For the first time since 2019 the IMSA circus has travelled north to cross the Canadian border, and our Porsche-racing pals at Pfaff Motorsport were ready for their chance to shine on home soil. The team, based 45 minutes from Mosport—now known as Canadian Tire Motorsports Park—put together a mega effort to win the 2 hour and 45 minute endurance event from pole position in their plaid 911 GT3 R. Mathieu Jaminet put the car on pole in qualifying on Saturday, and partnered with Matt Campbell to put in a masterclass on Sunday. The Corvette C8.R looked quite strong, but ultimately the #9 Pfaff car had the pace to stay ahead and take the win.
After winning the 24 Hours of Daytona and the Laguna Seca round, this makes three victories for the team in plaid, and when you add in their podium place at last weekend’s Six Hours of the Glen, the team has a pretty stout lead in the GTD Pro championship with just four rounds remaining. With some bad luck going to the Corvette team this season, Pfaff now has a 138 point lead. That’s not an insurmountable lead, by any stretch of the imagination, but it’ll take quite a bit to overcome. Corvette has only won a single round so far this year, and scored two additional podiums, including a close second place this weekend. The yellow team will need to shake the monkey on its back if it has anything to put up for Porsche.
With a strategic call early on to pit for just two tires and return to the track, Jaminet kept the Pfaff car at the front and traded out for Matt Campbell to run the car to the finish. The pair led a total of 102 laps of the 111 lap race, so it’s fair to say the team was dominant. There wasn’t a single thing that went wrong with car, drivers, or strategy, and that’s exactly how you put together a win in endurance racing.
Matt Campbell, Driver:
“I could see (Garcia) was pushing all the time. I could see where he was starting to look in places as well, if he was close on restarts and such. I could see where the car was strong, so I always wanted to make sure I had a little bit of a buffer and gap going into those places and just trying to manage the tires. It wasn’t easy out there to be able to keep him off and think about the end of the race. We got there in the end but for sure, they were always on our heels. It wasn’t easy.”
Mathieu Jaminet, Driver:
“It wasn’t easy, not at all. We saw it was a pace and fuel game, especially with the Corvette. When they went yesterday, they were quite quick. Only taking two tires on the left side was something we’d never experienced before, so the car wasn’t so easy to drive and saving a lot of fuel, they saved a lot as well. It was all on the crew and (Matt) to have a quick out-lap to come out in front. Luckily, it worked out. Starting up front and having clear air was one of the keys today because it was really difficult to pass. It was a clean race from my side and Matt drove a super good stint to stay out front. An amazing effort from the team and Matt.”
Steve Bortolotti, General Manager:
“We had great track position all day and our team was sure we maintained that. The early caution made it a one-stop race and we only took two tires. It put us in a good position to save fuel, and Mathieu did a good job of that. Matt Campbell on his out-lap after our second pit stop was absolutely incredible. He ate the competition alive on his out-lap, and the team in the pits were the quickest in pit lane. All of those things together meant we were able to maintain the lead and our track position. It’s so difficult to pass here – we know the cars behind us were all over us for a reason. But we know where to be good, and we know how to set a car up to make it pretty hard to pass. We were able to do that, no one was able to get by us and we won the race.”
Interestingly, for the first time in quite a long time, Pfaff were the only Porsche on the grid in an IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship event. Typically there is at least one other Porsche in the field, with Wright Motorsports fielding a GT3 R in the GTD class for Ryan Hardwick and Jan Heylen. Unfortunately the Wright team chose to sit out of the Canadian round because of their refusal to take the COVID-19 vaccine. Wright is currently second in the GTD championship, and lost serious ground to both the Heart of Racing and Turner Motorsports teams by not participating.
“Unfortunately, our team will not be competing in Canada at the upcoming sprint race at CTMP,” said Hardwick. “Several of our team members, including myself, are unvaccinated, which means we are unable to travel to Canada due to their current Covid vaccine policies. At the beginning of the season, I was hopeful that Canada would drop their vaccine requirements prior to our race there, but unfortunately, that has not happened. While I am disappointed that we won’t be competing at this event, I stand by my own personal health decisions, and those of my teammates.”
Well, that’s a shame.