The war developing in GT2 boiled over into the predictable collisions, with the Flying Lizard team's hopes for a driving championship literally going up in smoke as Johannes van Overbeek watched his Porsche 911 burn to the ground following an on-course altercation. The Ferrari 430 of Jaime Melo and Mika Salo went on to take First in class.
The race's true battle was between the LMP1-dominating Audis and Roger Penske's factory-backed LMP2 Porsches. The Audis, with their superior torque, had the straight-line power advantage, but the Porsche spyders were lighter and quicker in the corners-a prescription for success on a tight road course like Belle Isle.
With the race drawing to a close, the Audi of Emanuele Pirro seemed to have victory in hand. Then, with just a few minutes left, Porsche driver Romain Dumas outbraked Pirro into the corner and nudged past the silver LMP1 entry. The Audi's superior torque got the best of the Porsche down the following straight, however, and Pirro retook the lead.
Dumas then took a wider, faster entry line into the next right-hand corner, repassing Pirro who was trying to defend his first-place position with a shallow corner entry and a wider, slower exit. The Porsche driver never looked back and finished the inaugural Detroit Grand Prix in First Place overall, handing the "Captain" a victory in a storybook ending.
Next up on the ALMS schedule is Road Atlanta and the 10th anniversary of the 10-hour Petit Le Mans. Class placement in this race brings an automatic invitation to the 24-hour Le Mans spectacular in France next June. Rumor has it that some legitimate competition will finally show up to challenge the flashing yellow streaks from GM. It's about time.
Corvette Racing Shines in Pit Crew Challenge
To back up their exemplary on-track performance, Corvette Racing also shined in the semi-final round of the Klein Tool Pit Crew Challenge. Held on Friday before the Saturday race, this round was supposed to include eight teams battling for one of the final four spots.
Both of the Corvette Racing crews made the cut and stood ready to take on all comers. Unfortunately, the two Porsche teams from Tafel Racing and the two Audi LMP1 entries elected to skip the competition and concentrate on prepping for the qualifying session just three hours in the future.
The narrowed field saw the Corvette crews taking on a pair of LMP1 entries from Dyson Racing. The No. 4 team won the day with a time of 44.12 seconds, while the No. 3 crew managed a 44.29-second effort to beat out the No. 20 Dyson squad for Second. The Corvette teams took home prize money totaling $15,000 for the day's effort. The Challenge's final round will be held in Monterey and promises to be a close one.