Lexington, Ohio – Number-two GT qualifier Michael Cooper (Syosset, N.Y.) took the top spot on the podium on Sunday’s Round 15 GT/GTA competition at the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio presented by Honda Racing HPD. In GTA, Glen Cove, N.Y.’s Michael Schein completed the sweep and secured his second win of the weekend, while GT Cup contender Alec Udell (Woodlands, Texas) did the same and repeated his trip to the top step in victory lane.
Cooper, driving the No. 8 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R. GT3, could only manage a seventh-place finish in Saturday’s competition, but a 1:20.891-second lap time in that race was good enough for a P2 start in Sunday’s Round 15 competition, just 0.137-seconds behind pole-sitter Alvaro Parente (No. 9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3). A lead pass during the first lap of the race put Cooper in front, where he remained for 38 laps – the entirety of the race – and secured his second 2016 win with a 1.597-second margin of victory.
RealTime Racing’s Ryan Eversley, piloting the No. 43 Acura TLX-GT, started Round 15 in the fourth row of the grid at P8, but also threaded through traffic during the first lap and quickly found himself in second place. Throughout the fifty minutes of competition, Eversley held off challengers while putting pressure on Cooper, but could not find the opportunity to overtake and finished the race in second place.
The battle for third place was waged by Parente and Cooper-teammate Johnny O’Connell (Flowery Branch, Ga.) in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R. GT3. In Lap 28, as GT competitors lapped traffic, Parente ran off-line in an attempt to further close the gap to Eversley. This off-track excursion required Parente to enter the pits clean off his car’s grill, the move that allowed O’Connell to more-easily move in to third place. O’Connell managed to hold the spot for the remaining laps of the race and placed him on the podium again, his first appearance since Round 10 at Lime Rock where he also finished third.
“First, I have to go back to Saturday with the race and getting the second fastest lap,” said Cooper. “Generally, I will get an update on lap times during the races. Usually it is not a constant update. But those updates just kept coming on Saturday. With ten minutes, I told the team that I don’t need any more updates. I know what I need to do. I knew the fastest lap would be made on the last lap. I couldn’t advance my position in the race so I made sure I could get a fast lap late. With the second fastest race lap, it secured us a spot on the front row. The track was super slick on line Saturday. So for the start of today’s race, Alvaro (Parente) would have the inside going into turn five. I knew it might be a little slick for him. I wouldn’t be at a disadvantage being on the outside on the back straight. So that was the move I took and ran side-by-side up and over the hill. And he got loose coming out of turn five and I was able to clear him for the lead. I ran hard for two laps before I looked up and saw Ryan (Eversley) coming. I couldn’t believe it and I had to defend against him for quite a while. He had pressure on him throughout the race. Then Alvaro was really coming and close the gap on us. He was very strong at the end but got caught up in traffic at the end. Ryan kept me honest the entire race. Saturday’s racing surface was so slippery. Maybe the slickest dry track surface I have ever been on. I think it caught a lot of people out yesterday. Today’s track wasn’t quite so bad. Traffic was the hardest part of today’s race. The guys at the back of the field today weren’t giving us an inch in the race. It was very hard to get around them. I’m now looking forward to going to Utah next. It’s a track I like and I have had a lot of success there too.”
“I got a run on Michael Lewis at the start and he left me a lane on the outside,” said Eversley. “So I went soft on the brakes into Turn Four and tried to keep Parente outside of me. We went through the Esses and I used the Acura TLX power to get a gap. I’m really happy to have a weekend like this here in front of so many Honda associates!”
In GTA, Schein’s win and fast lap time in Saturday’s race afforded him the pole position in the class, where he drove the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R to the top of the podium again.
Fuentes, driving the No. 07 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia GT3, entered Round 15 as the overall GTA points leader and managed to retain the position with a second place finish and the record-setting competition fast lap (provisional) of 1:21.427 seconds in the next-to-last lap of the race.
Starting from the last qualifying row, local Ohioan Michael McCann (North Canton, Ohio) (No. 82 Yeti/McCann Racing Dodge Viper GT3R) came back from an incident early in Saturday’s race that prevented him from finishing to claim the third spot on the podium. This is veteran McCann’s second straight series appearance this year after returning at Road America last month.
“It was a tough start for us today,” Schein explained of his first-place finish. “Martin (Fuentes) got a little bit of jump on me and we were side-by-side in a few corners. So I stayed aggressive and I think I got him in turn eight for the class lead. I was on the inside there and he was outside when I took the lead. It was a lot different race than Saturday. It was green flag for the entire 50 minutes and it felt qualifying the whole way. I just had to be on it the entire time. I saw Martin in my mirror the whole time. There were parts of the race where I would gap him and I would relax just slightly and he would be closing. Then I had to push harder. But the car stayed beneath me the full race and I am happy to get the double win this weekend. It was a lot of hard work. It feels great.”
Udell’s win today continues the young upstart’s continuous winning streak this year to five. The No. 20 GMG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup driver provisionally set the lap record in GT Cup competition for Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course at 1:24.187. Urry takes the second spot on the podium again and continues his charge to recapture the lead in points. Local competitor Corey Fergus also the podium in the same position (third) for the second time this weekend.
Udell stated, “It wasn’t easy today. I had a good battle with Sloan Urry in the first couple of laps. We bumped a little early but I was able to pull away later in the race. I think we had a better car today than Saturday. We made some changes overnight that we felt would help for today and I think the team was right with those changes. I was able to run away a bit later in the race. I just stayed patient and looked for the right opportunities to move up in the field. It’s a good points weekend for us and keeping our goal of the championship right in our sights. I’m flying back to Houston and then driving to South Carolina tomorrow to get ready for my junior year at Clemson. So it’s a busy week before we head to Utah Motorsports Campus for the next PWC race.”
Of note, the following awards were issued for the Optima Batteries Best Start Award went to Ryan Eversley (GT No. 43) for his 6-position gain; the Cadillac Move of the Race Award was given to Michael Cooper (GT No. 8) for his pass for the lead during Lap 1; the KIA Turning Point of the race was determined to be Alvaro Parente’s (GT No. 9) late-race trouble; the MotorTrendOnDemand.com Clean Pass was awarded to Spencer Pumpelly (GT. No 34 RealTime Racing Acura TLX-GT) overtake of Patrick Long (GT No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R) in Turn 4 on Lap 28 and the VP Racing Fuels Hard Charger award was given to JD Davison (GT No. 33) for his movement of 11 positions up from his point on the qualifying grid.
In each class, the best laps were turned by: Spencer Pumpelly (GT No. 34 RealTime Racing Acura TLX-GT) with a 1:20.264 in Lap 27; Martin Fuentes (GTA No. 07) with a 1:21.427 in Lap 37; and Alec Udell (GT Cup No. 17) with a 1:24.187 in Lap 22. All three of those laps provisionally set the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course lap records in competition for each respective class.
Watch extended coverage of the Pirelli World Challenge on CBS Sports Network starting Sunday, August 7, at 4 p.m. Eastern.
Lexington, OH – Results from Sunday, July 31, 2016 Pirelli World Challenge Championship GT-GTA Round 15 GT Cup Round 14, part of the Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio presented by Honda Racing HPD. List shows Finishing Position, Position in Class, Driver Name, Driver Hometown, Car, and Laps Completed. All results are provisional until posted Final.
Pos. PIC, Class, Name, Hometown, Car, Laps
1. 1, GT, Michael Cooper, Syosset NY, Cadillac ATS-V.R. GT3, 38
2. 2, GT, Ryan Eversley, Atlanta GA, Acura TLX-GT, 38
3. 3, GT, Johnny O’Connell, Flowery Branch GA, Cadillac ATS-V.R. GT3, 38
4. 4, GT, Bryan Heitkotter, Fresno CA, Nissan GTR GT3, 38
5. 5, GT, JD Davison, Denver CO, Nissan GTR GT3, 38
6. 6, GT, Michael Lewis, Laguna Beach CA, Porsche 911 GT3R, 38
7. 7, GT, Jon Fogarty, Bend OR, McLaren 650S GT3, 38
8. 8, GT, Spencer Pumpelly/Spencer Pumpelly, Atlanta GA, Acura TLX-GT, 38
9. 9, GT, Patrick Long, Manhattan Beach CA, Porsche 911 GT3 R, 38
10. 10, GT, Adderly Fong, Hong Kong, Bentley Continental GT3, 38
11. 1, GTA, Michael Schein, Glen Cove NY, Porsche 911 GT3 R, 38
12. 2, GTA, Martin Fuentes, Mexico City Mexico, Ferrari 458 Italia GT3, 38
13. 13, GT, Kyle Marcelli, Barrie ON, Audi R8 LMS GT3, 38
14. 14, GT, Alvaro Parente, Porto Portugal, McLaren 650S GT3, 37
15. 3, GTA, Michael McCann/Michael McCann, North Canton OH, Dodge Viper GT3, 37
16. 4, GTA, Preston Calvert/Preston Calvert, Potomac MD, Porsche 911 GT3 R, 37
17. 5, GTA, Joseph Toussaint, Houston TX, Porsche 911 GT3 R, 37
18. 1, GT Cup, Alec Udell, The Woodlands TX, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 36
19. 2, GT Cup, Sloan Urry, Park City UT, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 36
20. 3, GT Cup, Corey Fergus, Columbus OH, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 36
21. 18, GT, Austin Cindric, Charlotte NC, McLaren 650S GT3, 22