After dominating the GT Daytona (GTD) class in the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship – only to lose the lead in the closing races – Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell were considered underdogs throughout the 2015 campaign.

 
Co-driving the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Robert Graham/Royal Purple Ferrari 458 Italia, the pair led the points only once all season, which – fortunately for the duo – was following the season-ending Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda. Their third-place finish at Road Atlanta gave them the championship by just four points.
 
“Frankly, it was a dream season,” Sweedler – championship trophy in hand – told the capacity audience at the Georgia Aquarium as a highlight of the recent TUDOR Night of Champions.
 
“Last season we led for most of the year, and then we lost it in the last two races,” Bell said. “To reverse the process is definitely the way to go, coming out with the championship.”
 
Bell and Sweedler opened the inaugural TUDOR Championship season like gang-busters, winning the 2014 Rolex 24 At Daytona and finishing second in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida co-driving the No. 555 Ferrari 458 Italia prepared by AIM Autosport. A second-place finish at the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen helped them secure the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup. However, placing 13th at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and finishes of no better than seventh in the final three races relegated the pair to fourth in the final standings, 11 points behind champion Dane Cameron.
 
For 2015, the pair joined Scuderia Corsa. After opening the year with a sixth-place finish at Daytona, they took third at Sebring. They managed to stay in the championship hunt throughout the year, although finishes of ninth at both Detroit and Lime Rock Park kept them out of striking distance of the leaders.
 
“Starting with a new team, Scuderia Corsa, and starting out with a strong run at Daytona before we had some mechanical issues set the tone for the season,” Bell said. “We rebounded, continued to have highs and lows, and then we had a dominant win at VIR.”
 
Winning the Oak Tree Grand Prix in late August boosted the pair to second in the standings with only two races remaining – six points behind leader Christina Nielsen. While they finished sixth at Circuit of The Americas – two positions ahead of Nielsen – Paul Miller Racing drivers Christopher Haase and Dion von Moltke took over the second spot in the GTD standings with a third-place finish at the Texas track. Entering the finale, Nielson held a one-point lead over Haase and von Moltke, with Sweedler and Bell third, four points in arrears.
 
“It’s all about staying in it,” Sweedler said. “Scuderia Corsa stayed in it. No team can be perfect, but as long as you’re better than everyone else – pit stops, strategy, skill level, the least amount of mistakes – that’s who wins the championship. We planned on that the whole year. We made mistakes that hurt us, but in the end, we made the least amount of mistakes.”
 
The title culminates a co-driving partnership that began at Sebring in 2014, when they joined Dion von Moltke in winning their class in an Alex Job Racing Porsche.
 
Two years later, their persistence paid off with a championship.
 
“We’ll never forget the conditions at the last race, how treacherous and challenging it was,” Bell said. “The fact that we didn’t make mistakes paid off for us.
 
“We’ll be back next year, racing in the IMSA WeatherTech Championship,” Bell added. “We’ll be announcing our plans soon.”

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