Alec Udell Becomes First American to Win SRO GT4 European Championship

As 2019 began, Alec Udell was searching for the right opportunity to take the next step in an impressive career that began at the age of five. He closed his first year of international competition hoisting the SRO GT4 European Silver Cup championship trophy into the air amidst the spray of champagne. In doing so, the resident of The Woodlands, Texas became the first American driver in the history of the road racing series to win the GT4 championship for drivers. The 23 year-old Clemson University graduate took three wins and two additional podium-finishes in the No. 25 MDM Motorsport BMW M4 GT4 with teammate Simon Knap (The Netherlands) on his way to the Silver Cup championship.
The title is Udell’s second major auto racing championship. He won the 2016 SRO GT World Challenge GT Cup title while taking a full class load for the Mechanical Engineering degree he earned in 2018. Prior to moving behind the wheel of a race car at the age of 15, Udell earned the 2008 Rotax National Championship in karting and concluded his karting career in 2010 earning a double class championship in the Rock Island Grand Prix.
Making Udell’s 2019 Championship even more impressive is it came in a car he had never driven prior to a single day test with MDM and on a schedule comprised entirely of tracks the Texan had never seen before. He began conversations with MDM Motorsport team management in February and traveled to their home base in The Netherlands to meet with the team and test the BMW M4 GT4 in March. The test at the Zandvoort Circuit was successful and the former karting champion signed to co-drive the No. 25 with veteran Knap for the full 12-race, six-weekend schedule… a season that started in April.
Each weekend brought new challenges for Udell. Not only completely new to the series, car and team, he had never seen the tracks he would contest the championship on. His first race would place him at one of the great tracks of the world: Monza in Italy. Udell would take his first podium finish – third-place – in Race 1 and settle-in to be a regular among the longtime participants of Europe’s leading GT4-specification series. In the third event weekend of the season, Udell won his first race at the Paul Ricard Circuit in France, matching the best result any driver from the United States had achieved in the series. He set his name apart by taking a second win at Paul Ricard the next day and a third victory came at Zandvoort in the penultimate weekend of the season. All were records for an American in the SRO GT4 European Series. Fifth and sixth-place finishes with Knap in the season-finale at the Nürburgring Grand Prix Circuit clinched the title for the Texan and Dutch drivers.
Adam Sinclair