Pirelli World Challenge at Long Beach results (SPOILER)

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Writer’s Note: The following is a recap of today’s second race of the 2014 Pirelli World Challenge season from the streets of Long Beach, California. NBCSN will broadcast the race on Sunday, April 20 at 5:30 p.m. ET. If you don’t want to know who won until then, we suggest you find another post to read here on MotorSportsTalk…

GT pole sitter Johnny O’Connell led all 32 laps in his No. 3 Cadillac Racing CTS-V.R to take the win in the second round of the 2014 Pirelli World Challenge championship on the streets of Long Beach, California.

O’Connell’s win was an effective recovery from a 10th-place showing in the season opening round two weeks ago at St. Petersburg, Florida. His Cadillac Racing teammate, Andy Pilgrim, finished second for the Caddies’ first 1-2 result since Round 10 of the 2013 season at Toronto.

“Honestly, it’s going to be a long season climbing back from what happened at St. Pete,” O’Connell said. “We came away with barely any points there. We have to score points, and we got maximum points.”

Anthony Lazzaro brought the R.Ferri team its first PWC podium with a third-place showing in the No. 61 Ferrari 458 Italia. GMG Racing Audi teammates Andrew Palmer and James Sofronas completed the Top 5.

Inside the GT-A subcategory for gentlemen drivers, Michael Mills took advantage of late trouble for Nick Mancuso to pick up the win in his No. 41 EFFORT Racing Porsche GT3 R. Overall, he finished in the 10th position.

As for the GTS category, the Kia Racing tandem of Nic Jonsson and Mark Wilkins finished first and third on the podium, with Capaldi Racing Ford driver Tony Buffomante in second.

Jonsson jumped class polesitter Jack Roush Jr. for the lead on the second lap of the race and never looked back. Long Beach marks the second PWC victory of Jonsson’s career, but his first in almost a decade; he won in the Touring Car class at Sonoma Raceway in 2004.

Roush Jr. faded to fourth at the finish, with fellow Ford racer Alec Udell placing fifth. As for your GTS winner from two weeks ago, Lawson Aschenbach, he finished 18th after a mechanical failure knocked his No. 1 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevy out at Lap 2.

Barber Motorsports Park will host the next event for the PWC on April 25-27, and it will be an “all skate” as the three Touring Car-based categories join the GT/GT-A/GTS contingent.

PIRELLI WORLD CHALLENGE: Grand Prix of Long Beach – Race Results

Schmidt Peterson confirms all-Canadian lineup of Hinchcliffe, Wickens

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The Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team is going for a diet of denim, maple syrup, pace and politeness in its 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series lineup, with an all-Canadian pairing of James Hinchcliffe and Robert Wickens confirmed for next season.

Hinchcliffe was known to want a driver of Wickens’ caliber alongside him in the second seat after three less-than-fruitful seasons with James Jakes (2015), Mikhail Aleshin (2016) and a combination of drivers (Aleshin, Sebastian Saavedra, Jack Harvey) rotated through the second car the last three years.

Recent changes have brought them to this point and now leads them to becoming full-time teammates for the first time in a decade, since the defunct country-focused A1 Grand Prix series in 2007-2008.

Hinchcliffe has re-signed with Schmidt Peterson after three seasons with the team. His first was shortened due to his near life-threatening injuries sustained in an accident in practice for that year’s Indianapolis 500. A rapid and welcome recovery followed throughout the second half of 2015 before his comeback to action in 2016, with an Indianapolis 500 pole and a couple near-misses on wins that followed. In 2017, he won Round 2 at Long Beach but faltered in the second half of the year through a litany of mechanical woes and bad luck.

Wickens, meanwhile, faced an uncertain future when Mercedes-Benz announced earlier this year it would withdraw from DTM at the end of 2018. One of Hinchcliffe’s long-time friends, Wickens hasn’t raced full-time in North America in more than a decade since they were both in Formula Atlantic in 2007, at separate teams (Wickens at Red Bull Forsythe Racing and Hinchcliffe at Sierra Sierra Enterprises). As he pursued his Formula 1 dream and had a wealth of success in the junior series, he never got a proper shot, and has since gone onto several successful years with Mercedes in DTM.

A ride-swap between the two of them came together earlier this year where Wickens sampled Hinchcliffe’s No. 5 Arrow Electronics Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda at Sebring’s short course, while Hinchcliffe then flew to Italy to sample Wickens’ Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM after the St. Petersburg season opener. Hinchcliffe ended 13th in points in IndyCar, Wickens ninth in DTM this year, both with one win each during the year. Wickens also had a Friday to sample the No. 7 Lucas Oil SPM Honda at Road America this year, but had to relinquish the seat once Aleshin returned from a visa issue.

“Not only am I really excited to be able to say I’ll be back with SPM for next year and beyond, but I am also really looking forward to being teammates with one of my oldest friends,” said Hinchcliffe.

“Robbie and I grew up racing against one another, eventually took different paths, me staying in North America in open-wheel cars and him going off to Europe in sports cars, but it’s pretty neat that we both ended up here and we get to live our dream of being professional racing drivers, together on the same team.

“I think 2018 is going to be a great year for the SPM organization, from having Robbie here to the team’s new partnership with Honda and the 2018 aero kit; I just can’t wait to get back on track and bring some good results home for the Arrow Electronics crew.”

Wickens added: “This is an entirely new chapter to add to my racing career, and I am really excited for this opportunity that Schmidt Peterson Motorsports has given me.

“I think everyone knows the story by now that James and I grew up racing against one another in go karts, and to make it to the largest open-wheel racing series in North America together as teammates, it’s crazy to think about.

“I am very thankful for the six years I had with everyone at Mercedes and DTM; those are memories I will cherish forever. I can’t wait to truly see what the Verizon IndyCar Series is all about!”