The Pirelli World Challenge an event sanctioned by the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and now almost in its 30th year is a race that consists of four classes: grand touring, touring car, a “GTS” class since 2010, and a “touring car B-spec” introduced in 2012. The series holds races across several different events across the season including the IndyCar Series, the North American V8 Supercars and this weekend as part of the American Le Mans Series at Lime Rock Park.
Johnny O’Connell and Jack Baldwin took home wins in the GT and GTS classes respectively at the Cadillac Lime Rock Park Grand Prix for Round 9 of the Pirelli World Challenge 2013 season. The win was the third of the season for both O’Connell, in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V.R, and Baldwin, in the No. 73 Motul/StopTech/Foametix Porsche Cayman S. O’Connell’s win also netted Cadillac Racing its first 1-2 finish of the season. O’Connell started from pole and led the 49-lap race from start to finish.
O’Connell’s teammate Andy Pilgrim, driving the No. 8 Cadillac Racing CTS-V.R finished second, while Randy Pobst in the K-PAX Racing Volvo S60 finished third. Pilgrim’s pass on Pobst for second place on Lap 9 netted him the Cadillac CTS-V Move of the Race Award. Behind the top three was James Sofronas in the No. 14 GMG/Swisher Racing/Mobil 1 Audi R8 LMS and Oliver Bryant in the No. 33 Fusion WorldWide Mercedes Benz AMG SLS GT-3 rounded out the top five.
In the GTS class, Lawson Aschenbach started from the pole and held the lead over Drivers’ Points leader Baldwin, who started second, for most of the race. At numerous points Baldwin challenged Aschenbach for lead but could not find a way passed. However during lap 26 with the pair dealing with back markers, Aschenbach’s charge was affected by traffic as he moved up the road through Turn 1, Baldwin moved to his inside and he was able to squeeze by, the pass scored Baldwin the Invisible Glass Clean Pass of the Race Award.
Baldwin’s win is his third this season, and his eighth podium finish in nine races. He swept the opening doubleheader weekend at St. Petersburg but had not won since. Mark Wilkins finished third in the No. 38 KIA Motors America KIA Optima, for his third podium finish in the last four races. He started sixth and advanced to third, and consolidated second place in the unofficial points behind Baldwin.
The Pirelli World Challenge GT and GTS classes’ next race is north of the border on the streets of Toronto at Exhibition Place, July 12-14.