An Impressive Double for Alvaro Parente at Mid-Ohio This Weekend; McLaren Racer Scores Second Straight GT Sprint Victory Sunday. Portuguese Star Tops Porsche’s Long & Udell, Sofronas Doubles in GTA
LEXINGTON, Ohio – After a tough Road America weekend last month, Alvaro Parente couldn’t have asked for a better scenario this weekend in the two Pirelli World Challenge GT Sprint races at the legendary Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with a second impressive victory Sunday in his No. 9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S sports car.
Parente, the 32-year-old factory McLaren driver from Porto, Portugal, recorded his fourth 2017 GT Sprint win in the 50-minute, 36-lap feature in the PWC Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio presented by Honda Racing. Parente score the 2016 GT Driver’s Championship in his rookie year in Pirelli World Challenge (six wins and five poles last year).
After a wire-to-wire victory Saturday, Parente dove underneath polesitter Patrick Long of Manhattan Beach, Calif., in turn one on lap 2 and was out by himself for the majority of GT Sprint Round 7 Sunday as he won by 6.628-seconds over GT Sprint point leader Long in the No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
The 36-lap feature went the entire 50-minutes without a caution period and Parente proved to be the top of the class of the GT field through Friday’s qualifying with the pole position and two dominating race wins. Unofficially, Parente trails Long by 5 points, 157-152, in the PWC GT Sprint standings.
“It was a perfect weekend for us,” said Parente. “We knew our car worked very well at this track. Some cars are going to be good at some tracks, other cars at other tracks; that’s why GT racing is so good. But, we are very happy to take these two wins this weekend. It’s very important to capitalize on those moments and that’s what we did so I feel amazing. I managed to warm up my tires better than Patrick and that created an opportunity coming out of the last corner. This allowed me to go quicker through the carousel and prepare for overtaking, always giving each other room and being fair so I had the best start today and finished well.”
“You can go to the track and you know exactly where you’re going to be strong and not-so-strong. There are always little surprises but the knowledge helps a lot. Patrick is driving extremely well. He’s been very consistent and they’ve been very strong at every race track. It will be a very healthy and hard fight into the end so we’ll see what happens for the championship.”
Long, a three-time GT winner in 2017, had to settle for second Sunday after a fifth on Saturday as the Pirelli World Challenge next heads to Utah Motorsports Campus on Aug. 11-13.
“Alvaro and his team have been on it all weekend so credit goes to them,” said Long. The 2011 PWC GT champion. “They’re very good on the long run and the first couple of laps building pressure. With that, Alvaro had a great run coming out of the carousel and it didn’t bode well for me to drive him to the wall since we have a mutual respect. Again, he was the car to beat this weekend. Last year it was tough for us to break into the Top 10. It’s a special race for Wright Motorsports since it’s a home event so for them to get us on the podium, it still feels pretty good. Usually second sucks but today we’ll take it. The competition in PWC since I first sampled this series back in 2006 has just gone upward. I think the competition level is high when you have factory drivers from GM, McLaren, and Porsche so it’s a pretty proud moment for me.”
Making the start of the GT race Sunday was Clemson University mechanical engineering student Alec Udell of The Woodlands, Tex., who started tenth and finished third in the No. 17 Euroworld Motorsports/GMG Porsche 911 GT3 R. It was Udell’s first GT podium of his career after capturing the GT Cup championship in 2016.
“I’ve raced a lot here in the past so it’s good to have an understanding of the start,” said Udell. “The middle and outside lanes for me have been pretty promising. The middle lane opened up and I was able to get a good run down and a good draft into turn four, and then kept having a good run all the way thorough the section. I was fortunate enough that the door was open and as a racing driver you have to go for every gap you see and try to not make too much of a mess there. Ever since I was a little kid I’ve always wanted to make it in racing and looked to Patrick (Long) as a kid. And he’s been a true role model that I wanted to be when I grew up so when I go racing with these guys toe-to-toe, it’s something that I can look back on and say to myself that I think I’ve done pretty well in racing. It’s very good to do well at this event.”
Fourth in the GT contest was Kyle Marcelli of Barrie, Ont., Canada in the No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsports Ferrari 488 GT3 after a battle with Udell for the final podium (top-three) position. Fifth went to another Ferrari 488 GT3 driver, Italy’s Daniel Mancinelli in the No. 31 TR3 Racing/The Collection machine. Marcelli set the fastest lap of the race at one minute, 20.460 seconds (101.02 miles per hour).
Finishing sixth through tenth in the PWC GT Sprint Round 7 race was Peter Kox in the No. 93 RealTime Racing Acura NSX GT3, Michael Cooper in the No. 8 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R., Ryan Eversley in the No. 43 RealTime Racing Acura NSX GT3, Ryan Dalziel in the No. 2 CRP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 and Bryan Sellers in the No. 6 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S.
While Parente held the top overall position Sunday, the wild race for the win came from the GTA division with five drivers battling nose-to-tail around the 2.258-mile, 13-turn Mid-Ohio road circuit before Saturday’s GTA winner James Sofronas of Villa Park, Calif., took a second weekend victory in the No. 14 GMG Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
After starting second on the GTA grid, Sofronas had to hold off the challenges of pole winner Michael Schein of Glen Cove, N.Y., in the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R, Tim Pappas of Boston, Mass., in the No. 54 Black Swan Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, Pablo Perez Companc of Argentina in the No. 69 Champ 1 Mercedes-AMG GT3 and John Potter of Salt Lake City, Utah, in the No. 44 Magnus Racing Audi RS8 LMS sports car.
Schein made one final attempt to pass Sofronas on the last lap for the victory but had to settle for runner-up, just 0.174 of a second behind.
“It was an awesome run today,” said Sofronas. “Mike (Schein) drove so clean. He pushed me again. I had to give it all I had. It was a great race and a great GMG team effort. I was managing my tires. I knew where I could hold off Mike and I was pacing myself. It was basically time to put it down but I couldn’t leave Mike. So, I just thought to myself to be smart and not make any mistakes. At the start, I made the mistake of letting the pros get ahead of me. I could have stayed with the group for a while and get a gap but I was trying to be smart and fair to the other competitors.”
The GT Cup category was won by Japan’s Yuki Harata in the No. 55 Dream Racing Motorsports Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo.
Results for Sunday’s Pirelli World Challenge 50-minute GT/GTA Round 7 GT Cup Round 6 Sprint race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. All results are provisional until posted Final.
1,1, Pro,Alvaro PARENTE,Porto, Portugal,McLaren 650S GT3,36,Running,50:46.676,
2,2, Pro,Patrick LONG,Manhattan Beach, CA,Porsche 911 GT3 R,36,Running,50:53.304,6.628
3,3, Pro,Alec UDELL,The Woodlands, TX,Porsche 911 GT3 R,36,Running,50:55.600,8.924
4,4, Pro,Kyle MARCELLI,Barrie, ON,Ferrari 488 GT3,36,Running,50:55.761,9.085
5,5, Pro,Daniel MANCINELLI,Italy,Ferrari 488 GT3,36,Running,51:02.096,15.420
6,6, Pro,Peter KOX,Eindhoven, Netherlands,Acura NSX GT3,36,Running,51:03.236,16.560
7,7, Pro,Michael COOPER,Syosset, NY,Cadillac ATS-V.R,36,Running,51:05.965,19.289
8,8, Pro,Ryan EVERSLEY,Atlanta, GA,Acura NSX GT3,36,Running,51:06.643,19.967
9,9, Pro,Ryan DALZIEL,Windermere, FL,Mercedes AMG GT3,36,Running,51:06.923,20.247
10,10, Pro,Bryan SELLERS,Braselton, GA,McLaren 650S GT3,36,Running,51:07.594,20.918
11,11, Pro,Johnny O’CONNELL,Flowery Branch, GA,Cadillac ATS-V.R,36,Running,51:11.579,24.903
12,1, Am,James SOFRONAS,Villa Park, CA,Porsche 911 GT3 R,36,Running,51:54.164,1:07.488
13,2, Am,Michael SCHEIN,Glen Cove, NY,Porsche 911 GT3 R,36,Running,51:54.338,1:07.662
14,3, Am,Pablo Perez COMPANC,Buenos Aires, Argentina,Mercedes AMG GT3,36,Running,51:56.585,1:09.909
15,12, Pro,Jon FOGARTY,Bend, Oregon,Porsche 911 GT3 R,36,Running,52:01.486,1:14.810
16,4, Am,John POTTER,Salt Lake City, UT,Audi RS 8 LMS,36,Running,52:03.776,1:17.100
17,5, Am,Tim PAPPAS,Boston, MA,Mercedes AMG GT3,36,Running,52:10.127,1:23.451
18,6, Am,Jorge DE LA TORRE,McAllen. TX,Aston Martin Vantage GT3,35,Running,51:34.948,1 LAP
19,7, Am,Mike MCCANN,North Canton, OH,Audi RS 8 LMS,35,Running,51:41.763,1 LAP
20,13, Pro,Spencer PUMPELLY,Atlanta, GA,Audi RS 8 LMS,35,Running,51:58.778,1 LAP
21,1, GT Cup,Yuki HARATA,Japan,Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo,34,Running,51:22.044,2 LAPS
22,8, Am,Preston CALVERT,Potomac, MD,Porsche 911 GT3 R,34,Running,51:33.360,2 LAPS
23,2, GT Cup,Marko RADISIC,Belgrade, Serbia,Ferrari Challenge Evo,33,Running,51:09.085,3 LAPS