2014 Tudor Series: P2 Prototypes Dominate at Laguna Seca
This past weekend was a thrilling one at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. With five separate Series competing in a total of eight races throughout the weekend, there was not a moment without on-track action. The weekend’s race activities began with the first of two Mazda MX-5 Cup races on Friday afternoon, and ended late Sunday afternoon with the second of two Porsche GT3 cup races.
And in between these supporting races, Round 4 of the Tudor United SportsCar Championship took place in somewhat of an odd fashion for the Series. With close to 60 cars and over 100 drivers, the pit lane at Laguna Seca was just not big enough to handle the entire Tudor field. For this reason, fans were treated to two separate races.
The first Tudor Series race of the weekend featured Prototype Challenge (PC) cars and GT Daytona (GTD) cars. At the end of the two hour race, the #8 Starworks Motorsport driven by Mirco Schultis and Renger van der Zande, featuring the beautiful Martini livery in the photo above. The #8 Oreca-Chevrolet FML09 Martini machine was running in 4th for a majority of the race, but took over the lead as the race’s end approached, when leader Bruno Junqueira pitted for fuel, and the 2nd place #38 Performance Tech Motorsports driven by David Ostella spun and hit the wall at the exit of Turn 3. This was Starworks first Class victory in the Tudor Series.
There was nothing but heartbreak in the GTD category. The #45 Flying Lizards Audi R8 LMS driven by Spencer Pumpelly had an 11-second lead at the start of the race’s last lap. His fuel gauge indicated he could go around Laguna’s 2.238 mile course one more time for the finish. But at the top of the corkscrew, he quickly realized that was not the case. His Audi came to a halt just shy of the course’s finish. And by then, Dane Cameron and the #94 Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 had already gone by for the GTD Class win.
The second race Sunday featured the two principal classes in the Tudor Series – the Prototype (P) Class along with the highly competitive GT Le Mans (GTLM) field. After a blistering fast two hours, the #2 Tequila Patron HPD ARX-03b/Honda became the first P2 Prototype to take an overall win in a Tudor Series event. Driven by Ed Brown and Johannes van Overbeek, the Extreme Speed Motorsports duo finished the two-hour caution-free race with an average speed of 97.318 mph. van Overbeek took the #2 ESM machine from 12th to first in less than 16 laps, passing the #10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP driven by Jordan Taylor, with 15 minutes left in the race. Scott Pruett and his co-driver Memo Rojas finished third behind #10 car in their #1 Telcel Ford EcoBoost/Riley machine.
As we mentioned in the beginning of this story, the weekend featured non-stop on-track racing action. For many fans, a highlight of the weekend was the first visit of the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo series to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The field of more than 10 cars took to the track for two 50-minute races along the course of the weekend. In the end, Andrew Palmer, driver of the #14 Lamborghini of Beverly Hills machine took the checkered flag first in both races.
In all, this was one of the best weekend’s we’ve seen at Mazda Raceway. There was simply no shortage of incredible racing each minute of each day. We look forward to our next trip to the famous Corkscrew in two weeks, for the Ferrari Challenge’s stop at Laguna Seca, taking place on the weekend of May 16-17.