SONOMA, Calif. – Austin Cindric, the 18-year-old high school senior from Charlotte, NC, captured the GT class pole in a tight qualifying session at the Grand Prix of Sonoma presented by Cadillac. In GTA, Martin Fuentes (Mexico City, Mexico) took the top spot on the grid while The Woodlands, Texas, resident Alec Udell set the bar in GT Cup qualifying.
Cindric, piloting the No. 6 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3, provisionally set a new track record with a lap time of one minute, 32.214-seconds and trapped at 93.110 mph in the second pole of his GT career. Point leader and Cindric teammate Alvaro Parente drove his No. 9 K-PAX Racing McLaren a hair behind, stopping the lap timer at 1:32.272-seconds for the second place spot on the grid. Cadillac Racing’s Johnny O’Connell, four-time consecutive PWC GT champion and Flowery Branch, GA resident, filed into third place just over 0.10-second behind the leader with a 1:32.337-second lap in the No. 3 Cadillac ATS-V.R. GT3. O’Connell’s teammate Michael Cooper (Syosset, NY), took his No. 8 Cadillac to a 1:32.350-second lap to close out the second row of the grid. In fifth and sixth place, respectively, are Jon Fogarty (Bend, Ore.) in the No. 99 Gainsco Auto Insurance/Bob Stallings Racing McLaren 650S GT3 with a 1:32.472-second lap time and No. 98 Calvert Dynamics/Curb-Agajanian Porsche 911 GT3R driver and Laguna Beach, Calif. resident Michael Lewis. Rounding out the rest of the GT grid, the top 10 positions are all within 0.6-seconds of the pole-setter, while the top twelve driver laps all superseded the existing track record of 1:33.095-seconds set by Renger van der Zande in a Porsche 911 GT3R during the 2015 season.
“With the cooler track conditions, I tried to conserve my tires in the first couple of laps and then throw in a quick one on the third lap,” Cindric explained. “And that lap barely edged out my teammate Alvaro (Parente) for the pole. A lot of times we have a strategy for qualifying and hope that the third or fourth lap will be our best. On other times, we have to work to get a space on track for our fastest lap. Of course, we have a great team here with K-PAX, REV and Flying Lizard and it is at our home track. The team is based right here at Sonoma Raceway. Hopefully, we can get a one-two of this race today. We did test here three weeks ago but it was more of a systems check and bed-in some brakes. We had limited track time then and this weekend too. The strategy for me is try and win the race.” He continued, “I’m not in in the point battle like Alvaro. I do need to make sure Alvaro gets good points this weekend as he is 21 points out of the lead. It’s very important for the team to have Alvaro get the point lead heading to (Mazda Raceway) Laguna Seca in a few weeks. We will be racing hard but also a little conservative to finish up front. I have raced F2000 here previously and it wasn’t great. So I’m anxious for a strong showing this weekend.”
Teammate Parente, a five-time PWC GT winner, said this on capturing his sixth pole this season: “The qualifying was so close today in the GT class. Like the top eight were just a half a second apart. The K-PAX team did an excellent job setting up the cars for this weekend. The car was just right for our qualifying session. I think I got a little bit greedy on the last corner on my fast lap or I might have beaten Austin’s time. It probably cost me the pole and the extra seven points. Austin did a great job and we are all fighting hard here this weekend. This track is similar to Zandvoort and Brands Hatch in the European Blancpain Series. It’s fun to drive. I can’t afford to get involved in any trouble like we had at Mid-Ohio and Utah. With Austin up front with me, I would expect to race hard and clean today and tomorrow. I hope all of that stuff is out of the way now. We want to race for the championship now.”
Fuentes, going for his record tenth win in GTA, took the No. 07 Scuderia Corsa Hublot/Under Armour Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 to the pole with a 1:33.951-second lap. Second-place point contender Michael Schein (Glen Cove, NY) continued his chase to close the gap to Fuentes with a 1:34.035-second lap in the the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R that was good enough for the second-position on the grid. Hinsdale, Ill.’s Cooper MacNeil took the No. 79 Alex Job Racing Porsche 991 GT3R to a best lap of 1:34.471-seconds, good enough for the third position on the GTA grid.
In GT Cup, Udell’s 1:37.235-second lap in the No. 17 GMG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup not only took pole but also provisionally set the track record for the class. Incidentally, Sloan Urry’s (Park City, Utah) 1:37.268-second lap in the No. 20 TruSpeed Autosport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car and Mike Hedlund (Redwood City, Calif.) 1:37.894-second lap in the No. 35 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup also eclipsed the previous GT Cup class record and secured each P2 and P3 on the grid respectively.
GT classes return to the track for GT / GTA Rd. 18 and GT Cup Rd. 17 at 1:45 pm PDT Saturday. Live streaming of the race will be available at MotorTrendOnDemand.com/watch-live. Live timing can be viewed at LiveTiming.net/PWC/. All links are available from the event page at World-Challenge.com.
Sonoma, CA – Results from Saturday, Sep 17, 2016 Pirelli World Challenge Championship GT GTA Round 18 GT Cup Round 17 Qualifying at the Grand Prix of Sonoma presented by Cadillac. All results are provisional until posted Final.
Pos. PIC, Class, Name, Hometown, Car, Fast Time
1. 1, GT, Austin Cindric, Charlotte NC, McLaren 650S GT3, 1:32.214
2. 2, GT, Alvaro Parente, Porto Portugal, McLaren 650S GT3, 1:32.272
3. 3, GT, Johnny O’Connell, Flowery Branch GA, Cadillac ATS-V.R. GT3, 1:32.337
4. 4, GT, Michael Cooper, Syosset NY, Cadillac ATS-V.R. GT3, 1:32.350
5. 5, GT, Jon Fogarty, Bend OR, McLaren 650S GT3, 1:32.472
6. 6, GT, Michael Lewis, Laguna Beach CA, Porsche 911 GT3 R, 1:32.576
7. 7, GT, Adderly Fong, Hong Kong, Bentley Continental GT3, 1:32.607
8. 8, GT, Bryan Heitkotter, Fresno CA, Nissan GTR GT3, 1:32.691
9. 9, GT, Patrick Long, Manhattan Beach CA, Porsche 911 GT3 R, 1:32.823
10. 10, GT, Ryan Eversley, Atlanta GA, Acura TLX-GT, 1:32.841
11. 11, GT, Kyle Marcelli, Barrie ON, Audi R8 LMS GT3, 1:32.842
12. 12, GT, Gunner Jeannette, Salt Lake City UT, Porsche 991 GT3 R, 1:32.955
13. 13, GT, Jonathan Summerton, Highlands NJ, Mercedes AMG SLS GT3, 1:33.124
14. 14, GT, JD Davison, Denver CO, Nissan GTR GT3, 1:33.252
15. 15, GT, Colin Thompson, Doylestown PA, McLaren 650S GT3, 1:33.284
16. 16, GT, Peter Kox, Eindhoven NL, Acura TLX-GT, 1:33.782
17. 1, GTA, Martin Fuentes, Mexico City Mexico, Ferrari 458 Italia GT3, 1:33.951
18. 2, GTA, Michael Schein, Glen Cove NY, Porsche 911 GT3 R, 1:34.035
19. 3, GTA, Cooper MacNeil, Hinsdale IL, Porsche 991 GT3 R, 1:34.471
20. 4, GTA, Andrew Kim, Seoul South Korea, Bentley Continental GT3, 1:34.564
21. 5, GTA, Tim Pappas, Boston MA, Porsche 911 GT3 R, 1:35.375
22. 6, GTA, Andy Wilzoch, Aurora CO, Porsche GT3R, 1:35.538
23. 7, GTA, Drew Regitz, Denver CO, Audi R8 LMS GT3, 1:36.260
24. 8, GTA, Brent Holden, Newport Beach CA, Porsche 911 GT3 R, 1:36.376
25. 1, GT Cup, Alec Udell, The Woodlands TX, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 1:37.235
26. 2, GT Cup, Sloan Urry, Park City UT, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 1:37.268
27. 3, GT Cup, Mike Hedlund, Redwood City CA, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 1:37.894
28. 4, GT Cup, Corey Fergus, Columbus OH, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 1:38.979
29. 5, GT Cup, Preston Calvert, Potomac MD, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 1:40.359