GTD McLaren 720S GT3
- Paul Holton
- Matt Plumb
Strong finish to Audi RS 3 LMS Clubsport debut sees C360R take two final wins of the season
MONTEREY, CA - Paul Holton capped off his championship season in style at the Northern California circuit known as Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, winning the final two races of the 12-race Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car season in dominating fashion. The wins earned him the Driver’s Championship and delivered Compass Racing / C360R the Team’s title.
After two challenging weekends at Utah and Austin, which saw Holton’s lead in the No. 71 Pfaff Audi / AlphaClone / Audi Genuine Parts / AERO Paint / APR / Race Day Foundation RS 3 LMS Clubsport drop precipitously (from a 40-point lead to only 8), the team knew that finishing on the podium was paramount.
“For sure, we came into the race knowing we needed to get the momentum back, and put the car back on the box,” remarked Team Principal Karl Thomson. “The BMWs made up a lot of ground after the summer break, and we were hungry for a win.”
The cool, fall weather and low-grip track surface combined to make ideal conditions for the Audi, with its high-downforce TCR configuration, and Holton notched fastest times during practice, translating into a strong effort in qualifying on Friday which netted him pole position.
Saturday was race day, and with one race in the morning and another in the afternoon, there was no room for error by driver or team. Thankfully, all were up to the task, with Paul streaking to the win in race one despite a Mazda which blistered through the pack and was hunting the No. 71 down in the closing laps. The standing start for race two was always going to be a challenge for the front-wheel-drive Audi versus the rear-wheel-drive BMWs, and Holton was swarmed on the start. Jockeying of the cars behind meant he came through turn two in second place, and made quick work of the lead car, gapping the pack as the cars behind fought for second place.
Two wins and two pole positions delivered Holton the championship, his first in professional competition. “I’m grateful to all of our partners who made this happen,” enthused Paul. “Pfaff Audi, who gave us the car and have been great partners; AlphaClone, APR, AERO and Audi Genuine Parts… none of this would have happened without them! Most of all, thanks to Karl, who knew that we could win this championship in the new Audi.”
Thomson was similarly effusive. “We were confident we had a package that could fight for wins with the RS 3 LMS and Paul at the helm. He was the class of the field all season long and we’re so proud to see him on the top step of the podium winning the Driver’s Championship. We’re looking forward to next season already!”
The off-season is short for C360R with testing scheduled throughout October, November and December. The races will be broadcast on CBS Sports and be available on the World Challenge website.