GRANTSVILLE, Utah – Alvaro Parente recorded his Pirelli World Challenge season-leading sixth GT pole position Saturday at Utah Motorsports Campus by driving his K-PAX McLaren 650S to a new track record at the 3.048-mile, 14-turn outer circuit. Parente, 31, of Porto, Portugal, clocked a lap of one minute, 47.492 seconds (102.080 miles per hour), bettering the mark set last year by Cadillac’s Johnny O’Connell at 1:47.616 (101.962).
Parente, not feeling his best with a small digestive problem Saturday, still managed to post his sixth pole in 16 rounds this year by taking his McLaren to the top of the speed charts on his second flying lap to nip Michael Cooper of Syosset, N.Y., for the No. 1 position as the driver of the No. 8 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R. also broke last year’s track mark with a time of 1:47.574 (102.002 mph). Third went to Bryan Heitkotter of Fresno, Calif., with a 1:47.632 (101.947 mph) in the No. 05 AE Replay XD Nissan GT Academy Nissan GTR GT3 machine.
Rounding out the top-five for Saturday’s 50-minute sprint event was 2011 PWC GT champion Patrick Long of Manhattan Beach, Calif., with a 1:47.892 (101.702 mph) in the No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R and Jon Fogarty of Bend, Ore., in the No. 99 Gainsco Insurance “Red Dragon” McLaren 650S at 1:49.997 (101.603 mph).
“I’ll be okay,” said Parente. “I have a little of a digestive problem today. I like the track (at Utah). At first when I went on the track Friday, I was a bit lost. I didn’t get to do the track walk as I came in too late for that. The track is quite technical and has some fast corners. You have to use the curb on the chicane. The track is definitely fun but not easy. It is wide and you can choose different lines too. There are some narrower tracks in the series where everyone takes the same line. Here is much different. It’s tricky but I enjoy it. To be honest, I have watched less video on this track than any of the other tracks this year. I did watch a little bit of video for this track. It’s the one track that I came less prepared. For qualifying, in my case, I want the best lap to be flying lap two. You go on an out lap, then first full lap and, by the second lap, you want your best time. You prepare with your engineer for that process with tire pressures and other setups.”
“It was a pretty good qualifying session,” Cooper said. “We are down a bit on straight line speed, however I was able to get a draft off of the McLaren on my fast lap, so that helped a lot. The McLaren is pretty slippery down this long straight, but I think we handle a little better in the turns. Starting on the front row is a good result for us this morning. This is the third time I will start next to Alvaro on the outside of the front row. Unfortunately the outside line into Turn 1 is pretty slick. I will be happy to exit Turn 1 in P2.”
In the GTA category, last year’s series champion Frankie Montecalvo of Highlands, N.J. took his No. 66 DIME Racing Mercedes AMG SLS GT3 to the pole with a clocking of 1:48.612 (101.028 mph) over Mexico’s Martin Fuentes, the current point leader, who drove to a 1:49.222 (100.463 mph) with Michael Schein of Cove Glen, N.Y., third at 1:48.911 (99.924 mph) in the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“Very happy with the car that Nev, John and Jake put together for me,” said Udell. “I have to give it to the guys at GMG again. I think we got a track record so very happy with that. I’m just looking to put that Euroworld Motorsports / Amsource Capital / Panther Pipeline Porsche back on top again.”
Current GT Cup point leader Alec Udell of The Woodlands, Texas, also established a new track qualifying record with a time of 1:52.568 (97.477 mph), besting Colin Thompson’s 1:53.129 ( 96.993 mph) set in 2015. Udell, driving the No. 17 GMG Racing Porsche GT3 Cup, has nine wins in 2016 already.
Local racers McKay Snow of Lehi, Utah, and Sloan Urry of Salt Lake City finished out the top-three in GT Cup qualifying with Snow, in the No. 56 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, timed in with 1:53.050 (97.061 mph) and Urry, in the No. 20 TruSpeed Autosport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, at 1:53.349 (96.805 mph).
“We had a good run out there, we’ve been working on the car throughout the entire weekend and it has been getting better and better,” said Montecalvo. “I think we have a better race car then qualifying car because it does a little better in the heat so we’re trying to play a tire game there and save it for the race. Hopefully our strategy goes well and we have a great race.”
Round 16 of the GT/GTA and Round 15 GT Cup classes is scheduled to get underway at 4 p.m. MDT Saturday. Live timing and scoring will be available at LiveTiming.net/PWC/ while the event will be streamed at MotorTrendOnDemand.com.
Grantsville, Utah – Results from Saturday, Aug 13, 2016 Pirelli World Challenge Championship GT/GTA Rd.16 GT Cup Rd.15 Qualifying, part of the Grand Prix at UMC Presented by Energy Solutions. All results are provisional until posted Final.
Pos. PIC, Class, Name, Hometown, Car, Fast Time
1. 1, GT, Alvaro Parente, Porto Portugal, McLaren 650S GT3, 1:47.492
2. 2, GT, Michael Cooper, Syosset NY, Cadillac ATS-V.R. GT3, 1:47.574
3. 3, GT, Bryan Heitkotter, Fresno CA, Nissan GTR GT3, 1:47.632
4. 4, GT, Patrick Long, Manhattan Beach CA, Porsche 911 GT3 R, 1:47.892
5. 5, GT, Jon Fogarty, Bend OR, McLaren 650S GT3, 1:47.997
6. 6, GT, Adderly Fong, Hong Kong, Bentley Continental GT3, 1:48.033
7. 7, GT, Colin Thompson, Doylestown PA, McLaren 650S GT3, 1:48.072
8. 8, GT, Spencer Pumpelley, Atlanta GA, Acura TLX-GT, 1:48.161
9. 9, GT, Michael Lewis, Laguna Beach CA, Porsche 911 GT3 R, 1:48.161
10. 10, GT, Craig Dolby, Melton Mowbray England, Nissan GTR GT3, 1:48.233
11. 11, GT, Austin Cindric, Charlotte NC, McLaren 650S GT3, 1:48.415
12. 12, GT, Ryan Eversley, Atlanta GA, Acura TLX-GT, 1:48.473
13. 1, GTA, Frankie Montecalvo, Highlands NJ, Mercedes AMG SLS GT3, 1:48.612
14. 14, GT, Johnny O’Connell, Flowery Branch GA, Cadillac ATS-V.R. GT3, 1:48.712
15. 15, GT, Kyle Marcelli, Barrie ON, Audi R8 LMS GT3, 1:49.036
16. 2, GTA, Martin Fuentes, Mexico City Mexico, Ferrari 458 Italia GT3, 1:49.222
17. 3, GTA, Michael Schein, Glen Cove NY, Porsche 911 GT3 R, 1:49.811
18. 1, GT Cup, Alec Udell, The Woodlands TX, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 1:52.568
19. 4, GTA, Brent Holden, Newport Beach CA, Porsche 911 GT3 R, 1:52.650
20. 2, GT Cup, McKay Snow, Lehi UT, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 1:53.050
21. 3, GT Cup, Sloan Urry, Park City UT, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 1:53.349
22. 4, GT Cup, Corey Fergus, Columbus OH, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 1:53.863
23. 5, GT Cup, Alex Welch, Englewood CO, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 1:54.567