BOWMANVILLE, Ontario – Race fans dream about finishes like Race One of the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama Series today. Eleven one-hundredths of a second separated first and second under the checkers at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on Saturday.
Madison Snow and Angel Benitez Jr., second and third in points entering the weekend, battled until the bitter end of the first Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix event resulting in a spectacular “picture perfect” photo finish.
On the final straightaway of the last lap, Snow made an over-under pass to get by Benitez just before the finish line. The 17-year-old displayed talents well beyond his years to claim his third title of the 2013 season and take the lead in series points standings.
“I was pushing harder than I ever have before,” Snow said. “It was such a hard race. (Angel) Benitez is so fast but on the last lap, last corner, I just finally got him. He was going to block on the inside so I went really wide on that corner, just did an over-under and got him on the front straight.”
Snow led the grid for the first 11 of 33 laps before Benitez took over. Benitez held a solid lead for 16 laps of his own, but by the 27th time around the circuit Snow was putting the pressure back on the NGT Motorsport driver.
Only one tenth of a second separated the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars as they took the white flag for the final trip around the 2.459-mile circuit.
“We drove as hard as we could and sometimes you have to have a little bit of luck and this time it was on the side of Madison (Snow). So we’re just focusing on tomorrow and hoping to take the victory back,” Benitez said.
Despite taking the second step on the podium, Benitez proved he still had plenty of speed in the last quarter of the race, by turning the fastest lap of all competitors with a time of 1:22.489 on lap 18.
Meanwhile, the drama behind the leaders was no less intense. On lap 23, eight tenths of a second separated Brett Sandberg and Sloan Urry, until the two were side-by-side in lap 29. Shortly after, Sandberg made a move on the inside and bumped Urry, sending him back for a fourth place finishing position.
In the Gold Cup category, Michael Levitas built up his already substantial lead in the standings with a Race One victory, but the win didn’t lack pressure from other competitors. Danny Gianfrancesco and Franck Silah stayed right with the TPC Racing driver throughout the duration of the 45-minute sprint.