The Alley

Breakthrough victories in Monterey Grand Prix

tudor_laguna_03may_15_racefinal_002Richard Westbook and Michael Valiante scored their first overall victory in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship since June 2014 today at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in the VisitFlorida.com Corvette Daytona Prototype. In the GTLM category, Lucas Luhr and John Edwards drove BMW Team RLL’s No. 24 BMW Z4 to their first win in the series.

Westbrook and Valiante won by 1.35 seconds over the Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP driven by brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor. Starting third on the grid, Valiante took the lead on the first lap as cars jostled in the Andretti Hairpin. Jordan Taylor passed Valiante for the lead on the 17th lap with incidental contact, and the Taylor brothers held the point until the final pit stop exchange.

The final pit stops proved crucial. Ricky Taylor pitted for fuel with 38 minutes to go, ceding the lead to Westbrook. As Westbrook worked quickly through traffic, he gained enough time to emerge in front of Taylor after his final fuel-only pit stop, and then held the advantage to the checkered flag.

tudor_laguna_03may_15_racefinal_001BMW Team RLL was in the GT Le Mans winner’s circle for the second straight race, but this time it was the black No. 24 Z4 GTE of Luhr and Edwards that scored for the German marque in the two-hour, 40-minute Monterey Grand Prix.

After winning on the streets of Long Beach two weeks ago, the pole-winning white No. 25 Z4 GTE of Bill Auberlen and Dirk Werner finished second at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca as the BMW team swept the top two spots in the fiercely competitive category. The No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR of Patrick Pilet and Michael Christensen completed the GTLM podium.

Chris Cumming and Bruno Junqueira won the Prototype Challenge class in the No. 11 RSR Racing Oreca FLM09 Chevrolet. Spencer Pumpelly and Patrick Lindsey took the honors in the GT Daytona category in the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT America.

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