After starting on the pole but falling behind mid-race, James Sofronas earned back the lead position to take victory at the Pirelli World Challenge event held at the Long Beach Grand Prix this past weekend. Driving the No. 14 GMG/Mobil 1 Audi R8 LMS, Sofronas was near the front of the pack when the No. 9 K-PAX Racing Volvo S60, driven by Alex Figge, suffered a brake rotor failure near the end of the race and went into a wall. The No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V.R, piloted by Johnny O'Connell, jumped into the lead. O'Connell only needed to complete two laps under caution for the win.
Yet the Cadillac would never complete those laps, as a three-inch piece of debris (presumably from Figge's car) had lodged into the CTS-V.R's front end, taking out vital machinery. The fatal wound would stop O'Connell dead on the last lap, allowing Sofronas to take the checkered flag and earn top spot on the podium. It was the R8's second victory in the series and Sofronas' second career win at Long Beach.
It is of interest to note that James Sofronas is credited with bringing the R8 LMS to the States to compete in the World Challenge after watching its success overseas. The southern California resident is owner/driver for Global Motorsports Group (GMG) – we took a tour of GMS's facility last year and shot the carbon-bodied Audi R8 LMS under early development. The team brought a total of four R8's to Long Beach this year, with its No. 14 car finishing first.