Michael Cooper/Jordan Taylor Capture 2017 PWC GT SprintX Pro/Pro Division Title; James Sofronas Takes Pro/Am Class in Pirelli World Challenge 10-race series
SprintX titles determined in 3-race event at COTA in Labor Day Weekend extravaganza
AUSTIN, Texas – The Cadillac duo of Michael Cooper and Jordan Taylor officially captured the 2017 10-race Pirelli World Challenge GT SprintX Pro/Pro class drivers’ championship in driving their No. 8 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R. during the three-race SprintX race weekend at Circuit of the Americas (COTA).
Cooper, the 27-year-old racer from Syosset, N.Y., and Taylor, the 27-year-old from Orlando, Fla., used consistent performances to take the highly-competitive GT Sprint Pro/Pro division over a stellar field of world-class drivers and machines. Cooper and Taylor recorded one victory (Canadian Tire Motorsport Park), one second-place (Lime Rock Park), two third-place (VIR, Utah) and three fourth-place finishes to score a three-point (175-172) winning margin after COTA’s tripleheader SprintX weekend. The only DNF for Cooper and Taylor came last Sunday at COTA.
The PWC SprintX championship featured 60-minute, two-driver teams at five venues (VIR, CTMP, Lime Rock, Utah and COTA) with ten events. The GT overall championship will include the ten SprintX races and nine GT Sprint events for a total of 19 in 2017.
Second in the GT SprintX Pro/Pro category was the two-time SprintX race-winning pair of Ryan Dalziel of Scotland and Daniel Morad of Canada who parlayed wins at VIR and COTA to take the runner-up position in the No. 2 CRP Racing/DeVilbiss Mercedes-AMG GT3 followed by current overall GT point leader Patrick Long of Manhattan Beach, Calif., in the No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R, who won two SprintX races (Lime Rock with Mark Lieb and COTA with Jorg Bergmeister).
Rounding out the top-five in the GT SprintX Pro/Pro class was Italy’s Daniel Mancinell in the No. 31 TR3 Racing/The Collection Ferrari 488 GT3 followed by the other Cadillac duo of Johnny O’Connell of Flowery Branch, Ga., and Ricky Taylor of Apopka, Fla., in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R. PWC rookie Mancinelli won a SprintX Pro/Pro season-high three races with co-drivers Andrea Montermini (VIR) and Niccolo Schiro (Utah and COTA).
“This is my third Pirelli World Challenge championship,” said Cooper, who also captured the PWC Touring Car and GTS division in his early driving career. “This is from tons of hard work by the Cadillac Racing team. This year kicked off in Virginia with a battery failure. The team was able to get it changed and we went back out on the lead lap. Then we came back to finish on the podium that day. It was amazing. It was good consistent driving by Jordan and myself all year that made all of the difference. We never had the overall fastest car, just great team work and keeping the Cadillac on track.”
“This is my first GT championship to go along with my Grand-Am Prototype type championship,” Jordan Taylor said. “It was under tough circumstances today, thankfully we built up enough points where it didn’t matter. Michael and I drove very well together all year. We liked a similar set-up in the car and in this type of racing synergy that wins championships. We may have not had the fastest car, but the team’s great preparation and the consistent results accomplished by no mistakes and failures makes it a great season. We are happy to win it for everyone at Cadillac.”
In addition, Cadillac Racing won the SprintX Team Point Championship with 204 points over Wright Motorsports (181), CPR Racing (172), K-PAX Racing (169) and TR3 Racing (161).
In the GT SprintXPro/Am category, veteran racer James Sofronas of Villa Park, Calif., has enjoyed a sensational Pirelli World Challenge season by claiming five victories (CTMP (2), Utah and COTA (2)) plus two second-place and two third-place finishes. Sofronas teamed with Laurens Vanthoor of Belgium for one win and young Porsche star Mathieu Jaminet of France for three other triumphs in the No. 14 GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R. Sofronas also has scored five GTA Sprint wins in 2017.
Sofronas totaled 227 points in the SprintX Pro/Am division to win the class title over the Porsche team of Michael Schein of Glen Cove, N.Y., and Jan Heylen of Tampa, Fla. in the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R with 214 and the Mercedes contingent of Tim Pappas of Boston, Mass., and Jeroen Bleekemolen of Monaco in the No. 54 Black Swan Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 with 196.
“This is the team effort as I said before,” said Sofronas. “I have had teammates like Mathieu, Laurens Vanthoor and Matthew Halliday who give me all the confidence I need. They are great drivers. These guys don’t miss a beat. So, it’s very gratifying to win the championship on a high note with three wins at COTA. I’m really proud of Joe, Chris, Robin, Keith, Frank, Mike Neville – all the guys at GMG. It has been a tremendous season for us in Pirelli World Challenge.”
Another veteran driver, Henrique Cisneros of Miami, Fla., drove his No. 30 MOMO/NGT Motorsports Ferrari 458 GT3 to nine wins in the GT Am/Am category with three different drivers – Tyler McQuarrie, Jonathon Ziegelman and Peter Ludwig – in taking the SprintX championship
Other SprintX class champions were Alessandro Bressan and Yuki Harata in the No. 55 Dream Racing Motorsports Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo in the GT Cup Pro/Am; Joe Toussaint and Cory Friedman in the No. 90 Autometrics Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup in the GT Cup Am/Am; Adam Merzon and Trent Hindman in the No. 017 Case-It Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR in the GTS Pro/Am; and Greg Liefooghe and Aristotle Balogh in the No. 019 Stephan Cameron Racing BMW M3 E46 in the GTS Am/Am.
The final rounds for the GT/GTA/GT Cup and GTS/GTSA classes are scheduled for the PWC Grand Prix of Sonoma Sept. 15-17 at Sonoma Raceway. In addition to the final GT and GTS Sprint titles being determined, the final GT overall championship will be decided with Long (320 points) currently leading defending GT champion Alvaro Parente of Portugal (292), Cooper (288), Mancinelli (267) and O’Connell (257).
FINAL PIRELLI WORLD CHALLENGE SPRINTX POINT STANDINGS
1. Michael Cooper/Jordan Taylor, 175; 2. Ryan Dalziel/Daniel Morad, 172; 3. Patrick Long, 163; Daniel Mancinelli, 162; 5. Johnny O’Connell/Ricky Taylor, 149.
1. James Sofronas, 227; 2. Jan Heylen/Michael Schein, 214; 3. Jeroen Bleekemolen/Tim Pappas, 196; 4. Ricardo Sanchez/Frankie Montecalvo/John Potter, 156.
1. Henrique Cisneros, 248; 2. Kris Wilson/Drew Regitz, 163; 3. James Dayson, 128; 4. Tyler McQuarrie, 123; 5. Jason Bell, 88.
GT SprintX Team Championship:
1. Cadillac Racing 204; 2. Wright Motorsports, 181; 3. CRP Racing, 172; 4. K-PAX Racing, 169; 5. TR3 Racing, 161.
GT Cup SprintX:
1. Alessandro Bressan/Yuki Harata, 248; 2. Andy Lee/Erich Joiner, 138; 3. Dani Clos/Marko Radisic, 44; Brandon Davis/Jeff Burton, 42.
1. Joe Toussaint/Cory Friedman, 248; Conrad Grunewald/James Weiland, 48.
1. Adam Merzon/Trent Hindman, 198; 2. Kyle Tilley/Jerry Kaufman, 44; 3. Ernie Francis Jr./James Pesek, 25.
1. Greg Liefooghe/Aristotle Balogh, 192; 2. Jason Hart/Matt Travis, 50; 3. Chris Hall/Alan Brynjolfsson, 48; 4. Cameron Cassels/Philip Bloom, 46; 5. Derek DeBoer/Jason Alexandridis.
GT Overall Championship (with two rounds remaining):
1. Patrick Long, 320; 2. Alvaro Parente, 292; 3. Michael Cooper, 288; 4. Daniel Mancinelli, 267; 5. Johnny O’Connell, 257; 6. Ryan Dalziel, 244; 7. Bryan Sellers, 219.
GT Manufacturers Championship (with two rounds remaining):
1. Porsche 113; 2. Cadillac, 107, 3. McLaren GT, 106; 4. Ferrari, 94; 5. Mercedes-AMG, 63.
GT Sprint Class (with two rounds remaining):
1. Patrick Long, 157; Alvaro Parente, 152; 3. Michael Cooper, 113; Johnny O’Connell, 108; 5. Daniel Mancinelli, 105.
GTA Sprint Class (with two rounds remaining):
1. James Sofronas, 163; 2. John Potter, 133; 3. Tim Pappas, 125; Michael Schien, 115; Jorge de la Torre, 104.
GT Cup Sprint Class (with two rounds remaining):
1. Yuki Harata, 102; 2. Preston Calvert, 51; 3. Marko Radisic, 49.
GTS Sprint Class (with two rounds remaining):
1. Lawson Aschenbach, 326; 2. Ian James, 253; 3. Martin Barkey, 236; 4. Rodrigo Baptista, 219, Nate Stacy, 219.
GTS Am Sprint Class (with two rounds remaining):
1. George Kurtz, 322; 2. Tony Gaples, 271; 3. Mark Klenin, 270; 4. Adam Merzon, 242; 5. Jason Bell, 209.