Brown, Van Overbeek Win At Laguna Seca
MONTEREY, Calif. – The team of Ed Brown and Johannes van Overbeek tamed a field of Prototypes, co-driving their No. 2 Tequila Patrón HPD ARX-03b/Honda to victory in the Continental Tire Grand Prix of Monterey powered by Mazda on Sunday – the first victory for a P2 Prototype in the inaugural TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
The winners posted an average speed of 97.318 mph in the two-hour race on the 11-turn, 2.238-mile road course.
Brown and van Overbeek won the second of two races Sunday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, featuring the TUDOR Championship’s Prototype (P) and GT Le Mans (GTLM) classes.
Sunday’s breakthrough win for the No. 2 came on the heels of an “adjustment of performance” made by IMSA that lessened horsepower capabilities for the Daytona Prototypes, which had won the season’s first three races.
Van Overbeek took the lead for good with 15 minutes remaining when he passed No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP driver Jordan Taylor in turn three. Taylor and his brother Ricky finished second; finishing third were Memo Rojas and Scott Pruett, in the No. 01 Telcel Ford EcoBoost/Riley.
That pass “”was sort of inevitable,” said Jordan Taylor, conceding that on this day and track, the No. 2 had too much car. “I mean, we came into this race knowing the P2s would be strong. We led a lot, but that was mostly due to strategy.”
“This will probably soak in, in a week or so,” said Brown, who started the car from the pole. “We’ve worked really hard. I felt really good coming out of qualifying yesterday knowing that I had the fastest guy on the track racing with me.”
“(Our next race at Detroit) Belle Isle will be much like (our previous one) in Long Beach, so it will suit the Daytona Prototypes more than us,” van Overbeek said.
“They have a lot more torque. With every race, ESM Patrón guys will show up prepared, work hard, and do the best job.”
Corvette Racing completed a California sweep, with Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen driving the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R to its second consecutive TUDOR United SportsCar Championship victory.
Garcia passed Giancarlo Fisichella’s No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 Italia for the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class lead with 21 minutes remaining and drove to a 4.710-second victory ahead of Bill Auberlen in the No. 55 BMW Team RLL BMW Z4 GTE. Garcia and co-driver Magnussen scored the first TUDOR Championship victory for the Corvette C7.R one race ago at the Long Beach street circuit.
“Traffic in this series is very (difficult) and as soon as I saw a Prototype going to pass (Fisichella), I really went for it and made a run as much as possible,” said Garcia. “He had no chance to block me and after that (I could use) all the tires I had saved.”
While Garcia cruised to victory, an intense battle ensued between the No. 55 BMW Team RLL BMW Z4 GTE of Bill Auberlen and the No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR of Nick Tandy for second.
After both cars found their way past Fisichella, the battle led to contact between Tandy and Auberlen on the second-to-last lap, forcing Auberlen off course. Despite the incident on the prior lap, Auberlen caught back up to Tandy and got past in the final turn to take second place.