BARBER IS HISTORY; NEXT STOP MIAMI
Ft. Lauderdale based SpeedSource drivers Sylvain Tremblay and Jonathan Bomarito lapped the entire GT field en route to winning at Barber Motorsports Park (photo courtesy: GRAND-AM Media)
It was a day of firsts in the Porsche 250: the first victory for the Corvette Daytona Prototype, the first DP triumph for Spirit of Daytona and Richard Westbrook followed up his first pole on Friday with his first DP victory. Antonio Garcia, who gave Spirit of Daytona its first DP pole at Barber last year, got his second career GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series victory. The team led 84 laps, with Garcia prevailing in a three-lap sprint to the checkered flag after a late-race caution.
After more than seven years of trying, everything came together for Spirit of Daytona in a near-perfect day at Barber Motorsports Park. Westbrook and Garcia combined to lead all but 19 of the 103 laps to win the Porsche 250 in the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP – the first Daytona Prototype victory for the team and the first victory for the new car in GRAND-AM Rolex Series competition.
Garcia was leading by 32 seconds when a late-race caution period set up a three-lap sprint to the finish. It was no problem for the Spanish driver, who beat Alex Gurney to the checkered flag by 2.326 seconds.
“The car felt great all weekend, particularly in race trim,” said Westbrook, who followed up his first career pole with his first triumph in the series. He paced the opening 33 circuits.
“The most important thing was to bring home the first victory for the Corvette DP,” said Garcia, who led twice for 51 of the 103 circuits. His only prior Rolex Series victory was in the 2009 Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Gurney, driving the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette DP, held off Scott Pruett over the closing laps to take second. Pruett and Memo Rojas had a two-year winning streak ended at Barber in the No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley.
“Spirit of Daytona has a magic sauce here, based off what they’ve done here the last few years,” Gurney said. “We tried real hard to find out their secret, but we’re only about halfway there.”
A year ago, Spirit of Daytona won its first DP pole at Barber and led a race-high 50 laps before being slowed by an electrical problem late in the event.
Ft. Lauderdale based SpeedSource teammates Sylvain Tremblay and Jonathan Bomarito won in the GT class by a full lap in the No. 70 Mazdaspeed Mazda RX-8, with Bomarito leading the final 70 circuits. Tremblay and Bomarito lapped the GT field in the No.70 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8, denying the No. 69 AIM Autosport Team FXDD drivers Emil Assentato and Jeff Segal from giving the new Ferrari 458 Italia Grand Am its first victory.
Next up for the GRAND-AM Series drivers is Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday, April 29 —Race 3 of 12. Click [HERE] or call (866) 409-RACE for tickets to the Grand Prix of Miami Weekend—April 27-29 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.