MONTEREY, Cal, (Sept. 15, 2015) -The 2015 Pirelli World Challenge race season came to a close this weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in a spectacular fashion. With three wins, 10 podiums and 20 top-five finishes, EFFORT Racing finished 2015 as the GT Team Champions by 155 points over the Driver Championship winners, Cadillac Racing. The team was also recognized for their dedication and success, and were presented with the Crew of the Year award at the finale banquet. Despite missing three races, driver Ryan Dalziel finished an impressive third in the GT Championship and GTA-turned GT driver Michael Lewis earned top Rookie honors.
The battle for the GT championship came down to the final race, a 55 minute sprint following a standing start. Dalziel dropped from 3rd to 4th position at the start, but remained close to the leaders, battling for position in the top five throughout the entirety of the race. Teammate Michael Lewis started in 8th, and celebrated a successful start, gaining two positions by lap 5. True to form, Lewis raced clean and consistent, biding his time as the action ahead of him grew heated.Championship contenders Olivier Beretta in the Ferrari and Johnny O’Connell in the Cadillac remained close to Dalziel, and in sportsman like fashion, he kept clear and maintained his tires as the battles grew heated. Contact between the Ferrari and the Cadillac pushed the Cadillac back to 14th and just a few laps later, the Ferrari parked on the front straight with a mechanical issue. For both EFFORT Racing drivers, the patience and sportsmanship paid off, and Ryan Dalziel brought home his 8th podium of the season, with Michael Lewis two positions behind in 5th.
“We are so proud of our whole team that dedicated themselves to our season goals back in January,” said EFFORT Racing Owner Chuck Toups. “We focused and retooled our paddock and procedures to reduce variables that could impact our on track performance. The team kept the Porsche 911 GT3 R in a competitive position throughout the season and the team pulled us through to the championship. We are ecstatic to complete the year and salute all of our competitors in the PWC field.”
The team kicked off race week by announcing their plans for 2016, which will bring their return to Pirelli World Challenge with two new Porsches. The team will also continue the Porsche Motorsport North America Young Driver Program: a program that combines the endeavors of PMNA and EFFORT Racing to provide young racers from the Porsche Young Drivers Academy and the Porsche/IMSA Driver Scholarship with the opportunity to race in Pirelli World Challenge’s GT Amateur class. Drivers for the team will be announced in December. For more information, visit effortracing.com.
Ryan Dalziel // No. 31 Porsche 911 GT3 R
It was kind of the race week we expected. We knew we didn’t have the pace of the Ferraris. I don’t think we expected the pace of the Cadillacs. We did the best we could with the tools we had today. I’m proud of the whole team for such a great season. We missed three races and still managed to finish 3rd in the championship. We were still in contention until the past couple laps. Hopefully we can come back next year with the new cars. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with this team, and am ready to kick off the celebrations tonight.Michael Lewis // No. 41 Porsche 911 GT3 R
A top 5 finish: That’s what we strived to get after yesterday’s qualifying and that’s what we did. There was a lot of chaos with this being the last race of the championship. The main players were all going hard. I was told by my engineer and my team to just be calm and let others make the mistakes. That’s exactly what happened, and I finished 5th with cars flying off everywhere. I made a few good passes on the start, and even caught up to my teammate Ryan and helped him in his battle against the Cadillac in the remaining laps. Third place for Ryan and fifth for myself, and the last race of the season with EFFORT Racing. It was an awesome year and a great way to cap it off. I can’t thank Team Management Chuck, Erin, Stefan and Melissa enough for this year.