Salinas, CA. – At the end of 17 GTS rounds and their debut full season in the Pirelli World Challenge, Phoenix American Motorsports won the GTS Team Championship, placed second in drivers points with Andrew Aquilante, and helped seal Ford Performance the Manufacturers Championship in GTS with the aid of Kurt Rezzetano and GTS Rookie of the Year Preston Calvert joining Aquilante in a three car Ford Mustang Boss 302 effort for Calvert Dynamics and Phoenix Performance.
Now those three will turn around and head for the 2015 SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Daytona International Speedway, where Aquilante hopes to become a six- or seven-time National Champion, while Rezzetano and Calvert look for their first Runoff titles on the high-speed road course. They will be joined by team owner Joe Aquilante in a T1 entry at the Runoffs.
The weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca capped the Pirelli World Challenge season in style, with a single race in GTS, as well as a single, 50-minute race for Calvert in GT Cup.
The GTS race would see Aquilante consolidate a podium run, finishing third and being the first Mustang on the results sheet after a strong early-race pace.
Coming into the event second in points, the Road America winner needed a win or second place, and bad luck to hit the Championship leader Michael Cooper, to take the title. While Aquilante drove to third, it wasn’t the miracle the team needed to take the drivers’ Championship, but the points haul gifted Phoenix the Team title and helped partner Ford in its Manufacturer Championship bid.
“To come into the Pirelli World Challenge in our first season and finish second in the point standings, I can’t be too disappointed,” said Aquilante. “Our crew did a phenomenal job this year with one victory and to help win the manufacturers championship for Ford is a great feeling too. The camaraderie between the Ford teams is great in the series. We tried hard this year but didn’t quite have the car. We were good early in the season, but never the fastest.”
Rezzetano, in the No. 37 entry, completed the top five in points, winning the Optima Batteries Best Standing Start Award for gaining seven positions at the start in the season finale race at Laguna Seca. Rezzetano also won the VP Racing Fuels Hard Charger Award, advancing nine positions during the race to finish 17th.
Among the stats, Aquilante and Rezzetano both won a single GTS race, and the team found the podium at every single GTS weekend with the exception of Miller Motorsports Park in Utah.
Calvert was able to capitalize in the GT Cup race in his No. 77 Porsche entry to take home fifth position in the Championship. Calvert came into the weekend tied in points with fellow racer Mitch Landry, and after a long duel in the race, was able to beat Landry to the checkered flag, finishing eight points in front of him in the Championship.
TV broadcasts from Laguna Seca: On CBS Sports Network Sunday, September 20, 3:30 PM: GT/GTA, GT Cup presented by MOMO. Wednesday, September 23, Time 9 PM: GTS. All times listed Eastern. Times and dates subject to change.
Next up, the Phoenix World Challenge squad heads to the Daytona Runoffs.
Team partners include Calvert Dynamics, Phoenix Performance, Ford Performance, Ron Davis Racing Radiators, Hawk Performance Brakes, Penske Racing Shocks, Brembo Brakes and Go Puck.