Category Archives: Pirelli World Challenge

Long Crowned Overall Drivers Champion, Cooper Takes Two Pro Wins At Sonoma For Pirelli World Challenge GT Season Finale. (18.09.17)

Photo: world-challenge.com

Patrick Long clinched the Overall GT Drivers Championship and Michael Cooper won twice at Sonoma Raceway on September 16 – 17 as the 2017 Pirelli World Challenge drew to a close for the GT classes.

Cooper, driving the #8 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS.V-R took the lead shortly after the start in Race One when pole-sitter Daniel Mancinelli in the #31 TR3 Racing Ferrari F488 GT3 had to back out of the throttle to avoid a potential jump-start penalty. Cooper held on the lead with Alvaro Patent, piloting the #9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3, finishing second and Michael Cooper taking the final podium position.

Following Johnny O’Connell’s off during FP2, the Cadillac Racing crew had worked through the night to repair the #3 Cadillax ATS-V.R and Cooper was quick to dedicate his victory to the team.

“It was an incredible race win today,” said Cooper. “The Cadillac guys were here till 2.00am last night finishing the #3 car and just to reward them with something like this is awesome and makes me so happy.”

Cooper was pleased that his concentration on the start had paid dividends.

“I asked the question in the drivers meeting about the start procedure because I know guys who have been messing with it a little and getting penalties for it,” said Cooper. “Then Daniel went a little early and had to get out of the gas and I kept going because he had gone and I’m like ‘I’m not going to let everyone drive away from me’.”

“From there he put some pressure on me early on but I was able to conserve tyres – the traction management in this Cadillac is unreal. It allowed me to keep the tyres under me and that’s why we still had the pace all fifty minutes.”

Patrick Long, driving the #58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R was pleased to have secured the drivers title but had been frustrated by a fellow competitor’s tactics.

Sonoma, CA - Sep 15, 2017: The Pirelli World Challenge racers take to the track on Pirelli tires during the PIRELLI WORLD CHALLENGE GRAND PRIX OF SONOMA at the Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, CA.

Photo: world-challenge.com

“He (Alvaro Parente) was wearing out my rear bumper and after last year I hate points-racing but there’s not a lot of trust with a few of my rivals out there,” said Long. “In the end it was the right move. I still had a lot of pressure from behind from Pierre (Kaffer) but the car was good today.”

“The Porsche GT3 R is the car to have on tracks like this where it’s technical and twisty – short wheel-base, lightweight and agile. Thank you to Wright Motorsports. These guys worked their tails off. We had to wait an extra year and it feels that much sweeter.”

Race Two saw Cooper and Long battling once again for the lead with the newly-crowned Overall GT Drivers Champion finishing less than a second behind Cooper.

The race got off to an unfortunate start after Daniel Mancinelli, driving the #31 TR3 Racing Ferrari F488 GT3, made contact with Alvaro Parente in the # 9 K-Pax Racing McLaren 650S GT3. The resulting damage and recovery brought out the Safety Car and caused the retirement of Parente. Mancinelli in the #31 car received a two-minute stop-gap penalty for causing the accident and went on to finish fifteenth overall.

Following his second victory of the weekend Cooper reflected on his progress as a professional driver.

“Most kids start out in karts or cars when they’re very young and I didn’t do that,” continued Cooper. “I started when I was 20, and I’m 28 now so it hasn’t been that long. But winning three championships in a short amount of time, and that I’ve done it – getting rides on merit and not any other way…. Also, Patrick Long mentioned the CVs of the factory drivers in this category and you look at my resume against those guys and it’s pretty easy to read so that makes me very proud that I can compete with guys like that and hold them off for the win.”

Following the final round for the GT classes in 2017, Pirelli World Challenge announced the calendar for the 2018 championship with the season-opener at St. Petersburg on March 9 – 11 next year.

2017 Pirelli World Challenge Heads To Sonoma For GT Showdown (13.09.17)

Photos Above: world-challenge.com

The Pirelli World Challenge visits Sonoma Raceway, formerly Sears Point Raceway, in the Sonoma Mountains, California for the final weekend of GT action in the 2017 season on September 15 – 17.

There are 42 entries in the GT field with 14 cars entered in the GT (GT3) category, six in the GTA class (GT3 for non-professional drivers) and one in the GT Cup class. In the GTS (GT4 classes) there are eight entries in the GTS category and 13 in the non-professional GTSA class.

With the SprintX championship concluding at the previous round from the Circuit of the Americas, Texas, Sonoma will see the 2017 overall GT championships decided.

Patrick Long, driver of the #58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R, leads the Overall GT Driver’s standings on 320 points, 28 ahead of the second-placed Alvaro Parente in the #9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3. Just four points behind Parente and driving the #8 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R is Michael Cooper.

“The COTA races were points days that we needed,” said Patrick Long, ahead of the Grand Prix of Sonoma. “I’m going to Sonoma with my head still down, 100% full throttle and completely focused because, as we learned last year, it’s never over till it’s over. We just have to push to close this out for the manufacturers, drivers and year-end championship.”

With five victories so far this season, and a second place in the previous SprintX round at the Circuit of the Americas, Patrick Long must go into the final two races of the 2017 championship as firm favourite. However, with 50 points on offer for the winners of the final two races and only 32 points separating the top three, anything could happen.

The Overall GT Manufacturer’s Championship fight is equally close with only seven points covering the top three. Porsche leads the standings on 113 points, six points clear of Cadillac. McLaren GT sits just one point behind Cadillac.

With Lawson Aschenbach, driving the #10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4, having secured the 2017 Sprint GT Drivers Championship, all eyes will be on the fight for second place where Ian James in the #50 Team Panoz Racing Panoz Avezzano GT has a 17-point advantage over Martin Barkey in the #80 KTM Xbow GT4. James has displayed a high level of consistency as the season has progressed with victories at Road America, Mid-Ohio, Utah and the Circuit of the Americas. It would be brave to bet against him.

The format of the weekend sees qualifying for all classes taking place on the Saturday morning with one-hour races for the GT/GTA/GT Cup classes and GTS classes taking place on Saturday afternoon and evening and again on the Sunday morning and afternoon.

All races are live-streamed on the Pirelli World Challenge at http://world-challenge.com/streamvideo/ with live timing at www.TSL-Timing.com.

The 2017 Pirelli World Challenge season has witnessed some close, highly competitive racing across all the classes and the Grand Prix of Sonoma will be no exception. If you enjoy GT racing at its best, you won’t want to miss it.

Parente Takes Second Win At Mid-Ohio (30.07.17)

Photo: World-Challenge.com

Alvaro Parente, driving the #9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3 took his second victory of the weekend in the GT class in Pirelli World Challenge at Mid-Ohio. The Portuguese driver crossed the line 6.628 seconds ahead of Patrick Long in the #58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.

Third in the Pro class was Alec Udell, driving the #17 GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.

In a race which ran uninterrupted by cautions and safety cars, Parente took the lead from pole-sitter Long at the start of the second lap and maintained a lead of over 1.5 seconds for the majority of the 50-minute sprint, extending the gap in the final 15 minutes.

Continue reading Parente Takes Second Win At Mid-Ohio (30.07.17)

Third Win of The Season For James And Panoz At Mid-Ohio (30.07.17)

Photo: Panoz.com

Ian James, driving the #50 Team Panoz Racing Panoz Avezzano GT, came home to take his third victory of the season in Race Two, Round Twelve of the GTS class of the 2017 Pirelli World Challenge at Mid-Ohio. Second across the line was the pole-sitter and winner of Race One, Lawson Aschenbach in the #10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4.

Taking the final podium position was Harry Gottsacker, driving the #69 Performance Motorsports Group Ginetta G55.

Aschenbach led the field away from pole-position and appeared to be controlling the race from the front but James, in the #50 car, was on Aschenbach’s rear bumper after twenty minutes of racing, pushing the Floridian driver to the point where race officials were starting to become concerned about Aschenbach’s defensive tactics.

The decisive move came at the start of the eighteenth lap when James took the lead going into Turn One. James then managed to pull out a lead of just under three seconds but Aschenbach remained a threat for the remainder of the 50-minute race, crossing the line 1.917 seconds behind the #50 car.

Ian James knew he was going to have to work hard to pass Aschenbach.

“I had a great battle with Lawson,” said James. “They set their car up to go fast on short stints and we did the opposite and it went in our favour.”

“I was working him round the back of the circuit so I was hoping to get him by surprise. I knew I would only have one chance as I know he’s a pretty good defensive driver, let’s say.”

The Am class was won by George Kurtz in the #04 GMG Racing McLaren 570S GT4, passing Tony Gaples in the #11 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4 on the final lap to win by .615 seconds. Third in the Am class was Bob Michaelian in the Racers Edge Motorsports SIN R1 Gt4.

“It was a great win,” said Kurtz. “We didn’t have a great start – we got checked up at the beginning but we were able to get our heads down and hustle through. It was a long way to go to beat Gaples. Unfortunately I had to wait until the last lap but that’s the only lap that counts.”

“I figured I could get him in the back straight-away and I really just wanted to stay tight and keep the gap close. It was the ‘King Of Late Brakers’ between the two of us! He’s a great driver and it was clean so we were able to get through and we got the win.”

The 50-minute race was largely incident-free with no yellow flags or Safety Cars. The sole retiree was Rodrigo Baptista in the #3 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR following damage the car sustained in Race One.

Following his second place, Achenbach maintains his considerable lead in the GTS Drivers Standings on 268 points. Ian James, however, moves into second place in the standings on 181 points, two points ahead of third-placed Martin Barkey in the #80 Mantella Autosport KTM Xbow GT4 on 179 points.

George Kurtz’s win means that he extends his lead over Tony Gaples in the Am class Drivers Standings by two points to 10 points.

Rounds 13 and 14 for the GTS class take place at Utah Motorsports Complex on August 11 – 13.

Parente Wins GT Race 1 At Mid-Ohio To Close Points Gap To Long (29.07.17)

Alvaro Parente, driving the #9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3, closed the points gap at the top of the Sprint GT Drivers Standings to just nine points behind Patrick Long after winning the first Pirelli World Challenge GT race of the weekend at Mid-Ohio.

Cadillac Racing took second and third places in the Pro category after Michael Cooper, driving the #8 Cadillac ATS V.R, crossed the line 6.857 seconds behind Parente. The sister #3 car, driven by Johnny O’Connell was .462 seconds further back.

Continue reading Parente Wins GT Race 1 At Mid-Ohio To Close Points Gap To Long (29.07.17)

Aschenbach Takes World Challenge GTS Race 1 Win At Mid-Ohio (29.07.17)

Lawson Aschenbach, driving the #10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4, won the first race of the weekend for the GTS class in Pirelli World Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.

Second across the line was the Ian James in the #50 Team Panoz Racing Panoz Avezzano GT. Taking the final podium position was Harry Gottsacker in the #69 Performance Motorsports Group Ginetta G55.

Starting from second on the grid, Aschenbach took the lead in an incident-filled start which saw contact between the #3 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR driven by Rodrigo Baptisto and Fred Roberts in the #89 JCR Motorsports Maserati GT4 result in a lengthy FCY while Roberts was carefully extracted from his car. Thankfully Roberts was shaken but uninjured.

Continue reading Aschenbach Takes World Challenge GTS Race 1 Win At Mid-Ohio (29.07.17)