Alec Udell closed his regular Pirelli World Challenge season at Sonoma Raceway in September but the resident of The Woodlands, Texas couldn't wait until 2018 to get behind the wheel of the No. 17 Hybrid Kinetic Group Porsche 911 GT3 R prepared by GMG. The 21-year-old driver will take advantage of the inaugural Intercontinental GT Challenge (IGTC) event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (MRLS) on October 15 to join Porsche factory drivers Wolf Henzler (Germany) and Sven Müller (Germany) for the Mazda Raceway California 8 Hours. The race in Monterey, California will be Udell's second endurance event of the season; he opened the year with a four-hour enduro at Daytona International Speedway.
Udell is the 2017 PWC Hard Charger Award winner for the GT class, the 2016 PWC GT Cup Champion, a Porsche Young Driver Academy graduate, won two GTA class races in this 911 GT3 R before moving into the Pro category where he captured an overall podium finish at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Following that impressive first season as a professional driver in the No. 17 Euroworld Motorsports Porsche, Hybrid Kinetic Group has joined Udell as a primary partner for his 2017 finale at MRLS.
The third of four rounds of the Intercontinental GT Challenge (IGTC), the California 8 Hours is a unique, stand-alone event in North America. The IGTC uses the SRO-crafted GT3 and GT4 class specifications for its cars. Therefore, any homologated GT3 or GT4 can participate in the event. The objective of each round is to draw national teams to compete in endurance events on iconic racetracks in their home country under the GT3/GT4 banner. In conjunction with the Pirelli World Challenge, the IGTC chose this weekend in Monterey to showcase the concept for the first time in the United States.
Udell is in one of four Porsche 911 GT3 Rs in the 20-car field. His co-drivers are two of five Porsche "works" drivers entered. Udell is the only non-works driver paired with the Porsche factory pilots, a testimony to the Clemson University senior's skill and potential.
The 2.238-mile, 11-turn track on the Monterey Peninsula is an apt place for Udell to make his first major GT3-spec endurance race start. The facility, famous for the legendary "Corkscrew" turn that drops the driver three-stories from crest to the bottom of the hill, is where, in 2016, the Mechanical Engineering major first raced Porsche's rear-engine GT3-spec car, the 911 GT3 R. He finished in sixth-place in both rounds held during the weekend.
A test session for the IGTC will run on Thursday, October 12, 2:20 - 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time. A 90-minute and 60-minute practice session will run on Friday at 11:00 a.m. and 3:20 p.m. respectively. A 45-minute qualifying session will set the grid on Saturday, October 14 at 10:45 a.m. The 15-minute "Super Pole" session will finalize the top-spot at 1:40 p.m. later that day. The Mazda Raceway California 8 Hour will take the green flag at 9:30 a.m. PT/ 12:30 p.m. ET.
The race can be watched live on the CBS Sports Network, Sunday October 15 from 12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. ET and again, for the checkered flag, at 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. The full event can be seen on MotorTrendOnDemand.com and the portions not aired on CBS Sports Network, can be viewed internationally at IntercontinentalGTChallenge.com .
"I'm excited to be sharing the car with two very talented and experienced Porsche works drivers. Sven and I raced each other last year at Porsche Supercup at COTA, while Wolf and I have been racing in the Pirelli World Challenge SprintX series this year. I've had the opportunity to go toe to toe with them both, now being able to share a seat and work collectively for an overall win is an exciting opportunity. We know the competition will be tough, even though it is an eight-hour event, we've got to push hard while keeping the car clean. We are looking forward to a great result."