Cary, NC – A stuck throttle in the last hour while in the lead ended Taggart Autosport’s chance of victory at the SCCA’s 13 Hour VIR endurance race on Saturday, October 25. The team’s trio of drivers: Jim Taggart, Tom Long and Randy Pobst, led most of the event, in a long-term strategy game with a Mustang running in second.
“It’s disappointing but we ran a great race. Aside from the throttle sticking at the end, the Porsche ran unbelievably well and very strong. Top speed on the back straight was 158 MPH and we were turning sub-two minute lap times while running conservatively,” said Jim Taggart, driver and team owner.
The Taggart Autosport RallyFighter.net/Absolut Vodka 997 GT3 Cup Car started from pole, leading the early stages of the race before a penalty for passing under the local yellow meant a stop and go pit visit. With the car emerging down the order, it would find the lead again as the clocks wound down – the Porsche good for about 90 minutes between fuel stops.
The team, led by crew chief Eric Arms, executed well – with a contingent on hand to manage fuel and tire changes, as well as assist with any mechanical issues. Preparing a car that normally runs 30 minute SCCA sprint races for 13 hours of straight racing was no easy task.
With sports car ace Randy Pobst in the car and solidly in the lead heading for the checkered flag, among a field of nearly 50 starts, the Porsche’s throttle stuck. Pobst’s efforts to re-cycle the car’s ignition and computer system didn’t work, and a light tap of the barrier at VIR with the front of the Porsche damaged a radiator, ending the run.
The bad luck for Taggart Autosport continued in the 13 Hour event as just two years ago, a similar situation had the group’s Lotus Exige in the lead as night fell, only to be taken out by a slower (lapped) car.