AUSTIN, Texas - Alex Job Racing teammates Alex Riberas (Spain) and Mario Farnbacher (Germany) finished seventh in the GTD class in the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship Lone Star Le Mans at the Circuit of The Americas today.
Riberas started from the GTD pole and wasted little time opening up a bit of a lead. After a dozen laps, Riberas had a more than 10 second lead on the GTD field and the No. 23 The Heart of Racing Porsche look poised to have a good day. In fact, by the time Riberas made his first pit stop on lap 19, the lead was more than 12 seconds. Riberas maintained the race lead throughout his stint despite the heat and rising track temperatures.
"The car felt amazing from the beginning," Riberas said of his stint. "I was able to pull away from the field. I came in [pit stop] with a pretty good lead. We were one of fastest, if not the fastest, cars out there. Everything went right. The crew did a fantastic job keeping us up near the lead."
Leading the race on lap 42, Riberas brought the Alex Job Racing-prepared Porsche in for a pit stop that included fuel, tires and a driver change. That's when Farnbacher got in. However, during the pit stop, there was a problem with one of the wheel guns. This cost the team some time in the pits.
Farnbacher rejoined the race in eighth place. But, five laps later, he was up to second - right behind the GTD class leading No. 96 BMW. From there, Farnbacher just tried to stay with the BMW as he battled a worsening understeer condition in the No. 23 Porsche. Due to the understeer, Farnbacher was more than 14 seconds behind leader on the final lap and that's when things went from bad to worse. Farnbacher's Porsche ran out of fuel on the final lap with only three corners to go and finished seventh.
"The track conditions changed quite a bit from the beginning of the race to the end of the race," Farnbacher said. "I just couldn't turn the car at all. After about five laps, the power down got really bad. So, I struggled quite a bit to find my rhythm. I did my best to drive my pace and stay with the BMW [No. 96]. There was no chance to stay behind him. I just tried not to make any mistakes and turn good laps times, and even that was quite challenging. Then, we ran out of fuel on the last lap."
"Mario did a fantastic job," Riberas said. "We made a little mistake on the fuel calculation. It can happen to anybody. Today, it happened to us. To be honest, I'm little disappointed with the result. There are no words to describe it. But, you have to take away the positives, and the positives were that we had good pace and we had the car to win. We just go on to the next race."
"When Mario got in, the car had a terrible understeer," Team Owner Alex Job said. "I don't know if we had a bad set of tires or what happened. But, the car was really good for Alex and then it was really bad for Mario. We really struggled with understeer. We had a little bit of a problem on the pit stop with one of the wheel guns. It cost us a little bit of time. Then, we stopped a lap earlier than we had originally planned. It cut the fuel window too close and we ran out of fuel with three corners to go. We just can't keep making these mistakes. But, we were position to either win it or have a strong podium finish."
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next heads to Road Atlanta for the final race of the year and Petit Le Mans Sept. 28 - Oct. 1.
The Heart of Racing
Founded in 1996, by Don and Donna Kitch, Team Seattle and The Heart of Racing is a group of sports car road racing fans, drivers, and corporate partners making a difference in our community by combining two passions: A love of motorsports and a commitment to Seattle Children's Hospital and pediatric cardiac health care nationally. The team uses the promotion and exposure of the racing program to fund raise and increase awareness of the financial needs for quality pediatric medical care. Since inception, Team Seattle has generated over $5.5 million for their cause. The Heart of Racing accepts donations and pledges for Seattle Children's Hospital at teamseattle.com.
Alex Job Racing
Alex Job Racing is one of the most successful teams in sports car racing with 70 wins (since 1995); including two Rolex 24 GT Class wins in 1999 and 2013. This record is supported by 48 pole positions and 106 podium finishes. The team has won five championships (GTC 2013, 2012, GT in 2004, 2003 and 2002) complimented by their two GT class wins at Le Mans. The team also boasts ten Sebring 12-hour wins.
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD (GT Daytona) Class is made up of some the world's most sophisticated cars, including the Porsche 911 GT3 R, Ferrari 488 GTB, Lamborghini Huracan, Aston Martin DB9, BMW M6, Viper SRT and Audi R8 LMS. All GTD Class cars run on the spec Continental tire.