April 11, 2017 | Long Beach, California | Alec Udell was thrown into the deep water of the Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) GT class at the Grand Prix of Long Beach and the 21 year-old proved he can swim with the sharks. Having won the 2016 PWC GT Cup championship and the first two rounds of the 2017 GTA (GT Amateur) class, the resident of The Woodlands, Texas was moved up to the all-pro GT category entering Round Three of the Sprint Championship. The Clemson University junior not only showed he could battle with factory drivers and past champions, he proved he could beat them. Udell finished in seventh-place at the conclusion of the 50-minute race in California piloting the No. 17 Euroworld Motorsports/GMG Porsche 911 GT3 R.
The Pirelli World Challenge has become a hot bed of competition. With the Sprint Championship’s single-driver format, factory efforts and veteran drivers – many of who have careers longer than Udell has been alive – and top-flight programs have descended on the series. When series’ officials deemed Udell capable of racing with the professionals in the GT class, they placed him among the best-of-the-best of sports car racing.
Udell hit the ground running on Friday. Despite limited track time over the course of the weekend, the Porsche Young Driver Academy graduate learned the 1.968-mile street course quickly. In fact, he found speed so fast that he led much of the second practice session finishing just behind veteran Bryan Sellers in pre-qualifying times. He then went on to qualify the Euroworld Motorsports 911 GT3 R in eighth-place.
Pirelli World Challenge is not for the faint of heart and, again, Udell showed he belonged among the sharks. Taking the green flag from the outside of Row Four, the mechanical engineering major attacked the course and the competition. An odd caution flag for a broken water line that flooded the track 20-minutes into the race paused the event with a red flag condition. During the respite, Udell had time to contemplate the remaining 30-minutes and when the track returned to green flag conditions he took the fight to veterans surrounding him… and some took it to him. While in a line of cars, nose-to-tail, the No. 17 had heavy contact from behind, severely damaging the bumper of the Clemson blue and orange machine. Udell was able to continue and finish seventh among champions from around the world. The rear-engine car will require extensive repairs be made prior to the next race. Fortunately, the Euroworld Motorsports team will have until June to make the final preparations. The PWC Sprint Championship will resume at Road America on June 23-25.
The next race for Udell will be the April 28-30 PWC SprintX Championship season-opening rounds at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR) in Alton, Virginia. Udell will join Preston Calvert in the Calvert Dynamics Porsche 911 GT3 R for the two-driver, 60-minute races on the classic American road course.
Alec Udell |
about the Long Beach race| “The Long Beach Grand Prix has always been an exciting place for Pirelli World Challenge. This year lived up to the hype! Once again the top ten cars were separated in qualifying by only half of a second. Being a street course, the race is a very physical one. I got a few shunts and dished out a few, exactly what I expected at the professional level of competition in GT. I was able to hold my ground in our Euroworld Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R and come out ahead of where I qualified.”
about the intense competition | “Every race is closer competition than the race prior. If you saw the race you definitely could see the fierceness in the competition out on track. It just goes to show what a destination this series has become. The crew at GMG gave me a great car for the race. I was able to run consistent quick laps and stay up in the top ten. We've still got some work to do, it's splitting hairs out there, we're talking two or three-tenths of a second. It's crazy. I'm confident we're making great progress with the Euroworld Motorsports Porsche and am extremely happy with our efforts this weekend. However exciting the street courses are, I'm happy to make it through relatively unscathed, a few bumps and bangs on the carbon fiber bumpers, nothing Euroworld Motorsports can't handle fixing!”
About Alec Udell |
Alec Udell is a junior studying engineering at Clemson University. The 21 year-old from The Woodlands, Texas began his racing career in karting at age five. He went on to win the Rotax National Points Championship in 2008 and represented his country as part of Team USA in Egypt in the World Championships in 2009. By 2011, he made history by becoming, at the time, the Pirelli World Challenge’s youngest ever competitor at age 15. He has 15 career Pirelli World Challenge GT Cup class wins entering the season and is the 2016 PWC GT Cup Champion.
About Euroworld Motorsports |
2017 is the third season Udell partners with Euroworld Motorsports (www.euroworldmotorsports.com). Euroworld is the country’s only certified automotive carbon fiber repair facility. Based in Houston, they are one of Texas’s leading European auto repair and performance facility.
Bio and Images Available Upon Request
More information on the 2017 Pirelli World Challenge can be found at www.world-challenge.com .