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GT World Challenge America

O’Connell Wins Incident-Filled Race 2 at COTA

Johnny O’Connell leads Cadillac 1-2 in Race 2 at COTA…

Photo: Brian Cleary/

Photo: Brian Cleary/

Johnny O’Connell led a Cadillac 1-2 in Sunday’s incident-filled Pirelli World Challenge round at Circuit of the Americas.

The four-time and defending series champion edged out GT class rookie teammate Michael Cooper by 6.069 seconds for victory in the second round of the season.

O’Connell took his No. 3 Cadillac ATS-V.R to the lead with 17 minutes remaining, getting around the No. 05 Always Evolving Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 of Bryan Heitkotter, who suffered a puncture.

Heitkotter was out front for the second consecutive race after a heavy start-line crash by Race 1 winner Patrick Long, who was tagged by the No. 33 Always Evolving Nissan of James Davison and sent hard into the barriers.

The Porsche factory driver was unhurt but his EFFORT Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R sustained heavy damage and resulted in a 10-minute full-course caution period for cleanup.

Davison briefly took the lead on the restart but was given a stop-and-hold plus 10-second penalty for avoidable contact and dropped out of contention.

Both the No. 9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3 of Alvaro Parente and the Andrew Palmer-driven No. 87 Bentley Team Absolute Bentley Continental GT3 were also given penalties for driving standards after running second and third, respectively, at the time.

The penalties promoted Cooper to second in the end, with a late move by Jon Fogarty on the No. 2 CRP Racing Audi R8 LMS ultra of Kyle Marcelli giving the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing McLaren a podium finish in third for the Red Dragon.

It marked the first Cadillac 1-2 sweep since Long Beach in 2014, a race that O’Connell had also won.

Colin Thompson made a late charge to fourth in the No. 13 K-PAX McLaren, with Marcelli dropping to fifth at the checkered flag of the action-packed 50-minute race.

GTA class honors again went to Martin Fuentes in the No. 07 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia GT3, who led the class flag-to-flag in a sweep of the weekend for the Mexican driver.

Fuentes finished sixth overall, ahead of the newly re-classified Frankie Montecalvo in the No. 66 DIME Racing Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3, who came home second in class after a disastrous opening race on Saturday.

Sloan Urry, meanwhile, claimed GT Cup honors in his No. 20 TruSpeed Autosport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, with Saturday’s class winner Alec Udell, coming home a close second in class.

It was Urry’s first career PWC victory after a solid rookie season in the class last year.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John


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