Scintillating Sam fires G-Drive Racing to victory in Texas
G-Drive Racing's twin Ligier JS P2 machines took their FIA World Endurance Championship challenge to Austin, Texas, for the Six Hours of Circuit of the Americas - and brought home a victory for Sam and his colleagues in the #26 car.
Sam, Roman Rusinov and Julien Canal took LMP2 pole position and victory around the 3.427-mile track while their team-mates in the #28 machine earned third place.
A race-long battle with the KCMG ORECA was resolved in G-Drive's favour thanks to some scintillating laps by Sam at the beginning and end of the race. Rusinov and Canal also drove flawless stints to reduce the gap further to KCMG and gathered further useful points for their title quest.
The result demonstrated the competitiveness of the Onroak Automotive chassis and Dunlop tyres, and left the two cars second and third in the LMP2 class championship with three races remaining.
Paying tribute to Guy Ligier, who died in August, G-Drive team principal Philippe Dumas said: "It was a good weekend for us, and I am extremely happy to be able to give this win to Ligier, and especially Guy. The whole team did an amazing job and the engineers had a great strategy. It was important for us and for the season and I am happy to be able to give this win to the team."
Rusinov said: "It was great for us to win - in my opinion, it was the most beautiful win we have ever had. It was really good to do this in America and the team did a great job. The engineers and drivers were perfect. It was an important race and win for us and team. It showed we are back in the game for the championship."
The next event in the FIA World Endurance Championship is the Six Hours of Fuji on October 11th.
CoTA Six Hours - LMP2 Top five classification:
#26 - G-Drive Racing - Ligier JS P2-Nissan-Dunlop - Roman RUSINOV, Julien CANAL, Sam BIRD
#47 - KCMG - Oreca 05-Nissan-Dunlop - Matthew HOWSON, Richard BRADLEY, Nicolas LAPIERRE
#28 - G-Drive Racing - Ligier JS P2-Nissan-Dunlop - Gustavo YACAMAN, Luis Felipe DERANI, Ricardo GONZALEZ
#30 - Extreme Speed Motorsport - Ligier JS P2-HPD-Dunlop - Scott SHARP, Ryan DALZIEL, David HEINEMEIER HANSSON
#43 - Team Sard Morand - Morgan LMP2 EVO-Sard-Dunlop - Pierre RAGUES, Oliver WEBB, Archie HAMILTON
FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 Teams - classifications after the 6 hours of CoTA - Top-3 :