Ontario Racer Rob Sabato Leading Championship!
O’NEILL LOOKS FORWARD TO THIS WEEKEND’S EVENTS AT HIS “HOMETOWN” RACETRACK
MONTEREY, CA (September 12, 2011) - When Patrick O’Neill switched from the Star Mazda series to the
Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship at the start of the 2010 racing season, he knew at least
one of the tracks on the sports car circuit would be familiar – Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The
Northern Irishman considers it a home track for him, as it’s one of the closest circuits to his
adopted home of San Rafael, California.
“Laguna Seca is one of my favorite tracks,” said O’Neill, driving the #64 O’Neill Construction Élan
DP02 for Performance Tech Motorsports. “It’s a total driver’s track and it’s got something for
everybody – and every time you come over the Corkscrew, you can’t believe the whole view in front of
you. It’s a cool track.”
Every track has its secrets, and Mazda Raceway is no different. Drivers learn quickly that what
might look easy isn’t necessarily so.
“There are parts of the track where you think you can pass, but you really can’t. So you’ve got to
be very careful, you’ve got to set up a pass during the lap prior and then make it - because unless
somebody blows it and opens the door for you, you’re not going to get it. So unless you force
someone into a situation where they have to give it to you, they’re not going to give it to you so
you have to be prepared to take it. It’s a track that rewards consistency, so if you’re a technical
driver, you’ll do well here.”
O’Neill came to the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship last season after several years in the
Star Mazda series. The Monterey event was in May last year and the first race for O’Neill in the
Lites car, so it took a short while to come up to speed on the familiar track in an unfamiliar car –
but not that long, as he qualified fourth for both races and scored a third-place finish in the 30-
minute race on Saturday. During the 75-minute endurance event on Sunday, an incident on lap 22 put
him out of the race.
“I’ve been coming here since 2005 - every time Star Mazda came here, then last year with Lites, and
it was interesting to come here with Lites after all the open wheel experience. When I first got
into the Lites car, it really did take a few laps before I got it. It was that hard to get used to –
the Star Mazda might be more nimble, but it’s less forgiving. The Lites car has good downforce and
will hold you there a little longer, whereas in the Star Mazda, you turn in and she just goes off –
and you’re not getting it back again. But the two are very compatible – they’re different kinds of
fun! The Lites series is fun because of the people involved, how competitive it is and the way IMSA
runs it – they really pay attention to it.
“We showed up for the first time in the car last year and the first practice, with my knowledge of
the track we were second and third – and in the first race, I got my first podium in the car! I
could have won the enduro, but I had an incident in turn two; and I have to say, I should have had
the bigger picture in mind there. An enduro is about coming home – it isn’t about winning the
corner, it’s about winning the race. But it was good, so I was looking forward to coming back. It’ll
be game on. I hope I can get on the podium again!”
O’Neill currently sits in sixth place in a very tough Lites 1 championship battle; the top four
drivers (Ricardo Vera, Antonio Downs, Jonathan Gore and Gerry Kraut) are separated by a mere nine
points. In the Lites 2 chase, Robert Sabato has rewritten the class record books, winning an
incredible eight of 10 races. Rookie Alan Wilzig looks set for second place with veteran Jim Garrett
on the sidelines following a practice crash at Road America. Sabato’s teammates Michal Chlumecky and
Max De Angelis will duke it out for third position in the year-end point standings.
The series is divided into two classes: Lites 1, featuring the Élan DP02 chassis, powered by a 2.3-
liter, four-cylinder Mazda MP2 engine; and Lites 2, utilizing the West WX10 and WR1000 chassis, with
either a Kawasaki ZX10R or a Suzuki GSXR motor.
The Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship will have two races on the weekend schedule – a 30-
minute race on Saturday at 9:00am and a 60-minute endurance event Sunday at 9:15am. Visit
www.prototypelites.com for live timing and scoring and updates throughout the race weekend.
Re: Ontario Racer Rob Sabato Leading Championship!
In this morning's practice at Laguna, P1 in the L2 class was not Rob but Scott Tucker - Rob was P2. Qualifying a bit later on this afternoon.
Tucker is also driving his P2 car in ALMS and his GT3 Cup car as well this weekend. That is one less that 2 weeks ago at Road America when he also ran his Trans Am car as well!!!
Re: Ontario Racer Rob Sabato Leading Championship!
Vera increases championship lead in L1, while Sabato clinches L2 title
MONTEREY, CA (September 18, 2011) – The Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship is the stepping
stone for drivers who want to move up to the prototype ranks of the American Le Mans Series
Presented by Tequila Patrón – and today’s one-hour, 38-lap Round 12 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
gave each of the Lites drivers the chance to experience a piece of what that experience might
18-year-old rookie Ricardo Vera, with two LMPC races under his belt with his Intersport Racing team,
took his second victory of the season from the pole position to increase his lead in the Lites 1
driver championship, as Robert Sabato clinched the Lites 2 championship with a second-place finish
behind Level 5 Motorsports’ Scott Tucker.
It was a wild hour, with multiple spins as drivers came to grips (pun intended) with the race
distance that was twice as long as their usual stint. Antonio Downs, driving the #4 Eurosport
Racing/Lamex Foods Élan DP02, took the lead in turn two on the second lap, only to spin on lap 18
and lose the lead back to Vera. Coming back from a full course caution on lap 26, Downs used Tucker
as a pick to get around Vera on the restart, but Vera returned the favor in turn two on lap 30.
Downs spun on the last lap, handing second place to San Rafael’s Patrick O’Neill, who considers
Laguna Seca one of his home tracks.
The victory gives Vera a 15-point lead on Downs going into the last two races of the year at Petit
“It was a good start,” said Vera. “We got some yellow flags and kept the lead. We had a great battle
with Antonio. My team did a great job with the car’s setting – I definitely had a P1 car! It was
tough, driving the car for an hour, but we can handle it. I’m looking forward to winning the
championship in Atlanta!”
“It was a long hour!” said Downs. “It was one of the most exciting races I’ve ever had. These guys
are a lot of fun to race against – Ricardo didn’t make a mistake. Unfortunately, I made a couple,
one of them on the last lap and Patrick got by. But I drove my heart out and gave them all I had.
The full course cautions allowed us to catch our breath, so the hour-long race wasn’t bad – and when
your car is set up as well as mine was, it’s easy to drive.”
“That was awesome,” said O’Neill. “It teaches you what the big guys in ALMS do – save the tires,
pick a lap time and stick to it, regardless of what everyone else is doing. You have to stay in
touch, but you have to save some. We got that late yellow, so in the last 10 minutes, it was “go”
time. I started moving through the field – I think I could have caught Ricardo with a few more
minutes. But it definitely teaches you that patience is a virtue!”
Tucker, driving the #5 Level 5 Motorsports West WR1000, was one of the few names that didn’t show up
on the ‘spun’ list.
“I tried to keep it like that!” said Tucker. “It’s really an art with this car. We had to run with
10 gallons, and we never run with that much fuel, so the balance was really different at the start.
So we had to adapt to that. And the track got really dirty, which it always does. So you really had
to tiptoe through spots. So I had to tone it down a little bit – which is good, because you have to
And for Sabato, clinching the championship was secondary at the end of the one-hour endurance test.
“That was a fantastic, fun race,” said Sabato. “It was the most beating I’ve ever taken from the L1
cars, but it was fun. I wish I’d had another 15 minutes – I got within three seconds of Scott before
I went off on my own, but with a little more time, who knows? But I loved the hour race!”
The Prototype Lites mission is two-fold: present an opportunity for semi-professional race car
drivers to compete in a world-class environment while also providing an avenue for drivers to move
up the ladder into the LMPC or LMP classes in the American Le Mans Series Presented by Tequila
Patrón. The series is divided into two classes: Lites 1, featuring the Élan DP02 chassis, powered by
a 2.3-liter, four-cylinder Mazda MP2 engine; and Lites 2, utilizing the West WX10 and WR1000
chassis, with either a Kawasaki ZX10R or a Suzuki GSXR motor.
The Cooper Tires Prototype Lites season will end with Rounds 13 and 14 at Petit Le Man September 28
- 30. The series will have two 30-minute races at Road Atlanta – Thursday at 12:50pm and Friday at
9:15am EDT. For full results, live timing, news and schedule information, visit
Race Report - Round 12
Pos Pos No Class Driver Team Lap Make Status
1 1 37 L1 Ricardo Vera Intersport Racing 38 Elan DP02
2 2 64 L1 Patrick O'Neill Performance Tech 38 Elan DP02
3 3 4 L1 Antonio Downs Eurosport Racing 38 Elan DP02
4 4 55 L1 Gerry Kraut JDC Motorsports 38 Elan DP02
5 5 79 L1 Lucas Downs Eurosport Racing 38 Elan DP02
6 6 2 L1 David Ducote Intersport Racing 38 Elan DP02
7 7 14 L1 Jonathan Gore Comprent Motor Sp 38 Elan DP02
8 8 96 L1 Daniel Mancini(M) Performance Tech 38 Elan DP02
9 9 34 L1 Jon Brownson Eurosport Racing 38 Elan DP02
10 10 00 L1 Owen Kratz(M) Ferrari of Houston 38 Elan DP02
11 11 94 L1 Darryl Shoff Leslie Racing Sv 37 Elan DP02
12 1 5 L2 Scott Tucker Level 5 Mts 37 West WR1000
13 2 22 L2 Robert Sabato 6th Gear Racing 37 West WR1000
14 3 7 L2 Max DeAngelis 6th Gear Racing 35 West WR1000
15 12 44 L1 Richard Fant(M) Ferrari of Houston 30 Elan DP02 Not
16 13 6 L1 Daniel Goldburg Performance Tech 26 Elan DP02 Not
17 4 30 L2 Michal Chlumecky6th Gear Racing 20 West WR1000 Not
18 5 41 L2 Brian Fowler Ansa Motorsports 14 West WR1000 Not
19 6 15 L2 Alan Wilzig(M) Wilzig Racing 6 West WR1000 Not
20 14 3 L1 Wayne Ducote Intersport Racing 0 Elan DP02 Not
(M) Masters Class
Lap Leaders Cautions
Laps Car Laps Reason
1-2 37 23 - 25 Car 30 off course
3-18 4 27 - 28 Car 6 off course
|Thread||Thread Starter||Forum||Replies||Last Post|
|List of Participants, 2006 Mobil1 Ontario SoloSprint Championship - June 24/25, 2006||Anamaria||Time Attack Specific Forum||21||06-21-2006 06:47 PM|
|List of Participants, 2006 Mobil1 Ontario SoloSprint Championship - June 10/11, 2006||Anamaria||Time Attack Specific Forum||20||06-06-2006 11:05 PM|
|Ontario Indoor Go Kart Championship||karlt||General Discussion||5||11-11-2005 09:32 PM|
|Ontario F-1600 Championship Series now under new Management||Crusher45||Road Race Specific Forum||3||10-06-2005 11:12 PM|