LONG BEACH, CA (Sunday, April 21, 2024) – In a pair of classic Long Beach battles, O’Connell and SKI Autosports posted podium finishes, coming in second and third, respectively, on Saturday and Sunday at the SRO GT America powered by AWS races.

O’Connell started the weekend in fine form, leading both practice sessions and taking pole position in qualifying.

In race one, he led the majority of the race only to be held up in traffic and losing the lead. Sunday’s race was a battle of recovery after contact on the first lap damaged the front of the SKI Autosports Audi R8 LMS GT3.

After four races in the championship, O’Connell is the only driver in the SR03 class to finish on the podium in all races to date in 2024.

“Although Johnny (O’Connell) loves street racing and is especially fond of Long Beach, the traffic here was a big challenge this weekend,” said SKI Autosports team owner Kent Hussey.

“After posting the fastest times in both practices and qualifying on the pole it was obvious our Audi R8 LMS EVO II had great speed and Johnny is a master of this course having many past wins here with Corvette and Cadillac.

“We dominated the Saturday race until about eight minutes remaining, when Johnny got trapped behind lap traffic and lost the lead. Passing is almost impossible here, and although Johnny stayed with the leader, he ended up second.

“At the start of today’s race, Johnny was the victim of early contact and sustained front-end damage. He did a terrific job of holding onto third the remainder of the race, managing the car’s damage, and getting another podium finish.”

Rounds five and six of the championship are scheduled to be held at Sebring International Raceway on May 3-5.

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“We had a very good race car today through turn one and then a little contact with someone, they came down on us and we lost some bits that I would have liked to have had for the race.

“But we put up a good fight and finished third.

“Yesterday, we should have had a win, but today, we had the incident.

“Racing has its highs and lows, and God likes to challenge us.

“Two weeks from now, we go to Sebring – one of my favorite circuits in the world – and hopefully, we will get it done for real there.”