Porsche Leading in Texas after 3 Hours
As darkness fell at the Circuit of the Americas, Porsche enjoyed a 1-2 formation at the head of the field.
The first two hours of the race saw first Mark Webber and then Brendon Hartley carve out useful gaps in the No.17 Porsche 919 Hybrid, after Webber snatched the lead at the first turn from Neel Jani’s No.18 machine.
The No.17 Porsche had been in control of the race as the halfway point of the race came, but when Webber overshot his pit the hard-won gap was reduced to just seven seconds as a second Full Course Yellow came out. The rare error from Webber cost 25 seconds.
Driving his second stint, Webber had built upon Hartley’s tremendous second hour turn at the wheel and also negotiated the first Full Course Yellow, which was deployed just before the third hour when Ed Brown crashed his Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier following a brake issue.
Placing third was the No.8 Audi R18 e-tron quattro which had kept touch with the second placed No.18 Porsche throughout the race. In the third hour Oliver Jarvis homed in on Romain Dumas and got to within five seconds before the third scheduled stops when he handed over to Loic Duval.
The title leading No.7 Audi was fourth after Andre Lotterer opened the race in the R18 e-tron quattro before handing over to Benoit Treluyer, who survived contact with the Larbre Corvette.
Toyota Racing placed fifth with the No.1 Toyota TS 040 HYBRID. Buemi had even placed fourth in the early stages before Andre Lotterer took back the position from reigning champion Sebastien Buemi.
At the end of the second hour Anthony Davidson ran wide and missed the entry to the pit just before his second scheduled stop and was forced to complete a full slow fuel-save lap to hand over to Kazuki Nakajima.
The No.2 Toyota suffered a high-speed spin by Mike Conway after attempting to get by Marco Seefried’s Porsche. The British driver emerged without any damage to the car and kept fifth place. However, just before the halfway point Conway crashed at Turn 11, severely damaging the car and ending its race.
The No.12 Rebellion Racing R-One-AER headed the LMP1 privateers with Mathias Beche, Nicolas Prost and Nick Heidfeld leading the ByKolles CLM P1/01-AER.
LMP2 saw some typically exciting racing throughout the first half of the Lone Star Le Mans headline race.
Pole sitter Sam Bird initially built up a healthy lead in the No.26 G-Drive Racing Ligier-Nissan. After the first pit stops the No.30 Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier of Ryan Dalziel emerged in front after the team elected not to change driver or tyres. Dalziel was soon hunted down by a charging Richard Bradley in the KCMG ORECA, who swept through before building a large lead.
Nicolas Lapierre, who started the race for KCMG had earlier made short work of most of the LMP2 field to fight his way up to second behind Bird, who completed the first stint before handing over to Julien Canal.
After three hours of racing the KCMG ORECA was back in second place after going out of pit sequence, handing the lead back to the No.26 G-Drive car driven by Roman Rusinov. Third was the Signatech Alpine A450B.
Porsche head both LMGTE classes
LMGTE Pro saw a frenetic start with Darren Turner snatching the lead from third on the grid in the No.97 Aston Martin. Soon though the Manthey Porsches surged ahead, with the No.92 car driven by Patrick Pilet and Frederic Makowiecki taking the lead followed the sister No.91 car of Richard Lietz and Michael Christensen.
The No.51 AF Corse Ferrari of Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander was sat in third place just five seconds behind the Porsches.
Dempsey Proton led the majority of the first two hours with Patricks Long and Dempsey completing excellent stints in the blue and black Porsche 911 RSR. Long opened up a healthy gap to the chasing pack and Dempsey impressively fended off the advances of Aleksey Basov in the SMP Racing Ferrari 458 Italia. However, the Russian eventually found a way through just after 90mins of racing.
The lead swung back in Dempsey-Proton’s favour though when Marco Seefried took over the wheel and he was able to stretch out a gap. As the clock ticked to three hours of racing he led the No.88 Abu Dhabi Proton Porsche 911 RSR.
Results of the race so far can be found HERE