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Oct 20, 2013 - 06:25 PM
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Pumpelly Wins Petit Le Mans
Posted by: newsla on Oct 20, 2013 - 06:22 PM
American Le Mans Series News
Pumpelly Wins Petit Le Mans


Spencer Pumpelly closed the 2013 American Le Mans Series GTC season with a win in the 1,000 mile enduro at Road Atlanta: Petit Le Mans. The victory secured Pumpelly’s team, Flying Lizards Motorsports, the GTC Team Championship.

 

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Partnered with co-drivers Nelson Canache Jr. and Madison Snow in the No. 45 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Pumpelly faced adverse weather conditions at Road Atlanta through the first half of the race. As intermittent rain came and went over the 2.54-mile circuit, Pumpelly admitted he was relieved his job was to drive the car, not to make the decision on wet versus dry tires.

Starting from pole position won by Pumpelly in Friday’s qualifying session, co-driver Canache Jr. held the lead through his first stint and managed the changing track conditions like a veteran. Both he and third driver Snow kept the car out front in their respective stints, putting Pumpelly in a strong position to widen the team’s gap to second place. He set the GTC race lap record at Road Atlanta in his opening stint, a 1:25.098.

“The first half of the race was very difficult,” Pumpelly said. “If it was up to me, based on what I saw on the grid, I would have gone out on wets, but our engineer Thomas Blam and the Flying Lizard guys made the call to do dry tires. It was the right call. The track conditions were more trying than usual because it was constantly changing and we were always wondering whether we had the right tires on, but the car was phenomenal.

“Nelson handled the changing conditions like a pro. He took the lead early. I handed the car over to Madison who didn’t have much better luck as far as conditions go, but did an awesome job. Later in the race, both Madison and Nelson passed pro drivers for the lead and held the lead through their stints. When you have co-drivers with that kind of pace, it makes your job easier.”

The final sprint after the last full-course caution proved to be anything but easy for Pumpelly who found himself being chased by Andy Lally in the No. 27 Dempsey Racing Porsche and Jan Heylen in the No. 11 JDX Racing Porsche. Both cars turned their fastest laps of the race in pursuit of Pumpelly, but were unable to catch him. Pumpelly crossed the line with a 5.839-second margin of victory.

“I hopped in at the end and we got the lead on pit stops, Pumpelly recalled. “We started pulling away and the No. 22 car had a problem, then with 20 minutes to go we got a yellow and two cars that were ahead of me, were back around and on my bumper. We had to run some of our hardest laps in the last six laps. We were able to hold them off and win by nearly six seconds.”

The win will go down in the history books as this Petit Le Mans marked the last race of the American Le Mans Series and of the GTC class. The championship combines with GRAND-AM in 2014 to become the Tudor United SportsCar Championship. It was also a home field victory for Pumpelly who lives in Atlanta.

“The last ever ALMS race… the last ever ALMS GTC pole… the last ever GTC race and we won! Plus, it’s a home race. It’s the one you want on your resume if you live in Atlanta. Finally we did it! I’m really happy and really thankful to all the guys. It’s a true team effort today, a lot of people say that, but today really was. This win would not have been possible without the performance of my co-drivers and the team. We were hooked up all weekend.”

The team effort led to a GTC Team Championship for Flying Lizard Motorsports in its first season competing in the category. Pumpelly and Canache Jr. ended the year second in the GTC Drivers’ Championship, nine points out of first.


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