Round 3 Racing Takes WRL Win and Podium at COTA

Round 3 Racing Takes WRL Win and Podium at COTA

05.12.2021: It’s a Texas takeover for Round 3 Racing (R3R) as the team took the GP1 class win and second place in GP3 in the opening race on Saturday of the World Racing League (WRL) season at Circuit of the Americas.

It’s a Texas takeover for Round 3 Racing (R3R) as the team took the GP1 class win and second place in GP3 in the opening race on Saturday of the World Racing League (WRL) season at Circuit of the Americas.

The double podium finish marks the 17th and 18th podium appearances for R3R this season.

No. 701 Team Cooper Tires Porsche Cayman (GP1)

The Team Cooper Tires trio of Loni Unser, Mike Gilbert and Mo Dadkhah crossed the finish line first after eight hours of racing to take the GP1 class victory.

Starting on the second row in third, Unser suited up for the race start. With a field of 98 entries, the opening laps brought dense traffic for the young driver to navigate. Unser kept the No. 701 Porsche in the lead group for 29 laps before bringing the car to pit lane to hand over to Dadkhah.

Clean maneuvers by Dadkhah and Gilbert during the second through fourth hours kept the No. 701 in contention as door-to-door racing brought out full course cautions. Strategy calls by team engineer Steve Mason saw the No. 701 Porsche pushed to its full capacity running to the final drops of fuel each stint.

Lady Luck was on the side of the No. 701 Porsche when the competitor ahead received a penalty with 20 minutes remaining. The race control call elevated the No. 701 Team Cooper Tires Porsche Cayman into the lead to secure the class win - the second GP1 victory of the season for Unser, Gilbert, and Dadkhah.

“It came down to that penalty,” said Dadkhah. “I exited pit lane on the tail of the class leader and knew what I had to do. Then (Steve) Mason came over the radio and told me to go into fuel save mode. I kept thinking to myself how I was going to be able to catch him if I had to save fuel and really began to doubt myself.

Internally, I told myself to shut up and learn how to drive this track as Mason needed me too. When the yellow came out I saw the leader pass under yellow but didn’t think they had been penalized. When I passed start/ finish (Steve) Mason came over the radio and said you won that race. I had goosebumps. It was the first time in sports I've ever cried. It's unbelievable.”

No. 605 Hagerty Drivers Club Porsche Boxster (GP3)

 The No. 605 Hagerty Drivers Club Porsche Boxster of Carter Pease, Cole Loftsgard, Dennis Neel, and Jim Ptak returned to the WRL GP3 podium for the eighth time this season. The second place result is the driver team’s first at COTA.

Loftsgard took the first stint of the day and worked the tools in the Porsche to push the No. 605 two laps past the fuel window of the GP3 class. He then returned to pit lane for a full tank of fuel and driver change. The extended fuel range allowed Loftsgard, Pease, Neel, and Ptak to create a one lap lead to the position behind.

While the race clock ticked, the team behind the wheel of the No. 605 maintained their position in second while on-track incidents by competitors brought out six full course cautions and packed the field. The Boxster utilized the extended fuel window yet again to bring home the second place finish in the GP3 field.

The No. 605 Hagerty Drivers Club Porsche Boxster now sits five points behind the lead of the Overall National Championship. The title comes down to tomorrow’s final eight hour race of the season.

No. 601 Team Sentinel Porsche Boxster (GP2)

The No. 601 Team Sentinel Porsche Boxster of Hannah Grisham, James Candelaria, Christian Maloof battled through adversity to take the checkered flag in the Boxster’s final race weekend with R3R.

 Maloof’s opening stint placed the Boxster in the top three of the GP2 class where the team stayed for the majority of the eight-hour race. The Sentinel drivers remained in contention through the on-track melee for a strong finish but on lap 60, Grisham was forced to bring the No. 601 Porsche to the garage as the crew diagnosed a broken wheel bearing

The No. 601 Team Sentinel Porsche Boxster came to the finish in ninth.

No. 401 Team Hagerty BMW M4 GT4 (GTO)

In its debut race with R3R, the No. 401 Team Hagerty BMW M4 GT4 of Sarah Montgomery, Buz McCall and Brad McCall used the opening race of the weekend to learn the new machinery. Montgomery qualified the BMW on the front row in second ahead of the field of 49 GTO entries. She was quickly catching the lead car of NASCAR pros before a broken alternator belt brought the BMW to the garage just after the two hour mark.

 Once the No. 401 BMW returned to the course, the McCalls traded the driving duties back and forth utilizing track time behind the wheel before the Team Hagerty entry returned to the garage for the remainder of the race.

The Round 3 Racing team returns for the final eight-hour endurance race of the season Sunday, December 5th at 8:00am CT. The National Championship will be decided when the checkered flag flies at the conclusion of the race at 4:00pm CT.

Paige N. Grimmer- photos WRL


05.12.2021 / MaP

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