TORONTO – Kuno Wittmer (GT) and Mark Wilkins (GTS) scored victories in their home country at Sunday’s Pirelli World Challenge at the Honda Indy Toronto, round 10 of the 2014 season.
Additionally, Michael Mills captured the GT-A victory to provide EFFORT Racing its second win of the weekend.
The win is Wittmer’s seventh of his career; he drove the No. 92 Dodge/SRT Motorsports Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R. Wilkins’ fifth and second this season in the No. 38 PutOnTheBrakes.org Kia Optima came at a new closest GTS margin of victory, .039 of a second over Alec Udell. Winning in Canada means a lot to both drivers.
“It’s extremely special,” Wittmer said. “There’s not a lot of Canadian events in North American series; so when you do have a chance to race in front of your home crowd, it’s really special because you grew up racing in Canada. You look up to be at this level.”
Added Wilkins, “The first time I raced here was Canadian Formula Ford in 2001; that was a long time ago. In 2003 I was leading in Formula Renault and got taken out. It’s a great feeling to win. There’s not a lot of opportunities to race on Canadian soil and you have to make the most of them. That was the goal. Thanks to the fans.”
In GT, Wittmer staged a huge battle with his Saturday nemesis and round nine winner Nick Tandy in the No. 31 EFFORT Racing Porsche GT3 R after both drivers passed polesitter Mike Skeen in the No. 2 Hawk Performance Audi R8 Ultra in the opening laps.
Wittmer started second but passed Skeen on the run down to turn three on the opening lap, around the outside, a move that was named the Cadillac CTS-V Move of the Race. Tandy, who started third, eventually made it past Skeen on lap seven. From there, it appeared Tandy had the advantage, as he looked inside and outside to try to pass Wittmer, but was never able to make it past.
A single caution flag on lap 13 – caused following contact between Bret Curtis, of Austin, Texas, in the No. 32 Spectra Resources/United Steel Supply/Valspar Paint Audi R8 Ultra and Walt Bowlin, of Tarpon Springs, Fla. in the No. 23 Tampa Bay Jaw Surgery Centers Audi R8 Ultra exiting turn three into turn four – tightened the field.
But from the restart on Lap 16, the battle once again could rage. Anthony Lazzaro in the No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 made the Invisible Glass Clean Pass of the race, getting around Skeen for third place following the restart.
Although Tandy came close, his race would end in sheer disappointment following a spin on lap 23 at turn one following contact with Wittmer. Nick Mancuso in the No. 16 R. Ferri Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italia GT3, hit Tandy exiting the corner as Tandy was trying to right his car. That knocked both drivers out of the race; Tandy was left stranded at turn two for the remainder of the day.