Tristan Littlehale battled Michael McAleenan early on, but McAleenan suffered a puncture and retired. Littlehale went on to take the win and the Championships in GTS3.

During the qualifying races, it was Michael McAleenan and Tristan Littlehale who traded positions back and forth in GTS3. When the green flag dropped for the Championship race on Sunday, Littlehale grabbed the early lead. But that lead didn’t last long because McAleenan got by Littlehale on Lap 2.

Jason Alexandridis moved up from the sixth starting position into the third spot by the 15-minute mark in the race and put himself in a position to take advantage if Littlehale and McAleenan got mixed up with each other. Then disaster struck McAleenan when he suffered a punctured tire and had to retire to the paddock. With that shake-up, it was Littlehale in first, Alexandridis in second and suddenly Toby Grahovic in third place.

Littlehale stretched out a large 33-second lead as Grahovic and Alexandridis battled for second place. Then, from the back of the pack, with less than 10 minutes left in the race, Hugh Stewart made a march forward and got by Alexandridis. Even with a large lead, Littlehale continued to hang the tail of his M3 out on the last lap to take the GTS3 win. Grahovic earned second and Stewart was awarded third.

“My TC Design-prepared M3 ran great the entire 45-minute race,” said GTS3 winner Tristan Littlehale. “It was a great weekend and it was a long weekend. It was the best racing I have ever had and the closest competition I have ever had. I was battling it out with Michael McAleenan all weekend long. Unfortunately for him, he had a tire puncture in the final race. I drove clean the entire 45 minutes, and here I am on the podium.”

“It was an awesome race,” said second place finisher Toby Grahovec. “Jason Alexandridis and I were cutting through traffic going back and forth. It was a real battle at the end with Hugh Stewart. The event was worth the three-day drive to get here from Texas. I want to thank my guys at Classic BMW. Totally worth it to be here.”

NASA Texas racer Toby Grahovec held off a hard-charging Hugh Stewart take second in GTS3.
NASA Texas racer Toby Grahovec held off a hard-charging Hugh Stewart take second in GTS3.

“Up until this point here on the podium, my weekend was very difficult,” said third-place finisher Hugh Stewart. “We were disqualified from every session due to sound violations here at Laguna Seca. The final race was the first time we drove past the five- minute mark on the course. I started last and finished third. We came all the way from Connecticut to be at this race. Last year at the Eastern States Championships race, I went from last to second. This year on the West Coast I went from last to third. Maybe next year I can start a little closer to the front and see what happens.”

Hugh Stewart started from dead last and finished on the last step of the podium in GTS3.
Hugh Stewart started from dead last and finished on the last step of the podium in GTS3.
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Image courtesy of Rob Krider