St. Petersburg, Fla. – Michael Lewis scored his second straight flag-to-flag GT victory in Sunday’s Round 4 race at the Pirelli World Challenge Cadillac Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Martin Fuentes and Sloan Urry also swept the weekend in GTA and GT Cup respectively. The 50-minute race was held under overcast skies in 75-degree temperatures.
When the green flag flew, pole-sitter Lewis, in the No. 41 EFFORT Racing/Curb-Agajanian Porsche 911 GT3 R launched cleanly into the lead. Fourth-on-the-grid JD Davison, in the No. 33 Nissan/GT Academy Nissan GT-R GT3 moved up into second, while second-on-the-grid Alvaro Parente, in the No. 9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S pursued in third. Patrick Long, in the No. 31 EFFORT Racing/World PMO Porsche 911 GT3 R rocketed into fourth from his seventh starting position.
In GTA, Fuentes, in the 07 Hublot/Under Armour Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia led in class, while Urry, in the No. 20 Security National/Avasis Porsche 911 GT3 Cup led in GT Cup.
On lap 2, Race Control issued a full-course yellow as the No. 00 Byers Porsche/US LED Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car of Corey Fergus contacted the wall through turn 4. The car sustained heavy damage. Fergus was taken to medical as a precaution but was released.
At the yellow, Lewis led over Davison, Parente, Long, and Michael Cooper, in the No. 8 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R. Fuentes maintained his lead in GTA 16th position overall in the race, ahead of Frankie Montecalvo, 17th overall and second in class in the No. 66 DIME R&D Mercedes AMG SLS GT3. In GT Cup, Urry continued to lead over Alec Udell, in the No. 17 Amsource Capital/Panther Pipeline Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, and Preston Calvert, in the No. 77 Calvert Dynamics/Phoenix Performance machine.
After a lengthy delay to repair a track barrier that had been moved by the contact with the No. 00 car, the race went green with just over 18 minutes remaining. From the lap 16 restart, Lewis again launched cleanly into lead, with Davison, and Long in pursuit. Johnny O’Connell, in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R. picked up fourth in front of his teammate Cooper. Fuentes and Urry remained in the lead in their respective classes.
By lap 19, Lewis had built a 1.2-second lead over Davison.
Further back in the field, an intense battle developed with Parente, Ryan Eversley, piloting the No. 43 Acura/HPD/Red Line Oil/RealTime Acura TLX-GT, and Andrew Palmer, in the No. 87 Bentley Team Absolute Bentley Continental GT3 jockeying for position in sixth, seventh and eighth. As the group entered turn 1, Parente and Palmer came together resulting in a spin for the No. 9 machine. As oncoming drivers avoided the No. 9 car, Austin Cindric in the No. 6 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S contacted with Adderly Fong, in the No. 88 Bentley Team Absolute Bentley Continental GT3. Cindric’s machine contacted the wall and a full-course yellow was issued. Cindric was not injured.
The race went green again with just two minutes remaining and Lewis again launched cleanly into the lead, with Davison in second. Long would go deep into turn 1 and Cooper was able to slide underneath for third. Long was able to hold off O’Connell and slotted into fourth.
At the checkered, Lewis scored his second career PWC GT win in as many days, while Fuentes and Urry also collected their second straight wins on the weekend. Davison and Cooper finished second, and third in GT. Udell and Calvert finished second and third in GT Cup.
Of note, the Optima Batteries Best Start Award went to Long for gaining three positions on the first lap of the race. Cooper won the Cadillac ATS.V.R Move of the Race for his pass over teammate O’Connell. Palmer was awarded the VP Racing Fuels Hard Charger for gaining seven positions during the race.
“First off, thank you so much to EFFORT Racing, Porsche and Curb/Agajanian Racing for the 2016 season and putting me in the car,” said Lewis. “Today’s race was very hectic. It was a great weekend for me. It’s not easy to win one race, let alone two. You never know when you will win the next one. So we’ll soak this one up a little tonight. We knew everyone was going to be better in the second race after the other teams looked over their data from race one. It’s going to be to a dog fight at Long Beach now too. My restarts were not as strong as Saturday in terms of getting into the first corner. Other guys were really throwing their cars into turn one today. It was important to get through that first corner and I could then set my sights on hitting my marks. The restart battles were key today. I hope the drivers in the crashes are okay. Those were hard hits. Great job by the marshalls today. The rubber was different on the track from the IndyCar race before ours. My team was on the radio to me to watch my brakes and tires on the restart. They wanted me to get the heat inside the tires and not just on top.”
“Today’s race was more complicated than Saturday’s race,” said Fuentes. “I don’t know why the second race of a weekend is more challenging than the first race. We were trying to stay away from the crashes in front of us and have a clean race. We were able to move up the field and I was fighting a little overheating again. With the yellow flags, we came out with a little luck today. We always know that luck is part of racing. So winning our fourth race in a row is a tribute to the Scuderia Corsa team. We are very happy to leave St. Petersburg with double wins and move to Long Beach now.”
“It was a lot more difficult race today,” said Urry. “All of the restarts were tough and I had to open the gap. I knew Alec (Udell) was hungry to go for the win today. He really raced me clean. He really shocked me with his pace today. To be honest, I had to run qualifying laps to stay in the front. There was no messing around. It was a great weekend for the TruSpeed Security National Mortgage team. The restarts were difficult today due to the rubber from the IndyCar race.”
Results are provisional until posted final. Unofficially, Cooper leads in GT Driver’s Championship points, Fuentes and Urry lead in GTA and GT Cup. GT, GTA and GT Cup drivers now get set for Round 5 of the 2016 season at Long Beach and the Cadillac Roar by the Shore, presented by Replay XD, April 15-17. Watch expanded coverage of the races from St. Petersburg on CBS Sports Network, March 20, at 12 noon Eastern.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Results from Sunday, March 13’s 29-lap Pirelli World Challenge Championship GT, GTA, GTC Round 4 race, part of the Cadillac Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Pos. Class, Name, Hometown, Car.
1. GT 1, Michael Lewis, Laguna Beach CA, Porsche 911 GT3 R, 29 laps
2. GT 2, JD Davison, Denver CO, Nissan GTR GT3, 29
3. GT 3, Michael Cooper, Syosset NY, Cadillac ATS-V.R., 29
4. GT 4, Patrick Long, Manhattan Beach CA, Porsche 911 GT3 R, 29
5. GT 5, Johnny O’Connell, Flowery Branch GA, Cadillac ATS-V.R., 29
6. GT 6, Ryan Eversley, Atlanta GA, Acura TLX-GT, 29
7. GT 7, Andrew Palmer, Los Angeles CA, Bentley Continental GT3, 29
8. GT 8, Colin Thompson, Doylestown PA, McLaren 650S, 29
9. GT 9, Jon Fogarty, Bend OR, McLaren 650S GT3, 29
10. GT 10, Andrew Davis, Athens GA, Porsche 911 GT3 R, 29
11. GT 11, Kyle Marcelli, Barrie Canada, Audi R8, 29
12. GT 12, Adderly Fong, Hong Kong, Bentley Continental GT3, 29
13. GTA 1, Martin Fuentes, Mexico City Mexico, Ferrari 458 Italia, 29
14. GT 13, Peter Cunningham, Milwaukee WI, Acura TLX-GT, 29
15. GT 14, Bryan Heitkotter, Fresno CA, Nissan GTR GT3, 29
16. GT 15, Duncan Ende, Los Angeles CA, Aston Martin Vantage GT3, 29
17. GTA 2, Frankie Montecalvo, Highlands NJ, Mercedes AMG SLS GT3, 29
18. GT Cup 1, Sloan Urry, Park City UT, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 29
19. GT Cup 2, Alec Udell, The Woodlands TX, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 29
20. GT 16, Alvaro Parente, Porto Portugal, McLaren 650S, 24
21. GT 17, Austin Cindric, Charlotte NC, McLaren 650S, 22
22. GT Cup 3, Preston Calvert, Potomac MD, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 21
23. GT Cup 4, Corey Fergus, Columbus OH, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 2
Best lap GT: Michael Lewis, 1:13.744
Best lap GTA: Frankie Montecalvo, 1:15.039
Best lap GT Cup: Alec Udell 1:16.720