Pfaff Motorsports celebrates first IMSA GTD win at Lime Rock ParkJul 22nd, 2019
TORONTO-BASED PORSCHE TEAM CAPTURES WIN WITH
ONE OF THE CLOSEST MARGINS IN IMSA RACING HISTORY
Toronto, ON, July 22, 2019 //A weekend that began with little expectation finished with one of the greatest final-lap battles in IMSA racing history, as Pfaff Motorsports captured their first victory of the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech GTD championship at Lime Rock Park by just 0.010 of a second.
Pfaff regular Zach Robichon (CAN) was joined by Porsche Young Professional Dennis Olsen (NOR) for the two-hour 40 minute sprint in Lakeville, Connecticut, just two weeks after the team posted a season-best fifth place finish at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
The traditionally-condensed two-day Lime Rock schedule saw three practice sessions take place on Friday, with Saturday designated for both qualifying and the race. Posting strong times throughout the weekend, Robichon qualified the Castrol-liveried Porsche 911 GT3 R in fourth, and began putting pressure on the frontrunners immediately.
Jumping into third on lap 42 of 178, the Canadian posted consistent lap times until handing the car to Olsen on lap 61, where the Norwegian exited the pits in fourth. By lap 73 he had returned the GT3 R to third position, then moved up to second by lap 95.
With just 55 minutes remaining, Olsen dove into the pits for the final stop, and a flawless execution by the Pfaff Motorsports crew saw the Porsche team vault past the Riley Motorsports Mercedes and into second.
Running an aggressive strategy for the final stint, Olsen made a decisive move on lap 173 of 178 to put the GT3 R into first, defending brilliantly against the number 96 Acura until the Norwegian called on the radio with complaints of a tire issue on the final lap. Nursing and defending his position, Olsen’s final lap was three seconds slower than his previous, and diving into the final corner, he won a tight drag race to the finish in nail-biting fashion – crossing the line just one-one hundredth of a second ahead. In doing so, he delivered the team’s first victory of the season, and their first in IMSA WeatherTech competition.
“With two laps to go, I started feeling a strange vibration in the rear and I wasn’t sure what was going on,” Olsen said. “On the last lap I could feel rubber coming off the tire and decided then that there was no way I was letting anyone past – I just needed to defend until the start/finish line. Even with the issues, the tire held on – I was getting hit and it was a hard battle, but it was totally worth it in the end.”
The win comes after a string of impressive performances by the Pfaff team, who have seen strong pace throughout the season, and finally have the result to show for their effort.
“First and foremost, we need to tip our hat to the team, because they did an incredible job all weekend,” Robichon said. “This came down to some incredible pit stops and great teamwork, which has kind of been the story all season. From my side, it was about putting in good lap times and saving fuel. We were able to gain a position on the BMW which was great, and I wanted to make sure Dennis had a good car for his stint, and he did an amazing job right through to the end. When we crossed the finish line, it really felt like redemption for all of the hard work that everyone has put into this season. Seeing the smiles on everyone’s face is incredible, so I’m just happy for the whole team.”
“Everything really came together for us this weekend,” team manager Steve Bortolotti added. “We feel like we’ve been there all season, but our race today was another example of just how well this team performs. Massive credit goes to Andrew Wojteczko for great strategy calls, and our chief engineer Andrew Marangoni for a perfect long-run setup – and I’m definitely proud of the team for that final pit stop, which was huge in gaining a position for us. To go down to the end like that on the final lap wasn’t easy to watch, but I couldn’t be happier for the team – this one is all the credit to them.”
Stay tuned for further updates of Pfaff Motorsports’ home race and the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech and Michelin Pilot Challenge season by following @PfaffMotorsports, @Pfaff_Porsche and @PfaffAuto on Instagram, and Pfaff Porsche on Facebook for more announcements and behind-the-scenes content.