Following Friday’s wild Race One in which the entire Global Motorsports Group (GMG) organization had a busy day of car swaps, engine changes, and eventually podiums, Saturday’s Race Two would feature a much more subdued event. With the long straights and thin air of Miller Motorsports Park rewarding the turbocharged and higher horsepower vehicles, the team would close out the 2014 Pirelli World Challenge season with a pair of top-10’s.“Everyone raced incredibly clean and patient today, which allowed us all to finish on a high note,” stated GMG team owner James Sofronas. “Today was all about trying to support Audi in their bid for the Manufacturer’s Championship, but it just wasn’t meant to be. This track unfortunately just required something that wasn’t in favor of our cars, but we did all we could. We would have loved to have finished on a better note, but everything is in one piece and it’s a great testament to the quality and effort of our guys.”Following Friday’s car switch between James Sofronas and Andrew Palmer due to an engine change, both drivers spent the majority of Race One getting used to their machinery and learning their respective characteristics in preparation for Saturday’s Race Two. With both drivers sharing the sixth row, the pressure was on for the duo to gain as many places as they could to help Audi in their title bid.
The top finish would go to Andrew Palmer in the No. 21 Spyder / The Thermal Club Audi R8 LMS ultra. Following suit to Friday’s incredible start, the 20-year-old once again got off the line well, advancing into the top-10 as he chased down the field in front of him. Setting his best time on lap three, Palmer did everything he could to match the pace of the cars in front of him. However as the race continued, the straight line speed of his machine was simply no match for his fast approaching competitors, eventually slipping to tenth by the end. Despite the challenges, it was a very mature drive for the Pomona College student, who never put a foot wrong as he locked up fifth in the Driver’s Championship, his first full season of any professional series.“It was a tough weekend, but we ended clean,” stated Palmer. “It was a struggle to keep the pace up. With no yellow flags and the challenges we had keeping power against some of the other cars, we were a little stuck, so that’s about as well as we could do. It was a problem-free run and the guys did a great job, and fifth in the championship is a decent way to end the year. Overall I’m very thankful for the opportunity that everyone at GMG provided me this year. I learned a lot, and definitely feel as though this year did a lot for me, and I look forward to what the future holds.”Finishing one spot behind was team owner James Sofronas in the No. 14 Spyder / Mobil 1 / The Thermal Club Audi R8 LMS ultra. Facing a similar battle to his teammate, the Villa Park, California resident quietly drove his own race throughout much of the event. Doing his best to navigate traffic and make the most of his machine, James would cross the line after a faultless run, eventually taking sixth in the season standings.“This is such a competitive series, I’m proud of where the Pirelli World Challenge has gone,” stated Sofronas. “We’ve been one of the longest standing teams in this series, and the fact that I can still compete and run with the quality of teams and drivers is remarkable, and I give the series a lot of credit for what they’ve done. We certainly have some homework to do in the off-season to get us to the form we want, but I’m lucky to have such a great group of guys who’ve really stepped up this year to make the most of it.”Finally, in the series GT-A category, Alex Welch continued his form by taking fourth place honors in class. Similar to his teammates, the Colorado native ran a fairly uneventful race in the No. 76 Prestige Imports / Morgan Adams Foundation machine, starting fourth and never looking back to finish where he started. It was a strong weekend for the team veteran, who earned a career-first podium on Friday.
“Overall it was a great weekend,” stated Welch. “I don’t know that there was much I could do for the cars in front of us, so we just focused on our own race and it worked well. GMG has been great to work with over the years, and I thank them for a great opportunity and a great experience.”With the 2014 Pirelli World Challenge Championship at a close, the team remains busy as usual as they continue to work on a full roster of additional projects throughout the year. Stay tuned for further announcements on plans for the remainder of the year, as well as the 2015 season.About GMGFounded in 2001 by James Sofronas and Fabryce Kutyba, GMG has quickly established itself as North America’s premier performance tuning and racing facility. What began as a small 1,200 sq. ft. shop, maintaining two race cars, has grown into a 30,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art performance tuning, racing and service facility located in (Orange County) Santa Ana, California. The staff's experience, attention to detail, and passion are what make GMG the choice of professionals and enthusiasts world wide. Whether you want to maximize the performance of your street car, or race wheel-to-wheel on both amateur and professional racing series across North America, GMG’s reputation for service and quality is unmatched.Learn more at www.gmgracing.com