Cooper Takes Cadillac near track record Friday afternoon in GT practice at Sonoma, O’Connell 2nd

SONOMA, Calif. – GT rookie Michael Cooper of Syosset, N.Y., came close to the GT track record Friday afternoon at Sonoma Raceway when the driver of the No. 8 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R. posted a time of one minute, 33.216 seconds in the second GT practice session.

Cooper, a two-time GT winner this year, came close to the record set last year in qualifying by Renger Van der Zande in the Effort Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R of 1:33.095. The 26-year-old former GTS champion easily bettered his Cadillac teammate, four-time GT champion Johnny O’Connell of Flowery Branch, Ga., Friday as the driver of the No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R. secured the second quickest lap of the session at 1:33.778 followed by five-time GT race winner Alvaro Parente of Porto, Portugal with a 1:33.885 in the No. 9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S.

Bentley driver Adderly Fong of Hong Kong took the No. 88 Absolute Bentley Continental GT3 for fourth position in the GT ranks Friday afternoon with a 1:34.247, while current GT point leader Patrick Long of Manhattan Beach, Calif., clocked the fifth best time at 1:34.379 in the No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.

In the GTA division, Long’s Wright Motorsports teammate, Michael Schein of Glen Cove, N.Y., led the class in Friday practice with 1:35.105 lap in the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R followed by current GTA point leader Martin Fuentes of Mexico City in the No. 07 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari Italia 458 at 1:35.451. Cooper MacNeil of Hinsdale, Ill., rounded out the top three GTA spots with a 1:35.868 in the No. 79 Alex Job Racing/WeatherTech Porsche 911 GT3 R.

Current GT Cup point leader Alec Udell of The Woodlands, Tex., continued his impressive 2016 season with a best of 1:38.135, bettering last year’s track mark set by Colin Thompson at 1:38.727. Udell drove his No. 17 GMG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup past season rival Sloan Urry of Salt Lake City, Utah, with a 1:38.624 in the No. 20 TruSpeed Autosport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup and Mike Hedlund of Redwood City, Calif., with a 1:39.611 in the No. 35 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.

Qualifying for GT/GTA/GT Cup is scheduled for Saturday at 9:55 a.m. PDT. The first 50-minute GT sprint event will get underway at 1:45 p.m. PDT Saturday.