Batavia, Ohio-based Wright Motorsports took a double victory in Round 5 of the 2017 Pirelli World Challenge SprintX Championship in the first race of the weekend at Lime Rock Park. Marc Lieb brought the #58 Porsche 911 GT3 R he shared with Patrick Long home for the win in the GT Pro/Pro category whilst Jan Heylen, driving the sister #16 entry he shares with Michael Schein, won the GT Pro/Am class.
Second in the GT Pro/Pro category was the #4 Magnus Racing Audi R8 LMS, the car started by Spencer Pumpelly and driven to the chequered flag by Dane Cameron. Taking the final step of the podium in the GT Pro/Pro category was the #9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3, piloted by Alvaro Parente and Ben Barnicoat.
Patrick Long, in #58 Wright Motorsports entry, led from pole at the start in a race that saw little change to the top four places during the first 35 minutes. Daniel Morad in the #2 CRP Racing Mercedes AMG GT3 struggled for grip in the opening minutes, allowing Spencer Pumpelly in the #4 Magnus Racing Audi R8 LMS through into second place. Michael Cooper, driving the #8 Cadillac Racing ATS-V.R he shares with Jordan Taylor, moved up to fourth, making up one place at the start.
After the driver changes had cycled through, the top four remained unchanged until, with less than 20 minutes left to run, Ricky Taylor in the #3 Cadillac Racing ATS-V.R, spun at Turn 1 following contact with Matthew Halliday in the #14 GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R. With Taylor having reversed into the barrier, the Safety Car was brought out while the stricken car was recovered and the race was neutralised for eight minutes.
Alvaro Parente, behind the wheel of the #9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3 after the pit stops, took best advantage of the re-start, overtaking both Ryan Dalziel in the #2 CRP Racing Mercedes AMG GT3 and Jordan Taylor in the #8 Cadillac Racing entry for third place.
“I was lucky on the positioning [in the chicane] where my car, the slow car and my opponent’s car were,” said Parente. “I managed to get a great exit off the chicane and pass them. It was the right moment, and it was good.”
At the head of the field, meanwhile, Dane Cameron in the #4 Magnus Racing Audi R8 LMS continued to push Marc Lieb in the #58 Porsche but Lieb drove confidently to eventually take the chequered flag with lead of over five seconds from the #4 car.
Patrick Long was delighted with the win.
“It’s really great when you can race with a friend,” said Long. “Marc and I go back about fifteen years. It’s been a wild day with a lot of different weather conditions but today was fun. Today was the day for the GT3 R and Porsche.”
Marc Lieb was quick to praise his team-mate after the race:
“Patrick did a really good job in the first stint because he was under pressure the whole stint from the Audi,” said Lieb. “We had a really good pit-stop, I stayed in front and then we just pulled a gap. I think he (Cameron) had some problems exiting the pit-lane so I had a good gap. The car was fantastic to drive, thanks to Wright Motorsports. I’m really happy for Patrick, taking the points for the Championship.”
Current SprintX Championship leaders Jordan Taylor and Michael Cooper finished fourth in the #8 Cadillac Racing entry.
Henrique Cisneros and Tyler McQuarrie, driving the #30 MOMO/NGT Motorsports Ferrari F458 GT3 took class honours in the GT Am/Am category. Second in class was the #007 TRG-AMR Aston Martin GT3 driven by Kris Wilson and Drew Regitz.
The GTS Pro/Am class was won by the #17 Case-It Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR piloted by Adam Merzon and Trent Hindman.
The second SprintX race of the weekend takes place at 1:20pm ET on Saturday May 27.