Veteran Porsche Pair of Long and Bergmeister Win SprintX Round 4 Friday at COTA
CTMP make-up race shows Porsche taking Pro/Pro, Pro/Am divisions
AUSTIN, Texas – The veteran Porsche team of Patrick Long and Jorg Bergmeister recorded another victory Friday at Circuit of the Americas in the Round 4 SprintX 60-minute, two-driver event in the No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R sports car in the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Texas.
Long, the PWC Overall GT point leader from Manhattan Beach, Calif., and Bergmeister of Germany have combined for various sports car victories around the world dating back to the 2004 24 Hours of Le Mans and the two Porsche factory racers continued their impressive performance Friday with a 3.241-second win over the Italian driving duo of Daniel Mancinelli and Niccolo Schiro in the No. 31 TR3 Racing Ferrari 488 GT3.
The race was a make-up SprintX event from May when Round 4 was postponed due to heavy rain at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (Mosport). With Friday’s SprintX event, a SprintX tripleheader main event was scheduled at COTA to wrap-up the 2017 SprintX points championship with additional races on Saturday (4 p.m. CDT) and Sunday (12:30 p.m. CDT).
The victory for Long unofficially extends his overall GT point lead from five to eleven (284-273) over Michael Cooper of Syosset, N.Y., who finished fourth Friday with co-driver Jordan Taylor of Orlando, Fla., in the No. 8 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R. In addition, eight of the top nine finishers Friday at COTA were driving different auto makes – Porsche, Ferrari, Mercedes, Cadillac, Audi, Bentley, Acura and McLaren.
Bergmeister, a winner at endurance classics such as Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring, grabbed the lead on the opening lap from his second-place starting position of the 23-car field and held the advantage until he pitted on lap 12 and Long took over the driving chores of the Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
Long then fought off a strong challenge from Mancinelli and his Ferrari as the margin reduced to 0.712 seconds on lap 18. However, the 35-year-old Californian extended his lead to over three seconds by lap 27 for the win. It was Long’s fourth Pirelli World Challenge victory this year and the first for Bergmeister.
“Jorg and I first stood on the podium together at Le Mans in 2004,” said Long, the 2011 PWC GT champion. “It’s been a great run and he’s been a class act. He turned over a car to me that was not only still fresh but in balance. From there, I tried to set sail and have clean out laps. I didn’t have any traffic to worry about. We knew the Ferrari (No. 31) would be strong, they’d been strong all year – strong acceleration, aero, top speed – and this track has a little bit of everything. We really fought hard the last two days to find a balance that was optimal. He certainly drove up to me early on in my stint. Then it just became a mental battle. We’re here to win, and the best and safest way is to stay out front and we were able to do that. There’s a team behind me in Wright Motorsport who has put a lot on the line. We’re a small organization and we push hard as a single pro entry against some big, manufacturer-backed, multiple-car entries.”
“I thought that I would just try to see what would happen at the start from the outside front row,” said Bergmeister. “Luckily, I managed to get around on the outside and grab the lead. I was able to build a nice gap in the lead. From there I just tried to conserve the tires for Patrick. It worked out perfectly.
Driving (with Patrick) is good. I enjoy it. Obviously, his championship is on the line here so I have quite a responsibility not to mess it up for him. So, I’m happy to start the weekend off like this.”
Taking third in the Pro/Pro division and overall Friday was the Mercedes duo of Ryan Dalziel of Scotland and Daniel Morad of Canada in the No. 2 CRP Racing/DeVilbiss Mercedes-AMG GT3 followed by Cooper and J. Taylor in the No. 8 Cadillac ATS-V.R. and four-time PWC series champion Johnny O’Connell of Flowery Branch, Ga., and Ricky Taylor of Apopka, Fla., in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R.
Placing sixth through tenth in SprintX Round 4 at COTA Friday were Pierre Kaffer of Germany and Spencer Pumpelly of Atlanta, Ga., in the No. 4 Magnus Racing Audi RS8 LMS; Adderly Fong of Hong Kong and Vincent Abril of Monaco in the No. 88 Absolute Racing Bentley Continental GT3; Bryan Sellers of Braselton, Ga., and Michael Lewis of Laguna Beach, Calif., in the No. 6 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S; Ryan Eversley of Atanta, Ga., and Tom Dyer of Corte Madera, Calif., in the No. 43 RealTime Racing Acura NSX GT3 and James Sofronas of Villa Park, Calif. and Mathieu Jaminet of France in the No. 14 GMG Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
In the Pro/Am category, Sofronas made a last lap pass over Tim Pappas of Boston, Mass., in the No. 54 Black Swan Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 to take the class win Friday in his eighth Pirelli World Challenge win of the year. Pappas teamed with Round 4 polesitter Jeroen Bleekemolen of Monaco to take the second-place slot followed by 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.
“We had a radio issue at the beginning of the race so we had to do some manual timing and I didn’t really know where we were in positioning,” said Sofronas. “But I saw 54 car (Pappas) was in tenth place overall and he was ahead of me by ten seconds. I knew we had a good car – obviously Mathieu proved that winning fast lap of the race. So after getting in I just put my head down and watched the gap close lap by lap. We then get to the last lap and I had a nice run up on him on Turn 11, drafted him a little bit, then pulled out to make a late move. It was a good run today. We missed a test day, and then we had to swap a motor, so it wasn’t drama free. But, to get the end result is gratifying not only for us as drivers but to show the whole team that we put something together and got a victory.”
“I had a very good start as we had to come from the back of the field,” said Jaminet, who won two Porsche Super Cup races last October at COTA. “I passed a few cars on the first lap and then I was just pushing like an animal. That was the only chance to bring the car to the front and to the podium for James. Basically, I just had to bring the car in the front and I took a little risk with some traffic. I really want to thank GMG for the car.”
Other class winners at COTA Friday were Henrique Cisneros and Peter Ludwig in the No. 30 MOMO/NGT Motorsports Ferrari 458 GT3 in GT Am/Am; Yuki Harata and Alessandro Bressan in the No. 55 Dream Racing Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan in GT Cup Pro/Am; Joe Toussaint and Cory Friedman in the No. 90 Autometrics Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup in GT Cup Am/Am; Adam Merzon and Trent Hindman in the No. 017 Case-It Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR in GTS Pro/Am; and Aristotle Balogh and Greg Liefooghe in the No. 019 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M3 E46 in GTS Am/Am.
Saturday’s action at COTA in the PWC Grand Prix of Texas also will include the first two features in the GTS divisions and the three Touring Car categories. Action gets underway at 10:10 a.m. CDT with the Touring Car Round 9 40-minute race.
AUSTIN, Texas – Results of Friday’s Pirelli World Challenge SprintX 60-minute/17-lap sports car race (Round 4) at Circuit of the Americas. Results are provisional until posted Final.
Pos,PIC,Class,Driver Last Name,Team,Car,Laps,Status,Race Time,Gap
1,1, Pro/Pro, Long/Bergmeister, Wright Motorsports,,Porsche 911 GT3 R,27,Running,1:00:43.581,
2,2, Pro/Pro, Mancinelli/Schiro, TR3 Racing,,Ferrari 488 GT3,27,Running,1:00:46.822,3.241
3,3, Pro/Pro, Dalziel/Morad, CRP Racing,,Mercedes AMG GT3,27,Running,1:00:54.699,11.118
4,4, Pro/Pro, Cooper/J. Taylor, Cadillac Racing,,Cadillac ATS-V.R,27,Running,1:01:04.998,21.417
5,5, Pro/Pro, O’Connell/R. Taylor, Cadillac Racing,,Cadillac ATS-V.R,27,Running,1:01:05.730,22.149
6,6, Pro/Pro, Pumpelly/Kaffer, Magnus Racing,,Audi RS 8 LMS,27,Running,1:01:21.922,38.341
7,7, Pro/Pro, Fong/Abril, Absolute Racing,,Bentley Continental GT3,27,Running,1:01:23.085,39.504
8,8, Pro/Pro, Sellers/Lewis, K-PAX Racing,,McLaren 650S GT3,27,Running,1:01:33.344,49.763
9,9, Pro/Pro, Eversley/Dyer, RealTime Racing,,Acura NSX GT3,27,Running,1:01:35.256,51.675
10,1, Pro/Am, Sofronas/Jaminet, GMG Racing,,Porsche 911 GT3 R,27,Running,1:01:44.925,1:01.344
11,2, Pro/Am, Pappas/Bleekemolen, Black Swan Racing,,Mercedes AMG GT3,27,Running,1:01:45.829,1:02.248
12,3, Pro/Am, Schein/Heylen, Wright Motorsports,,Porsche 911 GT3 R,27,Running,1:01:46.571,1:02.990
13,4, Pro/Am, Sanchez/Montecalvo, Always Evolving/AIM Autosport Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3,,Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3,27,Running,1:01:59.043,1:15.462
14,5, Pro/Am, Pooper/Seefried, Magnus Racing,,Audi RS 8 LMS,27,Running,1:02:09.909,1:26.328
15,1, Am/Am, Cisneros/Ludwig, MOMO/NGT Motorsports,,Ferrari 458 GT3,27,Running,1:02:48.219,2:04.638
16,6, Pro/Am, Udell/Calvert, Calvert Dynamics,,Porsche 911 GT3 R,26,Running,1:00:51.770,1 LAP
17,2, Am/Am, Dayson/Ostella, M1GT Racing,,Audi R8 LMS Ultra,26,Running,1:01:29.580,1 LAP
18,1, Pro/Am, Harata/Bressan, Dream Racing Motorsport,,Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo,26,Running,1:02:11.220,1 LAP
19,1, Am/Am, Friedman/Toussaint, Autometrics Motorsports,,Porsche 911 GT3 Cup,25,Running,1:01:31.937,2 LAPS
20,1, Pro/Am, Merzon/Hindman, Case-it Racing,,Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR,24,Running,1:01:56.868,3 LAPS
21,10, Pro/Pro, Parente/Barnicoat, K-PAX Racing,,McLaren 650S GT3,17,Running,1:02:12.250,10 LAPS
22,1, Am/Am, Balogh/Liefooghe, Stephen Cameron Racing,,BMW M3 E46,11,Not Running,27:51.225,16 LAPS
23,11, Pro/Pro, Kox/Wilkins, RealTime Racing,,Acura NSX GT3,6,Not Running,15:15.350,21 LAPS