World Challenge continued to produce prolific fields in September at Circuit of the Americas.
September 3, 2017
The Mercedes-AMG GT3 team of Ryan Dalziel of Scotland and Daniel Morad of Canada returned to the Pirelli World Challenge Round 10 SprintX winner’s circle Sunday in the PWC Grand Prix of Texas at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in a sensational drive to hold off the Porsche pair of Patrick Long and Jorg Bergmeister.
Driving the No. 2 CRP Racing/DeVilbiss Mercedes-AMG GT3 sports car, Dalziel and Morad used a great start, stellar pit stop and a late race drive to secure the duo’s second PWC SprintX win of the year after they opened the season with a victory at VIRginia International Raceway.
SprintX point leaders Jordan Taylor of Orlando, Fla., and Michael Cooper of Syosset, N.Y. suffered a rare DNF Sunday in the No. 8 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R. when Taylor made contact with Saturday SprintX race winner Daniel Mancinelli of Italy in turn two during the opening lap of the final 60-minute SprintX event of the year. Despite the mishap, the Cadillac drivers still managed to unofficially clinch the SprintX Pro/Pro GT point championship over Dalziel and Morad, 175-172.
Starting fifth on the 32-car SprintX grid, the veteran Dalziel jumped to third on the opening lap and closed in leaders Mathieu Jaminet of France and Bergmeister of Germany, both in Porsche 911 GT3 R machines. At the pit stop, Morad jumped in for Dalziel and vaulted to a two-second advantage on lap 13, while Long chased the young Canadian throughout the final 13 circuits.
At the checkered flag, Morad defeated the 2011 PWC GT champion from Manhattan Beach, Calif., by 1.274-seconds in claiming the team’s second SprintX win.
“I hate watching races, and I was pretty nervous and pacing around waiting, but Daniel did a great job,” said Dalziel. “I'm happy for Mercedes, a little disappointed with how the overall turned out, but still looking forward to Sonoma to see what else we can do. There's no reason that we couldn't do two races on one day and one race on another. Fans don't want to see practices, they want to see races and us banging into each other. I think that with what's going on in Houston, to have this many people here is awesome, and I'm glad to see this many people here to see us. We made some changes to the car and obviously I was pretty surprised with our pace.”
“In a way, Ryan (Dalziel) and Pat (Long) are mentors to me,” said Morad. “I look up to all these guys. I'm new to the game but I have a huge amount of respect for Joerg (Bergmeister), Pat and Ryan. I've been watching you guys since I was starting to get into car racing. Racing with them is pretty special for me because I can learn so much. Today I just tried to be full attack and go for it whereas Pat had a championship to think of and I knew that. Pat is a very respectful driver and that he would keep it sensible so it was really about keeping the tires under the car. Ryan gave me a perfect car to drive with tons of Pirelli rubber left. This is redemption after what happened yesterday. Pat mentioned that we had a few penalties dished out that were a little harsh.”
Third was the Audi duo of Pierre Kaffer of Germany and Spencer Pumpelly of Atlanta, Ga., in the No. 4 Magnus Racing Audi RS8 LMS car followed by the McLaren team of reigning GT champion Alvaro Parente of Portugal and Ben Barnicoat of England in the No. 9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S and their K-PAX Racing teammates Bryan Sellers of Braselton, Ga., and Michael Lewis of Laguna Beach, Calif., in the No. 6 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S.
The second-place finish for Long unofficially extended his overall GT point lead to 32 over Cooper with the final two GT Sprint rounds set for Sonoma Raceway on Sept. 16-17.
"After yesterday being taken out of the start and then getting a questionable penalty to put salt in the wound, we reset our heads last night as a team and understood that there's a total championship that everybody wants,” said Long. “That's the last trophy given out at the end of the banquet and that's where my head was today. The guys did a perfect job, executed a perfect race and that's a credit to them. We learned quickly this weekend that it would be about track position and tire wear, but the pace fell almost three seconds from the beginning to the end of the race so it really depended on where you were as far as track position. Credit to Daniel (Morad) for getting through the traffic and holding on to the victory. For us it was like a victory. This was a points day that we needed going to Sonoma.”
“When the green came out, we managed to get to P2,” said Bergmeister. “It was just about handing over Patrick a good car with good tires. On the pit stop, we were probably a little bit conservative today as we lost one position but nonetheless really good effort by the team. Patrick extended the points lead, and so did the team, so I think we're pretty happy.”
In the Pro/Am category, the Porsche contingent of James Sofronas of Villa Park, Calif., and Mathieu Jaminet of France drove their No. 14 GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R to a third straight victory this weekend at COTA in another thrilling finish.
Taking second Sunday in Pro/Am were Tim Pappas of Boston, Mass., and Jeroen Bleekemolen of Monaco in the No. 54 Black Swan Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 followed by Michael Schein of Glen Cove, N.Y., and Jan Heylen of Tampa, Fla. in the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“This is the team effort as I said before,” said Sofronas after recording his tenth PWC class win of 2017. “I have a teammate like Mathieu here who takes the lead, pulls away, no drama, gives me all the confidence I need. Then we play the pitstop conservatively since we didn't want any penalties. With Mathieu's brilliant drive, I thought that I had to get this done. He deserves it, flying 20 hours to get here and so I really want to thank him and the team. These guys don't miss a beat, so it's very gratifying to win the championship on a high note. It was a great battle with Tim, hats off to him. I'm really proud of Mathieu, Chris, Robin, Keith, Frank, Mike Neville - all the guys at GMG. So we're really going to celebrate tonight.”
“I had a very good start on the outside, then after the yellow I just pulled away a little bit to keep the car in good shape,” said Jaminet. “I think I was a little bit quicker than everybody so I was managing the tires and the car for James (Sofronas). We had a conservative strategy for the pit stop so the Pappas/Bleekemolen car overtook us. After the pit stop, then he had some fun for the next half hour. It was pretty stressful until the end but we got our win of the weekend and I think James (Sofronas) won the SprintX championship so it was a good weekend.”
Another team with a triple win at COTA this weekend is the SprintX GT Am/Am squad of Henrique Cisneros of Miami, Fla., and Peter Ludwig of New Paltz, N.Y., in the No. 30 MOMO/NGT Motorsports Ferrari 458 GT3.
Other Sunday SprintX class winners included Yuki Harata and Alessandro Bressan in the No. 55 Dream Racing Motorsports Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo in the GT Cup Pro/Am; Joe Toussaint and CoryFriedman in the No. 90 Autometrics Motorsports Porsceh 911 GTs Cup in the GT Cup Am/Am; and Derek DeBoer and Sean Gibbons in the No. 09 TRG-AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT4 in the GTS Am/Am.
1,1, Pro/Pro, Dalziel/Morad, CRP Racing,,Mercedes AMG GT3,26,Running,1:01:59.302,
2,2, Pro/Pro, Long/Bergmeister, Wright Motorsports,,Porsche 911 GT3 R,26,Running,1:02:00.576,1.274
3,3, Pro/Pro, Kaffer/Pumpelly, Magnus Racing,,Audi RS 8 LMS,26,Running,1:02:26.461,27.159
4,4, Pro/Pro, Parente/Barnicoat, K-PAX Racing,,McLaren 650S GT3,26,Running,1:02:29.304,30.002
5,5, Pro/Pro, Seller/Lewis, K-PAX Racing,,McLaren 650S GT3,26,Running,1:02:36.069,36.767
6,6, Pro/Pro, Eversley/Dyer, RealTime Racing,,Acura NSX GT3,26,Running,1:02:42.113,42.811
7,7, Pro/Pro, R. Taylor/O’Connell, Cadillac Racing,,Cadillac ATS-V.R,26,Running,1:02:52.266,52.964
8,8, Pro/Pro, Kox/Wilkins, RealTime Racing,,Acura NSX GT3,26,Running,1:02:55.015,55.713
9,9, Pro/Pro, Fogarty/Henzler, Gainsco/Bob Stallings Racing,,Porsche 911 GT3 R,26,Running,1:02:59.705,1:00.403
10,1, Pro/Am, Sofronas/Jaminet, GMG Racing,,Porsche 911 GT3 R,26,Running,1:03:13.886,1:14.584
11,2, Pro/Am, Pappas/Bleekemolen, Black Swan Racing,,Mercedes AMG GT3,26,Running,1:03:14.366,1:15.064
12,3, Pro/Am, Schein/Heylen, Wright Motorsports,,Porsche 911 GT3 R,26,Running,1:03:17.881,1:18.579
13,4, Pro/Am, Potter/Seefried, Magnus Racing,,Audi RS 8 LMS,26,Running,1:03:37.576,1:38.274
14,5, Pro/Am, Calvert/Udell, Calvert Dynamics,,Porsche 911 GT3 R,26,Running,1:03:48.645,1:49.343
15,1, Am/Am, Cisneros/Ludwig, MOMO/NGT Motorsports,,Ferrari 458 GT3,26,Running,1:04:09.715,2:10.413
16,2, Am/Am, Viljoen/Bowlin, M1GT Racing,,Audi RS-8 LMS,25,Running,1:02:19.400,1 LAP
17,6, Pro/Am, Skeen/McCann, McCann Racing,,Audi RS-8 LMS,25,Running,1:02:36.824,1 LAP
18,3, Am/Am, Bell/Dayson, M1GT Racing,,Audi R8 LMS Ultra,25,Running,1:02:47.880,1 LAP
19,1, Pro/Am, Harata/Bressan, Dream Racing Motorsport,,Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo,25,Running,1:03:01.340,1 LAP
20,2, Pro/Am, Joiner/Lee, Tool Racing,,Porsche 911 GT3 Cup,25,Running,1:03:43.117,1 LAP
21,1, Am/Am, Friedman/Toussaint, Autometrics Motorsports,,Porsche 911 GT3 Cup,25,Running,1:03:44.110,1 LAP
22,2, Am/Am, Grunewald/Weiland, R3 Motorsports,,Ferrari Challenge,25,Running,1:03:44.514,1 LAP
23,4, Am/Am, De la Torre/De Jong, De La Torre Racing,,Aston Martin Vantage GT3,24,Running,1:02:03.027,2 LAPS
24,1, Am/Am, Gibbons/DeBoer, TRG-AMR,,Aston Martin Vantage GT4,24,Running,1:03:42.774,2 LAPS
25,2, Am/Am, Balogh/Liefooghe, Stephen Cameron Racing,,BMW M3 E46,24,Running,1:03:48.753,2 LAPS
26,3, Am/Am, Vess/Hart, NOLAsport,,Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR,24,Running,1:04:15.038,2 LAPS
27,4, Am/Am, Lyons/Wilson, TRG,,Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR,20,Not Running,55:39.026,6 LAPS
28,1, Pro/Am, Merzon/Hindman, Case-it Racing,,Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR,18,Not Running,49:46.336,8 LAPS
29,10, Pro/Pro, Abril/Fong, Absolute Racing,,Bentley Continental GT3,12,Not Running,32:38.598,14 LAPS
30,11, Pro/Pro, Cooper/J. Taylor, Cadillac Racing,,Cadillac ATS-V.R,1,Not Running,4:59.759,25 LAPS
31,12, Pro/Pro, Mancinelli/Schiro, TR3 Racing,,Ferrari 488 GT3,0,Not Running,0.000
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