April 9, 2018 | Long Beach, California | Alec Udell is celebrating a career milestone this weekend at the Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) Grand Prix of Long Beach. It was here in California one year ago that the resident of The Woodlands, Texas made his first appearance at the peak of North America’s premier sprint format GT racing series as a driver in the Pro category of the GT class. On Sunday, April 15, with a full season of experience racing against the very best GT drivers in the world, the Clemson University senior will fight for the overall victory in the 50-minute race driving the No. 41 Loci Porsche 911 GT3 R prepared by GMG.
By virtue of his age and his status as a senior majoring in Mechanical Engineering at Clemson, Udell was considered a “gentleman” or “amateur” driver until April 2017. However, his resume was already arguing against that point. Udell has been racing since he was five years old, first in competitive go-karting. He progressed through the ranks representing the United States in the 2009 Karting World Championship in Egypt. At the age of 15 he became, at that time, the youngest driver to ever start a PWC race. In 2016, he earned his first PWC championship in the GT Cup class. In 2017, he moved up to the highest ranks of World Challenge earning two victories on the St. Petersburg, Florida street circuit in the GTA class. With those two victories, series officials granted Udell “Pro” status starting with the next race, the GP of Long Beach, and his amateur GTA status was dropped. Udell finished in seventh-place at the conclusion of the race against factory drivers and past champions.
One year later and the Texan is back to challenge for his first GT class victory in the Loci Porsche. He got a late start on the season missing the traditional opening rounds at St. Pete but joined with Porsche Young Professional driver Mathieu Jaminet (France) in the SprintX rounds at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas earning himself the Hard Charger Award – of which he was the season-long recipient in 2017. He earned his first Professional podium last year at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with a third-place finish.
Long Beach’s temporary circuit is the oldest street course race in the United States and presents unique obstacles for the drivers. Udell will need to thread his blue, white and orange Loci Porsche through the narrow confines of cement walls and changing track surfaces as quickly as he can. Adding to the difficulty will be the limited track time accessible to the 19 drivers entered. The first practice comes at 3:30 p.m. PDT offering 60-minutes to learn the track and tune the car. At 8:45 a.m. Saturday morning, the drivers will have only 20-minutes to fine-tune and prepare for the 25-minute qualifying session at 9:20 a.m. The next time Udell will see the track from inside the cockpit of the No. 41 Loci machine will be when the green flag falls for the 50-minute feature at 10:00 a.m. Sunday morning.
Alec Udell | “I’m a big fan of street courses and Long Beach is one of North America’s most famous events, so I am excited to be back at the Long Beach Grand Prix. I’m looking for a strong run in our Loci Porsche this weekend. We had good pace at COTA and I feel like we will be able to continue that momentum into this weekend.”