Amongst a motorsport weekend which saw WEC, ELMS & WTCC teams lose their wins after the fact, the Pirelli World Challenge round at Long Beach was no exception. Johnny O’Connell crossed the line first in the #3 Cadillac Racing ATS-V.R. GT3, but was handed a 10-second time penalty for a technical infraction, meaning the pole-sitting K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3 of Alvaro Parente was later named the winner.
“I have mixed emotions about winning the race this way,” said Parente after the penalty was dished out to O’Connell. ” I would have liked to have won the race on the track. We had a near perfect weekend with winning the pole position and racing for the win. It’s too bad that Johnny was penalized because we had a great race today.
“But I am happy to win at a famed track like Long Beach in my first appearance. I’m happy for the K-PAX team and McLaren and I look forward to racing next week at Barber (Motorsports Park).”
The race was a disappointing one from start to finish, with the tight and twisty Long Beach circuit not suiting the sprint format well – much of the 50-minute race was held under full-course yellow conditions.
At the start, Parente was able to hold the lead after running side-by-side with O’Connell going into Turn 1. It looked to be a clean start for the field, but by Turn 8, the yellows had to make an appearance.
James Sofronas in the #14 GMG Racing Porsche shoved the #6 K-PAX Racing McLaren of Austin Cindric into the wall, forcing him to retire.
When the race went green again on Lap 9, the racing action was again short lived. Two laps latter Bryan Heitkotter’s #05 AE Replay XD Nissan went head-on into the wall after clipping the curb awkwardly on the entrance to the corner.
After the second full-course yellow ended on Lap 15, Alvaro Parente lost the lead going into Turn 1, with O’Connell getting the jump on him at the restart.
In the run to the flag Parente kept the K-PAX McLaren within and around a second of the Caddy, but couldn’t find a way to get back past – following him over the line. With the penalty applied though, O’Connell would be classified second.
Patrick Long finished up third in the EFFORT Racing Porsche 911 GT3R, with JD Davidson’s AE Replay XD Nissan coming home fourth.
Winning the GTA class once again was Martin Fuentes in the #07 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari.