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PWC: Parente (GT), James (GTS) capture Sunday Mid-Ohio wins

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LEXINGTON, Ohio – Alvaro Parente (GT) and Ian James (GTS) captured Sunday’s wins for the Pirelli World Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

GT

Parente completes his first weekend sweep of the year after a second successive authoritative drive from pole to victory in the No. 9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3.

The wins were his third and fourth of the year in the Sprint season and saw him close even further on Sprint championship leader Patrick Long, who finished second in the No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R this afternoon (unofficially within five points).

Impressing in third with his first overall podium in GT only competition is series veteran Alec Udell of GMG Racing, driving the No. 17 Porsche. The native of The Woodlands, Texas is still only in his early 20s but has starred in the series’ GTS, GT Cup and GTA classes and classifications. Today, he drove a heady race beyond his years matched up against many of the series’ veterans, and held off a hard charging Kyle Marcelli in the No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari 488 GT3.

Udell’s overall podium capped off a banner weekend for GMG; James Sofronas won his second straight GTA race in his No. 14 Porsche while George Kurtz did the same with his No. 04 McLaren 570S GT4 in the GTS Am division.

GTS

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The string of one manufacturer sweeping the weekend in GTS finally ended in Mid-Ohio. After Lawson Aschenbach took the spoils on Saturday in his No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R, his season long sparring partner Ian James took Sunday’s win in his No. 50 Team Panoz Racing Panoz Avezzano GT.

James got past Aschenbach after hounding him the first 18 laps of the 35-lap contest before taking the lead on the 19th lap Sunday, and extended his margin to 1.917 seconds at the checkered flag.

This is James’ third win of the year, the first driver to reach that mark, and he now sits second in points behind Aschenbach. With races in Utah, Circuit of The Americas and Sonoma Raceway to come over the next couple months, it’ll be interesting to see of Aschenbach’s consistent run of podiums keeps him at a margin similar to the 267-181 score, as it is now.

PWC confirms 2018 season finale at Watkins Glen

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Pirelli World Challenge will end its 2018 season at Watkins Glen International, the series confirmed Friday.

The exciting finale will feature traditional 50-minute sprints for GT and GTS classes and 40-minute features for Touring Car classes.

The last PWC event at Watkins Glen was held in 2010 with sports car greats Ron Fellows (GT) and Peter Cunningham (GTS) winning the top two events and Robert Stout claiming the Touring Car race. The Pirelli World Challenge series premiered at Watkins Glen International in 1992 and has featured eight PWC years (1992, 1996-1998, 2007-2010) at the famed New York road racing facility.

“We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Pirelli World Challenge competitors, officials, leadership, and fans to Watkins Glen International in 2018,” said Michael Printup, Watkins Glen International President. “This series features fantastic wheel-to-wheel racing across a wide spectrum of sportscar classes and our fans are in for a treat on Labor Day weekend next year.”

In addition to the Watkins Glen season finale, the Pirelli World Challenge also announced its race lineup for 2018 with the GT/GTA/GT Cup divisions again being split into five GT Sprint (50 minutes) and five GT SprintX (60 minutes, two drivers) races. The GTS events, featuring GT4 machinery, will remain nine-weekends with a total of 18 50-minute Sprint rounds while Touring Car divisions will contest 40-minute Sprints in the class’ 12-race, six-weekend campaign.

The GT Sprint championships will be contested in the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., and Long Beach, Calif., as well as at the permanent road circuits of Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Road America and Watkins Glen. The GT SprintX championship will be campaigned at Circuit of the Americas (COTA), VIRginia International Raceway, Lime Rock Park, Portland International Raceway and Utah Motorsports Campus.

Details on the 2018 race regulations for GT Sprint and GT SprintX events will be announced in the near future, including the new pit stop requirements and other amendments to competition rules.

Featuring the GT3 and GT4 categories, the second annual SRO Intercontinental GT Challenge California 8 Hours is set to return to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Oct. 26-28.

2018 Pirelli World Challenge Schedule

Date, Track (Classes)

March 9-11, Streets of St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg, Fla. (GT Sprint and GTS)
March 23-25, Circuit Of The Americas (COTA), Austin, Texas (GT SprintX, GTS and Touring Car)
April 13-15, Streets of Long Beach Long Beach, Calif. (GT Sprint)
April 28-30, VIRginia International Raceway Alton, Va., (GT SprintX, GTS and Touring Car)
May 18-20, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park Bowmanville, Ont., CAN, (GT Sprint and GTS)
May 25-26 -28, Lime Rock Park Lakeville, Conn., (GT SprintX, GTS and Touring Car)
June 22-24 Road America Elkhart Lake, Wis., (GT Sprint and GTS)
July 13-15, Portland International Raceway Portland, Ore., (GT SprintX, GTS and Touring Car)
August 10-12, Utah Motorsports Campus Grantsville, Utah, (GT SprintX, GTS and Touring Car)
Aug. 31-Sept. 1-2 Watkins Glen International Watkins Glen, N.Y., (GT Sprint, GTS and Touring Car)

Special Event

SRO Intercontinental GT Challenge, California 8 Hours
October 26-28, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Salinas, Calif.