Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen emerged as the GTLM victors at Virginia International Raceway, after their #3 Corvette inherited the lead from the #25 BMW of Alexander Sims late in the race.
Sims, who shared his BMW Team RLL machine with Bill Auberlin, had dominated the two-hour and 40-minute race, until a left-front puncture with just over ten minutes remaining took them out of contention from an almost certain victory.
The BMW fell down to fourth position after its pit stop to change the left-front tyre and take on a splash of fuel, and was saved from dropping further by a collision between the #66 Ford of Dirk Mueller and the #4 Corvette of Tommy Milner.
The late pit stop for the #25 BMW not only handed the #3 Corvette the win, but also allowed the #67 Ford of Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook to finish second, with the #62 Risi Competizione Ferrari of Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander completing the podium on their return to the championship this weekend.
Fisichella had a shot at victory in the closing stages of the race, and was hunting down the erstwhile leader of Sims in the BMW before an off-track moment cost him time after going side-by-side with the #96 Turner Motorsports GTD entry.
Finishing fourth was the aforementioned #25 BMW, who came across the line ahead of the #66 Ford of Dirk Mueller and Joey Hand.
In sixth position was the #4 Corvette of Milner and Oliver Gavin, ahead of the two Porsches, which struggled for pace all weekend long.
Both finished a lap down on the race leader, with the #912 finishing in seventh and the #911 eighth after a spin for Patrick Pilet delayed their efforts.
Last in GTLM, and finishing 21st overall was the #24 BMW of Martin Tomczyk and John Edwards, who went behind the wall to repair the car’s powersteering early in the race.
The car was delayed many laps but would rejoin the race.
After a dramatic race at VIR, the #3 Corvette extends its championship lead, and Chevrolet takes the lead in the manufacturers championship.
In GT Daytona, the #16 Change Racing Lamborghini driven by Corey Lewis and Jeroen Mul took a lights-to-flag maiden victory in the category.
After starting from pole position, Mul double stinted the car with a relatively trouble free run – apart from a brief scrap with Gunnar Jeannette’s #22 Riley Motorsports Porsche which was reluctant to go a lap down – building a comfortable lead for the car before handing over to Corey Lewis with 50 minutes to go.
Lewis held off a hard-charging Jens Klingmann in the closing stages of the race, the pressure mounting onto the final lap as Lewis was held up by a the slow-moving Corvette of Tommy Milner, allowing Klingmann’s #96 BMW to close up again.
After an almost perfect weekend for the team, Lewis brought the Lamborghini home to take an emotional first victory.
In third position, albeit 53 seconds off the class leader, was Jeroen Bleekemolen in the #33 Riley Motorsports Mercedes.
In fourth position finished the GTD championship leaders, Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan in the #63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3, ahead of the #48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini of Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow, who were running strongly until they had a puncture.
In sixth position was the #22 Riley Motorsports Porsche of Gunnar Jeannette and Cooper MacNeil, ahead of the #14 3GT Racing Lexus of Sage Karam and Robert Alon, which sparked controversy after a clash with the #93 Michael Shank Racing Acura of Andy Lally and Katherine Legge while Karam and Legge were driving.
Eighth position in class went the way of Jonathan Bennett and Colin Braun in the #54 Porsche Motorsport 911 GT3 R, ahead of two other Porsche’s, the #28 Alegra Motorsports car of Patrick Long and Daniel Morad, with the #73 Park Place Motorsports machine of Jorg Bergmeister and Patrick Lindsey rounding out the top ten in class.
The #93 Acura finshed 15th in class after its incident with the #14 Lexus, and Scott Pruett’s mistake at the Oak Tree Hairpin meant his #15 Lexus finished 13th in class after sustaining significant damage.
The championship now moves on to its penultimate round at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix on the 21-24 September.
Featured image: Credit to www.sportscar365.com/Brian Cleary/BCPix.com