Thirteen Podiums Concludes Strong Pirelli World Challenge 2015 Season for Udell
Following an up-and-down Pirelli World Challenge series finale at the famed Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Sunday, Global Motorsports Group’s (GMG) Alec Udell provided yet another highlight to the season, taking his 13th podium of the season. Also concluding their seasons would be Alex Welch in the GTA category, as well as team owner James Sofronas in GT, with Welch taking 10th in class and Sofronas taking top Audi honors on his day.
“This was definitely one of our more unique seasons, but I’m proud of our team and the effort everyone put in,” stated James Sofronas. “Alec was the latest addition to our driver development program this year, and he did an excellent job. Coming from years of GTS racing, jumping into one of these Porsche GT3 Cup cars is a big change, but he did a fantastic job. We’ve enjoyed a great relationship with Porsche that has spanned a decade, so we were happy to come back and jump right back in for the GT-Cup class. Taking three wins and 13 podiums, with no mechanical DNF’s, was proof of our experience, and watching Alec grow over the course was amazing to watch. I think had he been able to run every race, we might have really had a shot at it. Our Audi program was flawless as well, and both myself and all of our Audi drivers enjoyed the season. It’s always tough to push to the limit when you’re injured, but regardless, the support and enthusiasm from everyone at Audi Sport customer racing was excellent and we’ve enjoyed our relationship.”
Following an incredible past two race weekends in which the 19-year-old has taken two victories, Alec Udell came into Sunday’s single event looking to end his season on a high. Starting the No. 17 Euroworld Motorsport / Amsource Capital / Panther Pipeline Porsche 911 GT3 Cup 991 from the front row, the Texas native was instantly on pace taking the lead by the conclusion of the first lap. Continuing a season-long battle with series champion Colin Thompson, the duo ran nose-to-tail for much of the first half of the race with Udell maintaining his lead and never putting a foot wrong. Unfortunately, as the faster GT traffic began to find their way around the duo, Alec was caught out as a dueling Cadillac and Ferrari made their way around him, allowing Thompson an opportunity to sneak through headed into turn four.
In the process, however, Thompson would make contact with Udell, with Alec’s left-front sustaining minor damage and knocking his car out of alignment.
While Alec’s Porsche would be able to continue, the contact would force him to slow during the race’s final laps, with third-place Sloan Urry eventually making an additional pass and forcing Alec to third by time the race would end.
While a frustrating finish, it would still mark the 13th podium of 14 starts for Udell, with his only DNF occurring from a start-line incident in St. Petersburg that was completely unavoidable. Unfortunately, that same incident would force Alec to miss four events due to damages, yet despite his absence he would still finish fourth in the Driver’s Championship with GMG repeating that result in the Team Championship.
“It definitely wasn’t the finish we wanted, but another podium is still a great testament to the team,” stated Udell. “During the last few events we really started coming into our own, which definitely gives me a lot of confidence as we look at our 2016 plans. Everyone at GMG has been amazing to work with. James has been nothing but accommodating as we encountered a series of challenges throughout the season, and Neville and his guys have provided an excellent level of enthusiasm and support. We couldn’t have done it without them. Obviously we had our share of heartbreak, but overall I think there were a lot of positives this year, and I thank everyone at GMG for such a great opportunity.”