Bowmanville, Ont — Patrick Long, Michael Schein and Alec Udell won in Saturday’s GT, GTA and GT Cup race, respectively, at the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Canada presented by Audi at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. GT/GTA Round 8 and GT Cup Round 7 of the 2016 season was held in 70-degree, sunny weather conditions.
On the rolling start, pole sitter Long, in the No. 59 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R, took the lead into turn one with Andrew Palmer, in the No. 87 Bentley Team Absolute Bentley Continental GT, in second and Ryan Eversley, in the No. 43 RealTime Racing Acura/HPD/Red Line Oil/RealTime Acura TLX-GT, in third, ahead of Adderly Fong, in the No. 88 Bentley Team Absolute Bentley Continental GT3.
In GTA, pole sitter Schein, in the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche GT3-R, took the lead from the start, running 16th overall, with class Championship points leader Martin Fuentes, driving the No. 07 Scuderia Corsa Hublot Underarmour Ferrari 458 Italia, in second and 17th overall.
In the GT Cup class, Montreal’s Chris Green, in the No. 09 Pfaff Motorsports Castrol, Glasurit, KPMG Porsche GT3 Cup, led early from pole over Alec Udell, in the No. 17 GMG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, and Sloan Urry, in the No. 22 TruSpeed Autosport Security National Mortgage/Avasis Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
Early on, Long managed a one-second gap over Palmer as the two worked lap traffic and continued to try to pull away from the field, unable to get very far from Eversley’s Acura, which ran closely behind in third with Fong in fourth and JD Davison, in the No. 33 AE Replay XD Nissan GT Academy Nissan GTR GT3, completing the top five. Davison earned the Optima Batteries Best Start Award, advancing two spots on the opening lap.
Behind them, Toronto’s Kyle Marcelli, in the No. 2, CRP Racing Audi R8, led a closely-following Bryan Heitkotter, in the No. 05 AE Replay XD Nissan GT Academy Always Evolving/Replay XD/Nissan Nismo GT3 GT-R, who also led a train of cars included K-PAX Racing Pfaff/McLaren Toronto McLaren 650S GT3 teammates Alvaro Parente and Austin Cindric running in the No. 9 and 6 cars respectively. In 10th was Andrew Davis, driving the No. 76 Calvert Dynamics Phoenix Performance Porsche 911 GT3R, who was holding off the Cadillac Racing teammates of Michael Cooper and Johnny O’Connell running in the No. 8 and No. 3 Cadillac ATS-V.Rs respectively.
By lap four, Schein continued his GTA lead ahead of Fuentes by just about two seconds, while Bret Curtis the No. 96 Turner Motorsport Spectra Resources/United Steel BMW M6 GT3, was in third place in class.
Through lap 15, positions held steady in each of the classes, but GT Cup saw drama just two laps later when a tire puncture brought Green into the pits promoting Udell to first in class.
In GTA, on lap 19, Fuentes began to close on Schein, but the Porsche driver was able to pull a gap on the Ferrari as the two worked through slower traffic.
While Long led cleanly from flag to flag in GT, it was a game of pace between himself and the second place Bentley of Palmer, as the two traded quick laps back and forth for the duration of the race, with the gap fluctuating between one and two seconds to the checkered flag. Palmer finished second with Eversley in third and Fong and Davison completing a diverse top five (Porsche, Bentley, Acura, Bentley, Nissan) with Marcelli’s Audi in sixth at the end of the 50-minute race, that ran without a caution.
Despite a continued attack from Parente’s McLaren, Heitkotter finished seventh with Parente in eighth, Cindric in ninth and Davis 10th, ahead of the Cadillac team pairing of Cooper and O’Connell.
For Long, it is his seventh-career Pirelli World Challenge win and second of 2016. In GTA, Schein marked his first ever Pirelli World Challenge victory ahead of Fuentes and Curtis, while in GT Cup, Udell took his seventh career PWC win and fourth this season, and takes the lead in the Driver’s Championship.
Of note, Peter Cunningham, in the No. 42 RealTime Racing Acura/HPD/RealTime Acura TLX-GT, won the Motortrendondemand.com Clean Pass of the Race, as well as the VP Racing Fuels Hard Charger for gaining eight positions during the race; Davison, in his Nissan, also won the Cadillac Best Move of the Race for his pass on Marcelli.
“It’s ironic how things happen sometimes in the sporting world,” said Long. “From a points perspective, it was a strong day for Porsche and myself. It gives us a fighting spirit for the championship with those top three guys. It’s wild how racing works. You find the highs and lows linked together. It’s similar to Austin this year when we had a win and then in race two we ended up in the fence on lap one. The lesson to learn for me is to keep my head and focus as much as I can. From a wide prospective, you find out who you friends are at the toughest point. With Effort Racing taking a sabbatical for the rest of the year, it was a very quick turnaround to try and find a home. Fortunately, John Wright, Bobby Veggleoni and Michael Schien stepped up and said they had a space in the truck and we would like to have you in the team. I have worked with all of them over the past three seasons so it has been easy to get up to speed with them on a personality standpoint. I had to learn a different balance of a race car. We started out here on Thursday and we had a lot of work to do just to get the driver up to speed with how the car was setup. Canadian Tire Motorsport Park is a very special and unique place. They have done a great job in getting best out of this circuit with some safety issues. And, on the racing line, you have a lot of grip. The ideal race line used to be a lack of grip. Mosport, as it was formerly known, wasn’t always my favorite race track. But after today, I’ll be looking forward to my next trip up here. It’s funny how things work out. I was Belgium for a race and I had a lot of phone calls and text messages. I knew something was going on and it was a lot of downs and ups. There were a lot of people wanted to know if Michael Lewis and I wanted to come race with them. That’s the spirit of the Pirelli World Challenge and, specifically, the Porsche family of teams. We look after each other and share information. Porsche takes this type of racing very seriously. The competition and customer portion of it.
“It was a great run for the team with a double win (with Patrick Long),” said Schein. “I knew I had the pace to keep it up front today. Basically in my head I needed a clean start. I got up to a pro car and it was tough to pass. Martin (Fuentes) started to catch me and then the race started to get a little interesting in my head. Luckily I was able to pass that pro car and open up the gap a little bit. I worked with Patrick in the past but his presence this weekend helped me right away. I was all for him to join our team. Having someone with his talent and experience to talk to about information.”
“I was very fortunate today. Sometimes others bad luck gives you good luck,” said Udell. “It would have been nicer to fight with Chris (Green) for the win. He was very fast today and this is basically his home track. I have been chasing him all weekend as he knows the track so well. We were able to get close to Chris in qualifying with a tenth off the pole. The Gods were smiling down on me when he had the tire problem. Initially, Chris’ car got sideways right in front of me. I had to avoid him and just pace myself after that. I have to give it to the GMG crew. They put a great car together and gave us a win today.”
GT class teams and drivers next take to the 10-turn, 2.458-mile road course on Sunday for their final race of the weekend, scheduled for 3 pm Eastern. Watch the race live on Motortrendondemand.com. Long will lead the field to the green flag after posting the fastest lap of the race in GT on Saturday.
Results are provisional until posted final. Watch the enhanced race coverage from CTMP on CBS Sports Network, Sunday May 29 at 12pm Eastern.