Guy Cosmo and John Baker Take The Season Finale In American Le Mans GT Challenge Class
In what Guy Cosmo described as "the toughest race I've ever driven," the Orbit Racing No. 47 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car came home a winner for the American Le Mans Challenge class at the Monterey Sports Car Championships presented by Patron at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Starting from the pole, Cosmo's third consecutive on the season, he and John Baker were originally second before the Velox Racing Porsche of Shane Lewis and Mitch Pagerey was excluded in post-race technical inspections. Gruppe Orange's Nick Parker and Don Pickering were second, Richard Rodriquez and Galen Bieker placed third for P7 Racing.
Over the full four hours of racing, there were on-track battles everywhere-- none more exciting than the battle in the Challenge class. With John Baker on the receiving end of some body damage in a four-car pile up, Cosmo's first stint at the one-hour mark already saw the team 1 lap down. Add to that a 1-lap penalty for entering the pits when they were closed, the chances of a win for the No. 47 Porsche appeared to be quickly fading.
"On the restart, I passed three or four cars in my class in those first two laps, and they then made me pit and wait for a minute," Cosmo explained. "At that point, we went down one more lap. Of course I'm thinking we're down two laps, we're basically out of contention. We might as well just plan on having me do a little bit and have John finish the race to gain more seat time, but then I realized we still had three hours to go and anything could happen."
In typical Cosmo-style, Guy began chasing down the leaders. Timing and scoring was reporting the Orbit Racing No. 47 Porsche setting fast lap after fast lap. After charging through the field and with the help of a few well-timed cautions and wave-by, Cosmo appeared to be poised and ready for he and Baker's first Challenge win.
"After the last sequence of pit stops, I just assumed we were in the lead by quite a bit," Cosmo said. "And then the guys are telling me I'm in second place and I'm down thirty-something seconds. I'm thinking, 'Who in the world is in front of us? We passed every car like three times!'"
As the race saw its conclusion, it was Cosmo just 20 feet behind the No. 38 Velox Motorsports Porsche of Shane Lewis at the checkers. What seemed impossible, in fact, was. The No. 38 car had completed the four hour event on just two pit stops. In post race inspection the race officials disallowed the win citing the No. 38 car had exceeded the regulated fuel capacity. The No. 47 Orbit Racing Porsche of Baker and Cosmo was awarded the win.
"It was pretty wild," Cosmo said. "I'm actually a little disappointed about inheriting the win as opposed to getting it on track. But I was amazed at what I was able to do on track. We were legitimately two laps down and I literally drove around everybody three times."
"I don't feel like my attitude has changed from yesterday," Cosmo said. "It's not like I'm bouncing up and down because we have the win. That's not how I wanted it. It's nice to say that at least John and I did finally win one of these races this year. We had a lot of things that went wrong here and there that kept us from winning."
A season-high total of eight cars were entered in the Challenge class for Saturday's race.
The 2010 American Le Mans Series opens with the 58th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida, scheduled for a 10:30 a.m. ET start on Saturday, March 20 from historic Sebring International Raceway.
Reflecting back on his 2005 Rookie of the Year title, Cosmo is actively pursuing a full time seat in the American Le Mans Series. With his prototype experience as a definite plus, Cosmo is confident his background is of value and would fit in with any number of ALMS teams.
"I'd really like to have an opportunity to contest the full championship in a prototype or GT car," expressed Cosmo. "These five races participating in the American Le Mans Challenge have been great, but it's hard to be around this paddock just part time. I want to be here full time, to win races and win championships. I'm ready, and the time is now. I hope I can find a program that shares the same goals as mine and get something full-time for 2010."