LEXINGTON, Ohio (May 21, 2005) – Wolf Henzler had started from the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT pole twice before in 2005, only to be overtaken later on in the race. -30-
At the SPEED GT event Presented by Trenton Forging Quality Formed Solutions at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Henzler made sure that wouldn’t happen again, simply by leading start to finish in his newly-painted No. 55 Applied Materials/Farnbacher Loles Porsche 911 Cup, averaging 77.969 mph and taking the checkered flag by 0.657-sec. over the No. 12 Team Cadillac/XM Radio/Mobil 1/Motorola/On Star Cadillac CTS-V driven by John Heinricy, who made a last-ditch effort to catch Henzler but came up just short.
The 29-lap, 65.481-mile race endured two full-course cautions that covered seven laps, each time closing Henzler’s leads that hovered near the one-second mark. Henzler said before the race that he felt having less REWARDS weight than the other front-runners was a definite advantage, but that the cautions made him work.
“They (the cautions) were bad because I had a problem with braking going into turn six,” Henzler said. “My car wasn’t so good with braking there. John [Heinricy] was better there and he was close. After the second restart he was very, very close, but not close enough to overtake me.”
In a guest appearance role, Heinricy drove for Team Cadillac on his home course, hoping to continue the surging momentum that the team had built after its podium sweep at Road Atlanta. While he wasn’t able to come away with a win, he posted the race’s fastest lap (1:29.258, 91.070 mph) on lap 25 and forced Henzler to drive a nearly perfect race down the stretch to get the win.
“Wolf did a great job with the Porsche ahead of me,” Heinricy said. “We had done a lot of work on the Cadillacs, trying to get it ready. We worked here on the setup a couple of weeks ago and felt we had the car as good as we were going to be able to get it for the race here.
“I saved the tires as much as I could early on, and then after the second restart gave it all I had, but Wolf, obviously, had more than I did. We picked up the pace quite a bit and had some fun those last few laps.”
Asked about his immediate future, Heinricy left the impression that he may have another shot at earning a victory for Cadillac in 2005.
“Nothing official has been announced, but if everything goes right, I think I will get another chance in a race again this year,” Heinricy, who is also a General Motors engineer, said. “I am hoping that’s the case, but we’ll just have to see how the rest of the season goes.”
Heinricy’s teammate Max Papis followed up his Road Atlanta win with a solid third-place performance in the No. 12 Cadillac CTS-V, while Lou Gigliotti, in the No. 28 LG Pro Long Tube Headers Chevrolet Corvette C6 and Andy Pilgrim, in the No. 8 Cadillac CTS-V, finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Papis said that he felt before the weekend started that the 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio course would favor the lighter Porsches. Now that SPEED GT turns its attention toward Round Five at Cleveland, Papis said he felt that the Cadillac team would have a strong showing.
“I feel that Cleveland is going to be a great race track,” said Papis, who has raced there previously in other series. “It gives a couple of different lines to race, which I really like.”
Ritch Marziale, in the No. 56 Muzzy Racing/All-Cut Concrete Dodge Viper, won the Sunoco Hard Charger Award for advancing nine positions to 12th after beginning the race in 21st.
Liddell earned the B&M Oil Coolers “Coolest Move the Race” Award for moving from last to 13th in the race’s final six laps. Liddell moved around Leighton Reece’s Corvette on lap 16, but the two made contact on lap 17 in the Carousel, ending Reece’s day and putting Liddell to the back of the pack after replacing a flat tire.
Henzler’s win pushes him into third place in the SPEED GT Drivers’ Point Championship with 85, behind leader Tommy Archer, who has 108 points after finishing sixth in the No. 1 c3controls/3R-Racing Dodge Viper, and Pilgrim, who now has 100 points after Saturday’s race. Papis is fourth, with 81 points, and Liddell is fifth, with 79.
Cadillac took over the SCCA Pro Racing World Challenge Manufacturer’s Championship Presented by Racer Magazine lead with 26 points, followed by Dodge and Porsche, which are tied with 22 points apiece and Chevrolet, with 10.
The SPEED World Challenge GT race, Presented by Trenton Forging Quality Formed Solutions, from Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course will be broadcast on SPEED Channel Saturday, May 29, at 4 p.m. (EDT).
For more information about this event, including full results and post-race coverage, visit www.world-challenge.com.
For more information, visit the Mid-Ohio event homepage at http://www.world-challenge.com/2005/events/moh/