ELKHART LAKE, Wis. - The Heart of Racing drivers Ian James (Phoenix) and Mario Farnbacher (Germany) finished eighth in the GTD class in Sunday's TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America.
Although James qualified sixth yesterday, he started from the back of the GTD field today because the team decided to change all four tires on the No. 23 Heart of Racing Porsche prior to the race. That said, James started 10th and drove the car up to sixth place before handing it over to Farnbacher on lap 13.
During Farnbacher's first stint, he did a great job of building on the forward momentum James started early in the race. In fact, Farnbacher led the GTD class by the time he made his first pit stop for fuel and tires on lap 44. He went back out and proceeded to turn the team's fastest lap with a 2:11.590 on lap 47.
However, shortly after he clicked off that lap, Farnbacher radioed the team to tell them he felt like the car didn't have any power. The telemetry did not show why the car was down on power, but Farnbacher was turning laps four to five seconds off the GTD pace. This forced him to finish eighth.
"At first, I had to conserve fuel so I wasn't pushing at all," Farnbacher said. "Even when I was behind the field, I don't know if it was because of the mapping, I was way down on top speed. After the pit stop, it was even worse. When the Ferrari overtook me, I felt like he was 20 miles per hour faster than me in a straight line. I felt like I was just standing there."
"We had a good start," James said of his stint in the car. "We realized early on that we were at a deficit in a straight line, which made it difficult to get by cars initially. Then, it got worse throughout the day. It ended up turning into a misfire right at the end."
Team owner Alex Job will have the team back for VIR.
"The day started out really good for the Heart of Racing team," Job said. "Ian did a good first stint and then Mario was able to lead right up to his first pit stop. Soon after the engine began to lose power and you could a here a mis-fire as he passed the pits. Mario did a good job to get it to the finish. We will get it fixed and go onto VIR."
Up next, the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship heads to the East Coast and Virginia International Raceway for the Oak Tree Grand Prix Aug. 21-23.