The win puts the Canadian-based Porsche team at the top of the IMSA GTD standings with a 50-point lead heading into the final 10-hour Petit Le Mans enduro next month.
The condensed event at VIR saw Pfaff take part in a two-day weekend, with two practice sessions and position and points qualifying on Friday. 2019 GTD Sprint champion Zach Robichon (CAN) had a rare spin in positional qualifying, and following a procedural error in pit lane, the team was disqualified, relegating them to the back of the field and removing co-driver and Porsche factory driver Laurens Vanthoor (BEL) from contending in the points-earning portion of the session.
Starting from 13th in class for Saturday’s 2-hour and 40-minute sprint, Robichon quickly righted Friday by jumping three positions on the opening lap, then another position in each of the following three laps. Sitting seventh in class for four laps, the Canadian continued his charge by running the Pfaff-Motul Porsche 911 GT3 R as high as second during initial round of pit stops on lap 29 of 85, before handing the car to Vanthoor during a lightning-quick pitstop on lap 31.
The Le Mans winner continued to power the no. 9 “Plaid Porsche” through the field, when an opportune caution on lap 44 saw the Belgian dive back into the pits. The Pfaff crew once again put in a stellar stop for fuel and all four tires, and Vanthoor exited, vaulting into second by lap 48, then into first on lap 53 when the competing Lamborghini was in the pits.
Running in second after the team’s final pit stop on lap 72 of 85, Vanthoor pushed the Pfaff Porsche to its maximum, and set a fastest time of 1:45.034 on lap 78 – providing the opportunity to capitalize on a late-race incident involving the lead BMW. Vanthoor slipped by for the lead with just seven laps remaining.
The Belgian held steady for the remainder of the race, crossing the finish 2.755 seconds ahead of the competition to give Pfaff Motorsports its fourth win of the season and third in the last four races.
The result puts Pfaff at the top of the GTD standings with a total of 2,938 points and extends Porsche’s lead in the manufacturers championship to 72 points (3,077 total). It also stands just one point back for the four-round Michelin Endurance Cup.
Pfaff returns to the track for the final round of the 2021 IMSA season at Petit Le Mans from November 11 to 13, where it looks to secure its first ever IMSA Weathertech championship.