD victory in the 2015 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida.
“I have to say the guys did a fantastic job,” Riberas said. “Everyone from AJR and Porsche. Through Free Practice 1, Free Practice 2 and Free Practice 3, Qualifying, all P1. Then, during the race, P1 and the fastest lap. It shows Porsche had a very fast car here at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. It is my first time here and I have to say this is probably my favorite race track now.”
For Farnbacher, it was his fourth major U.S. sports car racing victory and third in WeatherTech Championship competition. His last win was at the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic presented by Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers last year alongside James.
One race after earning the first WeatherTech Championship victory for the new Ferrari 488 GT3, Balzan and co-driver Christina Nielsen – who qualified second on Saturday – brought the Scuderia Corsa machine home in second place. Finishing third in GTD in the No. 007 LaSalle Solutions Aston Martin Vantage GT3 were Brandon Davis and James Davison.
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