The Alley

2015 Champions crowned

presentationThe Georgia Aquarium proved to be an appropriate backdrop as the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship crown the 2015 series champions on Monday night.

“We’ve been surrounded by sharks all season, so this is a very interesting setting,” said Joao Barbosa, who joined Christian Fittipaldi in repeating as Prototype (P) champions for Action Express Racing.

presentation_pilet_athertonOther series champions crowned at the event were Porsche North America’s Patrick Pilet in GT Le Mans (GTLM); Jon Bennett and Colin Braun in Prototype Challenge (PC); and Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell in GT Daytona (GTD). Each driver champion received the Bishop-France Award, replicas of the series’ perpetual trophy.

Pilet clinched the GTLM championship on Saturday at Petit Le Mans where he and Nick Tandy remarkably won the race overall in torrential rain – beating the faster and more powerful Prototype and PC class entries.

“At such a race it is important that you’re ready to take responsibility even under extremely difficult conditions. That’s exactly what I did today,” said Pilet after Saturday’s victory.

“This success was only made possible because everyone in the team went to their limit. I’m delighted that our huge effort has been rewarded in this way.”

The festive evening also included reigning American Idol winner Nick Fradiani, who introduced the opening and second half of the festivities with a trio of performances.

The seven champions also received TUDOR Grantour Chrono Fly-Back Timepieces, presented by Russell Kelly, Brand Manager of TUDOR Watch USA.

“The championship battles in all four TUDOR United SportsCar Championship classes went down to the final race of the season, and given Saturday’s unprecedented conditions, you are all worthy champions,” said IMSA President Scott Atherton. 

presentation_michelinChevrolet, Porsche and Ferrari were recognized as winners of the manufacturers’ championships – Prototype, GT Le Mans and GT Daytona, respectively. Michelin was the winning GTLM tire manufacturer.

The winners of the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup, recognizing the four iconic endurance races on the schedule, were officially honored. Barbosa and Fittipaldi also repeated in Prototype; Corvette Racing with Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia in GTLM; PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports’ Mike Guasch, Tom Kimber-Smith and Andrew Palmer in PC; and TI Automotive/ViperExchange’s Al Carter and Cameron Lawrence (GTD) were champions of the unique competition that awarded points at different segments of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida, Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda.

“It was a tough year, so to come away with the Patrón Endurance Cup is a nice consolation for what could have been,” Magnussen said.

The next scheduled activity in preparation for the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will be a two-day test at Daytona International Speedway on Nov. 17-18.

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