2015 CLASS CHAMPIONS
Jason Wolfe wrapped up his
bust-to-boom 2015 TCA season
with two wins and a podium at
the Laguna Seca finale.
GT’s class for non-pro
drivers went to Frank
Montecalvo after a strong
second half to his season
that included seven wins
from the last nine races.
dominated the Porsche
991 Super Cup-only class,
taking 13 wins and 16
poles from 18 races. Sloan
Urry was best of the rest.
Johan Schwartz and the
TechSport Racing team battled
nine performance adjustments
to still come out top in TCB.
COOPER STEPS UP WITH THE BIG DOGS
WOLFE FIGHTS BACK SCHWARTZ SUCKS IT UP
Developing Cadillac’s all-new ATS-V GT3
racer should have been challenge enough
for Johnny O’Connell in his quest for a
fourth-straight Pirelli World Challenge GT
title. So watching his car reduced to ashes
at Barber Motorsport Park’s seventh
round only added to the burden. But
when the going gets tough...
Sure enough, come the Mazda
Raceway Laguna Seca finale, the
irrepressible O’Connell/Cadillac Racing
combo found itself head to head with
Olivier Beretta’s R.Ferri Motorsport
Ferrari 458 Italia for the championship.
The Barber blaze, caused by a fuel-pump
leak, proved pivotal for O’Connell. Forced
into the ATS-V test mule for the Mosport
double-header, he dug deep for a double
win that kick-started his title charge.
Two more victories came at Miller
Motorsports Park, but Beretta’s
early-season run of three wins from the
first five races and his consistent podiums
thereafter ensured O’Connell couldn’t be
in coast ’n’ collect mode at the finale.
Come the race, more drama ensued,
with a lunge by Beretta in Turn 8 leaving
O’Connell down in 12th place as the
Ferrari driver remained in the title frame.
But in a final twist, Beretta tagged the
Turn 11 wall and posted a DNF, confirming
Caddy’s talisman as the champ once again.
Former Mazda MX- 5 Cup and PWC
Touring Car champ Michael Cooper
added a hard-fought GTS title in
2015, toughing it out in his
Blackdog Speed Shop Chevy
Camaro Z/28 against a fleet of
potent Ford Mustang Boss 302s
and the ever-competitive Jack
Baldwin’s Porsche Cayman.
“Bringing the new Z/28 into the
series definitely presented some
challenges in the first half of the
year,” says Cooper. “The overall
level of competition was so stout,
and with this being my first year in
the class, it took some time to get
used to that and to learn what it
takes to race with these guys.”
Despite the learning curve,
Cooper won the second race of
the COTA season-opener, but
would have to wait until round 11
at Mid-Ohio to add a second. Two
more in the last six races put him in
the driving seat as the Mustang
onslaught lost a little steam.
But despite not claiming a Drivers’
title, Ford’s four Mustang wins, split
between four different drivers, and
the consistent scoring of runner-up
Andrew Aquilante ( 12 top- 5 finishes
to go with his lone win at Elkhart
Lake) ensured it would take the
Baldwin completed the top three
in Drivers’ points, winning at Mosport.
Eight wins, including seven in the last
nine races, delivered Kinetic Motorports
Kia Forte Koup racer Jason Wolfe a
second-straight TCA title. But that doesn’t
even start to tell the story of a season in
which Wolfe and the Kinetic crew (or
should that be krew?) grabbed victory
from the jaws of defeat following a
car-destroying crash at Mosport. Burning
the midnight oil, the team had built a
brand-new car for the next event, Road
America, and picked up a haul of valuable
points before going on that late-season,
multi-win tear, beginning at Mid-Ohio.
The thing about the Pirelli World
Challenge’s ongoing performance
adjustments is that you shouldn’t take
them personally. If, like Johan Schwartz,
you feel as if you’re being hammered
every time you turn a wheel, you take it
as a compliment, right? Because getting
pulled back means you were ahead...
For Chevy Sonic driver Schwartz,
despite a raft of air restrictor and weight
tweaks over the season, nine TCB wins
from 18 rounds, including three-race
sweeps at COTA and Mid-Ohio, was an
impressive way to earn a championship.
Michael Cooper’s GTS Drivers’ Championship
made it three straight for Blackdog Speed Shop
Racing, Lawson Asch doubling up in 2013-’ 14.
Johnny O’Connell delivers
again for Cadillac Racing.