Powerful plaid Porsche prevails in GTD PRO at Laguna Seca

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The longer they raced, the more they pulled away.

Mathieu Jaminet and Matt Campbell put together a dominating flag-to-flag performance Sunday to win the GTD PRO class by 31.896 seconds in the Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship at Laguna Seca.

Jaminet started from the pole position and handed off the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R to Campbell with little more than an hour remaining in the two-hour, 40-minute race. The result was an easy victory and a return to the points lead in GTD PRO.

But while it looked simple, that didn't mean it was.

“Absolutely flawless race once again, especially with the pit stops,” Campbell said. “It might have looked easy, but trying to manage a car around here is difficult at times. I think it helped on the last stint with the cars battling behind us.”

Indeed, the late drama was left for the remaining podium positions in class. Three cars – the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3, the No. 25 BMW M Team RLL BMW M4 GT3 and the No. 3 Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R GTD – battled for second and third during the final laps, with Ben Barnicoat prevailing in the No. 14 Lexus over Connor De Phillippi in the No. 25 BMW.

Barnicoat, who co-drove the Lexus with Jack Hawksworth, finished 1.221 seconds ahead of De Phillippi, who shared the BMW with John Edwards. Antonio Garcia finished fourth in the Corvette he co-drove with Jordan Taylor, 1.442 seconds behind De Phillippi.

Recent testing at WeatherTech Raceway’s 11-turn, 2.238-mile circuit helped Vasser Sullivan hone in the Lexus' pace over longer stints, Barnicoat said.

“Over the years the Lexus hasn’t been the strongest car here, but we had a very good two-day test, and we knew that we’d made some good improvements to our long-run pace,” Barnicoat said. “The team worked very hard to improve that.”

Garcia and Taylor came into the race leading the drivers’ standings, but Jaminet and Campbell’s second victory of the season gave them a 50-point lead over the No. 3 Corvette duo.

“We’re back in the championship and pretty confident now,” Jaminet said. “It’s good to finish on a high for the first part of the season.”

The GTD PRO class will take the next two IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races off (Mid-Ohio on May 15 and Detroit on June 4) before returning June 26 for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International.