Alec Udell heads into this weekend’s Pirelli World Challenge round at Lime Rock Park with one eye on additional trips to victory lane and another on the GT Cup championship, as he looks to continue his rise up the GT racing ranks.
The 20-year-old from Woodlands, Tx. scored his third consecutive class victory in last weekend’s round at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, after sweeping the weekend Barber Motorsport Park.
It was enough for Udell to take over the points lead from Sloan Urry, in what’s already been considered a breakout second season for the GMG Racing driver, as well as in the new-for-2015 class.
“It’s really nice being back with the same team,” Udell told Sportscar365. “It’s like hopping back on the bicycle seat, or the car seat for a better term… It’s been very exciting.
“We’ve obviously put together a strong series since St. Petersburg and look to continue with that.
“We’re just looking to win the championship. We’ve definitely been giving Sloan a run for his money and we’d like to continue that.”
Compared to Udell’s 2015 season that delivered three class victories and a fourth place finish in the championship, he’s yet to finish off the podium this year, in a mark of consistency.
Udell attributes that to his better understanding of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, after having transitioned from a GTS-class Ford Mustang Boss 302R in 2014.
“Last year jumping from a Mustang to a Porsche was quite a big difference,” he said. “It took me probably until mid-season to where I was competent in the car, but to really felt at home in the Porsche.
“And I do now. It’s a really great car, especially with the Pirelli P-Zero tire. It’s a great combination and something that I’ve really found a home in.
“The chemistry within the team has been awesome. That’s something that’s great coming back to.
“We really found a good crew at the end of the season there and we were able to call a couple of good races there and the end of the season last year and just carry that momentum to this year.
“So now we’re working on the finishing the season strong, wanting to win the championship like everyone does, and planning to hopefully be back in something bigger next year.”
Udell hasn’t hidden his desire to continue his climb up the PWC ladder and is targeting a move to the GT/GTA class in 2017.
Should it materialize, he would follow in the footsteps of 2015 GT Cup Champion Colin Thompson, who graduated to the GT class this year in one of K-PAX Racing’s McLaren 650S GT3s.
“I’m looking to do some testing this year in a [Porsche] GT3 R just because that’s obviously the next step from the Cup car,” Udell said.
“It’s such a good car, as Porsche proved at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park with Patrick [Long] in the car. Obviously he’s the best of the best in North America in the Porsche, so that’s the direction I’d like to be going.
“I’d love to stay within the Porsche brand because it has such a strong racing heritage and I’ve really enjoyed driving the Cup car.”
For now, Udell’s focus is on the GT Cup title fight, which has turned into a two-horse race between himself and TruSpeed’s Urry.
Thirteen points separate the two heading into Lime Rock this weekend.
“The [GT Cup class] is really all about the driver and how they can work with the mechanic, work with the crew to get the car set up right and manage tire wear because all the cars are the same,” Udell said.
“That’s one thing the Cup really does hold well. We haven’t had quite the car count that we had last year, but we’ve had just as good competition I’d say.
“A couple more people might come out of the woodwork. World Challenge has such a great package to offer with the television coverage that we get and just all the places that we go to.
“I really enjoy being in Pirelli World Challenge. obviously I’m considered some kind of a veteran since I’ve been in the series since I was 16, so I’ve really found a home here as well and I’d really like to continue in it.”