Championship contender Michael Cooper won his first PWC race in Round 7 of the 2016 season for Cadillac Racng, fending off a hard-charging Alvaro Parente driving in the #9 K-PAX Racing McLaren on a warm Sunday morning at Barber Motorsports Park.
Starting second on the grid, Cooper made a great start and managed to squeeze by the pole-sitting Parente, fresh from his Saturday win, round the outside going through Turn 1.
From there Cooper and his black Caddy wouldn’t relinquish the position for the remainder of the 50-minute race, despite some close moments through traffic.
In the early laps Cooper’s lead over Parente grew to over two seconds, with his teammate Johnny O’Connell in the red ATS-V.R third lurking behind. Fourth and fifth spots were held by the two EFFORT Racing Porsches of Michael Lewis and Pat Long respectively, before Long made a move midway through the race to snatch fourth off Lewis.
Parente didn’t let Cooper off his leash though, as after ten minutes of racing, the gap had shrunk to 1.5 seconds before getting as low as 2 tenths after the halfway mark.
The McLaren was extremely strong through the first half of the lap, but Parente couldn’t make anything stick, trying multiple times to get past at the chicane while lapping traffic.
Eventually it would turn into a four-way scrap for the lead in the dying minutes, with O’Connell and Long catching the leading pair. But nobody was able to gain places on the twisty Barber circuit and Cooper would cross the line to take that elusive first win in the series.
It was a very clean race, with no yellows, and only a couple of dicey moments between the runners.
In the GTA Class, Frankie Montecalvo looked as if he had the race wrapped up in the DIME Racing Mercedes SLS, pacing the field for most of the race. But mechanical issues in the final five minutes caused him to slide down the order, a truly unfortunate end for Montecalvo, looking for his first win of the season.
The SLS’ misfortunes handed the GTA win to Martin Fuentes, who in the Scuderia Corsa Ferrari would score his seventh straight win in the class.
GT Cup was won by Alec Udell’s GMG Porsche, ahead of Sloan Urey who spent most of the race trying to get past Corey Fergus, who in the end finished last after being tapped into a spin at Turn 2 by Walt Bowlin’s M1 GT Racing Audi.
Next on the PWC calendar is the 8th and 9th Rounds of the season at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on May 19th-22nd.