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Udell Promoted to GT After Strong Debut in St. Pete

Alec Udell gets promoted by PWC to GT class, effective immediately…

Photo: Brian Cleary/BCPix.com

Photo: Brian Cleary/BCPix.com

A strong start to the Pirelli World Challenge season has seen Alec Udell promoted to the GT class, effective this weekend at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

The reigning World Challenge GT Cup champion swept the GTA weekend in St. Pete, posting overall finishes of ninth and sixth in the first two races of the season in his GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R, and posted the fourth quickest lap of Race 2.

Udell’s performance in the first two races of his GTA career was enough to convince the race stewards that a promotion to the GT class was merited, even though he has not achieved an overall podium or two top-five overall finishes, either of which result in an automatic upgrade by rule.

The rulebook also allows the stewards to promote a driver from GTA to GT if they deem it warranted, something that has already happened this season in the case of St. Petersburg overall pole-sitter Daniel Mancinelli.

“This is a great opportunity to compete at the highest level of GT racing in the Pirelli World Challenge,” said Udell. “Being at the professional level is what I’ve been working towards my whole racing career.

“I am under no delusions; I know that this will be the hardest challenge of my career. I will be racing against veterans and factory drivers like Patrick Long and Johnny O’Connell but that will only hone my skills that much more.

“We may not win as much as we did in 2016 but the successes we do have will be that much sweeter because they will come against the very best.”

Udell has made a rapid rise through the ranks in World Challenge, starting off in GTS competition as a 15-year-old and culminating in a dominant 12-win GT Cup season last year that saw him finish no worse than second en route to the class championship.

The mechanical engineering undergraduate at Clemson University is scheduled to take part in all of the Sprint races with GMG this year, and will be joining Preston Calvert in a GMG-prepped Porsche for the SprintX races on the calendar.

The 21-year-old Udell and GMG head to Long Beach this weekend for a single Sprint round of the championship on Sunday.

“To meet my goals, this is where I need to be and, honestly, it comes a little earlier than I had thought it might and that makes it even more satisfying,” he added.

“Everyone at Euroworld Motorsports and GMG has been working so hard to put us into this position. Now we are there which only means the real work has begun. I am looking forward to the challenge.”

Ryan Myrehn is an Indianapolis-based journalist and sportscaster, covering IMSA and Pirelli World Challenge. Myrehn, a graduate of DePauw University, is also the host of Sportscar365's “Double Stint” Podcast.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Bandon

    April 3, 2017 at 11:16 am

    I think thats a bad decision. Wait a few races until they are off street courses where its not all about the start and then defending the rest because its hard to pass.

  2. Jeff Wagner

    April 3, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    They have a VERY high level of knowledge in the series with Jack Baldwin, Rob Morgan, Dorsey Schroeder, Brian Till, (I think the last two are still there). They would have taken into account last seasons performance a lot. THEY CAN’T WAIT… If they did, getting his best 2017 GT points championship finish would not be possible! This way he only loses one race of possible points, like a DNF per say. The decision was probably 75-95% made in the off season with the first event being planed as the decision maker. if he’s ready, he’s ready.

  3. Jason Smalley

    April 4, 2017 at 9:05 am

    They moved him up to GT to allow the “gentlemen” drivers in GTA to have a chance for a podium

    • Jeff Wagner

      April 4, 2017 at 10:11 am

      Yes, GTA= Grand Touring Amateur. They promoted him up to GT as his ability has evolved past Amateur/gentleman driver. They didn’t move him up to “allow the “gentlemen” drivers in GTA to have a chance for the top step on the podium”. Jason Smalley I’m sure not intentional, but let’s give full credit where it is due. The promotion to GT was earned and a compliment, not done to keep the “Gentleman” drivers in the GTA class happy.

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