LAKEVILLE, Conn. (July 25, 2015) - The Heart of Racing drivers Mario Farnbacher (Germany) and Ian James (Phoenix) finished fourth in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship GTD class in today's Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park.
James started from the second row in the No. 23 Heart of Racing Porsche and drove the car up into the top three during his stint. On lap 67, James brought the Alex Job Racing-prepared Porsche to pit lane for a four tire stop, fuel and driver change. That's when Farnbacher got in.
"The trouble was, we damaged the tire pretty badly in qualifying," James said regarding the car's tires during his stint. "As a result, we struggled with understeer. The last 10 laps [of my stint] I was down to the metal on the front tires, which was pretty bad. But, we didn't make any mistakes and went as fast as we could. We were running third after the first round of pit stops, which put us in a good place."
Shortly after Farnbacher got behind the wheel, the race had two full course cautions within 15 laps of each other. This allowed the top GTD class cars to bunch up for the restart on lap 97. Farnbacher was third when the race went green. But, the No. 73 Porsche passed him for position and Farnbacher fell to fourth.
From that point, Farnbacher battled the No. 73 machine for the final podium spot. As luck would have it, the No. 73 came to pit lane to change tires on lap 120, giving Farnbacher third place with nearly 35 minutes remaining. He looked poised to earn the final GTD class podium spot. But, on lap 136, Farnbacher went off in Turn One. He fell to fourth, which is where he finished.
"It was pretty tough out there," Farnbacher said. "I had a pretty tough fight with Spencer [Pumpelly]. All of a sudden, he turned into pit lane. I think he had a flat spot. After that, I was third and was driving my race when I made a little mistake in Turn One. I was just going too fast into the turn. I picked up the marbles on the outside. I went off and lost one position to the Aston Martin. At the end, I struggled with the tires. I was sliding everywhere. It was hard to keep the car on the road. Fourth place is a good result. It's not third. But, it was a good points day."
"Mario had a little off at the end there," James said. "But, he was pushing 110 percent, which you have to do in the Porsche. Still, it was a good points day for us. We finished ahead of everyone who is in front of us in the championship. The No. 48 car lost a bunch of points today. Some days your car is not quite there, so you have to get the most points you can. We got fourth place and we have a lot to be proud of. The team did a great job."
"It's disappointing to 'just miss' the podium," Team Owner Alex Job said. "We were in podium position for a while. Unfortunately, we slipped to fourth. But, we had a good points day. So, we'll take that."
The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship next heads to Road America for the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase Aug. 7-9 at Road America.
Team Seattle has produced an informational video on its Heart of Racing program. To view, please click on the link http://bit.ly/1K7A7XO. We are accepting donations and pledges at teamseattle.com.
The TUDOR Championship Northeast Grand Prix from Lime Rock Park will be broadcast live on IMSA.com July 25 starting at 3 p.m. The television broadcast will air on Fox Sports 1 starting at 5 p.m. on July 26.