Fans were treated to an intense day of some of the world’s best sports car racing in the Supercar Grand Prix of Utah presented by Security National Mortgage at Utah Motorsports Campus on Saturday. The headlining Pirelli World Challenge Championships held four races during the day, with one race for the supporting Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA series.
Local driver McKay Snow wins in Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA
In the 60-minute race for the Pirelli World Challenge SprintX class, the No. 93 RealTime Racing Acura NSX GT3 team of Peter Kox of The Netherlands and Mark Wilkins of Toronto, Ont., Can., held off the challenge of the No. 31 TR3 Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 of Daniel Mancinelli and Niccolo Schiro, both of Italy, to score the first win for the new Acura sports car.
Supporting races will be provided by the Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA, a series that specializes in Porsche 911s and Caymans.
“It's nice to get this win for Acura,” said Kox. “I think it's important to note that the competition has been out there longer than this Acura and that we're catching up so quickly. So, thanks goes out to RealTime Acura and to HPD to give us the opportunity to drive this car. In this race, I had to concentrate on the start because this is the first time that I've done it with the flag from the pole. I think I just timed it well. I knew it was crucial to get into the first corner first and then I had the luxury of the race line through the first section. It's very rewarding to be selected to the program, and then to be involved in the development was an honor. Then to even race the car this year with RealTime was really a unique opportunity. Finally, to get to take the trophy home is great.”
“I have a love-hate relationship with this track,” said Wilkins. “Peter and RealTime Racing have done a great job with this car all weekend. Throughout the season we've just been developing it. We're plugging away at it, one race at a time. It helped that we had the right track position. I was a little bit nervous hopping in there with the pressure to keep it up front. I just focused forward and I had a great car to do that. So, thanks to RealTime for that and we'll just try to keep it up tomorrow. It's a great win for the Acura NSX and the team and I really enjoy working with these guys.”
This was the sixth different team and manufacturer to win in the first six SprintX races of the 2017 PWC campaign. The Acura victory was the first in PWC competition for the new NSX GT3 model which debuted this year in the season opener at St. Petersburg. It was the first win for Acura in PWC since Ryan Eversley took the No. 43 RealTime Racing Acura TLX to victory last year at Road America.
Third went to current overall GT points leader Patrick Long of Manhattan Beach, Calif., and veteran Jorg Bergmeister of Germany in the No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R, followed by Ricky Taylor of Apopka, Fla., and four-time GT champion Johnny O’Connell of Flowery Branch, Ga., in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R. Rounding out the top five were Ryan Eversley of Atlanta, Ga., and Tom Dyer of Corte Madera, Calif., in the No. 43 RealTime Racing Acura NSX GT3.
In the 50-minute race for the GTS class, Rodrigo Baptista, a young driver from Barcelona, Spain, started on pole position and piloted his No. 3 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR sports car to his third Pirelli World Challenge GTS victory, despite never having seen the UMC track before.
A double race winner in May at Lime Rock Park, Baptista picked up the course quickly by scoring his first pole Saturday morning then leading every tour of the track in the 22-lap contest.
“It was a really good race and the car was almost perfect,” said Baptista. “It would slide a little bit when I pushed hard, but the KTM and the Maserati behind me were really fast. I tried to push to the max, and we did it again. Thanks to everyone at Flying Lizard and Porsche for all their hard work. We had a great car out there today. We’ll try to do it again tomorrow (Sunday).”
Veteran Jeff Courtney of Milwaukee, Wisc., made a great comeback after a tough weekend at Mid-Ohio two weeks ago in the No. 99 RecStuff.com/KENDA Maserati GT4, securing the runner-up position Saturday to Baptista. Courtney also set the fastest race lap Saturday and will start from the pole in Sunday’s 50-minute race set for 10:30 a.m. MDT.
Completing the top three was three-time race winner Ian James of Paradise Valley, Ariz., in the No. 50 Team Panoz Racing Panoz Avezzano GT, followed by Martin Barkey of Huntsville, Ont., Can., in the No. 80 Mantella Autosports KTM X-Bow GT4 and local driver Drew Staveley of Salt Lake City in the No. 12 Ian Lacy Racing Ginetta G55.
The Touring Class competitors had two 40-minute races on Saturday and Greg Liefooghe of San Francisco was first to the flag in both events. In the first race, Liefooghe scored his second TC win of the season in the No. 20 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M235iR as he took the lead in turn two on the opening lap after pole winner Paul Holton of Orlando, Fla., went wide in turn one. Then a multi-car incident in turn two forced a four-lap caution period.
Liefooghe set the pace for the remainder of the 15-lap TC event to defeat reigning TC series champion Toby Grahovec of Celina, Tex., by 3.655 seconds at the checkered flag. Grahovec, driving the No. 1 Classic BMW BMW M325iR, finished ahead of Anthony Magagnoli of Dexter, Mich., in the No. 80 Rooster Hall Racing BMW M235iR, Jacob Ruud of Racine, Wisc., in the No. 81 Winding Road Team TFB BMW M235iR and Jayson Clunie of Prince Albert, Sask., Can., in the No. 2 BMW M235iR. The top five TC finishers were in BMW M235iR machines.
“It was a great race for me,” said Liefooghe. “I was able to survive the start which took half my team out, which is unfortunate and I feel bad for my teammates. Our car was really good all the way through the race. The guys behind me were battling very hard, so it allowed me to pull away and maintain a big gap. After that it was just about managing it. The restart was very good for me and you don't always get lucky on restarts, but this time we did."
Shea Holbrook, making her first appearance in the TCA class in three years, debuted her No. 67 Bubba Burgers/Shea Racing Honda Civic Si in dramatic fashion after winning the class pole position Saturday morning. She waged a spirited battle with defending TCA champion Elivan Goulart of Shelton, Conn., in the No. 70 S.A.C. Racing Mazda Global MX-5 Cup car. Both drivers exchanged the lead Saturday before Holbrook made a late-race move to grab her first win since Mid-Ohio in 2014, finishing 24th overall in the 43-car field. This was Shea Racing’s second win of the year as teammate Tom O’Gorman took the all-new Honda Civic Si to victory lane in May at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
P.J. Groenke, the veteran from Richmond Hill, Ont., Can., scored his initial Pirelli World Challenge win in the No. 25 TechSport Racing Chevrolet Sonic, finishing 33rd overall in a tight battle with his teammate Canaan O’Connell of Chandler, Ariz., in the No. 24 TechSport Racing Chevrolet Sonic. Third went to Jasper Drengler of Shawano, Wis., in the No. 01 Drengler Racing Honda Fit.
In the second TC race of the day, Liefooghe came home 5.642 seconds ahead of Nick Wittmer of Montreal, Quebec, Can., in the No. 91 ST Racing BMW M235iR, with Grahovec taking third. Eric Powell of Orlando, Fla., won the TCA class in 23rd overall in his No. 23 Tech Sport Racing Scion FR-S, while O’Connell was victorious in the TCB class in 31st overall.
Local driver McKay Snow of Lehi, Utah, was the dominant winner of the 21-lap race for the Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA, bringing his No. 66 TruSpeed AutoSport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup home a staggering 26.736 seconds ahead of Max Root in the similar No. 07 GT Technik Porsche.
The on-track action on the 3.048-mile Outer Course continues Sunday with the final races for the SprintX and GTS classes as well as the Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA. The show gets underway at 8:00 am, with races starting at 10:00 am.
Off the track, fans can satisfy their need for speed by trying out UMC’s fleet of brand-new karts at the UMC Kart Track or on one of the new, state-of-the-art racing simulators in the UMC Kart Track Lounge. The Pirelli World Challenge SprintX and GTS drivers will have an autograph session for the fans at 9:00 am. In addition, there is a wide variety of concession options, with the Fast Track Café being augmented by food trucks and trucks serving coffee, soda and beer. The trackside Rodizio Grill restaurant will be open as well.
Tickets for Sunday are priced at only $35/day for adults, with kids 12 and under admitted free of charge. There will be a $5 charge for parking. VIP options and RV parking are also available.
For event or ticket information, or for questions regarding UMC, browse this website or call 435-277-8000.
John Gardner, Public Relations Manager