March 27, 2018 | Austin, Texas | As a senior in mechanical engineering at Clemson University, Alec Udell knows a thing or two about all-nighters to prepare for major exams. However, the week leading into the Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) SprintX season-opening races at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) left the 21 year-old facing a whole new kind of test and a series of late-nights to prove he was preparing hard for the challenge. While the resident of The Woodlands, Texas didn’t get the final scores at the Grand Prix of Texas that he and teammate Mathieu Jaminet (France) had hoped for, the performance shown in the No. 41 Loci Porsche 911 GT3 R prepared by GMG proved the team’s potential for 2018.
Two weeks ago, Udell was working on his remaining classes at Clemson and on opportunities for the remainder of the 2018 race season. The 2016 Pirelli World Challenge GT Cup Champion had a substantial full-season effort signed before an accident in testing by a co-driver ended the project before it got started. Once the youngest driver ever to start a PWC race, Udell was not done trying to find solutions to the latest problem facing his professional driving career. Working with GMG owner James Sofronas, the pairing put together a marketing and technical partnership with one-time GMG mechanic and current CEO of Loci, John Wise. With the financial support needed now in hand, Udell joined GMG personnel to pull the damaged Porsche from under its cover and begin repairing and rebuilding the rear-engine GT3-spec machine.
It was “all hands on deck”, including the young driver, to strip, replace parts and repair the chassis of the car, return the 4.0-liter flat-six powerplant and paddle-shift controlled gearbox to the 911. A string of late-night efforts brought the familiar roar of the Porsche back to life while the carbon fiber and Kevlar bodywork was draped in the Loci white, blue and orange corporate colors and light bulb icon logo. The car left the Houston-area shop late on Wednesday with Udell and the remaining crewmembers following it to Austin where it missed only one test session on Thursday. By the second test that afternoon, the Loci Porsche was turning lap times among the fastest of the GT SX class cars.
With the thrash behind them, Udell qualified the car in ninth-place on the grid for Saturday’s first of two, 60-minute races. Renowned for his prowess on the rolling starts of North America’s premier sprint-format GT car race series, Udell took the green flag and charged up COTA’s front straightaway deep inside the top-five before Turn One, earning the Optima Battery Best Start Award. The Texan wowed his home state crowd by running as high as second-place in his 30-minute stint behind the wheel. He entered the pit lane to hand the No. 41 Loci machine over to Jaminet in fourth-position overall. The Frenchman, a Porsche Young Professional driver, left the pit lane holding the position but as he returned to the racing surface, a competitor came across the track and struck the Porsche’s right-front corner. Jaminet parked the car and the team was unclassified for the day despite the stellar effort by all involved.
The Loci crew went to work repairing the right front fender, bumper and suspension that just days before they had installed. The car made the grid for Sunday’s race where Jaminet would run the first stint, Udell the second half of the race. As soon as the car left for the grid it was apparent something was wrong as Jaminet struggled to turn the machine. Previously unrecognized internal damage to the power steering unit was the cause. The 24 year-old Porsche driver kept the car in the top-ten before handing it over to Udell to take to the checkered flag. After a grueling 30-minutes workout without power assistance to turn the large front tires, Udell crossed under the checkered flag in seventh-place of the Pro-Pro class, tenth-place overall, still on the lead lap.
Loci, GMG and Udell will team together for the next round of the PWC GT Championship on the city street course of Long Beach, California. The Grand Prix of Long Beach, to be held April 13 – 15, is a Sprint Championship round meaning Udell will pilot the No. 41 solo in the 50-minute race. In 2017, Long Beach was the site of the Texan’s first GT Pro Class race in PWC. He had opened the year with back-to-back GT Am (Amateur) class wins in the GMG Porsche 911 GT3 R. The success mandated an immediate move to the Pro class by PWC race officials.
LOCIsearch (https://loci.io) is designed to reform the inventing process through simplifying the process and making it efficient, thereby increasing the possibility of new inventions, innovations and inspiring the next big idea. John Wise, a former automotive engineer and now CEO of Loci, developed the ideas behind LOCIsearch directly from his experiences in the automotive and racing industries. Loci is working alongside traditional processes to increase opportunities for inventors and innovators across industries like racing.
The main patent “System and method for fuzzy concept mapping, voting ontology crowd sourcing and technology prediction” has guided LOCIsearch product development from the beginning. The ideas covered in this patent have been researched and developed since 2008 by the Washington, D.C.-based company.
Udell has 17 class victories in PWC including two GTA class wins driving a 911 GT3 R last season. He captured his first career overall PWC podium at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and three top-five finishes in the SprintX Championship in 2017. At the season’s conclusion, Udell was awarded the “Hard Charger” Award for the most positioned gained throughout the year.
Alec Udell |
about COTA| “From my view, the weekend results don't show the great success we achieved this week. Getting the car on track was a feat in itself. For that, again, I have to thank the crews from Loci, M Performance, HKG, GMG and Mystery Wrapz. The car went from being in pieces to being a functioning race car in less than five days which is crazy. Our pace in the number 41 Loci Porsche 911 GT3 R was very fast, but some bad luck that followed us through the whole week kept us from meeting the expectations set for the weekend. I'm happy with the overall performance of Mathieu and myself, we've got a strong car in the Loci Porsche, so I'm looking forward to taking on Long Beach!"
about Alec Udell |
Alec Udell is a junior studying engineering at Clemson University. The 21 year-old from The Woodlands, Texas began his racing career in karting at age five. He went on to win the Rotax National Points Championship in 2008 and represented his country as part of Team USA in Egypt in the World Championships in 2009. By 2011, he made history by becoming, at the time, the Pirelli World Challenge’s youngest ever competitor at age 15. He has 17 career Pirelli World Challenge class wins and is the 2016 PWC GT Cup Champion.
about Loci |
Loci, a Northern Virginia based company is breaking down the barriers of innovation with blockchain technology. With LOCIsearch, their powerful and proprietary tool, inventors can search, stake, and sell their ideas.
John Wise, a former automotive engineer and now CEO of Loci, developed the ideas behind LOCIsearch directly from his experiences in the racing industry. Loci is working alongside traditional processes to increase opportunities for inventors and innovators across industries like racing. For more on Loci, please visit https://loci.io and on Twitter at @Loci_io.
More information on the 2018 Pirelli World Challenge can be found at www.world-challenge.com.