TUDOR United SportsCar Championship
Michael Valiante and Richard Westbrook took the overall victory in the 2015 Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda, the fourth race of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship series. On Sunday May 3, sports cars and prototypes raced through the hills at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca outside Monterey, California, as four different classes competed against each other on the 2.2-mile natural terrain road course.
Westbrook v. Taylor for the Win
Valiante and Westbrook claimed the victory for the top Prototype class in the No. 90 VisitFlorida.com Corvette DP after a race-long battle with pole-sitter Jordan Taylor and his co-driver brother Ricky Taylor in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP. From his third-place starting position on the inside of the second row, Valiante pulled alongside Taylor on the first lap going into Turn 2 and a little contact pushed Taylor wide into Scott Pruett in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Ford EcoBoost Riley.
Taking full advantage of the bump, Valiante took the lead and stayed out front for the first 15 laps of the race and Westbrook led the last 29, holding off Ricky Taylor by 1.351 seconds as the two carved through the field of slower cars from the other three classes. Taylor made a hard charge on the last lap, but came up short after the brothers led a combined 60 laps during the race in pursuit of their second consecutive TUDOR win. Oswaldo Negri Jr. and John Pew finished third in the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier JS P2.
GT Le Mans
BMW Team RLL took a second-straight class win in the GT Le Mans class as John Edwards and Lucas Luhr piloted the No. 24 IHG Rewards Club BMW Z4 GTE to victory over teammates and Long Beach winners Bill Auberlen and Dirk Werner in the No. 25 IHG Rewards Club BMW Z4 GTE. Werner started from the pole position at Mazda Raceway and Auberlen earned the pole in the previous race at Long Beach.
GT Le Mans
Michael Christensen and Patrick Pilet finished third in GT LM in the No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR. Christensen actually started the race in the other team car, the No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR before finishing the race in the No. 911, while Jorg Bergmeister brought the No. 912 home in fifth. Former F1 pilot Giancarlo Fisichella took fourth in the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 Italia that started the race at the hands of Pierre Kaffer.
In the other sports car class, Spencer Pumpelly and Patrick Lindsey took the GT Daytona win in the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT America, 3.677 seconds ahead of the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Castrol EDGE Audi R8 LMS of Christopher Haase and Dion Van Moltke. Haase was challenging Pumpelly for the win when contact with the No. 90 of Westbrook in the final laps dropped him back.
Ian James and Mario Farnbacher in the No. 23 Team Seattle/Alex Job Racing Heart of Racing Porsche 911 GT America finished third, followed by Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Robert Graham/Royal Purple Ferrari 458 Italia.
The Prototype Challenge class pairs one top-rated professional driver with one less experienced driver, all competing in similar ORECA FLM09 prototype cars with Chevrolet V8 power. Chris Cumming qualified on pole and he and co-driver Bruno Junqueira led 80 of 110 laps on the way to the win in the No. 11 RSR Racing AutoMaxUSA entry. Junqueira finished nearly 40 seconds ahead of Colin Braun and Jon Bennett in the No. 54 CORE autosport Flex Box/Composite Resources ORECA FLM09 Chevrolet. Mike Hedlund and James French finished third in the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Ric Man Construction/GO-PUCK/Braille Batteries entry.