Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada — Michael Mills and Kuno Wittmer, along with Max Riddle and Kris Wilson won in GT and GTS, respectively, in the inaugural Round 1 of the SprintX Championship at the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Canada presented by Audi. The 60-minute race featuring a driver change was held under clear, overcast 70-degree weather.
Per class rules, the sportsman driver in each team entry started the race. Between the 25 and 35-minute mark of the race, all cars were required to pit for a driver change and could change one Pirelli tire. There was a minimum pit delta time to ensure safety.
With the green flag in the air for an exciting rolling start, Lars Viljoen, in the No. 4 De La Torre Racing Delgac, LLC/Gainesway/Angela Estate Aston Martin Vantage GT3, took the lead from pole ahead of Mills, driving the No. 46 Mills Racing BMW Z4, who slotted into second in the early going while in third it was Brent Holden, driving the No. 14 GMG Racing Spyder/ Mobil 1/ Thermal Club Porsche 911 GT3 R.
In GTS, it was Derek DeBoer, in the No. 09 TRG-AMR BRM Chronographes/Rebounderz/Rohnert Park/Racing for Cancer/Pirata Della Strada/Simon Ward Aston Martin Vantage GT4, out to the early lead.
Among the early movers in the GT class was Dion Von Moltke, in the No. 69 M1 GT Racing Global Precast/Sky Rider Equipment/Connolly Marble & Granite/Tampa Bay Jaw Surgery/Surgery Center America Audi R8 LMS Ultra, who charged to second place, passing Mills on lap three.
In GTS, Max Riddle, in the No. 07 TRG-AMR Adobe Road Winery, LaSalle Solutions Aston Martin Vantage GT4, passed teammate DeBoer for the class lead while Chris Beaufait, in the No. 45 Racers Edge Motorsports SIN R1 GT4, ran in third place.
Just before the pit window opened, the No. 4 of Viljoen hit pit road for a mechanical issue, surrendering a 20-second lead, meaning the No. 69 Audi of Von Moltke took over the lead ahead of the BMW of Mills.
At the 25-minute mark of the race, the strategy calls by teams began as most pitted at the earliest opportunity to change drivers and one Pirelli tire.
The No. 46 BMW was among the first of the leaders to stop with Wittmer taking over driving duties for the sprint to the checkered flag from Mills.
The No. 69 team elected to stretch their pit window, eventually coming in for Von Moltke to be replaced by David Ostella.
In GTS, teams also came into the pits in the latter part of the window, with Jason Alexandridis taking over the No. 09 and Riddle passing the No. 07 to Kris Wilson.
With the pit window closed, the GT field saw Wittmer cycle to the lead in the BMW ahead of Ostella in the Audi and Colin Braun, who had taken over the No. 14 Porsche, followed by Guy Cosmo in the No. 23 Audi.
In GTS, Wilson’s No. 07 Aston Martin maintained the lead over teammate Alexandridis, with James Vance, in the No. 45 Racers Edge Motorsports X Border Foods and Wines SIN R1 GT4.
The race to the checkered flag would remain clean, with a full green-flag race with the driver pairing of Mills and Wittmer winning in GT and Riddle and Wilson taking the GTS win.
In GT, Von Moltke and Ostella’s entry finished second, with Holden and Braun in third place. In GTS, DeBoer and Alexandridis finished second.
Results are provisional until posted final. With the fastest lap of the race, the No. 4 will start on pole on Sunday morning, with Jorge De La Torre set to lead the field to the green flag. in GTS, the No. 07 will lead the field to the green with Wilson at the wheel. The second SprintX race from Canadian Tire Motorsport Park takes place on Sunday at 8:15 a.m. Eastern. Watch the race live at Motortrendondemand.com.
Of note, the Motortrendondemand.com Clean Pass of the Race was awarded to Holden for his pass of Bowlin through Turn 5. It was also awarded the Cadillac ATS.V Move of the Race. The VP Racing Fuels Hard Charger Award went to Mills.
Enhanced SprintX action from Canadian Tire Motorsport Park will air on CBS Sports Network on Thursday, June 2 at 9p.m. Eastern.
“It’s a really special feeling,” said Wittmer. “When you race in front of your home crowd, the only race of the calendar in Canada, in front of your family, it’s special. A big thanks to Mills Racing and the crew, and BMW Motorsport North America. This (SprintX) is a really good format, it’s obvious the future is going this way. Two drivers together is a smart way to go, this can be big. I’m happy about the race today, Michael did well and drove an awesome stint. He gave me the car with enough tire on it. The car was flawless.”
“Well, what a lot of people don’t know is the last time Kuno and I were on track together, we won, and that was in Canada,” said Mills. “We came here to put it on the top of the box. We did it as Mills Racing and BMW helped. Kuno has been a great friend and great teammate.”
“It is great getting the win for the inaugural race,” said Wilson. “It’s great driving with my teammate, Max Riddle, again here. It’s a cool format with the driver change and everything else. TRG always prepares a good car and it was a good win for us.”
“To win the inaugural SprintX race with Kris and TRG is an amazing feeling, especially in my home country of Canada,” commented Riddle. “The best part of this was racing with Kris again in endurance racing. Kris was always my coach and now we are pretty equal teammates and that is a great feeling.”
Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada – Results from Saturday, May 21, 2016 Pirelli World Challenge Championship SprintX Round 1 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, part of the Canadian Grand Prix Presented by Audi. Drivers listed by position, place in class, class, name, hometown, car, laps:
1. 1, Sprint X, Michael Mills/Kuno Wittmer, Houston TX/Montreal,QC, BMW Z4, 45
2. 2, Sprint X, Dion Von Moltke/David Ostella, Toronto ON, Audi R8 LMS GT3, 45
3. 3, Sprint X, Brent Holden/Colin Braun, Newport CA, Porsche 911 GT3 R, 45
4. 4, Sprint X, Walt Bowlin/Guy Cosmo, Tarpon Springs FL/Palm Beach, FL, Audi R8, 45
5. 5, Sprint X, Max Riddle/Kris Wilson, Vancouver,BC/Littleton,CO, Aston Martin Vantage GT4, 42
6. 6, Sprint X, Derek/DeBoer/Jason Alexandridis, Ashland, OR/Novato CA, Aston Martin Vantage GT4, 41
7. 7, Sprint X, Chris Beaufait/James Vance, Freeland WA/Toronto, Ont., SIN R1 GT4, 35
8. 8, Sprint X, Lars Viljoen/Jorge De La Torre, Devon, U.K./Mexico City, Mexico, Aston Martin Vantage GT3, 18