TUSC: TUDOR Championship Titles Up for Grabs During Petit Le Mans Weekend at Road Atlanta

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – official series release — IMSA photo —

All four TUDOR United SportsCar Championship class titles are up for grabs entering the 2015 season-ending Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda at Road Atlanta on Saturday, Oct. 3.

The 10-hour endurance classic will decide the driver, team and manufacturer championships in the Prototype (P), Prototype Challenge (PC), GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona (GTD) classes.

Michael Valiante and Richard Westbrook, drivers of the No. 90 VisitFlorida.com Corvette DP, enter the finale leading both Action Express Racing driver pairings by six points, 279-273, in the Prototype championship race.

Defending champions Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa share the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette DP, while Dane Cameron and Eric Curran co-drive the No. 31 Whelen Engineering/Team Fox Corvette DP, both fielded by Action Express Racing. Also in the running are Scott Pruett and Joey Hand, who won the most recent race at Circuit of The Americas in the No. 01 Ford EcoBoost/Riley, with 268 points.

“Both 2013 and 2014 were difficult years for us, but we’ve come back stronger this year,” said Westbrook, who joined Valiante in winning two races this season. “The fact that only six points are separating the three Coyotes [Corvette DP chassis] shows how even it is. I’m sure the championship is going to go down to the last hour of Petit Le Mans, which – from a fan perspective – is incredible. The championship would be an incredible achievement, but we haven’t won it yet.”

Bill Auberlen and Dirk Werner won in the GTLM class at Circuit of The Americas to close to within three points of Porsche North America driver Patrick Pilet, 279-276. Pilet joins 2015 24 Hour of Le Mans overall winner Nick Tandy in the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR, with Auberlen and Werner in the No. 25 BMW Team RLL IHG Rewards Club BMW Z4 GTLM. Corvette Racing’s Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen, drivers of the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, are 10 points back with 269, while No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 Italia drivers Giancarlo Fisichella and Pierre Kaffer are 13 points back with 266.

The closest battle is in GTD. TRG-AMR’s Christina Nielsen – on the cusp of becoming the first female driver to win a championship in major international sports car competition – leads Christopher Haase and Dion von Moltke by only one point, 256-255. Nielsen co-drives the No. 007 Royal Purple/Orion Energy/LaSalle Solutions/PassTime USA Aston Martin Vantage with Kuno Wittmer, while Haase and von Moltke are in the No. 48 Castrol EDGE Audi R8 LMS for Paul Miller Racing.

Scuderia Corsa drivers Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell, who co-drive the No. 63 Robert Graham/Royal Purple Ferrari 458 Italia, are only four points out of the lead with 252 points. Others in contention include Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen in the No. 33 ViperExchange.com Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R with 245 points; Mario Farnbacher and Ian James in the No. 23 Team Seattle/Heart of Racing Porsche 911 GT America with 242; and Leh Keen and Cooper McNeil in the No. 22 Alex Job Racing WeatherTech Porsche 911 GT America with 238.

CORE autosport drivers Jon Bennett and Colin Braun hold a 12-point lead in their bid to defend their 2014 PC title, with a total of 289 points in the No. 54 Flex-Box/Composite Resources ORECA FLM09. Should they stumble, two teams are separated by two points in the battle for second. Mike Guasch and Tom Kimber-Smith have 277 points in the No. 52 Cuttwood/Spyder ORECA from PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports, while RSR Racing co-drivers Chris Cumming and Bruno Junqueira have 275 points in the No. 11 AutoMaxUSA ORECA.

CREDIT: IMSA Communications

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