Alec Udell Earns First Class Podium of 2018 at VIR During Exam Week
May 1, 2018 | Alton, Virginia | Alec Udell earned his first class podium of the 2018 Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) season at the Grand Prix of Virginia on April 28. It took the resident of The Woodlands, Texas only until his fourth start in the No. 41 Loci Porsche 911 GT3 R prepared by GMG to break into the top three of the Pro/Pro class of the SprintX Championship. The Clemson University senior joined with Corey Lewis (Nazareth, Pennsylvania) to take third-place in class during Race 1 of 2 at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR) on Saturday. The pairing captured fifth-place (in class) for the second, 60-minute race at the Alton, Virginia-area track on Sunday.
Udell’s successful VIR weekend came fell in the middle of senior-level exams at Clemson. The 2016 PWC GT Cup Champion is majoring in mechanical engineering at the prestigious college in South Carolina. It was fortunate that the PWC schedule coincided with a relatively close event geographically so that Udell could finish an extensive group presentation on robotics on Wednesday before immediately traveling to VIR. He arrived in time to take the Loci Porsche out for the first GT-SX class test session on Thursday morning. With the weight of the classes temporarily off of his shoulders, the 22 year old found speed on the 17-turn, 3.27-mile road course. However, even before the roar of the flat-six, normally aspirated Porsche engine could quiet, Udell was headed back to Clemson to return to studying and exam-taking.
Udell made his SprintX Championship debut at VIR a year ago, finishing with a high of fourth-place in the two races. Saturday’s third-place finish matched his GT career best in PWC. He scored a solo, overall third-place in 2017 driving a GMG-prepared Porsche 911 GT3 R at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. This is his first career SprintX class podium.
PWC SprintX rules dictate that for the 60-minute, two-driver format events, the qualifying driver must start Race 1 and finish Race 2. In an incredibly close timed session, Udell lapped the No. 41 to the eighth-best lap in qualifying on Saturday morning. He took the green flag and quickly moved into the top-five and ran as high as third-place before GMG called for the mandatory mid-race pit stop for four new Pirelli P-Zero tires and driver change. With Lewis, a past winner at VIR, behind the wheel, the car continued to run near the front. Taking advantage of the quick pace of the Loci-backed machine and the contact between competitors, Lewis moved the car to fourth-place overall, third-place for the Pro-Pro class, at the checkered flag.
The starting field for the second race of the weekend is based on the fastest lap in the first race. Therefore, Lewis took the green flag for Sunday’s Race 2 – Round 4 of the SprintX Championship – from 12th on the grid. Udell moved behind the wheel of the blue, white and orange rear-engine machine just past halfway and continued the car’s march toward the front. The Porsche Young Driver Academy graduate was in the top-six overall, fifth-place in class, when the checkered flag fell.
Alec Udell | “This weekend was a successful one in the Loci Porsche. Coming into VIR we could tell the Porsche's strength was over the run, not outright pace, so Corey and I knew that to finish well we had to be consistent and make no mistakes. We kept the car clean and had great pit stops, which led us to a P3 and P5 in Pro/Pro. The race came as a relief as I'm right in the middle of final projects and exams. It was nice to get my mind off of school for a bit, but now it's back to the library until next Friday!”