Pirelli World Challenge, SprintX, Round 5: Circuit of the Americas – Race 2
Ben Barnicoat concluded his maiden season in the Pirelli World Challenge SprintX series with a second, fourth place finish in the final race of the weekend at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin.
From 13th position on the grid, Barnicoat began the race in his K-PAX Racing McLaren 650 S GT3 challenger, but an incident at Turn 2 between the front-running #8 Cadillac and #31 TR3 Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 put the Cadillac out of the race, and its championship title hopes in jeopardy.
The incident brought out a safety car and on the restart Barnicoat briefly exchanged places with the #4 Audi RS 8 LMS of Spencer Pumpelly before the Audi managed to pull clear.
With Barnicoat unable to challenge the Audi for power around the 3.4-mile circuit, an excellent pit stop would be needed to help the #9 McLaren move up the field.
Following a good in-lap, and stop which must be a minimum of 60 seconds, Barnicoat’s team-mate Alvaro Parente took to the wheel with the team handing him a huge advantage over the rest of the field as he filtered back on to the track in fifth position.
With vital championship points up for grabs for Parente, the fellow K-PAX Racing #6 McLaren of Bryan Sellers followed team orders to move aside to hand him fourth place.
But with the #4 Audi, now in the hands of Pierre Kaffer, five seconds up the road, Parente was able to hunt the Magnus Racing machine down by reducing its advantage to only 2.8 seconds by the chequered flag to conclude Barnicoat’s involvement in the 2017 series.
“I had a good first corner to my race, but at Turn 2, the incident between the Cadillac and the Ferrari undid all that earlier effort as I was forced to avoid that,” Barnicoat said.
“The Audi and I exchanged places on the restart before he was able to pull away. I felt that I extracted the whole package from the car today but we just couldn’t keep up with the Audi.
“I had a good in-lap for my pit stop, and similarly Alvaro had a good out-lap which combined with the perfect stop timing from the team enabled him to jump a lot of cars to return in fifth.
“This SprintX season has definitely been one of the best racing experiences of my career to date. I’ve loved being part of the K-PAX Racing team and must give huge thanks to them as well as to McLaren GT for giving me the opportunity to be here. I’ve learnt a lot by racing over here and would jump at the chance to return.”
The CRP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 machine shared by Ryan Dalziel and Daniel Morad claimed race victory ahead of the Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R of Patrick Long and Joerg Bergmeister. Kaffer and Pumpelly's Audi RS8 LMS held on for third place.
Despite retiring from the race on the opening lap, the #8 Cadillac ATS-V.R machine of Jordan Taylor and Michael Cooper provisionally scooped the SprintX Pro/Pro championship by three points ahead of Dalziel and Morad.
|Circuit of the Americas (5.513km / 3.426 miles): Race 2 Results (Top 10)|
|Pos||Driver||Team||Car||Time / Gap|
|1||Dalziel / Morad||CRP Racing||Mercedes-AMG GT3||1h 01m 59.302s|
|2||Long / Bergmeister||Wright Motorsports||Porsche 911 GT3 R||+1.274s|
|3||Kaffer / Pumpelly||Magnus Racing||Audi RS8 LMS||+27.159s|
|4||Parente / Barnicoat||K-PAX Racing||McLaren 650 S GT3||+30.002s|
|5||Sellers / Lewis||K-PAX Racing||McLaren 650 S GT3||+36.767s|
|6||Eversley / Dyer||RealTime Racing||Acura NSX GT3||+42.811s|
|7||O’Connell / Taylor||Cadillac Racing||Cadillac ATS-V.R||+52.964s|
|8||Kox / Wilkins||RealTime Racing||Acura NSX GT3||+55.713s|
|9||Fogarty / Henzler||Gainsco||Porsche 911 GT3 R||+1m 00.403s|
|10||Jaminet / Sofronas||GMG Racing||Porsche 911 GT3 R||+1m 14.584s|
Practice 1: P15, 2m 08.138s, +2.252s. Practice 2: P3, 2m 07.232s, +0.821s. Qualifying (Race 1 grid): P4, 2m 06.067s, +0.325s. Race 1: 4th from P4. Race 2: 4th from P13.
Photo: world-challenge.com. Copyright-free Racing Steps Foundation images are available from the RSF Image Bank at www.jakobebrey.com/rsf