Pfaff Motorsports moved to the top of the IMSA GTD standings after a hard-fought second-place finish this weekend at the Grand Prix of Long Beach. The podium is Pfaff’s third straight after winning back-to-back races at Road America and Laguna Seca, contributing to the team’s title challenge with just two races remaining.
The shortened two-day event – including the shortest race on the calendar at 100 minutes – saw Pfaff drivers Zach Robichon (CAN) and Laurens Vanthoor (BEL) run two practices before qualifying on opening day. Robichon placed the no. 9 Pfaff/Motul Porsche GT3 R in fourth position ahead of Saturday’s race, while his factory co-driver Vanthoor set the top time and a new GTD lap record (1:18.957) during the points portion of the session, scoring a vital 35 in the team’s race to the championship.
Following the evening’s qualifying, the team decided to make a precautionary gearbox change, with mechanics working on the GT3 R into the early hours of race day.
When the green flag dropped on Saturday, Robichon raced the “Plaid Porsche,” wearing sponsorship from Porsche Downtown LA for the weekend, with the lead group, then moved into third after the championship-leading BMW struck the wall and fell down the order on lap 16.
When another competitor had contact with the wall, the team anticipated a yellow flag, and brought Robichon into the pits earlier than originally planned. The Canadian handed the car to Vanthoor with just over an hour remaining. After briefly dropping back to P6 attempting to pass two cars in one corner, Vanthoor mounted an impressive attack to jump three positions in 18 laps before securing second spot with just under 15 minutes remaining.
The podium puts Pfaff on top of the GTD standings with a 32-point lead and just two races remaining. The team returns to Virginia International Raceway (VIR) in just two weeks’ time for the GT-only race on October 9, before looking to the series finale at Petit Le Mans, Road Atlanta on November 13.
“I’m thrilled with the team’s performance this weekend. Everyone did a phenomenal job, right from unloading to the finishing flag. Everyone worked to give Zach [Robichon] and Laurens [Vanthoor] the best possible car they could, and our drivers proved why they’re two of the best in the field. It was the perfect way to close the gap on the championship, and just what we needed over these last couple of weekends. We’ve had some great performances from an execution standpoint over the last number of weeks – the team has been firing on all cylinders so it’s great to share the success of the last couple of races.”