Sports Car Championship on the Line at Road Atlanta

| September 29, 2015

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ATLANTA – Multiple championships will be decided in this weekend’s Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda at the Road Atlanta course located north of Atlanta near Gainesville.

In addition to the four class titles in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup also wraps up its four-race competition in each category.

Adding spice to the mix is that each of the four classes – Prototype (P), Prototype Challenge (PC), GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona (GTD) – has different leaders in both the TUDOR Championship and Patrón Endurance Cup, opening the possibility of different driver pairings achieving the coveted top step on the podium following the 10-hour sports car classic.

2014_TUDORChampionship_RoadAtlanta_Race_31Each of the four classes are still to be determined in the Patrón Endurance Cup, which encompasses 52 hours of racing including the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida and Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen.

In the Prototype competition, defending Patrón Endurance Cup champs Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi of the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette DP hold a seven-point lead over Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Joey Hand and Scott Pruett, 35-28.

“We’ll put a little emphasis on winning the Patrón Endurance Cup,” Fittipaldi said. “We’re so close, but if we don’t pay attention we can lose it. Hopefully we’ve put a wrap on the Patrón Endurance Cup at the four-hour mark, which is a possibility. After that we can control our own destiny and do everything we can to win the TUDOR Championship.”

There is a six-way tie for the number three spot in the Prototype standings, among Max Angelelli, Sebastien Bourdais, Jordan and Ricky Taylor, Michael Valiante and Richard Westbrook, all with 27 points. VisitFlorida.com drivers Valiante and Westbrook currently lead the TUDOR Championship points.

The battle for the top spot in GTLM has gotten tighter as Corvette Racing’s No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R of Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia’s lead has shrunk to four points over the team’s No. 4 Corvette C7.R of Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin, 33-29.

“While our main goal is the drivers’ championship, the Patrón Cup is also very important,” Garcia said. “We will try to achieve every championship we have on the line. Petit Le Mans is going to be back to endurance racing, and that’s where we’ve had success this year. We’ll see how our pace compares to the competition, and we will give it everything we have.”

Team Falken Tire’s collective eight points from the Sahlen’s Six Hours — five of which came from their victory in the race — has bumped the team and drivers Bryan Sellers and Wolf Henzler up to third in the GTLM standings with 27 points. The No. 911 Porsche North America team of Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet is fourth with 26 points.

In GTD, the Daytona and Watkins Glen-winning No. 93 Riley Motorsports ViperExchange.com Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R of Al Carter and Cameron Lawrence hold a seven-point advantage in GTD over the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia of Townsend Bell and Bill Sweedler, 37-30.

2014_TUDORChampionship_RoadAtlanta_Race_26“This Petit Le Mans is more interesting for us than in any previous Petit,” said Viper owner Ben Keating, who drove in the winning car in the Rolex 24 in addition to winning two races in the No. 33 ViperExchange.com Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R. “It’s been obvious that our strategy this year is score points at the right times. It’s made it a lot of fun. We’re going into the last race with the lead, but not a lock. Ferrari is bringing a second car to make it more interesting. I love the longer races – the longer the better for me – and I’m excited to be going to Road Atlanta, I love the track.”

In Prototype Challenge, the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Cuttwood/Spyder ORECA FLM09 team of Mike Guasch, Tom Kimber-Smith and Andrew Palmer holds a three-point advantage over the defending champion No. 54 CORE autosport Flex Box/Composite Resources team with Jon Bennett, Colin Braun and James Gue, 36-33.

“We’re going to go in prepared,” Guasch said. “I think we’re going to have to be cautious. We need to finish the race. We need to be as fast as we can without taking big chances. Two years ago, we got taken out at Petit Le Mans. Stuff happens. We’ll run the race, and try to get points wherever they land.”

Points in the Patrón Endurance Cup are awarded at specific intervals throughout each race, with the leader at the end of each segment scoring five points, four points for second, three points for third, and fourth place on back receiving two points. Points will be scored at four hours, eight hours and 10 hours at Petit Le Mans, for a maximum of 15 points.

Patrón Endurance Cup round-winning drivers at each event receive a limited edition bottle of Gran Patrón Platinum, numbered and signed by Francisco Alcaraz, the creator of the Gran Patrón Platinum recipe and Tequila Patrón’s Master Distiller and Blender. Round-winning team owners win specially designed PRS Guitars.

Season-ending Patrón Endurance Cup awards will be presented during the TUDOR Night of Champions at the Georgia Aquarium in downtown Atlanta on Monday evening, Oct. 5.

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