Bowmanville, Ont. — Michael Mills and Kuno Wittmer, along with Max Riddle and Kris Wilson won in GT and GTS respectively at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, in the second round of the SprintX Championship at the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Canada presented by Audi. The 60-minute race featuring a driver change was held under clear, sunny, 55-degree weather.
Drama ensued even before the start of the race as second-on-the-grid Wittmer, driving the No. 46 Mills Racing BMW Z4, suffered a minor mechanical issue and stalled in pit lane before the warm-up lap started. As the field moved out for the warm-up lap, Wittmer fired up and moved to retain his position in the field but as per Series rules, he was to move to the back of the field for the start.
At the green flag, pole-sitter Colin Braun, driving the No. 14 GMG Racing Spyder/ Mobil 1/ Thermal Club Porsche 911 GT3 R, led into turn one with Wittmer, slotting into second. Race Control issued a drive through penalty to Wittmer.
In GTS, it was Saturday winner Kris Wilson, in the No. 07 TRG-AMR Adobe Road Winery, LaSalle Solutions Aston Martin Vantage GT4, leading early ahead James Vance, in the No. 45 Racers Edge Motorsports SIN R1 GT.
Among the early movers in the GT field was Guy Cosmo, driving the No. 23 M1 GT Racing Audi R8 LMS Ultra, passing David Ostella, in the No. 69 M1 GT Racing Global Precast/Sky Rider Equipment/Connolly Marble & Granite/Tampa Bay Jaw Surgery/Surgery Center America Audi R8 LMS Ultra, for third on the track, with the two running close together soon after in an effort to try to catch the leaders.
On lap four the focus turned to the battle for the lead as Wittmer had closed the gap to Braun’s Porsche, but pitted soon later to serve his drive-through penalty, which promoted the pairing of Cosmo’s and Ostella’s Audis to second and third overall. Wittmer re-joined the pack some 20 seconds behind the leaders.
On lap nine, Vance brought his SIN R1 GT to the pits with a reported problem, as Jason Alexandridis moved to second in class in the No. 09 TRG-AMR BRM Chronographes/Rebounderz/Rohnert Park/Racing for Cancer/Pirata Della Strada/Simon Ward Aston Martin Vantage GT4,
With the pit window opening, the No. 45 SIN R1 GT was the first taker in GTS, although the car was one lap down due to the earlier mechanical stop. Vance changed out and Chris Beaufait went in.
In the GT field, Jorge De La Torre, piloting the No. 4 Delgac, LLC/Gainesway/Angela Estate Aston Martin Vantage GT3 was the first taker to pit road, giving up driving duties to Lars Viljoen in the controlled pitstop environment, which requires a minimum stop time and gives teams the opportunity to change one tire.
Strategy played out, with Braun bringing his Porsche to the pits later in the window, with Brent Holden strapping in. Second-place running Cosmo also maximized track time as well, pitting late in the window and handing the cockpit of the No. 23 Audi over to Walt Bowlin.
In third, Wittmer had made up some time on the leaders, and temporarily cycled to first among the pitstops, pitting as late as possible with Michael Mills waiting to strap into the car.
With GT cars re-joining the field and the cycling completing, the Porsche continued to lead with Holden now driving, but the big story was the No. 46 BMW, which had cycled to second place and just 3.4 seconds out of the lead lap 28, compared to some 20 seconds behind in third when the pit window opened. The No. 69 Audi of Von Moltke was in third, with Bowlin’s Audi in fourth, while Viljoen ran fifth.
In GTS, Max Riddle took over the leading No. 07 Aston Martin, while Derek DeBoer strapped into the second-place running No. 09 Aston Martin from TRG-AMR.
The gap from first to second between Holden and Mills continued to close, with Mills taking the lead on lap 30 heading into turn one.
As Mills opened a gap on the second-place running Porsche, VilJoen was on a mission late in the race, reeling off fast lap after fast lap and advancing to third place, but the car coasted to a stop coming to the white flag.
Mills would sprint to his second win in as many days, with Holden in second and Von Moltke in third.
In GTS, Riddle would become a repeat winner with his second straight victory, ahead of teammate DeBoer.
“My stint was all about keeping the car clean and bringing it home for the win because Kris gave me the car with a huge lead,” said Riddle. “The team did a great job, it was a clean, simple race for us. Kris and I have been endurance racing for the last four years but today but today, I sat on the belt and the window net fell off. Luckily we finished our driver change in time. Driver changes are not a joke, you have to practice it and we do.”
“On top of what Max is talking about he has to go race (in GTS, Sunday’s Round 8 race) here in about 15 minutes so we had to keep the car clean so he has a race car,” said Wilson. “That was a goal to keep it clean and bring it home. We weren’t planning on doing the whole Championship but after yesterday and today I think we’re going to do it. Looking forward to continuing on with this.”
“For me it was pretty straightforward,” said Mills. “We had to recover from the penalty. Kuno did his job. You don’t poke a stick at a fighter, that’s what they did. I just put my head down and did what I had to do, and was clean on my side. The guys around us had some difficulties and we were able to pull it off. On my last lap I was definitely enjoying my time at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, I miss this place, it was nice to be here.”
“Regulations are regulations and you have to respect them,” said Wittmer. “We tried to start the car and the motor did not turn over, it was low battery voltage and we had to plug-in to start, and there you go, that was the penalty. We kind of knew that but we didn’t know what the penalty was or when I was going to get it. We were on the pace lap trying to get heat in the tires, it was eight in the morning, sticker tires, trying to do as much as you can. Then I got the call half way up the back straight, ‘you have to go to the back of the field.’ I was OK with that, but you couldn’t physically let anyone by. I was down to 10 or 15 miles per hour in first gear, running with no throttle and no one was passing me. From there on it was take the penalty, take the start. The penalty assessed was a drive-through which was fine, we took it and from there on we had a good car. BMW Motorsport North America prepared a good car with Mills Racing, the Z4 was flawless, it was visor down and go.”
Of note, the Optima Batteries Best Start was awarded to De La Torre for gaining three positions on the opening lap. The VP Racing Fuels Hard Charger was also awarded to De La Torre. The Motortrendondemand.com Clean Pass of the Race and the Cadillac ATS-V Best Move of the race was awarded to Wittmer for his pass on Von Moltke.
Results are provisional until posted final. An enhanced broadcast of the SprintX action from Canadian Tire Motorsport Park will air on CBS Sports Network on Thursday, June 2 at 9 p.m. Eastern. Next up for SprintX is Rounds 3 and 4 at Utah Motorsports Campus, August 12-14.
Bowmanville ON – Results from Sunday, May 22, 2016 Pirelli World Challenge Championship SprintX Race Round 2 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, part of the Canadian Grand Prix Presented by Audi. Drivers listed by position, place in class, class, name, hometown, car, laps:
1. 1, GT, Michael Mills/Kuno Wittmer, Houston TX/Montreal,QC, BMW Z4, 45
2. 2, GT, Brent Holden,Colin Braun, Newport Beach, CA/Stanley, NC / Porsche 911 GT3 R, 45
3. 3, GT, David Ostella / Dion Von Moltke, Toronto, ON / Coral Gables, FL, Audi R8 LMS GT3, 45
4. 5, GT, Walt Bowlin / Guy Cosmo, Tarpon Springs, FL / Palm Beach, FL, Audi R8, 45
5. 4, GT, Jorge De La Torre / Lars Viljoen, Mexico City, Mexico / Devon, U.K., Aston Martin Vantage GT3, 44
6. 1, GTS, Max Riddle/ Kris Wilson, Vancouver, BC / Littleton, CO, Aston Martin Vantage GT4, 42
7. 2, GTS, Derek DeBoer / Jason Alexandridis, Ashland, OR / Novato, CA, Aston Martin Vantage GT4, 42
8. 3, GTS, Chris Beaufait / James Vance, Freeland, WA / Toronto, ON, SIN R1 GT4, 19