GRANTSVILLE, Utah (August 13, 2017) – The Italian team of Daniel Mancinelli and Niccolo Schiro took the checkered flag Sunday at Utah Motorsports Campus in a “trophy dash” finish at the Pirelli World Challenge Round 8 SprintX 60-minute feature as part of the Security National Mortgage Supercar Grand Prix of Utah.
Driving the No. 31 TR3 Racing/The Collection/Italian Shoemaker Ferrari 488 GT3, Schiro jumped to the lead from the pole Sunday and paced the 31-car field in the first 11 laps around the 3.048-mile, 14-turn road circuit. On 12th lap, Schiro pitted with a 4.3-second lead and handed the Ferrari off to Mancinelli, the VIR SprintX race winner.
A late race full-course caution period left Mancinelli in the lead of the event with Ryan Eversley, Patrick Long, Michael Cooper, Alvaro Parente, Ricky Taylor, Bryan Sellers and Ryan Dalziel all set to make for a three-lap dash to the finish of the one-hour competition.
In the end, Mancinelli fought off Eversley in turn one at the restart of lap 24 and went on to score a 0.969-second win over the No. 43 RealTime Racing Acura of Eversley from Atlanta and Tom Dyer of Corte Madera, Calif. The victory for the No. 31 Ferrari was the second in SprintX action this year and Mancinelli is the first driver to repeat in SprintX this year. Daniel teamed with Andrea Montermini to captured the VIRginia International Raceway Round 1 last April.
“We had a strategy to pit early and this was a great choice by the team because it ended up working out well for us,” said Mancinelli. “There was quite a lot of traffic in front of Niccolo so he decided to pull the car inside early when the pit window opened. We were the first car into the pits, and then I was able to come back into a clear track and push hard for two laps. At the second caution, the Acura was on my exhaust and he tried to pass because they were so good in the straights but I closed the door. He tried to get on the inside and I went outside, then the next corner he was right next to me but left me proper racing room. From there, I put in two laps that were fast like qualifying laps and that allowed me to take the victory for the team who gave me the car in perfect condition. This circuit is fun because it’s wider than others and you’re able to go two-to-three cars side-by-side and that makes it fun and exciting for the viewers.”
“We knew that the Acura (NSX) was very fast on the straight,” said Schiro, “It was very important for us to keep the first position at the first corner. We knew we had a really good pace and that we could manage it, so my race went as planned. When we handed it over to Daniel (Mancinelli) we were a little nervous because of all the cautions and re-starts. It wasn’t easy. Congratulations to everybody. Thanks to the guys at TR3 Racing for this opportunity for me to race in America.”
Eversley and Dyer were pleased with the performance of their No. 32 RealTime Racing Acura NSX GT3 Sunday despite taking runner-up.
“One of the things I’m really proud of is the development of this Acura across the board,” said Eversley. “Everybody at HPD putting in countless hours; Mike Shank Racing and, obviously, RealTime Racing have collaborated so well. Actually, there are about five teams that collaborate on this program around the country, and it’s a really great program. But today we executed perfectly. I don’t think we really had anything for the Ferrari, especially once they got going. At least the car is in one piece, we got great points, took fifth yesterday and second place today.”
“It was a definite improvement from yesterday,” said Dyer. “We made some adjustments overnight and they worked as well as we hoped. We got a good start, had a nice little battle back and forth with my teammate (Mark Wilkins) but it was great. Racing with Mark is always awesome. It’s clean and we race each other hard, but always keep it clean. Maybe if we had a little less yellow (flags), we could have fought the yellow car (Schiro/Mancinelli) a little harder but that’s the way the cookie crumbles sometimes.”
Third went to CTMP winners Cooper of Syosset, N.Y., and Jordan Taylor of Orlando, Fla., in the No. 8 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R. followed by reigning PWC GT champion Parente and 20-year-old Ben Barnicoat of England in the No. 9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S; Ricky Taylor of Apopka, Fla., and four-time PWC GT champion Johnny O’Connell of Flowery Branch, Ga., in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R. and Long of Manhattan Beach, Calif., and Jorg Bergmeister of Germany in the No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“It was exciting at the end,” Cooper said. “I was way up on the wheel and in ‘attack’ mode. We just can’t keep losing points to these guys. I think we extended our SprintX points lead today. Jordan did a good job all weekend. The restarts really helped us to make-up track position and allowed me to put the No. 58 Porsche behind me in the last two laps.”
“My stint wasn’t the most exciting,” Jordan Taylor said. “I got out dragged at the start. We were starting behind some of the Pro/Am cars with the Pro drivers in them. They were taking some risks, so it didn’t make sense to battle them. Once we got through the first lap, I kind of settled in. Michael did a great job on the restarts to get us on the podium. It was a great weekend for SprintX points for Michael and myself and for Cadillac.”
Saturday’s SprintX winning team of Peter Kox of The Netherlands and Mark Wilkins of Toronto, Ont., Can., was forced to pit the No. 93 RealTime Racing Acura NSX GT3 on lap three with a punctured tire while running second Sunday in the 26-lap main event.
In the Pro/Am category, GTA point leader James Sofronas of Villa Park, Calif., and Mathieu Jaminet of France in the No. 14 GMG Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R scored the victory. Finishing out the Pro/Am podium was Ricardo Sanchez of Mexico and former GTA champion Frankie Montecalvo of Highlands, N.J., in the No. 75 Always Evolving/AIM Autosport Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 and Tim Pappas of Boston, Mass., and Jeroen Bleekemolen of Monaco in the No. 54 Black Swan Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3.
Additional class winners in the SprintX division Sunday at Utah Motorsports Campus were Henrique Cisneros and Jonathon Ziegelman in the No. 30 MOMO/NGT Motorsports Ferrari 458 GT3 in Am/Am; Alessandro Bressan and Yuki Harata in the No. 55 Dream Racing Motorsports Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo in GT Cup Pro/Am; Joe Toussaint and Cory Friedman in the No. 90 Autometrics Porsche 911 GT3 Cup in GT Cup Am/Am; Adam Merzon and Trent Hindman in the No. 017 Case-It Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR in GTS Pro/Am; and Jason Hart and Matt Travis in the No. 47 NOLAsport Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR in the GTS Am/Am.
Sunday’s Round 8 SprintX event well be televised on Sunday, August 20, at 4:00 EDTon CBS Sports Network. The next SprintX round (4 – CTMP make-up race, 9 and 10) will be contested at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, on Sept. 1-3 for the final SprintX competition of the 2017 Pirelli World Challenge.