Hand Swipes Lime Rock Win for Ford

Joey Hand wins 2018 Lime Rock Park IMSA race in Ford GT
Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller battled GTD traffic and their own GTLM competitors to win at Lime Rock Park in July 2018. | Photo: Jake Galstad / IMSA

A mistake entering the final 10 minutes of Saturday’s Northeast Grand Prix for Corvette Racing’s Jan Magnussen handed the GT Le Mans victory to the No. 66 Ford GT, driven to the checkered flag by Joey Hand.

Focused on weaving through GT Daytona battles and keeping Hand behind, Magnussen lost control of the two-hour, 40-minute race when he ran wide out of Turn 7 with 13 minutes on the clock.

Hand pounced, darting past the No. 3 Corvette C7.R that started from the pole while Magnussen kept the car pointed forward and returned to the track after running off. Magnussen lost only the one position and ultimately took the checkers 11.431 seconds in arrears of Hand and the victorious Chip Ganassi Racing entry.

The triumph at the 1.5-mile Lime Rock Park circuit for Hand and co-driver Dirk Mueller extended Ford’s win streak to three consecutive races, dating back to the victory for this duo at the recent Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen — previously their only other win in 2018.

A front-row start for the No. 912 Porsche of Laurens Vanthoor and Earl Bamber translated to a podium finish as Bamber finished the 178th and final lap of the race 2.17 seconds behind Magnussen and the No. 3 Corvette.

Jan Magnussen leads start of 2018 Northeast Grand Prix
The No. 3 Corvette led from the top-qualifying Porsche and the second Corvette at the start of the 2018 Northeast Grand Prix. | Photo: Jake Galstad / IMSA

The second cars from Corvette, Ford and Porsche came home fourth, fifth and sixth as the only other cars on the lead lap. Alexander Sims finished seventh in GTLM in the No. 25 BMW M8 GTE, two laps down but still ahead of the GTD field.

The second BMW Team RLL car finished last in class but 16th overall and 49 laps down due to mechanical trouble that forced Jesse Krohn to visit pit lane multiple times in successive laps.

Sellers, Snow Extend GTD Points Lead

Undeterred from a minor pit lane fire in Practice 1 and limited track time after skipping Practice 2, Paul Miller Racing drivers Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow ensured the crew’s efforts in performing an engine change Friday were rewarded.

With more tires at their disposal having used none during the abbreviated weekend’s second practice session, Sellers and Snow worked their way to the GTD lead following a start from fourth in the No. 48 Lamborghini Huracan GT3.

Aided by handling difficulties for pole sitter Patrick Long in Wright Motorsports’ Porsche 911 GT3 R and a spin in Turn 1 for then-leader Gunnar Jeannette in the Ferrari of Scuderia Corsa, the Paul Miller Lamborghini traded the lead with Jeannette, Riley Motorsports’ Jeroen Bleekemolen and the No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3 of Jack Hawksworth during the second half of the contest.

With a pass on Hawksworth following one hour and 44 minutes of racing, Snow made himself the final driver to own the class lead. The young driver crossed the start-finish line after 172 laps to win by a margin of 18.614 seconds over Andy Lally in Magnus Racing’s Audi R8 LMS GT3.

Back on the podium as they were at the first five races of 2018, the Paul Miller duo grew their points lead in the all-GT3 category over Meyer Shank Racing’s No. 86 Acura NSX GT3.

Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini laps Lime Rock Park
Paul Miller Racing won top honors in GTD at Lime Rock Park by nearly 20 seconds. | Photo: Jake Galstad / IMSA

Jeannette came home third, 18 seconds behind Lally, to deny Shank’s formerly part-time No. 86 Acura a podium finish with Alvaro Parente in the car for the final stint.

Mario Farnbacher ended up the best-finishing 3GT Racing pilot as he rounded out the top five in the No. 15 Lexus after taking over from Hawksworth. The team’s No. 14 entry was seventh behind Bleekemolen in Riley’s Mercedes-AMG GT3.

Long joined Bleekemolen and Marcelli of the No. 14 Lexus in finishing a lap down with an eighth-place result following his start from pole and former presence in battles up front.

A first-lap crash for Turner Motorsport’s Bill Auberlen and Lawson Aschenbach mired the only BMW M6 GT3 in the field and the second Acura to the bottom of the results.

The GT divisions of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will join the Prototype class at Road America for the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase on the weekend of Aug. 3–5.

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