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Heylen Keeps Championship Heat on with VIR Win in No. 16 Porsche
The Wright Motorsports Team Closes to within 30 Points of the No. 95 BMW
for the GS Lead; No. 17 Audi Wins in TCR for Second Victory of the Season

 
October 10, 2021
By Jeff Olson
IMSA Wire Service
Virginia is for Racing Lovers Grand Prix: Provisional Results

 
ALTON, Va. – Told he had plenty of fuel to get to the finish, Jan Heylen wasn’t buying it.
 
Heylen passed Stevan McAleer with 12 minutes left, then held off repeated challenges from McAleer to prevail Sunday in the Virginia Is for Racing Lovers Grand Prix at VIRginia International Raceway.
 
Heylen, who teamed with Ryan Hardwick, finished 0.516 seconds ahead of McAleer to score the second IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge victory of the season for the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport.
 
After Heylen passed McAleer, he didn’t run away. Instead, he tried to save fuel with McAleer filling his mirrors.
 
“It was about the fuel,” Heylen said. “Even though the team was telling me that we were good on fuel, I’ve done a race in the past where I ran out on the last lap. I didn’t want a repeat of that, so I tried to save as much fuel as I could all the way to the end of the race. There was no reason to risk everything to try to make a big gap.” 
 
After the race, the No. 23 Notlad Racing by RS1 Aston Martin Vantage GT4 co-driven by McAleer and Patrick Gallagher failed a fuel capacity audit and was moved to last in the Grand Sport (GS) class. The No. 7 VOLT Racing with Archangel Aston Martin Vantage GT4 shared by Alan Brynjolfsson and Trent Hindman, which crossed the finish line in third place, moved up to second.
 
Heylen and the No. 16 Porsche were 80 points behind Bill Auberlen, Dillon Machavern and the No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT4 in the GS standings coming into the race. The deficit is down to 30 points, after the No. 95 BMW was moved up to third place with the No. 23 car’s disqualification. The season finale is set for Nov. 12 at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
 
“The championship will come to whichever car crosses the finish line first,” Hardwick said. “We don’t need any cars in between us; we don’t need any other factors. … That’s an awesome position to be in for us and them, as well. We enjoy racing against them, and I think the feeling is mutual.”  
No. 17 Audi Becomes First Two-Time TCR Winner in 2021
 
While Heylen was finishing a close battle in GS, Mikey Taylor had a slightly easier time in the Touring Car (TCR) class. He teamed with Chris Miller in the No. 17 Unitronic JDC-Miller MotorSports Audi RS3 LMS SEQ for a 2.467-second victory over Stephen Simpson and Michael Johnson in the No. 54 Michael Johnson Racing Hyundai Veloster N TCR.
 
“Once I climbed in, I just had to pass two guys,” Taylor said. “It was pretty straightforward. Then we had the pace to try to control it. The biggest thing was the GS traffic and trying to leapfrog those guys at the rear of the GS field who were at a similar pace to us.”
 
The No. 17 is the first car to earn a second victory in TCR this season, following the win by Miller and Taylor in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway.
 
“It feels like we could’ve had a couple of more, too,” Miller said. “The team has been working so hard, and Mikey has done such a great job. We knew it would come. The guys just kept working on it. I’m just happy to add to it.”
 
The No. 33 Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian Hyundai Elantra N TCR co-driven by Mark Wilkins and Harry Gottsacker finished third in TCR.
 
The Michelin Pilot Challenge finale – the Fox Factory 120 on Nov. 12 – is part of Motul Petit Le Mans activities Nov. 10-13 at Michelin Raceway.

 

Spin and Win with a Twist in IMSA Prototype Challenge
Lindh and Goldburg Recover to Claim VIR Victory;
Dickerson and Sarchet Take Points Lead

 
October 10, 2021
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
IMSA Prototype Challenge at VIR: Provisional Results

 
ALTON, Va. – Move over, Danny Sullivan. Rasmus Lindh has put an emphatic new twist on the “Spin and Win” strategy.
 
Lindh successfully survived a 360-degree on-track whirl midway through Sunday’s IMSA Prototype Challenge race at VIRginia International Raceway, lost the lead on a late restart and then made a bold pass on the final lap to collect the victory with co-driver Dan Goldburg in the No. 6 Performance Tech Motorsports Ligier JS P320.
 
Josh Sarchet and Dakota Dickerson had a memorable day of their own in the No. 54 MLT Motorsports Ligier, charging from 14th on the starting grid to finish second and grab the championship lead with one race remaining.
 
Goldburg started on the outside of Row 1 and was still running second to pole sitter Moritz Kranz in the No. 21 Muehlner Motorsports America Duqueine D08 when he turned the car over to Lindh on the first pit stop some 45 minutes into the three-hour race – the longest of the Prototype Challenge season.
 
Just before the halfway point, Lindh was still hounding the No. 21, driven then by 18-year-old Ugo de Wilde. As they approached Turn 10 on the 3.27-mile road course, Lindh suddenly spun on track but had the presence of mind to pop in the clutch as the No. 6 briefly went airborne and completed the 360-degree spin still on the asphalt – much as Sullivan did when he won the 1985 Indianapolis 500.
 
“They were so much faster than us on the straightaway, so I was really pushing in that middle sector and lost it,” Lindh said with a sheepish grin. “Yeah, that was my save for the year, I think. Luckily, I pressed in the clutch to not reverse the gearbox. I just saw the sky and I don’t know what happened, really.”
 
Lindh didn’t lose a position and, in fact, took the race lead seconds later when de Wilde, the Belgian making his Prototype Challenge debut, slowed dramatically with a rear axle issue. Watching it unfold from the pit stand, Goldburg said he and the Performance Tech crew were ready to write off the day when Lindh spun.
 
“We were pretty sure he was done for at that moment,” Goldburg admitted. “(I thought) the car was going to be on its hood wholesale, and then he saves it, keeps position and picks up first. It was just nuts!”
 
From there, Lindh was in command until a restart with 17 minutes remaining following the fourth and final full-course caution of the race. Lindh locked his tires as he braked entering Turn 1, giving Stevan McAleer enough time and room to pass for the lead in the No. 43 Robillard Racing Duqueine.
 
It stayed that way until the final lap, when McAleer made his own mistake, sliding wide in the famous Oak Tree Turn (Turns 11 and 12). Lindh pulled alongside and the two cars bumped several times speeding along the back straight. They touched again in Turn 14, with McAleer sliding into the grass and Lindh speeding away to win by 0.305 seconds over Dickerson.
 
“They told me it was in (Turn) 11 where I needed to do it,” Lindh said, “because that was where we were faster. I just went off the brake and did it … finally.”
 
The runner-up finish was enough to push Dickerson and Sarchet into the points lead in the Lmp33-1 class. They hold a 100-point edge on Kranz, who finished 10th in class with de Wilde in the No. 21 Muehlner entry.
 
“A weird but great race,” Dickerson said. “Josh did an awesome job coming from the back, getting us into fighting contention. Unfortunately, the (No.) 21 car had an issue – you never want to see that – but great points for us. We were a little off strategy with an early pit stop, and then having a tire delaminating at the end didn’t really help us. But a great comeback by the team and ultimately we’re really thankful to get second place.”
 
In the Le Mans Prototype 3-2 (LMP3-2) class for last year’s cars, Mike Watt and Nic Jonsson won handily in the No. 15 D Motorsports Ligier JS P3. The No. 61 Conquest Racing Norma M30 spent lengthy time in the garage making mechanical repairs but finished second to clinch the class championship for co-drivers George Staikos and Danny Kok.
 
“My first year and to make it all the way through and be champions is really exciting,” said Staikos, who drove the race with fractured ribs. “I’m just grateful and proud. Awesome team.”
 
He and Kok strung together five straight second-place finishes in LMP3-2 – without a win – to secure the crown.
 
“It wasn’t pretty for us today,” Kok said, “but at the end, all you do is work on the championship. We’re really thankful. The team did a wonderful job as always.”
 
Brothers David and Keith Grant, co-drivers of the No. 40 JCD MotorSports Duqueine, were winners in Bronze Cup for entries with only Bronze-rated drivers.
 
The VIR race telecast airs at 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 14 on NBCSN. The final Prototype Challenge race of the season takes place Friday, Nov. 12 at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

 

 

VIR Victory Puts No. 9 Pfaff Porsche in Catbird Seat
for WeatherTech Championship GTD Title
It’s the Third Win in the Last Four Races for Robichon and Vanthoor;
De Angelis and Gunn Clinch the IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup

 
October 9, 2021
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
Michelin GT Challenge At VIR: Unofficial Race Results

 
ALTON, Va. – Pfaff Motorsports has risen to every challenge of late to take the GT Daytona (GTD) championship lead in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Zacharie Robichon and Laurens Vanthoor may have overcome the biggest obstacle of all Saturday to win the Michelin GT Challenge At VIR.
 
Relegated to 13th starting position following a penalty for the Pfaff crew touching the car between qualifying sessions a day prior, Robichon and Vanthoor plowed through the field to move the No. 9 Porsche 911 GT3 R into contention for the GTD win at VIRginia International Raceway. They capitalized when the leading No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW was involved in a late-race incident, allowing Vanthoor to scoot past and win by 2.755 seconds over the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 shared by Madison Snow and Bryan Sellers.
 
“I still don’t believe it,” Vanthoor admitted in victory lane. “This is one I’m probably happiest about because yesterday was just our mistake. A stupid mistake, but we win and lose together.
 
“Today, the guys made up for it with triple the (effort) because what got us in front was the pit stops – amazing what they did. And Zach, the overtakes (he completed) at the start and how quickly he got by and got up to the front, that’s probably those two things that gave us the race. … I’m sorry what happened to (the BMW). We were catching them, and I would’ve liked to see a battle at the end, but it went the way it went.”
 
Robichon was a rocket on the opening stint, guiding the No. 9 to fifth place before the first round of pit stops. The Pfaff crew worked magic in pit lane, getting Vanthoor out in third on the first stop and into the GTD lead on the second stop. A fuel-only trip for the No. 96 BMW on the third and last stop with 20 minutes left in the two-hour, 40-minute race put Bill Auberlen back in front. But not for long.
 
With 11 minutes to go, Auberlen and No. 3 Corvette driver Antonio Garcia made contact in Turn 1. Auberlen’s BMW suffered a punctured right-rear tire and he had to limp the No. 96 around the entire 3.27-mile track to pit for a new tire, eventually finishing 12th. A surprised Vanthoor happily accepted the gift and kept Sellers at a distance to the checkered flag.
 
Vanthoor and Robichon have won three of the last four GTD races and finished second in the other. Prior to that torrid stretch, they sat fourth in the standings, 161 points from the lead. They now are on top, 50 points ahead of Sellers, Snow and the No. 1 Lamborghini. Only the Motul Petit Le Mans, the 2021 season finale at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta on Nov. 13, remains to determine the champion.
 
“It’s when you’re down that a championship team steps up and shows why they deserve to be fighting for the championship,” said Robichon. “I think we all showed that today. We showed resilience. We got kicked down yesterday but we fought back.”
 
Rounding out the podium was the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3, thanks to the daring last-lap pass Jack Hawksworth made on Patrick Long in the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R.
De Angelis, Gunn and No. 23 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Secure IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup
 
Saturday also marked the finale for the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup, consisting of the eight non-endurance events on the GTD schedule. Roman De Angelis and Ross Gunn, with a race finish of fifth in the No. 23 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3, wrapped up the Sprint Cup title by 20 points over Sellers, Snow and the No. 1 Lamborghini.
 
“Couldn't be prouder of everyone at the Heart of Racing Team, everyone back at Seattle, a new dealer supporting us as well,” De Angelis said. “Aston Martin Racing has obviously given us a pretty decent driver with Ross, and a really good car to fight with. I'm really happy for them, but I'd also like to thank (team principal) Ian James. If it wasn't for him, I don't know if I'd be in a car. I'm just really proud of everyone and just at a loss for words.”
 
The No. 23 drivers never finished worse than sixth in any Sprint Cup race this season, winning at the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic in Detroit and the Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park.
 
“It’s obviously a massive honor to be in this championship in the first place, but to be with a such a great bunch of people and a great team and have such a successful year, it's been an amazing ride, amazing journey,” Gunn said. “And (De Angelis) has done a phenomenal job; he's a star of the future and he's going to go a long, long way. … Our aim this weekend was to clinch this (Sprint Cup) title, and we've done that. I am very proud of everybody.”
 
The third-place race finish by the No. 1 allowed Lamborghini to overtake Aston Martin by 10 points for the Sprint Cup manufacturer title.
Three The Hard Way: No. 4 Corvette Wins Third Straight in VIR Brawl
Tandy, Milner Each Score Third Career Win at VIRginia International Raceway

 
October 9, 2021
By Jeff Olson
IMSA Wire Service
Michelin GT Challenge At VIR: Unofficial Race Results

 
ALTON, Va. -- This has been an unusual farewell season for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Le Mans (GTLM) class. That doesn’t mean it has lacked purpose or meaning for the competitors. 
 
In the penultimate race before the class goes away, Nick Tandy and Tommy Milner teamed Saturday to win the Michelin GT Challenge At VIRginia International Raceway. 
 
After Tandy recovered from contact with Kevin Estre, he finished the victorious run by the No. 4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R. Tandy crossed the stripe 17.852 seconds ahead of the team’s No. 3 sister car co-driven by Jordan Taylor and Antonio Garcia.
 
Tandy and Milner moved to within 127 points of Taylor and Garcia with only the season finale -- the Motul Petit Le Mans on Nov. 13 at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta -- remaining.
 
“This whole year as a team has been really, really good,” Milner said. “We had a really good car at Daytona and Sebring, but things didn’t go our way. It was frustrating for us and frustrating for our crew guys. Everybody buckled down and focused on getting every last detail just right, so we get these wins. I’m a firm believer in making your own luck.”
 
Lately, they have made their own luck and more. The win was the third consecutive for the No. 4 Corvette, which had fallen behind the No. 3 Corvette early in the season, and it came despite contact that could have cost the No. 4 car dearly.
 
“It was an interesting one,” Tandy said. “It’s always great to win a race when you really shouldn’t. It was fun out there.” 
 
Corvette Racing has yet to reveal its plans for 2022, but the battle for the soon-to-be defunct class still carries weight for the team.
 
On Friday, Milner broke Taylor’s five-race pole-winning streak by qualifying the No. 4 car just 0.003 seconds ahead of Taylor in the No. 3 car around the 17-turn, 3.27-mile VIR course. On Saturday, the two cars traded the lead before Tandy was able to pull away from Garcia in the final minutes of the 2-hour 40-minute race.
 
After the mid-race incident, Estre and Cooper MacNeil finished third, 38.655 seconds off the pace, in the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche RSR-19.
 
“It shows a way to win a race when you don't have the fastest car,” Tandy said. “Honestly, the Porsche should have won the race. But honestly, when you kind of lose your brain and start driving stupid, stuff happens. Luckily with our Corvettes, we kept them on the track and didn't do too much damage to them.”
 
The victory was the fifth by the No. 4 Corvette at VIR and third each at the track for Tandy and Milner. Milner now has 20 career IMSA victories, Tandy 18.
 
As the dust settled, Milner praised Tandy for hanging on through the contact.
 
“He made it happen today for sure,” Milner said. “Porsche definitely had pace on us for sure, but … he got a little bit, but he gave it right back. What an awesome race.”
 
NBC’s live coverage of Motul Petit Le Mans will start at noon ET Nov. 13 and go until 3 p.m., when NBCSN takes over the coverage until the checkered flag. Tickets are available now at roadatlanta.com.

 

Unofficial Results, Points & Post-Race Nuggets | WeatherTech Championship
Michelin GT Challenge At VIR
VIRginia International Raceway - Saturday, October 9, 2021

 

 

 
Post-Race Nuggets:

 
GTLM
#4 Corvette Racing
·     121st career win
·     7th win of 2021 for Corvette
·     Third straight win for #4 Corvette
·     Fifth win at VIR
 
Tommy Milner
·     20th career win
·     Third win at VIR
·     Third win of 2021, all in the last three races
 
Nick Tandy
·     18th career win
·     Third VIR win
·     Third win of 2021, all in the last three races

 
GTD
#9 Pfaff Racing
·     Sixth career win
·     First VIR win
·     Fourth win of 2021
·     Won three of the last four races of 2021
·     Only organization with four wins in GTD
·     Leads the Championship by 50 points
 
Laurens Vanthoor
·     Ninth career win
·     First VIR win
·     Fourth win of 2021
 
Zach Robichon
·     Sixth career win
·     First VIR win
·     Fourth win of 2021
 
Additional results are available at results.imsa.com.

 

Unofficial Results, Points & Post-Race Nuggets | WeatherTech Championship
Michelin GT Challenge At VIR
VIRginia International Raceway - Saturday, October 9, 2021

 

 

 
Post-Race Nuggets:

 
GTLM
#4 Corvette Racing
·     120th win
·     Fifth win of 2021
·     Eighth win at Long Beach
·     #4 won the last two races after going winless for the first six
 
Tommy Milner
·     19th career win
·     Fourth win at Long Beach
·     Second win of 2021
 
Nick Tandy
·     17th career win
·     Second win at Long Beach
·     Second win of 2021

 
GTD
#1 Paul Miller Racing
·     Seventh career win
·     First win at Long Beach
·     Moves from fourth to second in points now -32 from the lead
 
Bryan Sellers
·     12th career win
·     First Long Beach win
·     First win of 2021
 
Madison Snow
·     Seventh career win
·     First Long Beach win
·     First win of 2021
 
Additional results are available at results.imsa.com.

 

 

Milner, No. 4 Corvette Snap No. 3 Corvette Qualifying Streak at VIR
Foley Takes GTD Pole, No. 9 Porsche’s Penalty Condenses Class Points Battle

 
October 8, 2021
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
Michelin GT Challenge Unofficial Qualifying Results: GTLM | GTD Position

 
ALTON, Va. – How closely matched are the Corvette Racing entries at VIRginia International Raceway? How about three-thousandths of a second.
 
That was the margin in GT Le Mans (GTLM) qualifying Friday for the Michelin GT Challenge At VIR. Tommy Milner sped the No. 4 Corvette Racing C8.R around the 3.27-mile, 17-turn road course in 1 minute, 40.263 seconds (117.410 mph) with a minute remaining in the 15-minute session to claim his third career IMSA pole. Jordan Taylor was just 0.003 seconds slower in the No. 3 Corvette but saw his personal streak of five consecutive poles this season end as well as a six-race pole run for Taylor and co-driver Antonio Garcia.
 
“It’s relieving in some sense,” Milner said of breaking the No. 3’s streak. “Obviously, the race is the most important part of the weekend, but it’s good to get these little victories like qualifying. It doesn’t mean anything, but it means something, for sure. Happy with our Corvette, the balance has been really good all weekend so far. Happy to kind of put it all together in qualifying and get a pole.”
 
Milner and co-driver Nick Tandy are on a streak of their own, winning both races last month in California. Milner would love nothing more than to make it three straight – especially at what the Virginia native considers his home track.
 
“I’ve never felt like I’ve had to race so hard in my life than race my teammates this year,” he said. “They’ve been super, super fast and competitive. It’s taken us a little bit to get to their level in some sense and get these wins.
 
“I live in northern Virginia and only four hours away from here. It’s a track where I’ve raced for many, many years and I’ve had success in the past. It’s one of your classic, all-time great sports car tracks in the world. It has some of the best people who run this racetrack as well, so it’s always a pleasure to be here. … I’m excited to put on a good show tomorrow for the fans.”
Foley, No. 96 BMW Claim GTD Pole as Points Race Tightens
 
The GT Daytona (GTD) championship picture grew murkier than ever following Friday’s two qualifying segments for the class.
 
Robby Foley captured the Motul Pole Award in the grid qualifying session with a lap of 1:43.809 (113.400 mph) in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3. It was Foley’s fourth career pole and the first since he and co-driver Bill Auberlen earned the top starting position for the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona by winning the Motul Pole Award 100 qualifying race at Daytona International Speedway.
 
“It was a great effort by the whole team to get us back out after the second practice,” Foley said. “We had a little water leak that we obviously had to address quickly. We didn’t have a lot of laps this morning, but – luckily – we know the M6 well around here. The balance was good, and I was able to put together a good lap for pole.”
 
While Foley was sizzling, Zacharie Robichon was sliding in the championship-leading No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R. After an off-course excursion into the VIR grass, Robichon qualified seventh. But that effort was negated when the No. 9 crew was penalized for touching the car between the grid qualifying session and the GTD points qualifying segment that followed.
 
The No. 9 was moved to the rear of the 15-car GTD grid for Saturday’s race. The change in points allowed the Plaid Porsche’s nearest challengers to move precariously close to the GTD lead.
 
Ross Gunn topped the points-paying session in the No. 23 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 with a best lap of 1:43.356 (113.897 mph). Teammate Alex Riberas initially was right behind in the No. 27 Aston Martin but was moved to the back of the order when post-qualifying technical inspection revealed the car’s rear wing set back was out of tolerance to the car’s homologation.
 
As a result, Jack Hawksworth moved up to second in the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Racing Lexus RC F GT3 (1:43.700). Bryan Sellers moved up to third in the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3, and Auberlen wound up fourth in the No. 96 Turner BMW.
 
The No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R also was penalized in post-qualifying tech due to a ride height infraction, moving it to the rear of the class grid as well.
 
The net outcome? Robichon, Laurens Vanthoor and the No. 9 Porsche team saw their lead sliced to 20 points over Sellers, Madison Snow and the No. 1 Lamborghini; to 87 over Gunn, Roman De Angelis and the No. 23 Aston Martin; and to 140 over Foley, Auberlen and the No. 96 BMW.
 
Foley knows how quickly things can change. He and Auberlen plummeted from first to fourth in the standings following a 16th-place finish two weeks ago at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.
 
“All we can do is control our own destiny until the end,” Foley said. “Control what we can control and that’s by getting poles and getting wins, and the rest will play itself out.
 
“But it’s obviously a great way to start. Especially at VIR, it’s a GT-only weekend. It’s a fast pace and we don’t have to deal with so much traffic. … It’s just going to be about qualifying laps the whole time. We seem to have a good car for that. We hope it’s going to be dry. We’ve never really driven the M6 here in the wet but we’ll be ready for that.”
 
Saturday’s race airs live at noon ET on NBC and IMSA Radio.

 
 
Friday VIR Notebook:
 
Heylen Heads Michelin Pilot Challenge Practice 
Jan Heylen sent a reminder that he’s still a threat for the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge championship, setting the best overall and Grand Sport (GS) class lap in Friday’s opening practice at VIRginia International Raceway.
 
Heylen laid down a lap of 1 minute, 52.819 seconds (104.343 mph) in the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport to take honors for the day on the 3.27-mile road course. Heylen sits third in GS points heading into Sunday’s Virginia Is for Racing Lovers Grand Prix, 80 points in arrears of No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT4 co-drivers Bill Auberlen and Dillon Machavern.
 
Robin Liddell was second quick in practice at 1:53.147 (104.041 mph) in the No. 71 Rebel Rock Racing Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R. Auberlen ranked fourth in the No. 95 BMW.
 
A second Michelin Pilot Challenge practice starts at 8:45 a.m. ET Saturday. Qualifying is scheduled for 8 a.m. Sunday, with the two-hour race later that day at 2:10 p.m. The race will air live on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold and IMSA Radio.
 
Prototype Challenge Returns to Action following Lengthy Break
IMSA Prototype Challenge cars returned to action following a three-month break with practice Friday at VIR ahead of Sunday’s three-hour race. Garett Grist was fastest of the 15 cars that participated in the session, with a lap of 1:40.698 (116.903 mph) in the No. 33 Jr III Racing Ligier JS P320.
 
A second practice starts at 10 a.m. Saturday, with qualifying at 4:35 p.m. The race airs live at 8:45 a.m. Sunday on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold and IMSA Radio.
 
Points Leader Sets Pace in Porsche Carrera Cup Practice
Points leader Seb Priaulx was fastest in both of Friday’s practices for the Porsche Carrera Cup North America Presented by the Cayman Islands. Priaulx turned his best lap in the first session, 1:46.407 (110.631 mph), in the No. 15 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, type 992.
 
Riley Dickinson (No. 53 Team Hardpoint Porsche) was second on the day, just 0.079 seconds behind Priaulx. Priaulx has a 42-point lead over Kelly-Moss teammate Kay van Berlo heading into the weekend. Qualifying is at 8 a.m. Saturday, with Race 1 starting at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

 

 

Practice Results | WeatherTech Championship
Michelin GT Challenge At VIR
VIRginia International Raceway - Friday, October 8 2021

 
Additional results are available at results.imsa.com.

 

Practice Results | WeatherTech Championship
Michelin GT Challenge At VIR
VIRginia International Raceway - Friday, October 8 2021

 
Additional results are available at results.imsa.com.

 

Milner, Tandy Outduel Corvette Teammates for Long Beach Win
It’s the Second Straight Victory for the No. 4 Corvette, while the No. 1 Lamborghini Rolls to Its First GTD Win of 2021

 
September 25, 2021
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach: Unofficial Race Results

 
LONG BEACH, Calif. – The rule at Corvette Racing is simple: Race hard but race clean.
 
Tommy Milner followed the script Saturday at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, zooming cleanly around teammate Jordan Taylor and into the GT Le Mans (GTLM) lead halfway through the 100-minute race. From there, Milner and co-driver Nick Tandy brought the No. 4 Corvette Racing C8.R home first in class for their second straight win of the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.
 
Milner started second to Taylor in the No. 3 Corvette but hounded his teammate throughout the first half before finding the opening he needed while battling through slower traffic.
 
“Jordan went for a move (on a lapped car) down the inside in (Turn) 6 and it didn’t quite stick, so his exit was a bit compromised,” Milner explained. “I was able to get outside of him on the entry and that’s the preferred line for the next corner. … I really only had the one opportunity (to make a pass), and thankfully I was close enough to take advantage of that.”
 
Ten minutes after the decisive overtake, Taylor and Milner made their lone pit stops of the race a lap apart. When the cycle was complete, Tandy had nearly a three-second lead on No. 3 co-driver Antonio Garcia. Though the advantage dwindled several times as the Corvettes continued negotiating through traffic, Garcia was unable to attempt an overtake and finished 0.751 seconds behind at the checkered flag.
 
It resulted in the fourth Long Beach victory for Milner and third for the American in the last four GTLM races on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn street circuit. It’s the second win for Tandy, who passed all the credit to his co-driver.
 
“He won the race,” Tandy said of his co-driver. “He drove an awesome first stint, got in front of the (No.) 3, and basically whoever came out of the stop in front was the car in prime position – and that was us today.”
 
Taylor and Garcia, who have four victories this season, finished second for the third straight race. They still hold a comfortable 160-point lead over Milner and Tandy in the standings and essentially only need to start the final two races to clinch their second consecutive GTLM championship.
No. 1 Paul Miller Lamborghini Dominates to Collect First GTD Win of 2021
 
Madison Snow and Bryan Sellers needed the perfect weekend to earn their first GT Daytona (GTD) win in what seemed like an eternity and put themselves in the middle of the championship battle. Mission accomplished.
 
The impressive victory Saturday by the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 vaulted Snow, Sellers and the team into second place in both the GTD season standings and the IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup. It’s their first win since the 2020 Rolex 24 At Daytona and lifted a massive weight off the drivers’ shoulders.
 
“In GTD right now, the competition is so steep so you just have to have the perfect day to win the race,” Sellers said after winning by 11 seconds. “To finally get one this year is nice. You feel like you just carry this monkey on your back until you do.”
 
After winning the Motul Pole Award on Friday, Snow patiently pulled away to lead by nearly three seconds before pit stops began in the 17-car class. Sellers took over the No. 1 for the final hour and quickly expanded the gap to more than 15 seconds, facing no pressure down the stretch.
 
The win was the 12th of Sellers’ IMSA top-level series career and the seventh for Snow. More importantly, it’s the first triumph for both on the noted Long Beach Street Course.
 
“Definitely as an American, it’s a place you want to win,” Sellers said. “It has a lot of history, a lot of great American drivers have raced here and won here. To put your name on that list is a pretty big honor.”
 
Zacharie Robichon and Laurens Vanthoor finished second in the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R and took over the GTD championship lead, 32 points ahead of Snow and Sellers. Roman De Angelis and Ross Gunn, who finished sixth Saturday in the No. 23 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3, are third in the standings, 104 points out of first place.
 
Robby Foley and Bill Auberlen entered the race in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 as the class leaders but suffered a 16th-place finish after an ABS issue led to Foley running into the tire barrier at Turn 8. The Turner drivers slipped to fourth in the standings, 150 points behind Robichon and Vanthoor.
 
De Angelis and Gunn retained the Sprint Cup lead, 74 points up on Snow and Sellers. Two races remain: the Michelin GT Challenge at VIRginia International Raceway on Oct. 9 and the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta on Nov. 13.
Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach Win for Nasr, Derani in No. 31 Cadillac Sets Stage for Season-Ending Title Fight
Third Win in Four Races Puts Whelen Squad within 19 Points of Championship Lead Heading into Motul Petit Le Mans

 
September 25, 2021
By John Oreovicz
IMSA Wire Service
Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach: Unofficial Race Results

 
LONG BEACH, Calif. – Action Express Racing’s furious second-half rally in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s Daytona Prototype international (DPi) season gained pace with a commanding overall victory at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.
 
Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani led all but five laps, dominating the 100-minute “sprint” race in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R to win by 10.952 seconds over the Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac driven by Kevin Magnussen and Renger van der Zande.
 
The Whelen Cadillac led both practice sessions on the 1.968-mile Long Beach Street Course Friday, and Nasr qualified the car on pole position. The Brazilian driver duo completed the job with authority Saturday afternoon.
 
“What a weekend by the Whelen Engineering Cadillac team!” Derani exclaimed in Victory Circle. “We led every session, and Felipe’s amazing pole dictated the weekend for us.
 
“During the race, it was more a case of trying to bring it back home without any mistakes,” he continued. “We did that with perfect execution, and I’m so happy for this team. We’ve been working so hard, and after the difficult beginning to the season, here we are just a few points from the lead.”
 
The No. 31 pairing started the season with a sixth-place finish in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, then was eliminated by a broken gearbox in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts. Nasr and Derani finally broke through in early July for their first victory of 2021 in the WeatherTech 240 At The Glen, and they now have claimed the top spot in three of the last four races.
 
At Long Beach, they cut their points deficit to WeatherTech Championship DPi leaders Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-05 from 98 points to 19 heading into the season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta on Nov. 13. Harry Tincknell and Oliver Jarvis, who finished fifth at Long Beach in the No. 55 Mazda Motorsports DPi, are now 189 points behind Taylor and Albuquerque.
 
The only source of drama for the winners was some early aggressive driving by Magnussen, whose second-place Cadillac bore scars from several collisions and brushes with the walls by the end of the race. Nasr was very unhappy with the way Magnussen raced him in the opening laps.
 
“I couldn’t understand why another Cadillac that isn’t even in the championship is fighting that hard,” Nasr commented. “That, for me, is unnecessary. But I’ve known Kevin through many years of racing. He hasn’t changed and I kind of expect that from him.”
 
Albuquerque started the race in the championship-leading No. 10 Acura, and he aggressively charged from fifth place to third on the opening lap. But the No. 10 was ultimately beaten to third place by the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac co-driven by Loic Duval and Tristan Vautier.
 
Cadillac DPi cars have claimed four consecutive Long Beach wins, the last two since Acura took over title sponsorship of the long-running street racing event.
 
This year’s race was extraordinarily clean, slowed by a single full-course caution that lasted just seven minutes. Nasr and Derani completed 78 laps of the Long Beach course, compared to the winning totals of 70 in 2018 and 73 in 2019. The 2020 event was cancelled by the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
This year, the fans were back in full force at one of Southern California’s most popular sporting events.
 
“I love this place and I’ve got to say thanks to the fans,” Nasr said. “What a great vibe they bring to racing. It’s just awesome to get a win on the streets of Long Beach.”
 
With just a 19-point gap, the 2021 DPi championship boils down to a fight between the No. 10 Acura and the No. 31 Cadillac, with the team achieving the best Petit Le Mans result in position to clinch the title.
 
On the basis of their recent form, Derani, Nasr and the No. 31 team will enter the 10-hour endurance contest with plenty of momentum.
 
“It’s never over ‘til it’s over, and I feel that’s the mentality of the team,” Nasr asserted. “We came here with the mindset of maximizing the points. We did that in qualifying yesterday, and today the same thing. What an amazing car the team gave us – it was super-fast.
 
“It’s going to go down to the wire,” he added. “Now we are in the fight.”
Unofficial Results, Points & Post-Race Nuggets | WeatherTech Championship
Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach
Long Beach Street Course - Saturday, September 25, 2021

 

 

 
Post-Race Nuggets:

 
DPi
#31 Whelen Engineering Racing
·     28th career win
·     First win at Long Beach
·     Third win of 2021
·     Won three of the last four races of 2021
·     Remains second in the championship now -19 points behind the #10
 
Pipo Derani
·     11th career win
·     First Long Beach win
·     Third win of 2021
 
Felipe Nasr
·     Seventh career win
·     First Long Beach win
·     Third win of 2021

 
GTLM
#4 Corvette Racing
·     120th win
·     Fifth win of 2021
·     Eighth win at Long Beach
·     #4 won the last two races after going winless for the first six
 
Tommy Milner
·     19th career win
·     Fourth win at Long Beach
·     Second win of 2021
 
Nick Tandy
·     17th career win
·     Second win at Long Beach
·     Second win of 2021

 
GTD
#1 Paul Miller Racing
·     Seventh career win
·     First win at Long Beach
·     Moves from fourth to second in points now -32 from the lead
 
Bryan Sellers
·     12th career win
·     First Long Beach win
·     First win of 2021
 
Madison Snow
·     Seventh career win
·     First Long Beach win
·     First win of 2021
 
Additional results are available at results.imsa.com.

 

 

 

 

Torrid Taylor Takes Fifth Straight GTLM Pole in No. 3 Corvette

Points Leaders Top the Class Field in Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach Qualifying

 
September 24, 2021
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
LONG BEACH, Calif. – Corvette Racing continues riding the hot hand in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying: Jordan Taylor.

 
 
Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach: GTLM Qualifying | GTD Position Qualifying
 
Taylor put the No. 3 Corvette C8.R on the GT Le Mans (GTLM) pole position for the fifth straight race with Friday’s qualifying effort at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. The Floridian set the fast lap in the 15-minute session, at 1 minute, 16.801 seconds (92.248 mph), to collect the 21st pole of his IMSA career.
 
“Track position is obviously crucial here,” Taylor said. “It’s nice for us to be on pole and have another 1-2 for Corvette Racing, being the first time we brought this C8.R to Long Beach. It suited the track really well; we rolled off the truck strong.
 
“Street courses are great and we love coming to them,” he added, “but as a driver it’s very stressful when you have to get the maximum out of the car in a session like qualifying. It’s always nice to get through unscathed.”
 
Taylor and co-driver Antonio Garcia – the reigning GTLM season champions – will chase their fifth win of 2021 in Saturday’s 100-minute race on the tight and unforgiving 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street course. Taylor exudes confidence for the race, knowing that the simulator work and engineering scrutiny the Corvette team logged in advance of race weekend has already paid dividends.
 
“To be honest, it’s probably the best car I’ve ever had at Long Beach,” he said. “I’ve been here a few times before and it was the nicest car I’ve driven. It was probably one of the easier cars I’ve driven and still quick, so I think it speaks a lot to the car setup.
 
“Long Beach is always a one-pit-stop race. It’s all about execution in that one stop and maintaining track position, so qualifying is always a premium. … I think we’re in a good spot for tomorrow.”
 
Tommy Milner qualified the sister No. 4 Corvette second with a lap of 1:17.098 (91.893 mph). Cooper MacNeil was third in the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19 at 1:19.686 (88.908 mph).
Snow’s Pole Run Puts No. 1 Lamborghini in Position to Trim GTD Points Gap
 
Madison Snow and Bryan Sellers have kept the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 in the GT Daytona (GTD) title chase without winning a race yet in 2021. Snow put them in position to snag that first victory and close their points deficit when he captured the Motul Pole Award in Friday’s qualifying.
 
Snow clocked a lap of 1:19.475 (89.145 mph) with two minutes remaining in the GTD grid qualifying session to notch his second pole of the season and fifth of his WeatherTech Championship career. Snow edged Robby Foley (No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3) by 0.134 seconds for the honor.
 
“It’s always an advantage to start at the front, but I would even say more so being a street course where it’s hard to pass,” Snow said. “But I think the biggest thing is it’s risky to pass on street courses. It’s definitely wonderful to start up front.”
 
In the ensuing GTD points qualifying segment, Laurens Vanthoor turned a class track record lap of 1:18.957 (89.729 mph) to lead the 17-car field and reel in the maximum 35 points for the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R. It allowed Vanthoor and co-driver Zacharie Robichon – who are riding a two-race win streak – to climb within 20 points of Foley and No. 96 BMW co-driver Bill Auberlen for the GTD championship lead.
 
Roman De Angelis and Ross Gunn of the No. 23 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 are third in the standings, 54 points out of the lead. Sellers ran second to Vanthoor in the GTD points qualifying session to draw the No. 1 Lamborghini within 82 points of first place.
 
“The points for the top four (teams) in our GTD class is all super tight, so it gives us a good advantage going into the race,” Snow said. “This is the best foot forward that we can go with for tomorrow, so we’ll see.”
 
Saturday’s race airs live at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN and IMSA Radio.
Nasr Leads Qualifying Sweep for Cadillac
at Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach
Brazilian Duo in No. 31 Whelen Cadillac Cuts Points Deficit in 'Important' Session

 
September 24, 2021
By John Oreovicz
IMSA Wire Service
LONG BEACH, Calif. – There are certain racetracks where qualifying matters more than others. Put the Long Beach Street Course in that group.

 
Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach: DPi Qualifying Results
 
With 11 corners packed into a narrow, concrete-lined course less than two miles in length, passing is difficult under the best of circumstances. Factor traffic into the equation, and it’s clear that the best way to stay up front at Long Beach is to start up front.
 
That’s why Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani were a joyous duo following IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. Nasr qualified the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R fielded by Action Express Racing on pole position for Saturday’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach (5 p.m. ET, NBCSN).
 
Nasr’s lap timed at 1 minute, 11.620 seconds edged the No. 01 V Performance Academy Cadillac DPi, out of the Chip Ganassi Racing stable and driven by Kevin Magnussen, by just over a tenth of a second. Loic Duval (No. 5 Mustang Sampling/JDC-Miller MotorSports) completed a 1-2-3 qualifying sweep for Cadillac with a lap at 1:11.827.
 
Cadillac was victorious in the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class in the WeatherTech Championship’s last two visits to Long Beach in 2018 and ’19, and Nasr and Derani each paced a practice session earlier in the day on Friday.
 
But winning the pole on a challenging street course wasn’t the only reason Derani and Nasr were happy Friday evening. Chasing the pairing of Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque (No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura DPi) in the battle for the DPi championship, the Long Beach pole cut their deficit from 98 to 89 points. Albuquerque qualified the WTR Acura fifth with a lap of 1:12.461.
 
It was Nasr’s fifth career pole in IMSA competition.
 
“It feels amazing whenever you get a pole position, and doing it here is even better,” Nasr remarked. “I love street racing, and we’ve worked hard every session on getting the car set up right. We knew coming here that we had to maximize the points. That starts in qualifying, so I’m very happy for the whole team achieving that and making that lap when it mattered. Finding the extra tenths (of a second) in qualifying can be very risky, but that’s the challenge I love.
 
“It was super important to get pole position to keep the fight alive,” he added. “I would say that’s part of the job done, but the main focus is on tomorrow’s race.” 
 
Nasr was unable to put his finger on why Cadillac has enjoyed such success at Long Beach and other street courses.
 
“Good question,” he said. “We just seem to roll off the truck, and our Cadillac is ready to go. We’ve seen that before at Detroit, and we see it again here. I’m glad we have those races on the calendar because it plays a little bit into our hands. It’s important to catch those opportunities when they come, because there are other tracks that play into the hands of the other cars too.
 
“We still have a long way to the championship and that final race (the November 12 Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta). We’ve given ourselves a good chance for the weekend and I want to get that race win tomorrow.”
 
Two teams entered qualifying at a disadvantage after encountering difficulties in the first of two practices. The No. 55 Mazda Motorsports Mazda DPi suffered a braking issue before Oliver Jarvis could complete a flying lap, while Olivier Pla crashed the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura DPi, bringing the session to an early conclusion.
 
Despite qualifying sixth, Mazda driver Harry Tincknell remained positive that he and co-driver Jarvis can contend for victory Saturday.
 
“It’s all going to come down to strategy,” Tincknell said. “The guys on the pit wall are the ones who can win the race with the right calls. Timing the pit stops correctly will be critical.”
 
NBCSN’s live coverage of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach begins Saturday at 5 p.m. ET. The race also will be streamed live on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold, with IMSA Radio also available on IMSA.com and SiriusXM Radio.

 

Qualifying & Practice Results | WeatherTech Championship
ACURA Grand Prix of Long Beach
Long Beach Street Course - Friday, September 24, 2021

 

 

From Opponent to Teammate: Albuquerque Has Driven
for DPi Title Rivals
Now Driving for Wayne Taylor Racing, Portuguese Driver Moved
from Action Express Racing after 2020

 
October 25, 2021
By Jeff Olson
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – While answering a question last week about his history with Action Express Racing, Filipe Albuquerque was interrupted by current teammate Ricky Taylor.
 
“He’s not allowed to go back,” Taylor joked.
 
Albuquerque, now with Wayne Taylor Racing and battling Action Express for the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship title, holds something unusual and valuable – behind-the-scenes insight of both teams.
 
“I have the full picture of the two main rivals – how each one of them thinks – which is great," Albuquerque said. "It helps us already, a little bit. I know how they think, and I know how both teams operate.”
 
Last year, Albuquerque served as an endurance specialist on the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R operated by Action Express. Now, teamed with Taylor and Alexander Rossi in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-05, Albuquerque is a key player in Wayne Taylor Racing's attempt to win the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class championship in the season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta on Nov. 13.
 
Knowing the tendencies of strategy and setup – along with the driving styles – of his former teammates can be beneficial.
 
“It helped a little bit through the year,” Albuquerque said. “But coming here, everyone has been really welcoming. Ricky has helped me get up to speed and learn the car as fast as I could.”
 
Last year, Albuquerque helped out No. 31 co-drivers Pipo Derani and Felipe Nasr in three WeatherTech Championship races, including a fifth-place finish at Motul Petit Le Mans. As the final race of 2021 approaches, Derani and Nasr trail Albuquerque and Taylor by 19 points in the driver standings. It’s likely that the car that finishes better in the 10-hour race wins the championship.
 
The rivalry between the two teams goes back, with some unusual bullet points. In 2017, Ricky Taylor collided with Albuquerque, then in the No. 5 Action Express car, while racing for the lead with eight minutes left In the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Albuquerque spun, returned to the track and tried to chase down Taylor, eventually finishing 0.671 seconds behind the No. 10.
 
Last year at Motul Petit Le Mans, Taylor and Derani collided while battling for the win with just over 10 minutes remaining. That led to a post-race confrontation between Taylor and Derani, Albuquerque’s teammate at the time. 
 
“Rivalry is always good for the sport,” Derani said. “When you can create a rivalry over the years, that generates more interest in the sport, which is always fantastic. That’s what we want. We want to attract as many fans as we can for the championship.”
 
Names may change over the years, but the rivalry remains.
 
“You win with a group of people,” Albuquerque said. “People win the race, not the machine. … Chemistry between people either comes along, or it does not happen.”
 
Activities surrounding Motul Petit Le Mans begin Nov. 10 and conclude Nov. 13 with the 10-hour race around Michelin Raceway’s 12-turn, 2.54-mile circuit. Tickets are available now at roadatlanta.com.
Live coverage begins at noon ET on NBC before moving to NBCSN at 3 p.m. through the race conclusion. Nonstop coverage is also available on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold and IMSA Radio.

 

 

New Blood Takes on Old Guard in LMP3 Title Tussle
Prototype Rookie Robinson Takes 50-Point Lead over Braun, Bennett into Finale

 
October 22, 2021
By Godwin Kelly
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – It’s the new kid on the prototype block against the battle-tested veterans vying for the Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3) title in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
 
Gar Robinson, who has four wins in his rookie year racing prototypes, must go head-to-head with veterans Colin Braun – who made his first prototype start in 2005 at the tender age of 17 – and Jon Bennett, who teamed with Braun to win consecutive Prototype Challenge championships in 2014 and ’15.
 
The outcome of the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta on Nov. 13 will be the deciding factor for this crown in the first year of LMP3 competition for the WeatherTech Championship. Robinson, who will co-drive the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier JS P320 with Felipe Fraga and Scott Andrews, leads the championship with Bennett and Braun right under his rear wing, trailing by a mere 50 points. Braun and Bennett will share the wheel of the No. 54 CORE autosport Ligier with George Kurtz for this 10-hour marathon.
 
Both teams recently tested together at Michelin Raceway, each keeping one eye on the other.
 
“Riley and CORE are equal,” Robinson, 26, said. “Riley has more prototype experience than CORE. I think both teams have put in a lot of work this year and having a showdown between the two big teams is what people want to watch. I’m happy to be on one side of this battle.”
Braun, who figures he has raced prototypes 10 seasons during a career that began in 2005 and includes 20 IMSA wins, thinks the championship could be decided in the last handful of laps. He’s ready for the challenge.
 
“The experience certainly helps on the prototypes side,” Braun, 33, said. “Both Jon and I have been through coming into the last race with the championship on the line. I think that experience is helpful. The Riley guys and Gar are very experienced and super-tough competitors, so that means this will be a fight all the way to the end, I’m sure.”
 
While Robinson is new to the prototype scene, he isn’t intimidated by this high-profile, pressure-packed, season-ending points skirmish.
 
“I stared down the barrel of a championship three times in a row in Trans Am and won two of them,” he said. “I know what it takes to play the points game. I know when you need to push, when you need to take risks, when you need to check your risk assessment.
 
“Risk assessment will be fairly high for us going into Petit Le Mans,” Robinson added. “The best thing we can do is treat it like any other race we have gone to this year. Every one of these races is different. There is no such thing as a routine race in IMSA. Each race has its own flavor.”
Robinson and the No. 74 Riley won the Rolex 24 At Daytona (which didn’t award WeatherTech Championship points for the LMP3 class) to open the season and followed with triumphs at Mid-Ohio and the back-to-back races at Watkins Glen. Braun, Bennett and the No. 54 CORE captured the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts in March and the most recent LMP3 race at Road America in August. They are the only two LMP3 cars to win this year.
 
Robinson may have more wins and the narrow points lead, but Braun said Michelin Raceway is a different animal on the WeatherTech Championship circuit and it’s a track where each of the three contending drivers has yet to win.
 
“The small-detail things, like negotiating traffic, are definitely helpful on the experience side,” Braun said. “We are doing our best to put our best foot forward. The more experience, certainly the better. On the flipside of that, I know Gar has done this race a few times in GTD (GT Daytona) – slightly different cars but certainly he has experience at Road Atlanta as well. This makes for an exciting battle, for sure.”
 
All five WeatherTech Championship classes will be in action at Motul Petit Le Mans. Practice begins Thursday, Nov. 11, with qualifying set for 3:45 p.m. ET Friday, Nov. 12. The start of the 10-hour race airs live at noon Saturday, Nov. 13 on NBC, with coverage switching to NBCSN at 3 p.m. and running through the dramatic conclusion shortly after 10 p.m. Flag-to-flag coverage is also available on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold and IMSA Radio. Tickets to attend are available at roadatlanta.com.

 

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Deal Provides Opportunities for iRacing Members
to Enjoy More IMSA Cars, Tracks and Series
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (October 21, 2021) – Capitalizing on the success of the virtual racing series featuring IMSA drivers over the past two years, IMSA and iRacing have announced an extended partnership through 2023. In addition to the continuation of the popular IMSA iRacing Pro Series, the agreement calls for expansion of virtual racing series open to all iRacing members showcasing a variety of IMSA elements and venues.
 
The IMSA iRacing Pro Series, featuring IMSA drivers and the occasional wild-card pros from other series, will return in 2022 on dates and tracks to be determined. The competition and following for this series since it debuted in 2020 has been remarkable. But while the iRacing Pro Series is reserved for those who make a living at racing, there will be three series for 2022 appealing to all iRacing IMSA enthusiasts no matter their skill level. They are:
 
  • The IMSA Hagerty iRacing Series, which mirrors the real-life IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with similar classes but shorter races.
  • The iRacing IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, which like its real namesake, mirrors the competition with Grand Sport (GS) and Touring Car (TCR) classes.
  • The iRacing IMSA Endurance Series, featuring multiple drivers in each entry for the two-hour, 40-minute races.
 
“Our partnership with IMSA has been one of our longest-standing and most popular partnerships,” said Tony Gardner, President, iRacing.com Motorsport Simulations. “We’re excited to announce a renewal that brings back not only all of our most popular series for the hundreds of thousands of active iRacing members, but also the IMSA iRacing Pro Series for the sport’s biggest names. Beyond this, we’re also looking forward to plenty of other exciting developments on the horizon in the coming years!”
 
Other perks of the partnership mean that all 12 WeatherTech Championship tracks are available on the iRacing platform, multiple IMSA cars in multiple classes are available for iRacing members to race, and that IMSA and iRacing are working to develop new and exciting events in 2022 exclusively for iRacing members.
 
“IMSA has enjoyed this partnership with iRacing and we’re pleased to announce its extension,” IMSA President John Doonan said. “We know that iRacing members are some of the most passionate followers of our sport, and we want to continue building that relationship and rewarding their devotion to IMSA. Giving them more hands-on IMSA action to whet their appetites is a win-win situation for us all.”

 

Bright Future: Anticipation Grows for GTD PRO Class
Manufacturers Approve of Move to GT3 Spec Cars for Both GT Classes in 2022

 
October 19, 2021
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – As another intense, competitive season winds down for the Grand Touring (GT) classes of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, anticipation is soaring for the new direction the classes will take in 2022.
 
Starting next season, the Grand Touring Daytona Pro (GTD PRO) class succeeds GT Le Mans (GTLM) as the top level of WeatherTech Championship GT racing, featuring primarily factory-supported efforts. The GT Daytona (GTD) class will remain in its current form, using customer teams and requiring a driver rated at the Bronze or Silver level to be paired with a higher-rated professional.
 
The biggest change is that GTD PRO and GTD cars will share a common FIA GT3 specification that allows the cars to compete globally, including at the 24 Hours of Le Mans starting in 2024. In IMSA, the classes will use the same, data-driven Balance of Performance (BoP) process, though the BoP for each class will be independently managed.
 
Manufacturers currently competing in IMSA’s GT classes are overwhelmingly excited for what the future holds.
 
“It could be one of the big milestones in motorsport history that IMSA and ACO (Automobile Club de l’Ouest) are working together and sharing the same cars and specs and platforms,” said Volker Holzmeyer, who assumes the CEO role at Porsche Motorsport North America in January 2022. “In addition to that, it was presented during Le Mans that the GT3 cars are going to be eligible in ’24 at Le Mans somehow.
 
“I think that’s all the direction to bring more standardization to motorsport in general. The (manufacturers and teams) who have the cars can join multiple series and events throughout the whole world, so this is a great new era I’m stepping into. I’m looking forward to it.”
 
Giorgio Sanna, Head of Lamborghini Motorsport which, like Porsche, is part of the Volkswagen Group, echoed Holzmeyer’s sentiments.
 
“We are satisfied about the introduction of this new category … mainly to the fact that we have a single GT class instead to have two classes like the GTD and GTLM as we have seen in the last, say, 10 years,” Sanna said. “We have seen the homologation from the ACO regarding the introduction of the GT3 category in Le Mans in 2024, so we are happy to explore this new opportunity to have a single class directly in America starting from next year. I strongly believe this is the future in the GT category.”
 
The ability to enter the same GT3-spec car in both WeatherTech Championship classes is enticing to manufacturers. Holzmeyer said he expects to see Porsches in GTD PRO and GTD, as has been the case with GTLM and GTD. Mike Krack, Head of BMW M Motorsport, believes there will be a BMW factory team in GTD PRO – BMW Team RLL is the frontrunner since the two have partnered since 2009 – as well as continuing customer efforts in GTD.
 
Corvette Racing, a pillar of IMSA GT racing for more than two decades, has yet to commit to a 2022 program publicly, though Mark Stielow, Director of Motorsport Competition Engineering for GM Racing, confirmed earlier this year that “we’ve been working on a conversion package” for the Corvette C8.R that’s on the verge of capturing its second straight GTLM championship.
 
Acura currently competes in GTD, but Lee Niffenegger, GT3 Program Manager for Honda Performance Development, said the group is receptive to adding a GTD PRO customer program in ’22 when it unveils the next generation of its GT3 car.
 
“While HPD is not actively pursuing a GTD PRO effort for the Acura NSX GT3 EVO22,” Niffenegger said, “HPD will provide any teams in the category with the same high-level support we always have to the rest of our GTD teams.”
 
Only one team has formally confirmed thus far to GTD PRO for 2022. Vasser Sullivan Racing, which has fielded a pair of Lexus RC F GT3 entries in GTD since 2019, will split the cars next year – one each in GTD PRO and GTD.
 
“We have a car that wasn’t designed from the ground up as a GT3,” Jeff Bal, Lexus Motorsports Manager, said. “The team has been able to find ways to make it competitive at the GTD level, (but) GTD PRO was a question for us. Once IMSA provided what the rules would look like and the regulation with BoP, then we realized we have a shot to compete because the car can compete at the GTD level and we think probably with GTD PRO. … We’re excited about it.
 
“It aligns closely with the rest of the global series,” Bal added, “and I think with the upward trajectory of where IMSA and sports car racing is going here in America, there’s nothing but upward potential for that. We hate to see the GTLM class go away, but we’re more excited to see even more entrants coming in the GTD PRO class next year. It all points toward win-win.”

 

Balancing Act: LMDh Plans for Car Count, Tech and More
In this Third of a Series, the Many Considerations
about the New Class for 2023 Are Discussed

 
October 18, 2021
By Jeff Olson
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The box is about to be shaken and turned upside down, its contents spilled. Some of it looks familiar, but it’s in different places. Nothing is the same, really. Nothing, that is, except the change.
 
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is in the early months of a significant change. In 2023, the series’ top class will include LMDh, a hybrid-based platform developed jointly by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) and the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) that has already drawn the interest of multiple manufacturers and teams.
 
The change itself sounds straightforward and direct, but the prospect of adding a new class presents complicated challenges for teams and manufacturers. The change requires long-range planning, which is already under way for those who have announced their LMDh intentions. 
 
But change is their strength, team officials say, so it might not be as overwhelming as it appears. 
 
“I don’t think it’s as daunting as people want to make it,” said team owner Wayne Taylor, whose Wayne Taylor Racing has not been confirmed yet as an LMDh team, but fully expects to participate. “It’s not that daunting. The only thing that’s daunting is the question of whether we’ve designed and built a car that can win all the races.”
 
At its core, motorsports is about evolution. Over the course of a century, sports car racing has gone from the sparse 1914 Vauxhall Prince Henry, widely regarded as the first sports car, to complicated, state-of-the-art machines that implement the latest technology.
 
The more complicated and expensive the race car, the fewer are built. LMDh, which crosses sanctioning bodies and has commitments so far from five manufacturers and three teams in the WeatherTech Championship, appears to have found the proper fit between tech and car count.
 
“That’s how motorsports has evolved through the years,” said Tim Cindric, president of Team Penske, which will field Porsche LMDh cars as Porsche Penske Motorsport beginning at the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January 2023. “There’s a balance in that, for sure, between car count and technology. People talk about budgets, but really from a racing perspective, it’s always a balance of what the car count is going to be.”
 
Reaching that delicate balance was a part of the plan. Teams and manufacturers were consulted in the process to match specifications across different series.
 
“We have IMSA listening – we have a lot of discussions with IMSA people – and they ask us a lot; what we think, how it’s going to go in each direction,” said Mike Krack, head of the BMW M Motorsport group that has also committed to an LMDh program. “They are always very interested with their partners to improve the show. This is actually a perfect match. It’s why we are here so long.”
 
NEXT IN THE SERIES: The preparation for LMDh has barely begun, but the focus is on winning with it. “We’re always trying to figure out how to get more out of what we have,” says Gary Nelson, Action Express Racing’s team manager.

 

 

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2021 Michelin GT Challenge At VIR
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Three Takeaways from Michelin GT Challenge At VIR
Thoughts of Bumping and Grinding, Deflated Hopes and Near Misses

 
October 11, 2021
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
ALTON, Va. – VIRginia International Raceway provided the perfect backdrop for thrills, spills and twists of fate throughout all four IMSA series that competed over the weekend. There were plenty of highlights, heartaches and what-ifs to go around.
 
Here are three takeaways from the weekend:
 
Three’s Company: Drivers are fond of saying it only takes two cars to make a good race. The GT Le Mans (GTLM) class did that one better with three entries in Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, and what a show they put on in the Michelin GT Challenge At VIR.
 
It was an all-out brawl between the two Corvette Racing C8.Rs and the WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19. Kevin Estre, in the No. 79 Porsche for the finish, was determined to take the car to the overall win. First, he bumped his way past former Porsche teammate Nick Tandy in the No. 4 Corvette. Then it was Antonio Garcia’s turn in the No. 3 Corvette to feel some bumper love. It was thrilling to watch.
 
But what goes around, comes around. Eventually, Tandy pounded past Estre for the lead. Soon after, the No. 79 skidded off course and out of contention. Tandy called it “karma” for Estre’s aggressive tactics.
 
That’s not to say Tandy didn’t enjoy it. Getting a third straight win with co-driver Tommy Milner helps soothe ill feelings.
 
“It was fun out there,” Tandy said. “I always enjoy a good fight. When you race people like Kevin, Antonio, Tommy and Jordan (Taylor), there's always going to be a good fight. We enjoyed it, and we got the better of it.”
It Ain’t Over ‘til It’s Over: There’s a reason they race to the checkered flag. Evidence came in the GT Daytona (GTD) portion of the WeatherTech Championship race.
 
Bill Auberlen held a comfortable lead in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3, nearly six seconds up on Laurens Vanthoor in the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R with just 12 minutes left on the two-hour, 40-minute clock. But when Garcia tried to lap Auberlen in Turn 1, the No. 3 Corvette partially spun and bumped into Auberlen’s BMW, forcing it to spin as well and leaving the all-time winningest driver with a flat tire.
 
What could have been a pivotal win for Auberlen and Robby Foley that launched them back into the championship hunt disintegrated into a 12th-place finish that essentially eliminates them from the title conversation.
 
When asked after the race what he thought when he saw the wounded BMW as he rolled past and into the lead, Vanthoor just gave a silent, befuddled look.
 
“I was, ‘Really?!” he said. “I was as surprised as anybody else.”
 
By collecting their fourth win of the season (including three in the last four races), Vanthoor and Zacharie Robichon take a 50-point lead over No. 1 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 drivers Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow to the season finale for all five WeatherTech Championship classes, the Motul Petit Le Mans next month. Ross Gunn, Roman De Angelis and the No. 23 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 – 177 points from the lead – hold slim hopes for the GTD season championship as well after clinching the IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup title Saturday.
Sunday No Fun Day for McAleer: Spare some positive vibes today for Stevan McAleer, who appeared poised to win twice on Sunday at VIR, only to have both victories taken away in the waning minutes of the races.
 
McAleer was leading on the final lap of the IMSA Prototype Challenge three-hour event in the No. 43 Robillard Racing Duqueine D08 when he went wide around Oak Tree Curve. It “left the light on” for Rasmus Lindh in the Motel 6-sponsored Ligier JS P320 from Performance Tech Motorsports. The two cars made side-to-side contact a few times down the back straight and into Turn 14, with McAleer eventually going into the grass and out of contention. Lindh went on to win; McAleer finished sixth.
 
With little time to regroup, McAleer found himself in the middle of the lead pack in the climactic race of the weekend, the Virginia is for Racing Lovers Grand Prix in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge. On the final restart from a caution, McAleer was out front again – this time in the No. 23 Notlad Racing by RS1 Aston Martin Vantage GT4.
 
Jan Heylen hounded McAleer for several laps before eventually making a clean pass for the lead in the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R. McAleer held fast to place second at the checkered flag, but the No. 23 Aston Martin failed a postrace fuel capacity audit, again denying him of a trophy for his efforts. But oh, what might have been.

 

 

Porsche Taycan Turbo S Becomes First Electric Safety Car
in IMSA History, To Be Used at VIR
The All-Electric Sports Sedan Will Lead the WeatherTech Championship Field
to the Green Flag Saturday
ALTON, Va. (Oct. 9, 2021) – For the first time in IMSA history, an electric vehicle will pace the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship field today when the Porsche Taycan Turbo S serves as the Safety Car for the Michelin GT Challenge at VIR.
 
The Porsche Taycan Turbo S will lead the field of GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona (GTD) sports cars to the green flag for Saturday’s two-hour, 40-minute race at VIRginia International Raceway, which will be televised live on NBC beginning at 12 p.m. ET.
 
The Taycan also will be deployed to pace the field under any full-course caution periods on the 17-turn, 3.27-mile road course.  A Taycan also was used in the IMSA Hot Lap program two weeks ago at Long Beach, becoming the first EV to do so.
 
A four-door electric sports sedan offering potent performance – with a maximum output of 750 horsepower – the Taycan Turbo S is powered by two electric motors and an industry-first, 800-volt battery architecture. Its highly advanced production methods and features set new standards in the fields of sustainability and digitalization.
 
“IMSA is proud to join our partners at Porsche to have the Taycan Turbo S as the Safety Car for the WeatherTech Championship this weekend,” IMSA President John Doonan said. “It’s an amazing car and fits nicely with the IMSA Green initiative that our organization has endorsed and continues to emphasize.
 
“As we have seen with the overwhelming response to the LMDh prototype hybrid class that debuts in 2023, as well as the ETCR car demonstration earlier this year, IMSA is focused on new and cleaner technologies for the future. Having the Porsche Taycan Turbo S as our Safety Car at VIR will put on display the potential for taking advantage of these technologies in areas we haven’t gone before.”
 
The Taycan Turbo S is the most powerful production model Porsche has in its product range. It can go from zero to 60 mph in 2.6 seconds – on par with the Porsche 918 Spyder sports car – and can reach track speeds of 161 mph. Featuring technical highlights such as a standard Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes and the slipperiest body in the marque’s production-car portfolio, the car is at the cutting edge of Porsche performance.
 
Porsche is an active IMSA partner. In addition to the four Porsches competing in the WeatherTech Championship race at VIR – one in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class and three in GT Daytona (GTD) – the manufacturer has one entry in Sunday’s IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge two-hour Virginia Is For Racing Lovers Grand Prix and a 28-car grid for the doubleheader round of the Porsche Carrera Cup North America.

 

 

 

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What to Watch for: Michelin GT Challenge at VIR
Title Races Will Come into Better Focus for Both the WeatherTech Championship and Michelin Pilot Challenge

 
October 7, 2021
By David Phillips
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – This weekend brings us the second and final all-GT weekend of the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, namely the Michelin GT Challenge at VIRginia International Raceway.
 
Apart from the bucolic settings, VIR’s fast, flowing and spacious 3.27-mile road course could hardly be more different from the close confines of 1.5-mile Lime Rock Park, site of the season’s first GT-only weekend. Thus, the form sheet from July’s Northeast Grand Prix will likely bear little resemblance to that of VIR’s Michelin GT Challenge.
 
In addition to the physical differences, the championship environments in this weekend’s two headline events – Saturday’s Michelin GT Challenge for the WeatherTech Championship’s GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona (GTD) classes and Sunday’s Virginia Is for Racing Lovers Grand Prix for the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge – are also much changed from when the competitors did battle at Lime Rock. The bona-fide championship contenders have emerged from the pack in the past three months and, in some instances, can mathematically clinch or at least put a stranglehold on the 2021 titles.
 
Case in point: Corvette Racing, the No. 3 C8.R in particular. Antonio Garcia and Jordan Tayler must only start the race on Saturday (and the Motul Petit Le Mans in November) to claim GTLM driver and team laurels. Similarly, Chevrolet has a virtual lock on the manufacturer title. And the fact that Garcia and Taylor are defending VIR race winners only solidifies their role as favorites.
 
Which is not to say stablemates Nick Tandy and Tommy Milner will not do everything in their power to put the No. 4 ‘Vette in victory lane this weekend as they’ve done in each of the past two races; or that Cooper MacNeil and Kevin Estre won’t be gunning for the third win of the campaign in the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19.
 
On the other hand, GTD – where Aston Martin, BMW, Lamborghini, Lexus, Mercedes-AMG and Porsche have all visited the winner’s circle this year – sees at least five teams and marques with a legitimate shot at this season’s championship silverware. 
 
The No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R driven by Zacharie Robichon and Laurens Vanthoor leads the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 and drivers Madison Snow and Bryan Sellers by 32 points and by 104 over the No. 23 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 of Roman De Angelis and Ross Gunn. One hundred fifty points back comes the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 of Bill Auberlen and Robby Foley, while the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche of Patrick Long is 207 out of the lead.
 
So much for 2021. Not only did the No. 96 Turner BMW take top honors at VIR last year, such was the attrition in GTLM (and the speed of the No. 96) that Auberlen and Foley placed fifth overall. Interestingly, Acura came home second in the 2020 edition at VIR, but the manufacturer arrives this weekend in search of its first win of the season in the hands of the Magnus with Archangel and Gradient Racing squads.
 
Perhaps even more intriguingly, Mercedes figures to be something of a wild card at VIR, given that the Alegra Motorsports and Gilbert/Korthoff Motorsports teams are running limited schedules, not in the championship reckoning and will not be racing with one eye on the points this weekend.
 
Speaking of, there is yet another factor in the GTD equation. The Michelin GT Challenge is the climax of the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup. De Angelis, Gunn and the No. 23 Heart of Racing Aston Martin lead the Sprint Cup standings and, along with the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing and defending champions No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Racing Lexus RC F GT3 (with drivers Aaron Telitz and Jack Hawksworth), will be playing IMSA’s version of 3D chess – juggling Sprint Cup and overall WeatherTech Championship points all the while jockeying for the race win.
 
Then there’s Sunday’s Michelin Pilot Challenge event, where the evergreen Auberlen is in the mix for a Grand Sport (GS) driver title, along with No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT4 co-driver Dillon Machavern, to complement his potential GTD crown. Their chief rivals in the Michelin Pilot Challenge are teammates Foley and Vin Barletta in the No. 96 Turner BMW. Foley was a co-driver in both cars last year and DID come home first AND third!
 
Don’t count out Jan Heylen, who will reunite with Ryan Hardwick in the No. 16 Wright Motorsport Porsche Cayman 718 GT4 Clubsport this weekend and out to carry the winning momentum from WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca to VIR in hopes of erasing Auberlen’s 80-point advantage in the standings. 
 
The team and marque likely to scoop up Michelin Pilot Challenge Touring Car (TCR) class hardware in 2021 is no secret, given that Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian occupies the top three places in the championship. Nor should it rank as a surprise that the smart money is on the BHA Hyundais this weekend since they finished 1-2-3 at VIR last year.
 
Michael Lewis returns to defend last year’s victory with new co-driver Taylor Hagler in the No. 77 BHA Hyundai Veloster N TCR, while Parker Chase (and co-driver Ryan Norman) and Harry Gottsacker and Mark Wilkins in the No. 33 and 98 BHA Elantra N TCRs, respectively, will be looking to move up a couple of places in the order over last year. However, BHA and Hyundai haven’t had things entirely their way this year, witness wins at Daytona and Sebring by the No. 17 Unitronic JDC Miller MotorSports and No. 61 Road Shagger Audi RS3 LMS SEQs, respectively.
 
Not to mention the No. 94 Atlanta Speedwerks Honda Civic FK7 TCR’s win at Watkins Glen and the No. 5 KMW Motorsports with TMR Engineering Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR’s breakthrough victory at Road America. Rest assured those and other TCR competitors are not about to concede the win on Sunday.
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Tune-In: Michelin GT Challenge At VIR

The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship features its Grand Touring classes this weekend at VIRginia International Raceway with the Michelin GT Challenge at VIR. Catch all the GT Le Mans and GT Daytona cars in action from the penultimate race of the 2021 season live on NBC, starting at noon ET Saturday.

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GTD Goes to VIR with Everything to Play For
The Sprint Cup Title Will Be Decided, and Important Season Points Will Be Earned

 
October 7, 2021
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – It will be a race within a race within a race for GT Daytona class (GTD) competitors in Saturday’s Michelin GT Challenge At VIR.
 
The two-hour, 40-minute test of man, woman and machine at VIRginia International Raceway has multiple implications in addition to the race results themselves. The event serves as the final leg of the IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup consisting of the eight non-endurance races for the class. It is also the ninth of 10 races counting toward the season-long championship for GTD drivers, teams and manufacturers.
 
Best of all, it’s anyone’s guess who will drive away with any of the titles.
 
In Sprint Cup, Ross Gunn, Roman De Angelis and the No. 23 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 enter the weekend with a 74-point advantage on Madison Snow, Bryan Sellers and the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3. With 15 GTD entries, the potential swing in the race is 190 points (350 for winning, down to 160 for 15th place) – not to mention another 19 points that could be picked up in Motul Pole Award qualifying (35 points for the pole, 16 for the 15th-fastest qualifier).
 
Sprint Cup competition is even tighter among the eight manufacturers competing this week. Aston Martin is just 23 points up on Lexus, 25 ahead of Lamborghini and 95 better than Porsche.
 
The overall WeatherTech Championship GTD battle is just as muddled, even with two races left. The Motul Petit Le Mans closes the season Nov. 13 at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
 
Zacharie Robichon and Laurens Vanthoor have stormed to the top of the season points behind two wins, a second and a fourth in the last four races co-driving the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R. They lead Snow and Sellers by 32 points, Gunn and De Angelis by 104 and Bill Auberlen and Robby Foley by 150, but don’t plan to do anything different now that they are the hunted instead of the hunter.
 
"I don't think our approach will change at all,” Vanthoor said. “It is so close in points that every single point matters. We have been doing well lately. The danger is to start thinking differently. We just need to do our job like we normally do, and we will be fine. VIR is a track that I like so I am looking forward to that."
 
Auberlen and Foley, who finished 16th two weeks ago in the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach to slip from first to fourth in the GTD championship points standings, can take solace in the fact that they won last year’s VIR race in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3. The duo made it a weekend sweep by also coming home first in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race.
 
“I can’t help but smile when I think of VIR,” team owner Will Turner said. “Last season’s races were pretty special. We won everything that weekend and it was especially pleasing to be the BMW team that drove Bill to his record-setting 61st IMSA (top-level series) victory. Our GT Daytona race at Long Beach was miserable so we’ll be looking for some VIR magic again.”
 
Porsche leads Lamborghini by 49 points in GTD manufacturer season points, with Aston Martin 130 out of first and BMW 145 back.
 
WeatherTech Championship practices (8 a.m. and 11:55 a.m. ET) and qualifying (4:35 p.m., livestream on IMSA.com/TVLive) take place Friday at VIR. The race airs live on NBC at noon Saturday, with the green flag expected to wave at 12:10 p.m.

 

 

VIR Is Home to One No. 4 Corvette Driver, Feels Like It to Other
Happy Homecoming for Red-Hot Milner, Tandy This Week at VIR

 
October 6, 2021
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – After sweeping to victory in the GT Le Mans (GLTM) class at the two IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races last month in California, Corvette Racing drivers Tommy Milner and Nick Tandy are fueled with energy heading into this week’s Michelin GT Challenge at VIR.
 
Saturday’s race at VIRginia International Raceway – broadcast live at noon ET on NBC – provides a true homecoming for Milner, who lives in Ashburn, Virginia. Though No. 4 Corvette C8.R co-driver Tandy is British, the nature of the track makes it feel like a homecoming for him as well.
 
“I'm really excited to get another IMSA race since we are two for our last two,” Milner said. “Nick and I are heading into VIR with some momentum, but we'll have to work as hard as ever to continue that trend. VIR is an awesome, awesome racetrack ... one that is a lot different than what we are coming off of at Long Beach and even (WeatherTech Raceway) Laguna Seca.
 
“There is a ton of grip at VIR so it will be a fun challenge. This C8.R was a lot of fun to drive there last year. It's improved from last year so I'm looking forward to seeing how good it is around VIR this time around.”
 
Milner has two IMSA wins at VIR, but the last came in 2012 when he and then-Corvette teammate Oliver Gavin clinched the GT class championship with a victory. Tandy has a pair of VIR triumphs as well, though they came with Porsche in GTLM competition in 2015 and ’19.
 
“I love VIR … absolutely love it!” Tandy said. “I have since the first time I went there. It reminds me of racing at a lot of tracks where I grew up in the U.K. There is greenery everywhere. It feels different and is one of my favorite tracks on the calendar.
 
“Past that, the track layout is awesome. It has everything: super-fast with long straights, elevation changes, slow technical sections and super-high-speed technical sections. It definitely is one of my favorite places to race on the IMSA calendar.”
 
Milner and Tandy’s teammates, No. 3 Corvette co-drivers Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor, are the reigning overall and GTLM winners at VIR. Garcia, in fact, has won three of the last five races on the 3.27-mile, 17-turn circuit.
 
The other GTLM entry, the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19, teams full-season driver Cooper MacNeil with Kevin Estre. The latter made his first WeatherTech Championship start since 2017 in the No. 79 at the Rolex 24 At Daytona to start the 2021 season. Estre tested in the car at VIR last month but it will be his first race at the track in seven years.
 
“I’m really pleased to go back to VIR,” the French driver said. “I did the IMSA GT race back in 2014. It didn’t go so well, but I really like the track. There is a lot of risk in a fast lap there, but with the good aero of the Porsche 911 RSR, it makes it fun and fast for a driver. It is a short weekend, so we need to have error-free practice, good strategy in the race and we can come away with a result.”
 
WeatherTech Championship practice and qualifying takes place Friday at VIR, ahead of the expected green flag for the two-hour, 40-minute race at 12:10 p.m. ET Saturday.
Skeen Returns to Prototype Challenge on Busy Home Weekend
The Virginian Is Pulling Double Duty at VIR

 
October 6, 2021
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The opportunity to race in the only prototype action this weekend at his home track – VIRginia International Raceway – was too good to pass up, so Mike Skeen is back for his second IMSA Prototype Challenge race of the season.
 
Skeen is rejoining Jr III Racing for Sunday’s three-hour race on the 3.27-mile, 17-turn road course some 45 minutes from where the native Virginian grew up. Skeen, along with co-driver Terry Olson, finished second overall for Jr III in the Prototype Challenge race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in May. It was Skeen’s third podium finish in five career series starts.
 
 
In 2019, Skeen won at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta and finished second at VIR driving for Gilbert/Korthoff Motorsports. The 34-year-old is pulling double duty this weekend, also driving a GT Daytona entry for Gilbert/Korthoff in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race on Saturday. He’s relishing the challenge of driving two completely different race cars this weekend.
 
“It’s a little tricky, but fortunately I have a lot of experience jumping between different cars and picking them up quickly,” said Skeen, the reigning Trans Am TA2 champion who has 25 career WeatherTech Championship starts under his belt. “It also helps that we’ve done a little testing with the IPC car, so I’m pretty familiar with that and it shouldn’t be too hard to get back into it and get back to speed.”
 
Skeen is paired in the No. 3 Ligier JS P320 with Marc Sharinn, who’s looking to make his Prototype Challenge debut for a second time after mechanical issues prevented him from taking the green flag at Watkins Glen International in July.
 
“We’ve tested with him a bit and he’s getting used to the car,” Skeen said of Sharinn, who turned minimal practice laps at Watkins Glen. “Certainly, this is the highest-level racing he’s done. It will be interesting to see how he does, but we’re really not putting a whole lot of pressure on ourselves.”
 
There is pressure atop the Prototype Challenge standings with just two races remaining. Moritz Kranz holds a narrow 10-point lead in Le Mans Prototype 3-1 (LMP3-1) heading into the VIR weekend. He’s raced with a co-driver in two races and driven solo in two, winning one race each way in the No. 21 Muehlner Motorsports America Duqueine D08.
 
Right behind Kranz in the points are No. 54 MLT Motorsports Ligier co-drivers Dakota Dickerson and Josh Sarchet, who have finished on the podium in all four 2021 races and won at Watkins Glen.
 
In the LMP3-2 class for previous-generation cars, George Staikos and Danny Kok will clinch the season crown by starting in Sunday’s race.
 
The Prototype Challenge schedule features a practice on Friday afternoon and another Saturday morning, ahead of qualifying at 4:35 p.m. ET Saturday. The race streams live at 8:45 a.m. Sunday on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.

 

Gimme a Break: Injury Forces Murillo Racing to Shift Lineup
Kenny Murillo Is Subbing in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Race
for Jeff Mosing, Who Has a Broken Foot

 
October 5, 2021
By Godwin Kelly
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – After a solid fourth-place finish driving the No. 56 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca last month, Jeff Mosing broke his right foot in a freak accident.
 
“It broke bad enough that I can’t use my foot,” said Mosing, who co-drives the Grand Sport (GS) class machine with Eric Foss. “It’s unfortunate. I rolled my foot over and thought I had injured my ankle at first. When I got home and had an x-ray, they found the broken bone.”
 
 
Mosing and Foss, who scored their first Michelin Pilot Challenge GS victory at Lime Rock Park in July, are seventh in the GS standings with two races remaining – including Sunday’s Virginia Is for Racing Lovers Grand Prix at VIRginia International Raceway.
 
“Once you taste that victory or championship, you keep wanting it and Murillo Racing has done everything they can do to get us here,” Mosing said after the team’s historic victory.
 
The victory was welcomed by Murillo Racing. The series’ 2014 and 2017 Street Tuner (ST) class champion team and its two drivers had not won a Michelin Pilot Challenge race since Foss and Mosing took the ST checkered flag at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in 2017. 
 
With Mosing out this week at VIR, Kenny Murillo, the 25-year-old son of team owner Ken Murillo, will take his place.
 
“I look forward to having Kenny drive for me,” Mosing said. “Kenny has raced VIR a lot. He should be really good there with Eric.”
 
Now the emphasis shifts to Foss, who could score a top-three finish in the GS championship with strong finishes at VIR and next month at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. He and Mosing are just 120 points out of fourth place in the standings and 290 from the lead. With a GS field of 20 cars this week and a comparable field expected in the finale, huge points swings are possible.
 
Foss said he has the wheels to accomplish that mission.
 
“The Mercedes-AMG GT4 is such a great car,” he said. “It’s super consistent, it’s very drivable and inspires a lot of confidence.”
 
Foss can also lean on his new co-driver, an accomplished racer. Mosing and Foss have been with Murillo Racing for a decade and watched Kenny mature behind the wheel.
 
“Jeff has been in my life for 10-plus years,” Kenny Murillo said. “My original thought was to feel bad for Jeff because he brings so much life to the team, so I was a little sad he wasn’t driving. Now my attitude has changed to bring him a good result. I am fully motivated.”
 
Kenny Murillo has competed in three Michelin Pilot Challenge races this season in the team’s sister car, the No. 65 Mercedes-AMG GT4.
 
“I’m pretty familiar with the car and with Eric,” he said. “Eric has been a huge mentor for me for 10-plus years. This is all really exciting. It seems like all the stars are aligning for some good results.”
 
The younger Murillo is also looking forward to VIR, which measures 3.27 miles and boasts 17 turns.
 
“We always thought Mercedes used Virginia as its test track,” Murillo said with a laugh. “We always seem to do fairly good there, which is pretty rare in IMSA. We have really high hopes.”
 
Mosing hopes to heal in time for the season finale, the Fox Factory 120 at Michelin Raceway in early November. “I’m going to take care of it and see if it gets well enough for me to compete there,” he said.
 
If not, no worries.
 
“Kenny is a talented little driver,” Mosing said. “He understands, along with his dad, they know how to engineer the car properly. They should be strong for sure.”
 
Bill Auberlen and Dillon Machavern, co-drivers of the No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT4, are the GS points leaders, 40 points ahead of teammates Robby Foley and Vin Barletta in the No. 96 BMW. Michael Lewis and Taylor Hagler of the No. 77 Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian Hyundai Veloster N TCR head up the Touring Car (TCR) standings, 170 points ahead of teammate Parker Chase, who shares the No. 98 BHA Hyundai Elantra N TCR this weekend with Ryan Norman.
 
The Michelin Pilot Challenge schedule at VIR lists a practice each day on Friday and Saturday. Qualifying is set for 8 a.m. ET Sunday, with the race streaming live later that same day, at 2:05 p.m. on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.

 

 

Always Becoming: VIR Continues Blossoming under Nyholm
IMSA Fans and Competitors Will Notice Upgrades This Week, Part of a Master Plan

 
October 4, 2021
By David Phillips
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – In the words of noted motorsports buff Bob Dylan, “Never think you’ve arrived. Always be in a state of becoming.” 
 
Although it’s doubtful Mr. Dylan has ever set foot on the well-manicured grounds of VIRginia International Raceway, his words could have been the mantra of Connie Nyholm and Harvey Siegel as they went about resurrecting the fabled motorsports facility some 20 years ago after it had gone to seed in the 1980s and ‘90s.
 
Not content with restoring the iconic road course to mere serviceability, Nyholm and Siegel used the rebirth of VIR to create the country’s first “motorsport resort” featuring upscale lodging and dining, trackside condominiums and suites overlooking pit lane along with a go-kart track – even skeet shooting, pistol and rifle ranges – in a setting more akin to Augusta National or Pebble Beach than your run-of-the-mill racetrack.
 
Nyholm has continued enhancing the facility’s competitor- and spectator-friendliness –since Siegel retired from ownership, selectively widening and repaving all 3.27 miles of the track’s full course layout, paving the main paddock and adding dining and lodging options such that VIR now boasts no fewer than three onsite hotels.
 
And did we mention the adjacent VIR Motorsport Technology Park, home to some of America’s leading motorsports and automotive organizations, including Team Hardpoint, which will field the No. 88 Porsche for co-drivers Rob Ferriol and Katherine Legge in Saturday’s featured race at the Michelin GT Challenge, as well as the National Tire Research Center operated by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute?
 
“On the one hand, we started with a clean sheet of paper back in 1998,” says Nyholm. “On the other hand, you could say the other tracks around the country had a 20-year head start on us, and we were playing catch-up.” 
 
Suffice to say VIR caught up quite some time ago. Nor should it come as a surprise that competitors and fans alike will find significant improvements awaiting when they arrive for IMSA’s Michelin GT Challenge at VIR this weekend, courtesy of VIR’s ongoing “infrastructure program.” Noteworthy projects include installing more robust catch fencing in Turn 1, completely new guardrails on the drivers’ right from pit out to Turn 1, and on the drivers’ right running from the exit of Turn 1 to Turn 3.
 
But if you think Nyholm and her staff believe these upgrades mean VIR has arrived, think again.
 
“We’re in the process of developing a master plan for VIR for decades to come,” she says. “We don’t start things we aren’t sure to finish, so we’ll make the projects public as soon as we are able.”
 
Like most tracks around the country, indeed worldwide, VIR took something of a financial hit during the pandemic, what with rescheduling and, at best, limited crowd capacity. If there was some relatively good news to come out of the last 18 months, it’s that the club component of VIR’s schedule has rebounded with a bang, with club activities up some 30 percent as amateurs enjoy the circuit’s wide-open spaces from behind their face-shielded helmets.
 
Now it’s time for the professional side of VIR’s calendar to follow suit.
 
“We’ve always looked forward to the IMSA weekend,” says Nyholm, “and this year’s (IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship) race will be carried live on NBC. We hope the competitors and fans who are returning – some of whom have been coming here for 20 years – will notice all the improvements.” 
 
Tickets for the Michelin GT Challenge At VIR weekend are available at virnow.com. The two-hour, 40-minute WeatherTech Championship race, featuring the GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona (GTD) classes, airs live at noon ET Saturday on NBC. The Virginia Is for Racing Lovers Grand Prix, the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge two-hour race, streams live at 2:05 p.m. Sunday on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.

 

Championship Updates – Leaders in All IMSA Series
With the 2021 Season Coming to a Close, Close Battles Rage Far and Wide

 
October 1, 2021
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – With the final events of the season looming, it’s the right time to check in on the championship battles in all of the IMSA-sanctioned series. Each boasts its own intrigue and impending drama.
 
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
 
Daytona Prototype international (DPi): With just one DPi event remaining, the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta on Nov. 13, it’s a two-horse race for the driver and team championships. By winning three of the last four races, No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R co-drivers Pipo Derani and Felipe Nasr have sliced their deficit to a mere 19 points to leaders Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-05.
 
Essentially, whichever car finishes higher at Michelin Raceway will claim the title. Keep a close eye on the qualifying results as well, since the few extra points gained by one team there could play a significant role in race strategy and the championship outcome.
 
Cadillac, by the way, will secure the DPi manufacturer title by having one of its cars start the race on Nov. 13.
Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2): Ben Keating and Mikkel Jensen are in position to deliver PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports its third straight LMP2 championship. The drivers of the No. 52 ORECA LMP2 07 hold a 113-point edge on No. 11 WIN Autosport co-drivers Steven Thomas and Tristan Nunez with only the Motul Petit Le Mans remaining. Keating and Jensen likely clinch the title with a race finish of sixth or better.
 
Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3): Just 50 points separate class leader Gar Robinson of the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier JS P320 from second-place Colin Braun and Jonathan Bennett in the No. 54 CORE autosport Ligier with one race to go. The two cars have won all six races in the new class for 2021.
GT Le Mans (GTLM): Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor (No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R) have a 160-point lead and need only qualify and race in the two remaining events – the Michelin GT Challenge at VIR on Oct. 9 and the Motul Petit Le Mans – to secure their second straight GTLM crown together. Their teammates in the No. 4 Corvette, Tommy Milner and Nick Tandy, are keeping them honest by winning the last two races. Chevrolet has also all but wrapped up the GTLM manufacturer title, with a 188-point lead on Porsche.
GT Daytona (GTD): This one is anybody’s guess with two races left to run. Five teams are clustered atop the standings within 207 points of each other. And with the size of the GTD field at all races, each still has a legitimate shot at the championship.
 
The No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R, with drivers Zacharie Robichon and Laurens Vanthoor, lead by 32 points over No. 1 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 drivers Madison Snow and Bryan Sellers, by 104 over No. 23 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 drivers Roman De Angelis and Ross Gunn, by 150 on No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 drivers Bill Auberlen and Robby Foley, and by 207 on No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche driver Patrick Long.
 
In the GTD manufacturer chase, Porsche is 49 points ahead of Lamborghini, 130 up on Aston Martin and 145 ahead of BMW.
IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup: Three of the four endurance events are in the books, with only the Motul Petit Le Mans remaining to close the year. The No. 10 Acura trio of Albuquerque, Taylor and Alexander Rossi have a three-point lead over No. 55 Mazda drivers Oliver Jarvis, Harry Tincknell and Jonathan Bomarito in DPi. Cadillac has won four straight Michelin Endurance Cup manufacturer titles but trails Acura by two points heading into the finale.
 
Keating, Jensen and Scott Huffaker of the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen ORECA lead in LMP2 by a single point over Gabriel Aubry and John Farano in the No. 8 Tower Motorsport entry. In LMP3, No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier drivers Gar Robinson and Scott Andrews are up eight points on Oliver Askew, who has driven for three LMP3 outfits this season. Corvettes head up the GTLM battle, with No. 3 drivers Garcia and Jordan Taylor two points ahead of No. 4 pilots Milner and Tandy. GTD couldn’t be much tighter, with Long, Jan Heylen and Trent Hindman (No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche) a single point ahead of two trios, Lars Kern, Vanthoor and Robichon (No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche), and Sellers, Snow and Corey Lewis (No. 1 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini).
IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup: With just the final sprint race at VIRginia International Raceway looming, De Angelis and Gunn (No. 23 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin) are 74 points ahead of Sellers and Snow (No. 1 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini). Defending Sprint Cup champions Aaron Telitz and Jack Hawksworth (No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Racing Lexus RC F TG3) have a remote chance of repeating, sitting 169 points back.
IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge
 
Bill Auberlen is trying to double up on championships this year. He’s in the running for the GTD crown in the WeatherTech Championship, and the veteran leads the chase in the Michelin Pilot Challenge Grand Sport (GS) class along with co-driver Dillon Machavern in the No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT4.
 
Their greatest competition currently comes within the Turner Motorsport stable, as No. 96 drivers Foley and Vin Barletta are 40 points behind. Heylen (No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport) is 80 points out of first place.
 
As they have most of the season, Taylor Hagler and Michael Lewis (No. 77 Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian Hyundai Veloster N TCR) continue atop the standings in the Touring Car (TCR) class. They also head up a sweep of the top three spots for BHA entries. Parker Chase and the No. 98 BHA Elantra N TCR are second, 170 points behind the No. 77. Harry Gottsacker, Mark Wilkins and the No. 33 BHA Elantra are third, 200 points from the lead.
 
Two Michelin Pilot Challenge races remain, at VIR and Michelin Raceway.
IMSA Prototype Challenge

 
Also with two races remaining, it’s a two-car race for the championship featuring both chassis manufacturers in the LMP3 development series.
 
Moritz Kranz (No. 21 Muehlner Motorsports America Duqueine D08) has two wins and a runner-up finish to hold a narrow lead in the LMP3-1 class for current-generation cars. Dakota Dickerson and Josh Sarchet (No. 54 MLT Motorsports Ligier JS P320) collected their first win of the season in the most recent race at Watkins Glen International to pull within 10 points of Kranz.
 
The Bronze Cup competition for entries using only Bronze-rated drivers finds brothers David and Keith Grant (No. 40 JDC MotorSports Duqueine) in front, 640 points ahead of Kranz. In LMP3-2 for the last year’s cars, Danny Kok and George Stairos (No. 61 Conquest Racing Norma M30) have finished second in each race to build a 230-point lead, even though Francesco Melandri (No. 24 Sean Creech Motorsport Ligier JS P3) has won the last three races – each with a different co-driver.
Porsche Carrera Cup North America Presented by the Cayman Islands
 
The first-year series has two rounds and five races remaining. Kelly-Moss Road and Race teammates Seb Priaulx and Kay van Berlo have been battling at the top all season and remain there after 11 races. Priaulx (No. 15 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car) has a 42-point lead on van Berlo (No. 3 Porsche) in the Pro class.
 
Alan Metni, another Kelly-Moss driver, has won seven Pro-Am races to open a 39-point lead on Efrin Castro from Team Hardpoint EBM. The Pro and Pro-Am classes compete with the latest-generation type 992 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. In the Pro-Am 991 division for drivers running the previous-generation type 991.2 configuration, Matt Halcome enjoys a 60-point advantage on Goldcrest Motorsports teammate Grady Willingham.
Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America
 
The single-make series using Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo EVOs is preparing for its season finale, which takes place Oct. 28-31 at the Misano Circuit in Italy. The first two days are reserved for the final doubleheader round to determine champions in the North American series. The final two days will contest the World Final, with North American and European series drivers racing each other.
 
Heading to Misano, Richard Antinucci (Dream Racing Motorsport, Lamborghini Las Vegas) leads the Pro class standings by 13 points over Stevan McAleer (Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte). In ProAm, Brandon Gdovic and Bryan Ortiz (Precision Performance Motorsports, Lamborghini Palm Beach) have a nearly insurmountable 31-point edge on Victor Gomez (Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte). Series newcomer and 17-year-old Luke Berkeley (Dream Racing Motorsport, Lamborghini Broward) has won three straight races to take a 13-point lead on Alan Metni (Change Racing, Lamborghini Dallas). Finally in LB Cup, Matt Dicken (Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte) has just a one-point lead over Mark Kvamme and Terry Olson (Precision Performance Motorsports, Lamborghini Palm Beach).
Ferrari Challenge North America
 
The domestic part of the series schedule is complete with only the Finali Mondiali at Mugelo, Italy, in November remaining.
 
Champions in their respective classes were: Cooper MacNeil (Ferrari Westlake) in Trofeo Pirelli, his fourth straight title; Jason McCarthy (Wide World Ferrari) in Trofeo Pirelli Am 1; Brian Davis (Ferrari of Palm Beach) in Trofeo Pirelli Am 2; Dave Musial Jr. (Ferrari Lake Forest) in Coppa Shell; and John Cervini (Ferrari of Ontario) in Coppa Shell Am.
Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich
 
A doubleheader round at Michelin Raceway remains, with a three-way fight for the championship. Gresham Wagner (No. 5 Spark Performance) swept the last round at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca to take a 100-point lead on reigning series champion Michael Carter (No. 08 Carter Racing Enterprises). Selin Rollan (No. 87 Hixon Motor Sports) is 60 points behind Carter.
 
The rookie driver standings find Sam Paley (No. 28 McCumbee McAleer Racing) 150 points up on Chris Nunes (No. 32 JTR Motorsports Engineering).

 

 

 

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Ten Finalists Selected for Inaugural
IMSA Diverse Driver Development Scholarship
First Scholarship Recipient to be Revealed in November
During Motul Petit Le Mans Week
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (September 30, 2021) – The International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) today announced that 10 finalists have been selected to vie for the inaugural IMSA Diverse Driver Development Scholarship.

 
Four women and six men were selected from 35 applicants to contend for the scholarship worth upwards of a quarter million dollars in value toward a full season of competition in either the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge or IMSA Prototype Challenge next year. The inaugural recipient of the IMSA Diverse Driver Development Scholarship will be named during Motul Petit Le Mans week at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

 
“The response we received after announcing the IMSA Diverse Driver Development Scholarship in August was fantastic,” said IMSA President John Doonan. “There were so many talented applicants, and it was extraordinarily difficult to select our 10 finalists. It will be even more difficult to choose one recipient, as all of our finalists have what it takes to succeed long term in IMSA.”

 
To be eligible for the scholarship that was introduced on Aug. 10, drivers must have a strong desire to compete in IMSA, outstanding previous race results and/or proven on-track potential in junior racing categories and the ability to build a compelling business plan for securing the remaining funding needed to compete in a full season in 2022.

 
The IMSA Diverse Driver Development Scholarship recipient will receive substantial support from IMSA and partners such as Michelin, VP Racing Fuels, OMP, RECARO and LAT Photo USA in 2022. Some scholarship benefits will extend toward a second season for the recipient in 2023.

 
2022 IMSA Diverse Driver Development Scholarship Finalists (in alphabetical order):
Sebastian Carazo, 23,
Guaynabo, Puerto Rico

 
Carazo is currently competing in the Porsche Carrera Cup North America presented by the Cayman Islands as a Porsche Junior Driver. He won the 2019 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama Gold Cup championship.
Jaden Conwright, 22
Newark, California

 
Conwright made his IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship debut in the 2021 Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, finishing fourth in the GT Daytona (GTD) class in the No. 42 NTe Sport Audi R8 LMS GT3 after qualifying third.
Sabré Cook, 27
Grand Junction, Colorado

 
Cook is the only American to qualify for the W Series in 2021. She finished third in her Porsche Sprint Challenge North America by Yokohama debut in May at Circuit of The Americas, becoming the first woman in series history to finish on the podium.
Courtney Crone, 20
Corona, California

 
Crone is the 2021 recipient of the Gorsline Scholarship for Young Racers has been racing for more than three-quarters of her life in a variety of disciplines. She is competing in her first season of IMSA Prototype Challenge in 2021 and opened the year by competing in the prestigious Chili Bowl Nationals. 
David Dalton, 23
Charlotte, North Carolina

 
Dalton brings previous racing experience from the F4 United States Championship powered by Honda and the Lucas Oil Formula Car Race Series, earning a victory in the latter series’ race at National Corvette Museum Motorsports Park in 2019.
Christina Lam, 33
Vienna, Virginia

 
Lam is an experienced driver coach with Hi-Speed Motorsports and Skip Barber Racing School. Earlier this year, she co-founded the Hi-Speed Motorsports race team with Honda Performance Development to field Civic race cars in a variety of championships.
Mateo Llarena, 17
Hallandale, Florida

 
Llarena won his first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship pole in the LMP3 class in qualifying for July’s WeatherTech 240 at Watkins Glen International, becoming the youngest pole-winner in series history. He also is a Lamborghini GT3 Junior driver.
Kyle Loh, 22
San Jose, California

 
Loh currently leads the Formula Pro USA Western Championships point standings with four races remaining. He finished third in the 2019 Formula Pro USA F4 West Coast Series and also is currently a driving instructor at Allen Berg Racing Schools.
Sarah Montgomery, 27
Lafayette, Louisiana

 
Montgomery is currently competing in the World Racing League (WRL) GTO class driving a Porsche Cayman S 3.8 for Round 3 Racing. She earned three poles, seven podiums and a victory in the 2020 WRL season, and was the first woman to score a podium result in Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich ND1 class – earning four in the 2019 season en route to fourth in the class championship standings.
Nikko Reger, 23
Austin, Texas

 
Reger won the 2018 Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich championship. He also has competed in IMSA Prototype Challenge and SRO in recent years.

 

 

Entry List Notebook – Michelin GT Challenge At VIR
The Grand Touring Classes Headline the IMSA Program
at VIRginia International Raceway

 
September 29, 2021
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A return to VIRginia International Raceway means the Grand Touring (GT) classes are the main attraction for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship show on the weekend of Oct. 8-10.
 
Better yet, the race is set for broadcast on NBC national network at noon ET Saturday, Oct. 9. Here’s what else you need to know for the Michelin GT Challenge At VIR.
 
Fast Facts
VIRginia International Raceway – Alton, Virginia
October 9, 2021
Race Day/Time: Saturday, October 9 – 12:10 p.m. ET
NBC Coverage: LIVE – Flag-to-flag beginning at noon
IMSA.com/TVLive Live Qualifying Stream: Friday, October 8 – 4:30 p.m. ET
IMSA Radio: All sessions live on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com; SiriusXM live race coverage begins at noon Saturday, October 9 (XM Channel 202, Sirius/XM Internet 992)
Circuit Type: 3.27-mile, 18-turn road course
Race Length: Two hours, 40 minutes
Track Social Media: Twitter/Instagram/Facebook: @virnow
Event Hashtags: #IMSA, #MichelinVIR
 
Entry List (Click Here)
 
WeatherTech Championship Track Records
Qualifying:
GTLM:  Joey Hand, Ford GT, 1:40.211 / 117.472 mph, August 2017
GTD: Jeroen Mul, Lamborghini Huracán GT3, 1:43.391 / 113.859 mph, August 2017
 
2020 Michelin GT Challenge At VIR Winners:
GTLM: Jordan Taylor/Antonio Garcia, No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R
GTD: Bill Auberlen/Robby Foley, No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3
 
Storylines
  • GT Stands for Good Times at VIR: The Grand Touring classes are the two categories on the WeatherTech Championship bill for the Michelin GT Challenge At VIR, and they typically deliver some of their most exciting racing on the challenging 3.27-mile VIRginia International Raceway road course. Battles in both GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona (GTD) usually come down to the final minutes and laps.
  • Penultimate Race: The VIR event serves as the next-to-last race on the schedule for GTLM and GTD. Only the Motul Petit Le Mans on Nov. 13 at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta remains.
  • GTD Points Battle Rages on: The GTD class championship charge underwent a major shakeup with results from the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sept. 25, and it remains clustered at the top. With a 16th-place finish at Long Beach, Bill Auberlen and Robby Foley (No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3) slipped from first to fourth in the standings. Laurens Vanthoor and Zacharie Robichon (No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R) placed second at Long Beach to assume the points lead, but only by 32 over Long Beach winners Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow (No. 1 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3). The top five teams in GTD are within 207 points and still have a shot at the championship.
  • Points Format for 2021: The WeatherTech Championship points structure changed this season, with each race finishing position earning 10 times the points it received a year ago. Where a class winner took home 35 points in 2020, the reward is now 350 points. Second place in a race now earns 320 points, third place nets 300 and downward from there. In addition, points are now distributed in qualifying, with 35 going to the pole winners in GTLM and to the fastest car in the second GTD qualifying session (see below). Points descend from second downward through the qualifying results.
  • Revised GTD Qualifying Format: The GTD class conducts two qualifying sessions. The first is for the Motul Pole Award and starting grid position, with a Silver- or Bronze-rated driver in each car. Following a mandatory driver change, another 15-minute session will take place to decide qualifying points for the class. All other classes in action on a race weekend will have a single, 15-minute qualifying session that determines both grid position and points.
 
Who’s Hot?
  • No. 4 Corvette: Tommy Milner and Nick Tandy have reeled off consecutive GTLM victories in the No. 4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R to remind everyone of the threat they pose each race. Add in wins at the non-points Chevrolet Sports Car Classic in Detroit and the Motul Pole Award 100 qualifying race at Daytona, and the No. 4 has crossed the finish line first on four occasions this year.
  • Pfaff Motorsports: The No. 9 Porsche followed up back-to-back wins with a runner-up showing at Long Beach to roar into the GTD championship lead.
  • Paul Miller Racing: Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow picked up their first win since the 2020 Rolex 24 At Daytona when they won at Long Beach in the No. 1 Lamborghini, but it’s not like they’ve been far away from victory lane. The duo has collected six podium finishes this season to remain in the title hunt.
 
Who’s Good Here?
  • Bill Auberlen: When you have more wins at the top level of IMSA racing than any driver in history, you tend to lead the pack at a number of tracks. That’s the case with Auberlen, who has four of his 64 career triumphs at VIR – the most recent just last year in GTD.
  • Antonio Garcia and the No. 3 Corvette: The driver and car number have won three of the past five GTLM races at VIR. Garcia teamed with Jordan Taylor to win at the track in 2020, on their way to the class championship.

 
Previous Michelin GT Challenge Winners in 2021 Field (11)
Bill Auberlen (4): GT – 2002, 2004, 2005; GTD – 2020
Antonio Garcia (3): GTLM – 2016, 2017, 2020
Andy Lally (2): GT – 2006, 2010
Tommy Milner (2): GT – 2005, 2012
Nick Tandy (2): GTLM – 2015, 2019
Jordan Taylor (2): GT – 2011; GTLM – 2020
Robby Foley (1): GTD – 2020
Patrick Long (1): DP – 2006
Cooper MacNeil (1): GTC – 2012
Bryan Sellers (1): GTD – 2016
Madison Snow (1): GTD – 2016
 
Previous Michelin GT Challenge At VIR Pole Winners in 2021 Field (7)
Jack Hawksworth (1): GTD – 2018
Tommy Milner (1): GT – 2004
Zacharie Robichon (1): GTD – 2019
Madison Snow (1): GTD – 2016
Nick Tandy (1): GTLM – 2015
Jordan Taylor (1): GT – 2010
Laurens Vanthoor (1): GTLM – 2019
 
Previous Michelin GT Challenge At VIR Winning Teams in 2021 Field (3)
Corvette Racing (4): GT – 2012; GTLM – 2016, 2017, 2020
Turner Motorsport (2): GTD – 2014, 2020
Paul Miller Racing (1): GTD – 2016
 
Previous Michelin GT Challenge At VIR Winning Manufacturers in 2021 Field (6)
Chevrolet – 8
Porsche – 7
BMW – 6
Lexus – 3
Lamborghini – 2
Mercedes-AMG – 1

 

Building Your Brand: LMDh Offers Global Opportunity for Manufacturers
In this Second of a Series, the Benefits of Competing
in the New-for-2023 Platform Are Discussed

 
September 28, 2021
By Jeff Olson
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – If you’ve ever been in the infield at Sebring, you know the dress code. Wear your favorite car on your hat or shirt.
 
Not necessarily your favorite driver. Your favorite car.
 
Some people are BMW fans. Some favor Mercedes. Others love Acura. Or Porsche. Or Ferrari.
 
It’s a phenomenon unique to sports car racing; to fans, the cars are as intriguing as the people who race them. Fans are drawn to their favorite brand. They’re loyal to the manufacturer, often because they own – or want to own – one of the manufacturer’s production cars.
 
“When you go to an IMSA race, fans hang on the fence with a T-shirt that represents the brand,” said Mike Hull, managing director of Chip Ganassi Racing, which fields the No. 01 V Performance Academy Cadillac DPi-V.R in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. “You’ve got world-class race car drivers who just drive a Cadillac. … That’s what’s so special about this series.”
 
Brand loyalty is one aspect that sports car racing shares across borders and sanctioning bodies. It’s also what makes the new LMDh platform, set to roll out in IMSA in 2023, so critical to increasing international crossover between racing series.
 
LMDh is a shared platform between IMSA and Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) for the top class of endurance racing, replacing the current Daytona Prototype international class (DPi) in the WeatherTech Championship in 2023. The cars will use cost-controlled chassis built by one of four approved constructors.
 
Each participating manufacturer will select its own chassis constructor and will use unique internal combustion engines matched to a spec hybrid powertrain. Each LMDh car also will have manufacturer-specific bodywork styling.
 
More than a year before it launches, LMDh is being greeted enthusiastically.
 
“It’s something we’ve all talked about, but for different reasons it hadn’t happened,” said Tim Cindric, who will oversee Team Penske’s transition to LMDh with Porsche. “That was interesting for everybody. It seems like it’s on track to see that through.”
 
Theoretically, IMSA teams and manufacturers will be more easily able to cross over to World Endurance Championship races or compete regularly in the top class of the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the new class. Part of that appeal is the reward teams and manufacturers get for winning.
 
Case in point: the reaction to Toyota Gazoo Racing winning at Le Mans in August with Mike Conway, Jose Maria Lopez and Kamui Kobayashi.
 
“When I read about the 24 Hours of Le Mans, it was all about the Toyota that won the race,” Hull said. “(Brand recognition) is unique to sports car racing and even more so now to the fact that there will be so many manufacturers (in the LMDh format). I don’t even want to project how many will be in this category. Seven, eight, nine, 10? All with at least two cars each. Who knows? If you add multiple entries for both continents, it’s more than that. That’s what’s really neat about it.”
 
So far, five manufacturers and three teams have confirmed plans to begin fielding LMDh cars in 2023, but rumblings abound of other possible participants. When Porsche and Team Penske began talking about teaming up for LMDh, the matching specs across different sanctioning bodies appealed to both.
 
“You knew that meant the efficiencies and the exposure the manufacturers and teams receive (would increase),” Cindric said. “It becomes more of a global approach to sports car racing.”
 
Crossover is at the fore of the plans for those considering and already committed to LMDh. Cadillac, which announced its LMDh plans in August and named Chip Ganassi Racing and Action Express Racing as its teams, stated its intent to use the format to prepare for Le Mans.
 
“The prospect of Cadillac returning to Le Mans in the large category is really, really great,” Hull said. “In our case, working hand in hand with Action Express and Cadillac and (chassis constructor) Dallara to race competitively in a global manner is really special. Cadillac has a terrific winning heritage, and it will be great to continue that.”
 
NEXT IN THE SERIES: A look at the complications facing teams as they prepare to field a brand-new hybrid car. “I don’t think it’s as daunting as people want to make it,” said Wayne Taylor, whose Wayne Taylor Racing is thought to be part of Acura’s LMDh plans. “It’s not that daunting. The only thing that’s daunting is the question of whether we’ve designed and built a car that can win all the races.”
 

 

 

Three Takeaways from Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach

A Lack of Yellows, Tighter Championships Battles and the Return
of the Long Beach Vibe Highlight the Weekend

 
September 27, 2021
By John Oreovicz
IMSA Wire Service
LONG BEACH, Calif. – The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship made a successful return to the streets of Long Beach on a postcard-perfect Southern California afternoon. The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach played out before a packed house for the 46th edition of the classic event.
 
Cadillac continued its domination of the tight circuit in the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class, with Pipo Derani and Felipe Nasr (No. 31 Whelen Engineering/Action Express Racing) claiming the overall victory Saturday, but there were surprises sprinkled throughout the GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona (GTD) categories.
 
As the 2021 season rushes toward a close, the DPi and GTD championship battles tightened considerably at Long Beach. Both GT categories have two races remaining on the slate, starting with the Michelin GT Challenge at VIRginia International Raceway on Oct. 9. WeatherTech Championship competitors in all five classes then will wrap up the campaign with the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta set for Nov. 13.
 
Here are three takeaways from a sun-splashed weekend at Long Beach:
 
Forrest Gump Theory: A WeatherTech Championship street race is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get. Heading into the Long Beach weekend, plenty predicted a messy race, but the racing has actually gotten progressively cleaner in recent years.
 
The 2017 contest featured five full-course cautions, causing 24 of the 55 laps to be run behind the safety car. The 2018 and ’19 races were each twice slowed by cautions, as the lap count over 100 minutes increased to 65 and 73, respectively.
 
This year’s Long Beach race included just one safety car period lasting only four laps, when Kevin Magnussen slapped the tire barrier in the No. 01 V Racing Academy Cadillac DPi-V.R and spread debris on the track. Other than some typical street-course bumping and banging and a late spin by Olivier Pla in the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura ARX-05 DPi, the drivers put on a remarkable display of precision driving through a concrete canyon.
 
The closest threat to a second full-course caution came when Robby Foley nosed the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 into a tire wall (more on that later). But like Pla, he was able to continue without disrupting the flow of the race.
 
Bryan Sellers, who shared the GTD-winning No. 1 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 with Madison Snow, commented on the level of courtesy demonstrated throughout the field.
 
“Luckily today, the traffic flow was pretty clean,” Sellers said. “A lot of the prototype guys, this is a tough place for them to race with us because we slow them down pretty heavily in a lot of places. Most of them were pretty generous with us today, which was why you saw so much green-flag racing.”
 
Championships tighten: Saturday’s results had a considerable impact on two of the WeatherTech Championship class battles.
 
The overall victory for Nasr and Derani, combined with a fourth-place finish for Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque (No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura), slashed the No. 10’s advantage from 98 to 19 points with just one race remaining in the DPi season, essentially meaning that whoever finishes ahead in the 10-hour Motul Petit Le Mans endurance contest will be crowned champions.
 
“We still have the points lead going into Petit Le Mans, which is always nice, but the pressure is on,” said Taylor. “Basically, whoever wins will be the champions. To win the title on a last-race shootout would be pretty cool.”
 
There was a major point swing for the incoming GTD leaders Saturday. Foley’s incident when he was racing with the No. 39 CarBahn with Peregrine Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 relegated him and co-driver Bill Auberlen to a 16th-place class finish.
 
Having arrived at Long Beach as the GTD championship frontrunners, Auberlen and Foley now lie fourth in the standings, 150 points back. Foley and Auberlen scored just 178 points at Long Beach, while Sellers and Snow pulled down 382 to move up to second in the standings. Laurens Vanthoor and Zacharie Robichon, who finished second at Long Beach in the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R, are now on top, 32 points ahead of Sellers and Snow.
 
The good news for the BMW duo is that the GT classes have two more races on the 2021 calendar to try and recover.
 
Fans Make the Difference: The last Long Beach race was staged in April 2019, and there were worries that this year’s event might be adversely impacted, not only by missing last year but from stringent state and local regulations currently enforced in light of the COVID-19 resurgence.
 
Race officials were therefore pleased to confirm that attendance levels this year were close to those achieved in 2019 and above projections. The enthusiastic Southern California crowd added their own flavor to the event, as usual.
 
“I love this place and I’ve got to say thanks to the fans,” race winner Nasr said. “What a great vibe they bring to racing. It’s just awesome to get a win on the streets of Long Beach.”

 

  Intercontinental american  GT Challenge

Ryan-Meenan Wins First SRO Esports Race, Kundakcioglu Earns Back-to-Back GT World Challenge America Esports Titles 

  • Killian Ryan-Meenan becomes fifth different race winner in 2021 season
  • Michael Kundakcioglu goes two-for-two in GTWCA Esports Championships
  • Race Results - PDF Link
  • Championship Standings - PDF Link

Michael Kundakcioglu successfully defended his GT World Challenge Esports America championship while Killian Ryan-Meenan became the fifth different winner in as many races in the Sprint Series season finale under the floodlights at Suzuka Circuit.

Three drivers entered the race eligible to take home the title with Kundakcioglu from FFS Racing holding a slim two-point edge over R&K Racing's Philippe Simard, while Black Hawk Racing's Chris Severt came in just eight points out of the championship lead.

Of that trio, Simard left a wet and wild qualifying session in Assetto Corsa Competizione's virtual version of the famed Japanese circuit with a fourth-place starting position in his BMW M6 GT3. Kundakcioglu qualified his McLaren 720S GT3 sixth while Severt was seventh in an Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3.

The star of the qualifying session was Spa winner Jordan Grant-Smith who claimed pole by over seven tenths of a second in the No. 600 Porsche 911 GT3 R from PPR Esports.

Ryan-Meenan was second ahead of New World Simracing's Nicolas Alvarado's Aston Martin, while Williams Esports driver Igor Rodrigues slotted his Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo in between Simard and Kundakcioglu in fifth.

Jordan Grant-Smith got the jump from pole on the initial green flag and held a lead of just under a second over Ryan-Meenan and the rest of the 32 car field after the first lap and the top ten quickly settled into line.

The three championship contenders ran as they qualified for the first fifteen minutes but a duel for sixth broke out between Kundakcioglu and Severt 17 minutes into the race that saw the two make light door-to-door contact but both emerged from the coming together unscathed.

Moments later, a spin from Igor Rodgrigues who had been running fifth brought all three championship contenders together with Simard, Kundakcioglu, and Severt taking up positions four, five, and six.

Severt maintained consistent pressure on Kundakcioglu for the rest of the opening stint before Severt broke off his assault when the pit window opened at the 25-minute mark. Simard made his pit call seven minutes later, while Kundakcioglu waited until the final moment to duck in for his mandatory service, mimicking the strategy of the top two.

When it shook out, Grant-Smith continued to lead over Ryan-Meenan at the front of the field, but Kundakcioglu dropped behind Severt to sixth while Simard continued to run fourth, thereby finding himself in position to clinch the championship with 23 minutes to go.

Now clear of Kundakcioglu, Severt commenced his attack on Simard for fourth while Ryan-Meenan and Grant-Smith fought for the overall lead.

The scrap for the race win resolved itself first when Ryan-Meenan made an aggressive move around Grant-Smith with 12 minutes to go in the Dunlop Curve. Once around, he continued unchallenged to the checkered flag to take his first win of the season and secure fourth in the season-long standings.

“I thought his rear tires were either wearing or overheating because he had a couple moments in the laps before,” Ryan-Meenan said in his post-race interview. 

“He had a big moment coming through the final corner the lap before and then through Turn 1 he had a big slide so I figured his tires were hotter. 

“He had a few sketchy moments and I thought this was my chance. I didn't have the raw power out of the corners, whereas he had so much traction in the Porsche, so I knew I had to send it somewhere my car was quick, which is the end of Sector 1 and all of Sector 2. 

“I just got a bit lucky. He got a slide on and I stuck the nose there and he just couldn't turn in, and that was it!”

The championship, on the other hand, went down to the final laps of the season. Coming out of the final turn with under three minutes to go, Severt made contact with the back of Simard who spun out of fourth position and the provisional championship lead.

Kundakcioglu narrowly avoided the spinning BMW and continued now running in front of the rest of the championship contenders, ultimately coming home fifth and securing his second SRO Esports America title.

Severt was assessed a penalty for the contact which dropped him out of the points, while Simard came across the line sixth on the road but second in the championship.

“It's kind of bittersweet,” Kundakcioglu said of his championship triumph post race. “Sometimes you need a bit of that luck to get the win done and that's what happened today. 

“I think Phil deserved this a little more than I did, but I'm here and that's racing. We analyzed the points situation in depth going in so we knew what we needed to happen, and up until the incident I was sure that it wasn't happening. 

“But once again that's racing and it's just bad luck for Phil and good luck for me.”

Nicolas Alvarado and the charging Zach Patterson of the HPD JAS Pro America team completed the top five in third and fourth, respectively.

The GT World Challenge America Endurance Championship returns this coming weekend with a 3 Hour feature race at Monza.

 

 

Saintéloc Racing sends Audi Sport to victory lane at Indianapolis 8 Hour Presented by AWS

> Niederhauser/Haase/Winkelhock take hard-earned Brickyard triumph 
> Late drama sees victory slip away from AF Corse and Team WRT 
> Result: Indianapolis 8 Hour Presented by AWS

Saintéloc Racing emerged on top following a wild finish to the Indianapolis 8 Hour Presented by AWS to give Audi Sport a commanding advantage at the top of the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli manufacturers' standings.

After being defeated by Ferrari at the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa the German marque struck back in perfect fashion at the Brickyard thanks to its #25 crew of Patric Niederhauser, Christopher Haase and Markus Winkelhock. The win extends Audi's IGTC record to eight, four more than its nearest rival, while Haase remains the series' most successful driver with five victories.

Though never far from the lead battle, the #25 Audi was not the clear favourite for this race. The car hit the front during the third hour with the experienced Winkelhock at the wheel but was soon shuffled back to second when Antonio Fuoco made a forceful move for the lead in the #71 AF Corse Ferrari.

Indeed, the Italian marque appeared the best placed to secure victory for much of Sunday's contest, leading the early stages from pole with its #51 crew of Pier Guidi/Ledogar/Nielsen before the #71 of Fuoco/Ilott/Rovera took up the baton at the head of the field during the middle phase.

Shortly after losing the lead the #25 Audi was delayed further by a drive-through penalty for a pit infringement. At this point the race had been green for almost three hours, but the calm early stages gave way to a frantic second half in which several safety car periods shuffled the order and allowed for a variety of strategic options.

Several cars remained in play as the race moved towards the deciding two hours. AF Corse’s #71 Ferrari appeared the strongest prospect after its #51 488 GT3 had lost significant time to a stop-go penalty following a collision with the GT4 class leader. Lamborghini was making good progress thanks to K-PAX Racing's #3 crew, while Audi and Mercedes-AMG both had two potential winners.

The latter led the field to the green flag with 90 minutes left on the clock, Raffaele Marciello having cycled to the front thanks to a clean run from the #89 AKKA ASP effort. But once racing resumed the Italian was quickly under pressure from Niederhauser, who got a run when Marciello dipped a wheel on to the grass between Turns 6 and 7. The pair went side by side, allowing Callum Ilott to pounce in the #71 Ferrari and sensationally snatch the lead.

Niederhauser followed the Briton through and spent the next 30 minutes glued to the rear of the leading 488 GT3. As the race ticked into its final hour these two cars looked set to battle for victory, with Marciello and the #32 Team WRT Audi of Dries Vanthoor disputing the final podium spot several seconds back.

Saintéloc was the first of the lead pair to make its final stop, bringing Niederhauser to pit road with 50 minutes remaining. At the same time Ilott was lapping a GT4 runner on the outside of Turn 1, only to misjudge his move and make contact with both the car and the wall. The outcome was catastrophic for the Italian squad: less than an hour from the finish, the #71 car was eliminated on the spot.

By stopping under safety car conditions Vanthoor was able to assume the lead, while Jules Gounon moved into second at the wheel of the #99 Craft-Bamboo Racing Mercedes-AMG. But the French driver's race was ruined within moments of the green flag when he was hit at Turn 1 by the lapped #37 Team WRT Audi, after which he made heavy contact with the #58 McLaren.

Vanthoor held a four-second advantage over Niederhauser following the next safety car, but in yet another twist Team WRT was handed a drive-through for failing to follow Race Control's instructions. Amid this ever-shifting competitive order, the #25 Saintéloc R8 returned to the lead for the first time since the third hour.

There would be no change this time, however, with Niederhauser pulling 11.9 seconds clear of Marciello by the time he took the chequered flag. The win represents a second major international triumph for the Saintéloc squad, adding to its overall victory at Spa in 2017. On that occasion, too, long-serving Audi Sport racers Haase and Winkelhock were part of the crew. The latter was not there to celebrate with his team today, however, having departed IMS early to attend the birth of his child. It was therefore left to Haase and star-of-the-race Niederhauser to mark their triumph by kissing the yard of bricks.

Runner-up spot was a remarkable outcome for AKKA ASP given that the team did not receive its car until Saturday morning due to a shipping delay. Indeed, the result was a fitting reward for the efforts of Marciello, Dani Juncadella and Timur Boguslavskiy. The final spot on the podium went to the K-PAX Racing Lamborghini, which overcame a pace deficit with a near perfect race performance from Mirko Bortolotti, Andrea Caldarelli and Jordan Pepper.

There was, initially, double delight for Saintéloc as its #26 crew of Aurélien Panis, Lucas Légeret and Nicolas Baert clinched the Silver Cup win in fourth overall. However, a 53s post-race penalty in lieu of a drive-through for entering a closed pitlane dropped the car to seventh overall and behind class rivals Compass Racing who looked to have been denied Silver glory in the final hour when Pier Guidi sent Matt McMurry spinning out of third overall.

Saintéloc’s loss was also AF Corse’s gain, the #51 car ultimately being classified fourth overall ahead of WRT’s similarly penalised R8. The amended result, allied to AF Corse's Am entry finishing ninth amongst IGTC's nominees, means Ferrari must finish first and fourth at Kyalami 9 Hour to have any chance of denying Audi the title.

Compass’ Honda was also the first non-IGTC entry home in sixth overall, while Saintéloc and Racers Edge completed the amended Silver podium and overall top-eight.

Victory in the Pro-Am class went to SunEnergy1 Racing and its #75 Mercedes-AMG of Kenny Habul, Martin Konrad and Mikaël Grenier, while Pro-Am Challenge contender inception racing saw the chequered flag despite a tough day for its McLaren. The #36 BimmerWorld BMW crew of Bill Auberlen, Chandler Hull and James Clay won the GT4 class, matching the result they took at Indy 12 months ago.

Audi's advantage at the top of the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli manufacturers' standings has increased to 36 points over Ferrari with 43 left to score at the season-closing Kyalami 9 Hour on December 2-4.

 

Ruud, Boehm, Williams Win 2021 Finale At Indianapolis Motor Speedway

  • Ruud takes tenth win of season in TCX
  • Boehm wins in TC; Powell claims championship
  • Williams sweeps TCA weekend; Bacon holds title belt
  • PROVISIONAL RESULTS - PDF Link

Indianapolis, Ind. - The season finale of TC America powered by Skip Barber Racing Schools was one to remember as champions were named in both the TC and TCA classes. Jacob Ruud, who won for the tenth time in the TCX division on Saturday, claimed the class title during the previous round at Sebring International Raceway. "It just feels fantastic. The season we have had is amazing, but unexpected,” said Ruud, “The team has given me an incredible car this year, all season long."

As the field completed a hectic first lap, Friday’s TC winner and Race 2 pole-sitter Mike LaMarra went wide at Turn 6, giving the class lead to Kevin Boehm and the #9 Honda, who needed to win to stay in contention for the Driver’s championship. 

Seven minutes into the race, Taylor Hagler and the new Hyundai Elantra TCA machine collided with the #2 Honda of Colin Harrison at Turn 1, bringing out the first safety car of the day and seeing both cars retire. The race went back to green flag running with 27 minutes left on the clock with Jacob Ruud and the #81 BMW leading in TCX, Boehm out front in TC, and Caleb Bacon in the #18 Hyundai on top of TCA.

A second safety car would be called with 23 minutes on the clock after PJ Groenke and the #25 Toyota spun at Turn 11 and could not continue. The 40 minute contest would restart with 16 minutes remaining with the top 3 in TCA - Bacon, Luke Rumberg, and Race 1 winner Clay Williams, running nose to tail for the remainder of the event.

With 5 minutes left, the Williams-driven Mini would slip past Rumberg for second position in TCA, then chase down Bacon for the class lead. The Mini would take the top position two laps later and cruise to the #62’s second win of the weekend. “I’ll never forget this win,” said Williams, “I really had to fight back. I fell back a little at the start, but was able to save my tires and get both Hyundais at the end!”

Second place would be enough for Bacon to provisionally claim the TCA Driver’s championship. Forbush Performance are the Team’s champions with Hyundai claiming the top spot in the Manufacturer’s title fight. “I didn’t care about winning the race today so I didn't fight the Mini too hard, I just wanted to get the championship,” said Bacon, “I don’t even know what to do right now!”

Boehm would go on to win the TC class, but come up just short in the championship standings to Eric Powell and the #92 Skip Barber Racing School Honda. Skip Barber provisionally claim the Team’s championship with Honda provisional title holders in the Manufacturer’s championship. “It’s really the team work we’ve had here. The crew is volunteering their time, so this season has been really memorable. This has been an incredible season," said Boehm.

Classic BMW provisionally win the TCX Team’s title and BMW the Manufacturer’s.

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Pier Guidi maintains stellar form to give AF Corse Ferrari pole at Indianapolis

> Niederhauser (Audi Sport Team Sainteloc) and Gounon (Mercedes-AMG Team Craft-Bamboo Racing) run Italian ace close
> Provisional result:
Indianapolis 8 Hour Presented by AWS Pole Shootout

Ferrari will lead the field to the green flag at tomorrow's Indianapolis 8 Hour Presented by AWS after Alessandro Pier Guidi gave AF Corse pole position at the Brickyard.

The TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa winner, newly crowned Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup champion and current Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli points leader topped a close-fought session in which the first four cars were split by just a tenth of a second.

Of the 15 drivers vying for top spot, Jules Gounon was the first to put up a representative lap in the #99 Craft Bamboo Mercedes-AMG, but the factory ace was quickly toppled by Silver Cup standout Marvin Dienst in the similar AMG GT3 from Winward Racing.

As the session reached its half-way mark the Audi runners began to flex their muscles as first Patric Niederhauser (#25 Saintéloc Racing) and then Dries Vanthoor (#32 Team WRT) moved to the head of the order.

Ferrari was not the obvious favourite for pole, but after his heroics at Spa nothing seems beyond the pairing of Pier Guidi and a 488 GT3. With six minutes remaining the Italian went purple in the second and third sectors en route to a 1m33.456s, by far the quickest lap up to this point.

And try as they might, no one could beat it. Niederhauser was closest, but the Swiss ace came up 0.058s shy of the #51 Ferrari to secure the consolation of a front-row spot for Saintéloc. Gounon also gave it his all, only for the Frenchman to post a time 0.001s slower than Niederhauser’s.

Antonio Fuoco put the #71 Ferrari fourth, completing a near-perfect day for AF Corse. There was a brief moment of drama when Pier Guidi spun in front of his teammate during the closing minutes, but both escaped unscathed. Without doubt, this was Ferrari's day at IMS.

Vanthoor and fellow Team WRT driver Mattia Drudi will share row three tomorrow, the latter at the wheel of the Belgian squad's #37 Audi. The impressive Dienst took seventh and earned Silver Cup pole in the process, while also beating Raffaele Marciello (#89 AKKA ASP, Mercedes-AMG) after a surprisingly subdued session for the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa pole-sitter.

The best of the Pro-Am runners was also a Mercedes. SunEnergy1 was the only class contender among the fastest 15 where Mikael Grenier finished 10th in the car he shares with Kenny Habul and Martin Konrad. Their nearest rival, the #70 inception racing McLaren, will start seven places back after missing the Shootout by three tenths. 

The session proved to be a struggle for Lamborghini. The best of the K-PAX Racing entries was only 11th, with qualifying expert Mirko Bortolotti almost a second adrift of the pace and the sister #6 machine 14th in the hands of fellow factory ace Marco Mapelli. 

The culmination of a busy day at IMS, the Pole Shootout consisted of the fastest 15 runners from the earlier Qualifying session. Each driver contested one of three 15-minute segments, with the average time determining the order. Positions 16 and back were locked in at this point, including IGTC-entered cars from inception racing (17th), GMG Racing (19th), TR3 Racing (23rd) and EBM Giga Racing (26th).

The event's lone Am Cup entrant will start 25th overall. Mark Kvamme, Jean-Claude Saada and Conrad Grunewald will share the #61 AF Corse Ferrari. 

Further back, Smooge Racing secured GT4 pole with its Toyota Supra. The #68 machine finished Q1 and Q2 second in class with John Geesbreght and then Kevin Conway at the wheel before Jack Hawksworth put the result beyond doubt by posting the best GT4 lap of all in Q3.

Tomorrow's Indianapolis 8 Hour Presented by AWS marks the second round of this year's Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli and the second edition of the long-distance event. The field will cross the yard of bricks to take the green flag at 10:00 EDT (-4 GMT), with live coverage available to watch for free on GT World’s global YouTube stream.

Iribe, Luck, Sabo and Newell Win Final GT America Race. Bell Captures Career-first Championship Title.

  • Iribe Punctuates Return With Another Flag-to-Flag performance
  • Luck Enters Final Race as Champion-elect in SRO3, SRO3 Masters; Sabo Wins GT2 Class
  • Newell Wins Battle, Bell Takes the War in Career-first Championship Title
  • PROVISIONAL RESULTS - PDF Link

Indianapolis, Ind. - Brendan Iribe (#70 inception racing McLaren) closed out the inaugural GT America Powered by AWS season with a dominant weekend sweep coming out of an extended break from the series. The Race 2 pole-sitter grabbed the checkered flag on the final race some 30-seconds before the nearest competitor. In the Masters class, Charlie Luck (#45 Wright Motorsports Porsche) took the checkered and with it put an exclamation point on his SRO3 and SRO3 Masters class Championship Title wins. GT4 competitor Grey Newell (#25 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin) took home his first career win by leading the class, but it was Jason Bell who, in taking second place, secured the points needed to take home his first Championship title after points-leader Sean Quinlan (#119 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW) suffered a mechanical issue during the formation lap and was unable to return.

The formation lap before the green saw Quinlan slow around the track, ultimately pulling into the pits to diagnose what was possibly a quick-fix problem. However, the laps kept increasing with the BMW still in the pits and it became clear that the championship contention was fast eroding, and that Bell simply had to surpass the 70-percent point to get the points. On the track, the usual green flag shuffle offered no improvements across the grid but set up the pressure points for future battles to occur. It would be one of the few times that Memo Gidley (#101 TKO Motorsports Bentley) was able to put door-to-door pressure on Iribe as the McLaren driver slid into his groove and worked on increasing the gap.

In the GT4 class, Newell and Robb Holland (#99 Rotek Racing Ford) engaged in a battle for second-place behind class pole-sitter Bell, with Newell coming up victorious in the end. The three stayed in that order for some time, with only GT3 and GT2 cars coming up through the trio to pack together in-class traffic and the #39 car of Chris Cagnazzi retiring from the race.

Around the halfway point, Iribe's lead had grown to a considerable size, with the space between Gidley and Luck widening as well. Sabo's GT2 entry had cleared all the GT4 traffic and was starting to collect some of the SRO3 outliers. In GT4, Newell's persistence paid off as he made the pass for first-in-class, gambling on a weaker defensive position from Bell. That left Alex Welch (#76 ROTR Motorsport Audi) in a solid third with Scott Noble (#49 NOLASPORT Porsche), Holland, Thomas Surgent (#26 Prive Motorsports / Topp Racing McLaren) and Chris Gumprecht (#79 RENNtech Motorsports Mercedes-AMG) behind and itching for position. As Holland, Surgent and Gumprecht traded places in a three-way turn-by-turn battle, Gumprecht eventually spun out without appearing to have contact with anyone. Gumprecht recovered, but had the field pass him before he got back to speed.

As the clock ticked down toward the white flag and approached the three minute mark, the points battle between Holland and Surgent for sixth place in class took a turn when the two connected and spun out. Both eventually recovered to finish the race, but a DTP converted into a time penalty saw the two ultimately at the back of the finishing grid.

At the drop of the checkered flag, Bell's second place finish in the GT4 class, combined with Quinlan's failure to secure any points, gave Bell the window needed to earn him his first career Championship title. 

Results are provisional until posted final. With the inaugural season of the GT America powered by AWS in the books, champions and competitors are invited to celebrate their successes and experiences at the SRO America championship banquets, to be held at the PRI Show in Indianapolis in December. Stay tuned for details.

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Iribe, Luck, Sabo, Bell Take Home Top Honors in First Race at The Brickyard

  • Iribe, McLaren Return from Absence with Full-throttle Effort
  • Luck Claims Second Overall in Masters Class Win
  • Bell Runs Flag-to-flag Dominating Run
  • PROVISIONAL RESULTS - PDF Link

Indianapolis, Ind. - After a double Full Course Yellow condition from the start of the race, inception racing's Brendan Iribe ran a flag-to-flag master class and has won the penultimate GT America race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His win comes after an extended period away from GT America competition and has him top the SRO3 Overall field for the race as well as setting the CrowdStrike Fastest Lap for another P1 start for Race 2 on Saturday.

Charlie Luck (#45 Wright Motorsports Porsche) captured the Masters class win with his second overall finish, while Elias Sabo (#8 GMG Racing Audi) took home the GT2 honors.

Jason Bell (#2 GMG Racing Aston Martin) duplicated the flag-to-flag win and set himself up for a white-hot season finale on Saturday to determine the inaugural class Championship.

With both the #91 (Rearden Racing Lamborghini) car of Jeff Burton and the #101 (TKO Motorsports Bentley) of Memo Gidley starting at the back of the grid for circumstances regarding equipment issues, the Qualifying field became further unsettled as the race started under FCY conditions due to a No Start call from the officials. Upon the restart, a number of cars captured a few positions in the opening lap shuffle including; Kyle Washington (#32 GMG Racing Porsche) who was up three spots into third overall, Grey Newell (#25 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin) who was also up three spots into podium poisition for the GT4 class; Gidley who cleared twelve GT4 traffic positions to get closer to the SRO3 field followed not-far-behind by Burton, who recaptured nine spots; and Jason Harward (#88 Zelus Motorsports Lamborghini) who started at the tail end of the grid in the last row with Burton.

Before the end of the first lap, the #60 Dexter Racing Ginetta 56 of Matt Rivard found itself in the gravel pits and in need of tow, creating the second Full Course Yellow before completion of a full lap under green conditions. After the second start and with 10 minutes clicked off the clock, Iribe began to work on growing the lead while Luck and Washington battled for the second overall position. Slightly further back, Gidley had cleared even more traffic and slotted into the fifth overall spot and into working on in-class competitors, including Andy Wilzoch (#460 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche) who was in fourth and, behind non-class traffic, Harward charging from the back of the pack to the eighth overall spot and sixth in-class.

In GT4, Jason Bell had managed to pass points leader and class pole-sitter Sean Quinlan (#119 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW), as did P5 class-qualifier Gray Newell (#25 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin) who now found himself slotted into second place in GT4. GT2 competitor Elias Sabo (#8 GMG Racing Audi) also found himself clear of most other GT4 traffic with sights set on the SRO3 pack after clearing the GT4 frontrunners.

Toward the middle and further ends of the field, the competitors began to settle in strategic battles and cat-and-mouse games for points-positioning. By the halfway point of the race, the entire SRO3 field had compressed while the GT4 contigent sat unbroken from pole-sitter Bell to Rivard, who again had another off-track excursion that alllowed him to continue but fail to improve beyond the back of the pack. In SRO3, Gidley had worked his way up to a third overall with Harward in fifth and continuing his assault for a podium position. Burton, too, had come up as far as eight-place overall and seemed intent on climbing further in the second half.

At the same time, Bell and Newell maintained comfortable gaps to the each other and the next nearest in-class competitor, Quinlan, who was in third place in front of a battling Thomas Surgent (#26 Prive Motorsports/Topp Racing McLaren) and Scott Noble (#49 NOLASPORT Porsche) vying for fourth and a chance at the class podium.

At around 17-minutes remaining, Gidley's Bentley suddenly appeared uncharacteristically slow and well off racing pace, allowing both Harward and eventually Wilzoch to slide by and prepare to set up Washington for the third-place positioning. Gidley brought the car in for some extra security in holding down the hood, but his return to the race ultimately negated the monstrous drive he made running from the back row of a 20-car field all the way up to fourth place, setting him all the way back into eighteenth overall after the pit stop. Still up into the Top eight after capturing nine positions from the qualifying grid was CJ Moses (#58 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG), who bookended the SRO3 and GT2 competitor fields.

With just under ten minutes remaining in the field, Surgent had an off-track excursion that ended with the #26 McLaren retiring from the competition and returning to pit lane, opening up the position to Noble without causing a full field pause in action. No one was able to close down the gaps large enough to be a threat to the long-running order, so the GT4 podium was ultimately known well before the checkered dropped; Bell up front for the win, Newell adding a second place podium to his growing collection, and Quinlan settling in for third.

At the three-minute mark, Harward turned up the heat and went into a relentless attack on Washington for the overall third-place position. Corner after corner the two volleyed offensive and defensive moves but it was apparent that Harward didn't have the tire life yet to make the aggressive move needed to pass for the last podium spot, settling into fourth without a hardware award but armed with a 16-position gain from a stellar driving performance.

Results are provisional until posted Final. Champions will be crowned and determined on Saturday when the green flag drops for the final time this season at 12:05 pm EDT for 40-minutes of champion-making driving at The Brickyard. Watch it live on the GTWorld YouTube channel, catch the audio simulcast on SiriusXM Satellite Radio Ch. 392 (or 992 on the web app) and follow along on live timing and scoring at gtamerica.us

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Conquest Racing West Mercedes Sweeps Weekend At IMS, WR Racing Win Pro-Am, Smooge Racing Toyota Claim Am Victory

  • Conquest Racing West close out season with four-straight Silver class victories
  • WR Racing take Pro-Am win
  • Smooge Racing take ninth Am win of 2021
  • PROVISIONAL RESULTS - PDF Link

Indianapolis, Ind. - The Conquest Racing West Mercedes-AMG of Colin Mullan and Michai Stephens would take their fourth straight Silver-class victory to close out the 2021 Pirelli GT4 America season for Round 14 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “It’s a dream come true and a bit of an emotional moment - a true pleasure to do this with the team,” said Stephens. “It’s a testament to the work the team has put in this season. A huge thank you to Mercedes-AMG and to the many that helped get this program rolling,” said Mullan.

Fifteen minutes into the sixty-minute contest would see the first incident of the day with the #34 BMW of Bill Auberlen tap the #119 BMW of Tom Dyer into a spin at Turn 6 as the pair battled for third position overall and in Pro-Am. Andrew Davis and the #2 Aston Martin would inherit third position with Spencer Pumpelly and the #66 TRG LaSalle Solutions Porsche fourth.

Pumpelly’s time in fourth position would not last long however as the #15 Aston Martin of Kenton Koch would power past the Porsche at Turn 2, up a whopping 21 positions from the start.

As the pit window opened for mandatory driver changes, Koch would catch Davis and get past the #2 Aston Martin for third overall with an outside move at Turn 1, now up 23 positions on the day.

With the driver changes complete the #59 Aston Martin, now with Paul Terry behind the wheel, would lead overall and in Pro-Am with Michai Stephens and the #35 Mercedes-AMG leading the way in Silver. The #68 Smooge Racing Toyota of Kevin Conway would sit first in Am.

With 19 minutes remaining, the #47 NOLASPORT Porsche, Pro-Am champions elect, would pass the #52 BMW of Tom Capizzi for third in class, fourth overall.

Chandler Hull, now driving the #94 BimmerWorld BMW, would get past the #72 Mercedes-AMG of Kenny Murillo for second in the Silver division, fifth overall as the clock ticked past the 15 minute mark. Five minutes later Murillo would battle back as the two managed traffic and would overtake Hull to reclaim second place with 10 minutes remaining. At the same time the #47 Porsche of Matt Travis would get past Putt’s #15 Aston Martin for second in Pro-Am. 

The #062 Dexter Racing Aston Martin would find himself on the back of Hull’s BMW as the two would tussle for the final Silver podium position, which the Aston Martin would ultimately claim.

Back at the top the #35 Mercedes-AMG would run down the #59 Aston Martin for the overall lead with a pass at Turn 8 with 2 minutes remaining. As the checkered flag flew, the #72 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG would finish second in Silver with the #062 Dexter Racing Aston Martin third.

WR Racing’s #59 Aston Martin would win in Pro-Am followed by the #47 NOLASPORT Porsche and #15 BSport Racing Aston Martin. “The team gave us a great car all year and this guy can really drive, so we’re happy!” said winner Paul Terry. “It’s all about teamwork and I’m happy to take this victory back home!” said Hasse-Clot.

Smooge Racing and the #68 Toyota would win the Am class in dominant fashion ahead of the #98 Random Vandals Racing BMW and #888 Zelus Motorsports Aston Martin.

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Ruud, LaMarra, Williams Claim TC America Round 13 Victories At Indy

  • Champion-elect Ruud takes 9th TCX victory of 2021
  • LaMarra gets first TC win of season
  • Williams takes career first TCA win
  • PROVISIONAL RESULTS - PDF Link

Indianapolis, Ind. - Jacob Ruud and the #81 Classic BMW claimed a dominant, wet to dry Round 13 win, 39 seconds ahead of his closest TCX-class rival. “This has been a fantastic season and Fast Track Racing has given me an incredible car the whole time,” continued Ruud, “It’s been a dream to say the least.”

The race started with some argey-bargey at Turn 1 in the TC class between the #60 Mini of Derek Jones and #78 Hyundai of Jeff Ricca causing the first and only safety car of the race to be called, forcing Jones to fall to 11th place in class and the Hyundai to retire.

The race would get back to green with 31 of the 40 minutes remaining. TC would see the #9 DXDT Honda of Kevin Boehm storm to the lead, up four positions on the restart, with the pole-sitting #88 Hyundai of Nicholas Barbato running wide at Turn 2, falling to fourth in class. 

Jose Blanco, who started second in the #99 Honda Civic Si, would take over the TCA class lead for a short time as Luke Rumberg’s #33 Hyundai dragged past the Honda on the front straight to claim the top position.

Three laps later the #62 Mini of Clay Williams would catch and pass the #99 for second in class with the #2 Honda of Colin Harrison and #61 Mini of Cristian Perocarpi stalking for third. Williams would continue his run in TCA and quickly catch Rumberg for the class lead at turn 6 with 13 minutes on the clock. Ten minutes later Perocarpi would get past Rumberg for second in TCA.

Back up in TC pole-sitting Barbota would climb back to second position in class, a mere one-tenth of a second behind Boehm in first. Mike LaMarra and the #31 Honda would quietly stalk both and sneak past Barbota for second, then power past Boehm for the lead as the field ran to the white flag.

As the checkered flag flew Ruud would win in TCX with Steve Streimer second and Olivia Askew third.

TC would see Mike LaMarra victorious with Kevin Boehm and Nicholas Barbato second and third. “It’s fantastic. This is the second time I’ve won here and it feels great. I took a gamble by starting on slicks, but it paid off and I couldn’t be happier!” said LaMarra.

Clay Williams would claim the TCA victory with teammate Cristian Perocarpi and Luke Rumberg rounding out the podium. “I’ll never forget this drive, it’s really amazing,” said Williams, “I couldn’t be happier for the team and I’m ready to kiss the bricks!”

The TC America powered by Skip Barber Racing School season finale will take place on Saturday, October 16th at 3:20pm EDT. Follow along with live timing and scoring at tcamerica.us/live and live-stream on the GTWorld YouTube channel, or catch the audio simulcast on SiriusXM Satellite Radio on Ch. 392 (992 on the web app)

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Conquest Racing West (Mercedes-AMG) Take First Race at Indianapolis Finale Double-header

  • Stephens/Mullan Recover Early Position Loss to Win Overall, Silver Honors
  • Champions-elect NOLASPORT (Pro-Am) and Smooge (Am) Add Additional Hardware to their Championship-winning Seasons
  • PROVISIONAL RESULTS - PDF Link

Indianapolis, Ind. - Conquest Racing West (#35 Mercedes-AMG GT4) drivers Michai Stephens and Colin Mullan won the penultimate GT4 America race of the season, taking the checkered flag first overall and for the Silver class. Champions-elect NOLASPORT (#47 Porsche) saw drivers Matt Travis and Jason Hart add hardware to their championship-winning cache this year, while Smooge Racing's Kevin Conway and John Geesbreght accom[plaished a similar feat in the Am class competition.

The race started with the field shuffling almost immediately after the first few turns, with James Clay (#36) grabbing three positions and front-row sitter Michai Stephens (#35) dropping as far back as fifth place but regaining a position to sit fourth overall. An incident involving Jason Bell (#2 GMG Racing Aston Martin), Chris Gumprecht (#79 RENNtech Motorsports Mercedes-AMG) and Paul Sparta (#98 Random Vandals Racing BMW) saw Gumprecht end off-track, reporting no steering ability, and sent the Full Course Yellow flag flying. At the return to the green flag, Kris Wilson (#16 Capstone Motorsports Mercedes-AMG) was served with a Drive-Through Penalty for causing a collision while Gray Newell (#24 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin) and Tim Barber (#22 CCR Racing/Team TFB BMW) jockeyed for the overall fifth spot, swapping positions before Barber settled into the fifth spot.

Up front, the Manufacturer positioning battle continued to heat up as Clay fended off the onslaught from Kenny Murillo (#72 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG) for the second overall position as pole-sitter Grahovec (#11 Classic BMW BMW) methodically increased his lead lap-by-lap. Further dings against the BMW charge to the Manufacturer's title were hindered by efforts from Warren Dexter (#062 Dexter Racing Aston Martin) against Barber in the fifth overall position, and the retiring of the #98 Random Vandals Bimmer involved in the previous FCY collision. Still, the three-way battle for second-place saw the #72 and #35 Mercedes-AMG cars with their sights set on the Clay's BMW.

At the opening of the pit window, it was the #47 Porsche of Matt Travis that was first to make the driver change and have the strategies unfold. Just before the close, it was the race leader and CrowdStrike Fast Lap award winner Stevan McAleer in the #11 Classic BMW that took the required pit stop last. Back out and in the rhythm, the field saw the #11 Classic BMW lead dwindle from a charging #35, now driven by Colin Mullan, and a relatively poor pit stop time. The #72 Murillo Car, driven by Christian Szymczak, sat third overall with Pro-Am Class leader Jason Hart behind him in the #47 Porsche. Further back in the pack, Geesbreght held on to the first place position in the Am class, and the battles commenced.

With a little under 15 minutes left in the race, Mullan continued to chip away at Grahovec's lead, while Szymczak held fast Hart worked to stay in front of the Pro-Am class. After non-stop pressure, Mullan was finally able to capture the lead with just under 11 minutes left in the race after which he never looked back. Murillo, too, was able to get by a short time later and the three held the positions until the checkered.

Pirelli GT4 America drivers complete the regular season with a Friday finale fight. The green flag drops at 2:35 pm EDT and is sure to be an exciting close to a season of hard racing. Fans can watch the race for free on the GTWorld YouTube channel, catch the audio simulcast on SiriusXM Satellite Radio channel 392 (992 on the web app) and follow along on the remaining championship battles with live timing and scoring available at gt4-america.com/live

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Caldarelli Punctuates Provisional Championship; Hagler Notches Win Number Three; Saada Takes a Victory Lap Win

  • K-PAX Racing #3 Lamborghini Grabs a Post-clinch Win
  • Racers Edge #93 Wins Pro-Am Race; Wright Motorsports #20 Provisional Seasonal Champions
  • AF Corse #61 Victory Laps to the Top of the Sebring Am Podium
  • PROVISIONAL RESULTS - PDF Link

Sebring, Fla. - Provisional Pro Drivers champions Andrea Caldarelli and Jordan Pepper punctuated yesterday's series-clinching performance with another win in a weekend super sweep at Sebring International Racweway. Racers Edge anchor Taylor Hagler brought the #93 Acura NSX GT3 home after completing a stellar recovery drive started by co-driver Dakota Dickerson from a lap 1 incident that saw them off course and essentially sent to the back of the grid. Additionally, the fourth place finish by pole-sitters Wright Motorsports (#20 Porsche) provisionally secured the Pro-Am category Drivers Championship for Fred Poordad and Jan Heylen. Finally, The AF Corse team (#61 Ferrari 488 GT3), already Am-class champions elect, closed out the Sebring weekend on top of the Am podium.

With the highly-competitive Pro-Am Drivers championship still up for grabs and the Pro-Am points leaders #20 Wright Motorsports starting from P1, the race was sure to be contentious and delivered no less than the maximum amount of drama in the early leg of the opening lap. Ryan Dalziel, driving the #63 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG, made contact with Matt McMurry in the #77 Compass Racing Acura, who in turn connected with Dakota Dickerson's #93 Racers Edge Acura and sent him off course. During the course of the melee, more middle-of-the-pack contact occurred with Robby Foley (#96 Turner Motorsports BMW) connecting with Conrad Grunewald's #61 AF Corse Ferrari; both continued on beyond the contact. In the final turn of the opening lap, Michael Cooper (#19 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG) connected with Madison Snow in the #88 Zelus Motorsports Lamborghini, sending Snow off course; here, too, both cars were able to continue without performance-reducing damage.

By the end of the opening lap commotion, and the DTP served by Dalziel in Lap 4 for creating the incident, Dickerson had lost ten positions overall, McMurry was down four, and the remainder of the field had settled into a holding pattern that essentially saw Heylen building a commanding lead at the front; Grenier (#33 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG) and Pepper (#3 K-PAX Racing Lamborghini) in two and three, with Dennis Lind (#9 TR3 Racing Lamborghini) behind them in fourth; Corey Lewis (#6 K-PAX Racing Lamborghini) holding on to the fifth position from a hard-charging Dickerson; Cooper, Drew Staveley (#12 Ian Lacy Racing Aston Marton), Foley and McMurry rounding out the top ten; and Snow, Grunewald, Onofrio Triarsi (#23 Triarsi Competizione Ferrari) and Dalziel shuttering up the field as the pit window opened.

Lind was the first to enter the pit, followed immediately by Lewis. One by one, the requisite pit stop strategies unfolded, with Heylen once again staying out until the last minute of the pit window, ostensibly to maximize the lead he would be able to hand off to co-driver Fred Poordad and secure the Top Five finish needed to clinch the championship. However, seconds after the close of the pit window, Charlie Scardinia lost control of the #23 Ferrari and spun off-course and into a set of tire barriers, initiating a Full Course Yellow condition. During the extraction and clean-up, the #96 BMW was noted as running slow, eventually hobbling into the pits and ultimately retiring due to a mechanical issue.

After approximately ten minutes of Safety Car conditions, the return to green brought the compression of the pack together and the erasure of any gaps built-up during the first stint. Still, Caldarelli was able to defend against any challengers and remain in the lead for the duration of the race. Running in second place was Russell Ward in the #33 Winward Mercedes-AMG followed by Altoe (#9), Venturini (#6) and Hagler (93) who had moved into the fifth spot overall while capturing the top Pro-Am class spot from Poordad (#20) who ultimately fell to eighth overall (fourth in Pro-Am) with Sales (#77) on the attack in between them. Just behind Poordad was Harward (#88), Askew (#63), Gannett (#12) and Saada (#61.)

Venturini and Altoe exchanged positions constantly for the remainder of the green-lit race, with Venturini eventually able to get the checkered flag first and put the K-PAX sister car on the podium behind Ward. In Pro-Am, Hagler deftly held off any and all charges for positioning, including from Erin Vogel (#19) who would finish second in class and Sales (#77) who had helped the team come back from the early incident to a podium finish.

Near the end of the race, the Pro-Am Drivers championship suddenly came into question when Harward (#88) got into a defending Poordad (#20) in Turn 7, causing both to spin. Both cars were able to recover without losing positions, but Harward was issued a Drive-Through Penalty for the contact that ultimately sent him to the back of the pack. The fourth-place-in-class finish, however, was enough to provisionally award the Pro-Am Drivers championship title to the #20 Wright Motorsports co-drivers, Jan Heylen and Fred Poordad.

Catch the encore presentation of the GT World Challenge America Sebring weekend on CBS Sports Network, broadcasting at 6:00 pm EDT on October 3rd; check your local listings for channel information. GT World Challenge America competitors now head to Indianapolis to wrap up the season and make the last push to capture the championships on the line as the series finale once again hits the Racing Capital of the World, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as part of the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli Indianapolis 8 Hour powered by AWS weekend on October 15th to 17th.

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Official Series Hashtag: #GTWorldChAm
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Late Race Pass Leads to Sebring Sweep for Mercedes-AMG, Porsche

  • Conquest Racing West Wins Overall, Silver Class with Mercedes-AMG
  • Porsche Captures Both Pro-Am Victories with NOLASPORT
  • Toyota Wins Am Category with Smooge Racing
  • PROVISIONAL RESULTS - PDF Link

Sebring, Fla. - A three-way battle for the lead resulted in a late race pass for the lead in the final race of the weekend for Pirelli GT4 America at Sebring International Raceway. The #35 Mercedes-AMG, driven by Michai Stephens and Colin Mullan for Conquest Racing West, passed the #54 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 CLUBSPORT MR of Tim Pappas and Jeroen Bleekemolen in the closing moments of the race, claiming victory in Race 2 and sweeping Pirelli GT4 America overall and Silver class wins at Sebring. 

The #47 Porsche of Matt Travis and Jason Hart, driving for NOLASPORT, passed the #54 Porsche of Pappas on the final lap, finishing second overall, but winning the Pro-Am class over the #54 Porsche, who finished second in Pro-Am and third overall. The #72 Mercedes-AMG of Kenny Murillo and Christian Szymczak with Murillo Racing finished second in the Silver category, repeating their performance from Saturday’s race. Third in Silver belonged to the #22 BMW M4 of Tim Barber and Cole Ciraulo, driving for CCR Racing/Team TFB. The #22 BMW finished fifteenth overall.

In the Am category, the #68 Toyota Supra GR, driven by Kevin Conway and John Geesbrecht won for Smooge Racing, defeating the #98 BMW M4 driven by Paul Sparta and Al Carter for Random Vandals Racing. The #619 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 CLUBSPORT MR driven by Alain Stad and Robb Todd for Stephen Cameron Racing finished third in the Am class.

The start of the second race for Pirelli GT4 America allowed the #34 BMW M4, driven by Bill Auberlen, to lead the opening laps over the #52 BMW of John Capestro-Dubets and the #54 Porsche of Jeroen Bleekemolen. After finishing second in the Am class in Saturday’s race, the #16 Mercedes-AMG driven by Jon Berry and Kris Wilson suffered a punctured right-rear tire, forcing an early pit stop to change tires.

The #15 Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Kenton Koch moved forward to sixth in the first half of the race in the BSport Racing entry, navigating through the bottom half of the top ten by the time the pit sequence began 25 minutes into the race. Koch hit pit lane early in the pit window, along with the #52 BMW of Capestro-Dubets. The undercut didn’t seem to advance the #52, with the Auto Technic Racing BMW falling from 2nd to 6th during the pit cycle. After a driver change, the #35 Mercedes-AMG, now driven by Michai Stephens, led the Silver class over the #72 Mercedes-AMG of Kenny Murillo. 

Contact between the #36 BMW M4 of James Clay and the #59 Aston Martin of Paul Terry resulted in the WR Racing Aston Martin spinning in turn 10, drawing a drive-through penalty for Clay in his BimmerWorld Racing entry. In the final twenty minutes of the race, the #11 BMW of Stevan McAleer had contact with the #52 BMW of Tom Capizzi, receiving a penalty for incident responsibility; along with damage received in the collision, the incident relegated the Classic BMW entry to 28th by the end of the race.

In the final 10 minutes, the #54 of Tim Pappas had the overall lead, but faced pressure from the #47 Porsche of Matt Travis and the #35 Mercedes-AMG of Michai Stephens. Stephens passed Travis, then snuck by Pappas with only two and a half minutes remaining in the race. The #34 BMW of Bill Auberlen and James Walker, who led early, finished fourth overall, but snagged a podium with their 3rd place finish in the Pro-Am category.

With only two races remaining in one final round at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in two weeks, teams will have one final opportunity to grab points at the season finale. All Pirelli GT4 America races are broadcast live on SRO’s GT World YouTube channel. The season finale for Pirelli GT4 America is at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, October 14-16th.

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Anderson Claims First Win in TCA, Cugliari, Smith Sweep TCX, TC Classes

  • Cugliari Wins for Third Time in BMW M2 CS Cup for Accelerating Performance
  • Smith Outlasts Boehm, Hines, Jones, Wins for BMW in TC 
  • Anderson Defeats Rumburg in TCA in #22 Toyota 86
  • PROVISIONAL RESULTS - PDF Link

Sebring, Fla. - The second race for TC America Powered by Skip Barber Racing School featured battles in all three classes on a warm and sunny Florida morning at Sebring International Raceway. The #57 BMW M2 CS Cup of Stephen Cugliari outpaced the #81 BMW of Jacob Ruud for a third time this season, matching his winning performance from Saturday’s first race in the TCX class. Cugliari picked up the win over Ruud and the #5 BMW of Roy Block, who fought off a hard charge from the #54 BMW of Garrett Adams in a drag race to the finish line.

The TC class saw the #9 Honda Civic Type-R of Kevin Boehm drive to the front for DXDT Racing in the early moments, but a right-front shock failure allowed the #51 BMW M240iR of Austen Smith to win his second race of the weekend, over competitors in the #21 Nissan 370Z (Rob Hines) and the #28 Honda Civic Type-R (Eric Powell, borrowing teammate Mike Ogren’s car after a crash in qualifying).

After fighting from the back three separate times in the race on Saturday, the #22 Toyota 86 of Devin Anderson was able to drive away from the field on Sunday, dominating the race in the TCA class. Behind him, the #33 Hyundai Veloster Turbo of Luke Rumburg finished second, followed by the #62 Mini Cooper of Cristian Perocarpi, rounding out the podium in TCA.

The start of Race 2 for TC America Powered by Skip Barber Racing School allowed the #57 BMW M2 CS Cup of Stephen Cugliari to establish a small but steady lead over the #81 BMW of Jacob Ruud in the TCX class. The TC field’s frantic start allowed the #9 Honda Civic Type-R of Kevin Boehm to drive around the outside of turn 3 and steal the lead away from the #51 BMW M240iR of Austen Smith. Behind the front two, the #21 Nissan 370Z of Rob Hines and the #60 MINI JCW PRO TC of Derek Jones joined the fight for the lead in the opening laps.

The TCA field took the green with the Forbush Performance duo of the #33 and #18 Hyundai Veloster Turbos with Luke Rumburg and Caleb Bacon chasing the #22 Toyota 86 of Devin Anderson. The #16 Honda Civic Si of Carter Fartuch ran fourth in the opening moments in his Skip Barber Racing School entry. 

A fierce fight broke out at the sharp end of the TC field when Austen Smith’s blue BMW caught the #9 of Boehm for the race lead. Boehm defended from Smith, allowing the #60 MINI of Jones to close, as well as the #21 Nissan of Rob Hines. Boehm, Smith, and Jones entered Sebring’s Sunset Bend three abreast, with Jones coming out ahead of Boehm and Smith. The #51 BMW of Smith would pass Boehm on the following lap, with a bump draft from Rob Hines shoving him past Boehm’s DXDT Racing Honda. 

While defending, Boehm ran wide at turn 13, and suffered a right front damper failure that caused the #9 Honda Civic Type-R to retire. His championship rival, the #28 Honda of Eric Powell, missed the first race of the weekend due to a crash in qualifying, but borrowed teammate Mike Ogren’s car to run the second race. Powell drove up to third place and scored a podium in Race 2 in TC.

As Cugliari drove to his second win of the weekend, the #5 BMW M2 CS Cup of Roy Block and the #54 BMW of Garrett Adams fought for the last step on the podium in TCX. Adams spent the last few laps attempting to pass Block, with a last lap, last corner pass giving him the spot. But as the two raced to the checkered flag, Block was able to pass Adams and beat him by 0.078 seconds for third place in TCX.

Championship battles in TC and TCA close in with the season finale at Indianapolis Motor Speedway looming October 14-16th. All TC America Powered by Skip Barber Racing School races are broadcast live on SRO’s GT World YouTube channel, including the last two races of the season in two weeks. 

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Gidley (Bentley), Wilzoch (Porsche) Sweep; Bell Takes the Win in Second Sebring Race 

  • Gidley (TKO Motorsports) Has Perfect GT America Weekend
  • Wilzoch (Flying Lizard Motorsports) Battles All Classes for SRO3-M Hardware
  • Bell (GMG Racing) Jumps Up and Out and Keeps the Lead on Quinlan
  • PROVISIONAL RESULTS - PDF Link

Sebring, Fla. - Memo Gidley (#101 TKO Motorsports Bentley Continental GT3) completed the Sebring sweep with a win in the SRO3 class in the second GT America race of the weekend. Masters class competitor Andy Wilzoch (#460 Flying Lizard Motorsports) battled in and out of the class to secure his second win of the weekend, while Jason Bell (#2 GMG Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4) secured the GT4 class top spot with his drive during the weekend.

The race began with a false start that had the field run through the circuit for another formation lap under a Full Course Yellow flag. On the second start, a number of drivers took advantage of moves telegraphed in the first start attempt and planned accordingly, allowing Gidley to prepare for the Turn 1 challenges from Rodrigo Sales (#77 Compass Racing Acura), Jason Harward (#88 Zelus Motorsports Lamborghini), Andy Wilzoch (#460 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche), and Jeff Burton sitting in second through fifth respectively. Further back in the field, Bell executed a pass through Turn 1 maneuver that saw him in front of track nemesis Quinlan (#119 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW) early after the restart and then off to the races and attempting to hit all his marks.

By the second lap, the intense battles had taken shape and were underway; in front, Harward and Sales kept Gidley on his toes battling for the prime position to overtake for the lead, while Bell's contingent set up a four-way battle for the right to chase down Bell's Aston Martin; Quinlan, Scott Noble (#49 NOLASPORT Porsche), Chris Cagnazzi (#39 RENNtech Motorsports Mercedes-AMG) and Ross Chouest (#50 3R Povoledo Racing Aston Martin) battled intensely for multiple laps.

During a side-by-side excursion in that class battle for second and third, Noble and Quinlan made contact, sending Quinlan's BMW spinning and sliding, collecting the Chouest and putting him in the wall in the process. The appearance of the Full Course Yellow closed the gap to front-runner Gidley that Harward had already been working on closing with his consecutive "fastest lap" times. Behind them, Sales and Jason Daskalos (#27 Daskalos Motorsports Audi) engaged in the battle for SRO3 and overall third place positioning.

Meanwhile, the intense battle for class positioning behind GT4 leader Bell resumed after the return to green but also changed the combatants as both Quinlan and Chouest fell out of contention, opening the door for Gray Newell (#25 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin) and Christopher Gumprecht (#79 RENNtech Motorsports Mercedes-AMG) to join the fray.

Gidley's methodical, on-point driving kept him ahead of Harward's relentless attacks, ultimately letting the two finish the race in that order with only a 0.35-second gap between them, with Sales ultimately defending from Daskalos and capturing the last spot on the SRO3 podium.

With Burton and the Rearden Racing car out of the picture, Andy Wilzoch found himself able to mix it up with the entire SRO3 field and still capture the top spot in the Masters class.

In the GT4 pack, Bell's pace was too much to overcome but the battles for second and third continued throught the last half. Newell, who started the race from near the back of the field and suddenly found himself in the class podium mix after the FCY, found pace and determination and drove himself into increasingly better positions, including a last lap pass that put him on the podium just behind Noble, who had run out of time trying to catch up to Bell.

Results are provisional until posted Final. CBS Sports Network programming for the GT America powered by AWS Invitational weekend at Sebring premieres on October 13th at 6:30 pm EDT. Competitors now make their final bids to capture the championship hardware as the series finale heads for the Racing Capital of the World, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as part of the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli Indianapolis 8 Hour powered by AWS weekend on October 15th to 17th.

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Mercedes-AMG, Porsche, BMW Claim Class Victories in First Sebring Race

  • #35 Conquest Racing West Mercedes-AMG Wins in Silver.
  • NOLASPORT Wins for Porsche in Pro-Am
  • #98 Random Vandals BMW Wins in Am
  • PROVISIONAL RESULTS - PDF Link

Sebring, Fla. - The first of two races for Pirelli GT4 America at Sebring International Raceway finished with green flag racing from flag to flag, with a frantic four-wide start kicking off the race and close battles inside the top ten in the final moments. 

The #35 Mercedes-AMG driven by Colin Mullan and Michai Stephens claimed victory at Sebring for Conquest Racing West, after Mullan passed Toby Grahovec in the second half of the race. The #35 Mercedes-AMG won overall as well as in the Silver Class, beating class rivals in the #72 Mercedes-AMG of Christian Szymczak and Kenny Murillo, and the #11 BMW M4 of Toby Grahovec and Stevan McAleer.

In Pro-Am, the #47 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 CLUBSPORT MR driven by Matt Travis and Jason Hart finished where they started for NOLASPORT, second overall and first in class. They defeated the #54 Porsche of Jeroen Bleekemolen and Tim Pappas in their Black Swan Racing Pro-Am entry, who finished second in class, and the #119 BMW M4 of Sean Quinlan and Gregory Liefooghe with Steven Cameron Racing.

The #98 BMW M4 of Al Carter and Paul Sparta snagged the Am class victory for Random Vandals Racing, ahead of the #16 Mercedes-AMG from Capstone Motorsports with Jon Berry and Kris Wilson behind the wheel and the #68 Toyota Supra GR of John Geesbrecht and Kevin Conway with Smooge Racing.

The opening lap of the 60-minute race featured a frantic four-wide dash to the first of Sebring International Raceway’s seventeen corners. The 20-car field completed the first lap without incident, with the #11 BMW of McAleer scooting away from the rest of the field. The #47 Porsche of Matt Travis and Michai Stephens in the #35 Mercedes-AMG set chase to the #11 BMW. 

Deeper in the field, the #52 BMW M4 of Tom Capizzi fought with the #22 BMW of Tim Barber for 11th, while the #59 Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Paul Terry drove forward nine spots in the opening laps before suffering an issue that would drop him to the rear of the field. Back at the front, the #35 Mercedes-AMG of Stephens passed the #47 NOLASPORT Porsche for 2nd prior to the pit sequence. With just minutes remaining until the pit window, the #36 BMW of James Clay, #16 Mercedes-AMG of Kris Wilson, and the #72 of Kenny Murillo fought nose-to-tail for 4th place.

After the pit window opened with 35 minutes remaining, the #46 Porsche of David Walker nosed into the tire barriers at turn 15, but was able to extract the car and return to pit lane to fix minor front end damage. The race leader, still the #11 of McAleer, pit with 30 minutes to go, returning to the track ahead of the #35 Mercedes-AMG and the #47 Porsche. But with 18 minutes to go, the #11 BMW, now driven by Toby Grahovec, lost the lead to the #35 (now driven by Colin Mullan) in turn 13, with a late dive on the brakes. The #47 Porsche, with Jason Hart behind the wheel, would go on to pass Grahovec as well, eventually placing second. 

In the closing moments of the race, the #52 of John Capestro-Dubets made contact with the #619 of Robb Todd, driving for Stephen Cameron Racing. The contact drew a drive-through penalty for the #52 BMW, dropping Capestro-Dubets to 21st position. 

Pirelli GT4 America Race 2 is Sunday, October 3rd, at 10:30 AM, and will air live on SRO’s GT World YouTube channel.

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Acura, HPD JAS Pro America Earn Esports Endurance Victory at Bathurst 12 Hour

  • First major esports win for the Acura NSX GT3 Evo
  • McLaren earns second with Sidemax x Black Hawk Racing
  • Real world GT World Challenge America competitors CrowdStrike Racing complete podium
  • Race Results - PDF Link
  • Race Replay - https://youtu.be/_Fpd9VwBR_o
  • Championship Standings - PDF Link

HPD JAS Pro America prevailed in a topsy-turvy race at virtual Mount Panorama Circuit to take victory in the GT World Challenge Esports America Endurance season opener.

The trio of Nicolas Hillebrand, Josh Staffin, and Karl Wittmer survived a grueling 12 hours around the iconic track to take the win in the No. 93 Acura NSX GT3 Evo by 26.553 seconds over the SideMax x Black Hawk Racing McLaren 720S GT3 of Tinko van der Velde, Chris Severt, and Sam Cairns in a race that saw the top four all finish on the lead lap.

After qualifying fourth, the No. 93 trio ran in contention throughout the race but took firm control when Cairns crashed and suffered significant damage while leading in the eleventh hour.

Sidemax x Blackhawk Racing and the No. 93 HPD JAS entry has been swapping the lead by virtue of alternate pit sequences prior to Cairns' mishap which allowed the eventual winners to take the lead for good.

Cairns, van der Velde, and Severt ultimately held on for second ahead of a thrilling battle for the final podium position that saw Cody Blanton of PPR Esports Blue make contact with Crowdstrike Racing driver Sam Michaels in The Chase while trying to take third place in the final hour.

Both cars continued on and Blanton ultimately relinquished the position he had gained through the contact thereby avoiding any penalty for the collision. 

Michaels held on to third, ultimately bringing his No. 4 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo that he shared with Kevin Boehm and Scott Michaels home just under six seconds ahead of the No. 2 Mercedes of Blanton, Luke Whitehead, and Niels van de Koekelt that Whitehead started from the front of the grid.

Although it ended off of the podium, it was a remarkable comeback for the polesitting car that was in strife from the opening lap.

Whitehead spun at Skyline on the opening lap and was collected by both of the sister PPR Esports entries which sent them all to the pit lane for extensive repairs.

That allowed Hillebrand through to take a lead that appeared to be a comfortable one until a spin while he was negotiating lapped traffic early in the going. The car would later sustain damage in the tight and twisty downhill of the Mountain, which put them behind SideMax x Black Hawk Racing and initiated the alternating pit stop sequence between the lead cars that would characterize the majority of the race.

Several contenders were eliminated due to connectivity issues including FFS Racing which featured a lineup that included regular Sprint contenders Michael Kundakcioglu, Philippe Simard, and Killian Ryan-Meenan.

The No. 1 PPR Esports Gold Bentley Continental GT3 that had overcome the first lap collision with its team cars saw a rally back through the field come undone by virtue of a connectivity issue as well prior to the start of the tenth hour. 

The top ten finishers from Round 1 of the endurance slate now assume those positions in the points standings heading into the second of three scheduled races which will be held at Monza on October 30th.

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Sebring Invitational Set for Sprint Showdown in the South 

  • Twenty-one Drivers Trek To Florida for Series' First Invitational Event
  • Two Chances for Bragging Rights and Experience Building at Famed Sebring International Raceway
  • Drivers Prepare for Final Double-Header Weekend Finale in Indianapolis
  • ENTRY LIST - PDF Link
  • EVENT SCHEDULE - PDF Link

Sebring, Fla. - A trip to Florida is in store for GT America powered by AWS competitors as the series heads South for two invitational rounds at Sebring International Raceway on October 1st - 3rd. It's a run-what-you-brung battle for winner hardware and bragging rights as SRO single-driver GT racing returns to the Sebring circuit for the first time since 2009.

The former military airfield that was partially converted into a race track in the 1950s has since established itself as a staple of the American road racing circuit, offering seemingly uncurated concrete sections of track that many claim mimic that harsh dynamics of street courses. Renowned as an endurance track, the 3.74-miles of the part-asphalt, part-concrete circuit comprise seventeen turns. The regional climate predictions for early October mean the threat of rain is always a possibility, while the equatorial-adjacent temperatures mean heat and humidity, and therefore driver fatigue, can play a factor in the outcome.

Familiar GT3 Field Returns for Invitational Contests

Representing the Audi GT3 contingent, Daskalos Motorsports’ Jason Daskalos returns to the series for another run in his #27 Audi R8 LMS Ultra. He looks to add to the podium he’s collected so far this year, and to be one of the handful of current drivers that competed at the last Sebring event in 2009.

Another familiar name, Memo Gidley, will also return to campaign the #101 TKO Motorsports Bentley Continental GT3 with support from Flying Lizard, the only one running in the series this year. As a late-season entry, Gidley will also search for the repeat-performance driving that has already earned him a podium finish in his short series time.

A trio of charging bulls will take to the track at Sebring, represented by TR3 Racing’s John Megrue in the #10 car; Zelus Motorsports’ Jason Harward in the brightly-decorated #88; and Jeff Burton coming off an exhilarating win at Watkins Glen in the #191 Readen Racing Lamborghini.

The Mercedes-AMG GT3 variant has only one example running in the invitational, and that honor belongs to the #58 DXDT Racing machine piloted by CJ Moses. Moses will continue to make strides in advancing his driving performance after switching from a TC America campaign completed in 2020.

The lone Porsche GT3 entry will be driven by late-season starter Andy Wilzoch, driving the #460 Porsche 911.1 GT3 R under the Flying Lizard Motorsports banner.

Running in the only GT2 machine, Elias Sabo and GMG Racing are back in the #8 Audi R8 LMS GT2. Similarly, the sole Invitational class entry will be driven by Dexter Racing’s Matt Rivard, his Ginetta wearing the #60 to the show.

GT4 Battles for Bragging Rights

The competitive GT4 field is expected to be just as competitive, even in a no-points, bragging-rights only situation like Sebring.

Flying the flag for Aston Martin AMR are a quartet of series regulars; recent weekend-sweeper Jason Bell in the #2 machine; Paul Kiebler driving the #09 for Automatic Racing; Gray Newell in the #25 Heart of Racing Team entry; and Ross Chouest piloting the #50 3R Povoledo Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 variant.

BMW Motorsports factors in only a single entry in the single-driver GT series - Sean Quinlan in the #119 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M4 GT4. Quinlan currently sits at the top of the GT4 points ladder and should welcome the chance to compete without having to defend his spot.

The Mercedes-AMG GT4 field is also three-deep this weekend with RENNtech Motorsports providing two entries - the #39 for Chris Cagnazzi and the #79 for Christopher Gumprecht - and Capstone Motorsports running the #16 car for John Allen.

Finally, with the heaviest single-manufacturer representation in the GT4 class, no less than four entries are entered flying Herr Porsche’s namesake marque, all running the same 718 Cayman GT4 CS MR variant; #49 NOLASPORT driven by Scott Noble; #54 Black Swan Racing entry for principal Tim Pappas; Adam Adelson commandeering the #120 car for Premier Racing; and Alain Stad in the #619 Stephen Cameron Racing entry.

You’re All Invited

The first Official Practice session for the GT America field starts on October 1st at 8:20 AM EDT. Catch the live timing and scoring results for all official sessions on the official GT America site - gtamerica.us - and live stream all the race action for free on the GTWorld YouTube site, or catch the audio simulcast on SiriusXM Satellite Radio Ch. 392 (992 on the web app).

If you’re planning on attending in person, General Admission tickets are available now starting as low as $10 per day; get your tickets at https://bit.ly/gtsebringtix
 

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Pirelli GT4 America Heads South to Sebring with Packed 30-Car Grid

  • Thirty Cars Across Three Classes Make Up Sebring Grid
  • Pro-Am Points Battles Erupt in Penultimate Weekend of Season
  • Sebring Return Poses Unique Bumpy Challenge For Car & Driver
  • ENTRY LIST - PDF Link
  • EVENT SCHEDULE - PDF Link

Sebring, Fla. - After a doubleheader in Upstate New York for round 9 and 10, Pirelli GT4 America competitors head to Florida and historic Sebring International Raceway for rounds 11 and 12, October 1st-3rd.

Located in Sebring, Florida, the 3.74 mile (6.02 km), seventeen-turn road course is unique for its unsettling bumps and creation from a World War II-era airfield. Much of the track runs along concrete runways and taxiways, and when combined with an asphalt surface elsewhere on the track, the course proves a demanding challenge for car and driver alike. The last time World Challenge competitors competed on Sebring’s challenging and rough surface was over a decade ago, in 2009. 

With the end of the season on the horizon with Indianapolis next month, the #47 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 CLUBSPORT MR driven by Matt Travis and Jason Hart for NOLASPORT maintains a stout points lead in the Pro-Am class over the #52 BMW M4 driven by Tom Capizzi and John Capestro-Dubets for Auto Technic Racing. Tied for second in Pro-Am points with the #52 is the #15 Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Kenton Koch and Bryan Putt for BSport Racing, who seek redemption after a late-race penalty at Watkins Glen. Putt hails from nearby Bonita Springs. 

The #119 BMW M4 of Gregory Liefooghe and Sean Quinlan from Stephen Cameron Racing looming just four points back in 3rd, the championship battle is still far from decided. The #50 Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Aaron Povoledo and Ross Chouest led laps at Watkins Glen in the second race before getting caught up in an incident that dropped them down the order - the new 3R Povoledo Racing team will get another chance to claim victory at Sebring.

After winning for the first time in Pirelli GT4 America competition at Watkins Glen, the #24 Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Gray Newell and Ian James for Heart of Racing Team aim to continue their success at Sebring. The pair vaulted themselves to 8th in the Pro-Am standings after the second race in Upstate New York. The #79 Mercedes-AMG of Christopher Gumprecht and Kyle Marcelli with RENNtech Motorsports will compete just two hours from the team’s home base in Stuart, Florida. The #8 Audi R8 LMS GT4 of Elias Sabo and Andy Lee will also compete in the Pro-Am class at Sebring. The #120 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR of Adam Adelson and Elliot Skeer will also contend in Pro-Am at the bumpy Florida circuit.

It’s a home state affair for the #72 Mercedes-AMG Murillo Racing team, based out of Land O’Lakes, Florida. Kenny Murillo and Christian Szymczak will pilot their metallic orange #72 in the Silver category. The duo currently sports a 40-point advantage over the #22 BMW M4 driven by Tim Barber and Cole Ciraulo for CCR RAcing/Team TFB, who are currently second in Silver class points. Just 20 points behind, in third, sits the #11 BMW M4 driven by Stevan McAleer and Toby Grahovec, who are fresh off a victory for their Classic BMW team at Watkins Glen. The #35 Mercedes-AMG driven by Michai Stevens and Colin Mullan also return for Conquest Racing West after strong showings in New York. The #062 Aston Martin Vantage AMR driven by Ryan and Warren Dexter will also enter rounds 11 and 12 at Sebring.

Fresh off a pair of victories in Watkins Glen, the #68 Toyota Supra GR and drivers Kevin Conway and John Geesbreght with Smooge Racing aim to extend their healthy points lead over the #16 Capstone Motorsports Mercedes-AMG of John Allen and Kris Wilson. The #46 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR of David and Russell Walker will also compete in the Am category alongside the #47 Pro-Am entry for NOLASPORT. Orlando, Florida, is home to Automatic Racing and the #09 Aston Martin Vantage AMR driven by Mikel Miller and Paul Kiebler. The #98 BMW M4 of Paul Sparta and Al Carter with Random Vandals Racing head into Sebring, aiming to improve on the strong finish from the first race at Watkins Glen.

Pirelli GT4 America is on track for practice on Friday, October 1st at 11:05 am ET. Both races are broadcast live on SRO’s GT World YouTube channel, with Race 1 at 11:00 am ET on Saturday, October 2nd and Race 2 at 10:30 am ET on Sunday, October 3rd.

Tickets for the weekend are available starting at $10, and can be purchased at https://Bit.ly/gtsebringtix.
 

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Event Hashtag: #GTSEBRING

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SRO Motorsports Group - The global leader in GT racing

With nearly three decades’ experience at the forefront of a continuously evolving industry, SRO Motorsports Group is the established global leader in GT racing. A busy 2021 season will see events staged under the SRO banner on five continents, highlighted by the prestigious Total 24 Hours of Spa. 

The company's expanding portfolio of series includes Fanatec GT World Challenge Powered by AWS categories in Europe, America, Asia and Australia. Each retains its unique identity, while also allowing competing brands to dispute a global manufacturers’ title through their continental representatives. What’s more, a groundbreaking new initiative for 2021 will see virtual racing come together with the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS Endurance Cup, where a series of e-sports contests will count towards the real championship.

Staged since 2016, the flagship Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli sees world-leading manufacturers compete through their local teams at marquee events across the globe. Considerable emphasis is placed on amateur competitors, too, with the GT Sports Club concept combining a relaxed environment with highly professional standards for drivers using GT2 and GT3 machinery.

SRO also works with the FIA to organise and promote the FIA Motorsport Games, a multi-disciplinary event in which drivers compete in the colours of their national flag. A range of international and domestic series catering for GT2, GT3, GT4 and touring car machinery also form part of an extensive on-track programme, while the burgeoning sim racing scene has taken on considerable importance through the SRO E-Sport GT Series. 

In addition to promotion and organisation, the company operates the SRO Race Centre by MMC service facility at Circuit Paul Ricard, and provides the ultimate driving opportunities at world-renowned venues through Curbstone Track Events. Combining a passion for performance with industry-leading experience, SRO continues to play a key role in shaping the future of global GT racing.

 

 

  Intercontinental american GT Challenge

Esports Sprint Championship Will Come to a Close at Suzuka this Saturday 

  • 35 Sim Racers are entered in GTWC America Esports Finale
  • Championship battle comes down to the last race between Kundakcioglu, Simard, and Severt
  • Entry List - PDF Link

Three drivers remain eligible for the GT World Challenge America Esports Sprint championship as the season heads into the final race at the famed Suzuka Circuit. Reigning champion Michael Kundakcioglu from FFS Racing, Philippe Simard of R&K Racing, and Black Hawk Racing's Chris Severt enter the finale holding the top three spots in the points standings with just six tallies between them.

Kundakcioglu opened the season with a runner-up and a win in the first two rounds at Kyalami and Donington in his No. 96 McLaren 720S GT3, amassing 43 points in the process, but has struggled in the past two events with just 16 points scored and no podium results.

The Canadian has seen his points advantage shrink to just two over Simard who broke through for a long-awaited win at Spa in Round 3 and was runner-up the last time out in Sprint competition at the Hungaroring in the No. 19 BMW M6 GT3.

Severt's run to championship contention has been powered by consistency. His No. 81 Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 has yet to cross the line first, but has not finished worse than sixth all season and twice Severt has finished on the podium. His deficit is just four points to second-place Simard and six to the championship-leader Kundakcioglu.

The fight for fourth, fifth, and sixth in the standings is wide open but the front runners will be SideMax Motorsports' Killian Ryan-Meenan's No. 23 Aston Martin and the No. 600 BanJordy Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R of Jordan Grant-Smith. The pair are level on 25 points and sit eight behind Cody Pryde who is currently fifth in the standings but does not appear on the Suzuka entry list.

Other notables set to contest the season-ending round at Suzuka include #GTRivals champion Bryan Heitkotter in the No. 5 Forsberg Racing Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 and the stout HPD JAS Pro America quartet of Karl Wittmer, Cardin Lu, Zach Patterson, and Josh Staffin, all of whom have recorded at least one finish inside the top five so far this year and both Patterson and Lu have a chance for a top five finish in the final points standings with a good result.

Elsewhere, Hungaroring podium finisher Luke Whitehead is back in his No. 557 McLaren 720S GT3 for SDL Esports by Logitech, and regular contenders Simon Fisher of RacingSimTools eSports, Aloo Gobi of Griphax Engineering, and Jake Langevin of Pass on da Grass are all also in the field.

In total, 35 drivers have qualified for the race representing 11 different GT3 manufacturers.

Organized by SRO Motorsports Group in partnership with Fanatec, and Kunos Simulazioni, this weekend’s Endurance Series event will be streamed live and in full on the SRO YouTube and Twitch channels, as well as the SRO Esports Facebook page. Pre-race coverage begins at 4PM EDT on Saturday before the one-hour contest goes green.

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TC America In Season Home Stretch at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

  • Ruud, Classic BMW, BMW Motorsports Take Champion-elect Victory Laps
  • TC, TCA Championships Still On the Line
  • TC America Entry List - PDF Link
  • Event Schedule - PDF Link

Indianapolis, Ind. - TC America powered by the Skip Barber Racing School concludes its 2021 season at the corner of 16th and Georgetown at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. 30 cars across the TCX, TC, and TCA classes are entered with championships on the line in two of the three.

The lone title that isn't up for grabs is the inaugural TCX crown which was clinched by Wisconsin's Jacob Ruud. The #81 Classic BMW driver headlines a four car entry in TCX which also features BMW M2 CS (Cup) cars from KMW Motorsports with TMR Engineering (#5), Hard Motorsport (#30), and a pair from Classic BMW for drivers Roy Block, Steve Streimer, Ruud, and Olivia Askew (#3), respectively.

The TC points battle is a three horse race between Skip Barber Racing School's Eric Powell, Auto Technic's Austen Smith, and DXDT Racing's Kevin Boehm.

Powell leads the championship by 29.5 points with 50 total points available in the two remaining races. The driver of the No. 92 Honda Civic Si has won four races on the year, but Smith won the last two at Sebring in his No. 51 BMW M240iR to claw back into the championship frame after a disastrous weekend at Watkins Glen.

Three points behind Smith is the reigning TCA champion Boehm who had a win and a second in TCA competition at Indianapolis last year to clinch the crown.

Just outside the championship conversation is GenRacer owner/driver Jeff Ricca in the No. 78 Hyundai Veloster N TC. Ricca holds fourth in the standings with a win and multiple podiums to his name this year and will be supported by his teammate Nicholas Barbato who is making his series debut in the team's No. 88 entry.

Elsewhere in the TC field is TechSport Racing's Rob Hines who is fifth in points after a pair of podiums at Sebring in his Nissan 370Z.

Derek Jones is back at the wheel of the TC-spec MINI JCW PRO TC from LAP Motorsports, based in nearby Brownsburg, Indiana, which also will be fielding entries for Cristian Perocarpi and Clayton Williams in TCA.

Joining Powell from the Skip Barber Racing School team is Ken Fukuda who debuted at Watkins Glen, while fellow Honda Civic operation LA Honda World has a pair of entries for Indianapolis with drivers Frank Szczesniak and Mike LaMarra while BMW operation DRS & Garagistic will field Matthew Ibrahim and Kris Valdez.

The TCA championship battle is also coming down to the wire with Forbush Performance driver Caleb Bacon holding on to a narrow five and a half point lead over Skip Barber Racing School's Carter Fartuch, while Bacon's Forbush teammate Luke Rumburg is also in the mix just 13.5 points adrift.

Forbush and Rumburg are the only two Hyundai Veloster Turbo TCA drivers in the TCA class field, while Fartuch will have the support of teammates Colin Harrrison and Mike Stillwagon in Skip Barber Racing School Honda Civic Si machines. However, the Hyundai brigade will be bolstered by a new entry from Bryan Herta Autosport.

BHA has entered a new Hyundai Elantra N Line car for Fanatec GT World Challenge America frontrunner Taylor Hagler who has previous experience racing touring cars for the team.
Joining Fartuch from the Honda camp are entries for Mario Biundo, Jose Blanco, and Sally McNulty from LA Honda World, VGMC Racing, and Team Sally Racing, respectively.

Completing the TCA field are a pair of Toyota 86 entries from TechSport Racing for TRD development driver Jesse Love, a recent winner in ARCA competition at Indiana's Salem Speedway, and former TCB champion PJ Groenke.

The final TC America weekend of the season gets underway with practice on Thursday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Race 1 is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. ET on Friday, while the season concludes with Race 2 at 3:20 p.m. ET on Saturday.
 

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Facebook & Instagram: @touringcaramerica
Twitter: @tc_america
 
Official Series Hashtag: #TCAmerica
Event Hashtag: #INDY8H

GT America Championship Bids Come Down to the Wire at The Brickyard

  • Twenty-one Cars Take the Field at the Renowned Indianapolis Circuit
  • Drivers, Teams and Manufacturers Aim to Close Season as Champions
  • Entry List - PDF Link
  • Event Schedule - PDF Link

Indianapolis, Ind. - The action-packed return to single-driver sprint races in GT cars has proven a resounding success for SRO America, and nowhere is that more evident than in the inaugural GT America Powered by AWS season finale at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where all of the championship titles remain undecided entering the final double-header race weekend October 14th to 16th.

The famed Brickyard needs no introduction, and the global presence of top GT drivers from around the world for the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli round only adds to the racing spectacle surrounding the GT America finale. The 2.58-mile length of hallowed racing grounds will host the final to 40-minute races to decide which drivers, teams and manufacturers will leave the weekend with the history-making first championship trophies of the series.

Who Will Be Crowned the Ultimate SRO3 Driver?

The battle for the first SRO3 Driver’s Champion title is still wide open with two contenders hot on the heels of the points leader and showing a thirst for the hardware. #45 Wright Motorsports Porsche driver Charlie Luck will defend his points lead from the hard-charging Lamborghinis of both Jeff Burton (#191 Rearden Racing) and Jason Harward (#88 Zelus Motorsports). Luck’s defense also needs to hold if he’s to stave off Burton from taking the SRO3 Master’s class honors.

Fan and paddock favorite Memo Gidley is back to close his late-season entry and will run the sole Bentley-badged machine, the #101 TK Motorsports Bentley Continental GT3 machine. Likewise, Brendan Iribe’s return to GT America single-driver racing will go down in the #70 inception racing machine, the only McLaren in the field. In the GT2 class, GMG Racing’s Elias Sabo will once again helm the #2 Audi R8 LMS GT2 to close out the season and prepare for the next.

DXDT Racing’s card is full once again as both George Kurtz (#04) and CJ Moses (#58) return to the competition, each piloting the only two Mercedes-AMG GT3 machinery in the GT America grid this weekend.

Finally, the Porsche contingent, locked in a battle with Lamborghini for the Manufacturer’s Championship title, will be represented by the #32 GMG Racing Porsche of Kyle Washington and the #460 Flying Lizard Motorsports entry driven by Andy Wilzoch.

GT4 Final Fight

The contentious GT4 field has seen tremendous growth in advancing driver skill and experience nowhere is that more evident than in the field at Indy. #119 Stephen Cameron Racing’s Sean Quinlan, current points leader in the class, has seen his points lead dwindle throughout the season as #2 GMG Racing driver Jason Bell continues to show consistently-improving pace and the ability to repeat race-winning performances. Watch for the two to keep the GT4 Drivers’ Championship interesting down to the wire.

#76 ROTR Motorsport driver Alex Welch is expected to take to the grid in the sole GT4 Audi, while #25 Heart of Racing driver and two-time podium winner Grey Newell and late-season entry #888 Zelus Motorsports Sean Whalen will drive the two Aston Martin AMR Vantage GT4 examples on the grid.

Robb Holland’s #99 Rotek Racing Ford Mustang GT4 has served him well all season, earning him a third-place points standing that’s just two points shy of contention for the Drivers’ championship title. Look to him to make championship contention difficult on his quest for the top step of the podium.

Single entries from Ginetta (#60 Dexter Racing Ginetta 56) and McLaren (#26 Prive Motorsports/Topp Racing McLaren 570S GT4) will be driven by Thomas Surgent and Matt Rivard, respectively.

Teammates and brothers-in-manufacturer-arms Chris Cagnazzi and Christopher Gumprecht will pilot the #39 and #79 Mercedes-AMG GT4 entries from RENNtech Motorsports. Both have put in the full season of work and have shown that they, too, can easily contend for the weekend’s podium positions.

Finally, late season entry Scott Noble will close out the single-driver sprint season in the #49 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 CS MR.

How Will It End?

Champions will be crowned starting with the first Official Practice session scheduled for Thursday, October 14th at 9:15 am EDT, with the second session later that afternoon at 3:30 pm EDT. The last Qualifying session goes green at 10:50 am EDT before the grid takes the green flag for the first race at 4:55 pm EDT, and the final race gets underway on Saturday at 12:05 pm EDT.

Take part in the Downtown Speedway Parade, get your favorite driver’s autograph, and watch history unfold in real time; General Admission tickets starting as low as $10 are still available for the race weekend - get yours at bit.ly/indy8hour. Can’t make it out in person? Catch both races streaming live on the GTWorld YouTube channel; listen to the audio simulcast on SiriusXM Satellite Radio Channel 392 (992 on the web app); and catch the CBS Sports Network programming of the weekend when it premieres on October 27th at 8:00 pm EDT; check your local listings for channel information.

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Facebook: @srogtamerica
Instagram: @gt_america
Twitter: @gt_america_

Official Series Hashtag: #GTAmerica
Event Hashtag: #INDY8H

Final Pirelli GT4 America Champions to be Crowned in Indianapolis

  • Fifty-six Drivers Close out Pirelli GT4 America Season in Indy
  • Three-way Battle for Manufacturer Championship Title
  • Year-end Podium Positions in Contention
  • Entry List - PDF Link
  • Event Schedule - PDF Link

Indianapolis, Ind. - Twenty-eight cars are set to take part in the season finale of the 2021 Pirelli GT4 America season at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway on October 14th to 16th, highlighted by the three class championship entries that each clinched their titles in the previous round at Sebring.

After near misses in each of the past two seasons, NOLASPORT's Jason Hart and Matt Travis locked down the Pro-Am championship with a pair of victories at Sebring in their No. 47 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 CLUBSPORT MR. The pair join the Am lineups of David and Russell Walker and Sean Gibbons and Sam Owen from the New Orleans-based Porsche prep shop.

Other Porsche entries include the return of TRG with a pair of entries for Derek DeBoer and Spencer Pumpelly in Pro-Am and Dr. Jim Rappaport and Todd Hetherington in Am. It marks the return to Pirelli GT4 America for TRG after DeBoer and Pumpelly missed the last round, while Rappaport and Hetherington are making their first starts since Road America in August.

Silver class champions-elect Kenny Murillo and Christian Szymczak aim to add to their five class wins in the final two races of the season at IMS in the No. 72 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4.

They are joined by fellow Mercedes-runners Conquest Racing West and drivers Michai Stephens and Colin Mullan who have emerged as Silver class contenders since the program debuted at Road America in August. The pairing swept the weekend at Sebring winning both races overall and securing the duo's first wins of the season in the process.

Elsewhere on the entry list, Am class entrant Capstone Motorsports is back with its Mercedes-AMG and full-season driver Kris Wilson, while both John Allen and Jon Barry are entered as prospective co-drivers for the Indy weekend. Barry stood in for Allen at Sebring and scored a class podium in his professional racing debut in Race 1 of the weekend.

The final entries from the Mercedes-AMG camp are the No. 79 and No. 39 for RENNtech Motorsports with Christopher Gumprecht slated to once again share driving duties with Kyle Marcelli and Chris Cagnazzi entered alongside Joe Rubbo in the team's Pro-Am and Am entries, respectively.

After wrapping up the Am class title at Sebring, Smooge Racing aims to complete its season-long streak of winning at least one of the two Pirelli GT4 America races each race weekend alive when series rookies John Geesbreght and Kevin Conway head to The Brickyard in their No. 68 Toyota GR Supra GT4.

The championship-winning pairing will be pulling double duty at Indy with Lexus factory driver and former IndyCar ace Jack Hawksworth set to join them for the Indianapolis 8 Hour race on Sunday.

Forbush Performance and drivers Damon Surzyshyn and Matt Forbush are also entered in an Am class Supra for the pair of Pirelli GT4 America races.

BMW is well represented with no less than eight BMW M4 GT4s on the entry list. Classic BMW's Silver entry returns with race winners Toby Grahovec and Stevan McAleer. They are set to settle second in the Silver championship with CCR Racing/Team TFB and drivers Tim Barber and Cole Ciraulo who hold the advantage over Grahovec and McAleer by 13 points going into the final two races.

The Pro-Am lineups of Bill Auberlen and James Walker Jr. and James Clay and Nick Galante aim to close out the season on a high note for BimmerWorld Racing but will face a stiff challenge from the Auto Technic Racing pairing of John Capestro-Dubets and Tom Capizzi who have scored four podiums in the last six races.

Completing the BMW lineup is the Silver pairing of Chandler Hull and Jon Miller from BimmerWorld, the Am duo of Paul Sparta and Al Carter for Random Vandals Racing, and Stephen Cameron Racing's Sean Quinlan partnering with Tom Dyer.

Aston Martin once again has a sizable representation on the entry list including Jason Bell and Andrew Davis for GMG Racing, Bryan Putt and Kenton Koch for BSPort Racing, Paul Terry and Owen Trinkler for WR Racing, and Ian James and Gray Newell in the Pro-Am class.

A Silver class Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 for brothers Ryan and Warren Dexter for Dexter Racing and two Am class entries of Paul Kiebler and Mikel Miller for Automatic Racing and Sean Whalen and Tigh Isaac for Zelus Motorsports completes Aston's allotment in the field, while Marco Polo Motorsports and drivers Nicolai Elghanayan and Mads Siljehaug are entered in a lone KTM X-BOW GT4.

The final weekend of the 2021 Pirelli GT4 America season gets underway with testing and practice on Wednesday, October 13th with Race 1 scheduled for Thursday at 5pm E.T. and the season finale on Friday at 2:35pm E.T.

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Facebook & Instagram: @gt4america
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Official Series Hashtag: #GT4America
Event Hashtag: #INDY8H

GT World Challenge America Finale Set for Indianapolis Motor Speedway

  • Forty-two Drivers Set to Close Out GT World Challenge America Season
  • Championships, Year-End Podium Finishes Still in Play
  • Race-within-a-race Earns Double Points, Transitions into Indianapolis 8 Hour Enduro
  • GTWCA Entry List - PDF Link
  • Event Schedule - PDF Link

Indianapolis, Ind. - A record-setting number of contenders from all over the globe are expected to converge upon The Brickyard as the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli championships make their North American stop in Indianapolis, Indiana, on October 15th to 17th.

This year will mark the fifth consecutive year that the IGTC series has competed on North American soil. The mid-October event also sees the record-number of entrants for this leg of the worldwide series, up nine entries from the previous record set at Laguna Seca in 2018. Additionally, the venue serves as the special final leg of the Fanatec GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS championships where at least one championship and all the year-end podium positions still remain up for grabs.

The Race within a Race 

Many of the season’s championships were decided at the last GT World Challenge America event in Sebring, where co-drivers Andrea Caldarelli and Jordan Pepper swept the weekend to capture the Pro Drivers’ Championship and helped bring the Pro Team Championship for K-PAX Racing and the Manufacturer’s Championship for Lamborghini along for the ride. Still, the battle for the Drivers’ second and third places rages on with K-PAX teammates Lewis and Venturini, as well as Turner co-drivers Dinan and Foley and Winward principal Russell Ward all able to take home year-end hardware. Similarly, the final 3-hour stint at Indianapolis will also decide which Pro Team championship hardware goes to Turner Motorsport and which one goes to Winward Racing.

The effort from Jan Heylen and Fred Poordad in central Florida secured the Pro-Am Drivers’ Championship for them and put them in a good position to defend the Pro-Am Team Championship title, where both DXDT Racing and Racers Edge Motorsports are within reach of taking the top spot. And, while Conrad Grunewald and Jean-Claude Saada captured the Am Drivers’ and Team Championships after Watkins Glen, the remaining TR3 Racing driver pairs of John Megure, Bill Sweedler, Charlie Scardina and Onofrio Triarsi have to lay claim to the second and third year-end podium spots.

GT3 Overall

As the “race within the race”, the GT World Challenge America finale still sees top contenders lining up on the grid. K-PAX Racing’s #3 (Andrea Caldarelli and Corey Lewis) and #6 (Corey Lewis and Giovanni Venturini) cars are scheduled to complete the GTWCA field and earn the final points for their GTWCA championship titles, as are Winward Racing’s Russell Ward and Philip Ellis (#33 Mercedes-AMG GT3) and Turner Motorsport’s Michael Dinan and Robby Foley (#96 BMW F13 M6 GT3). All of the driver pairings will run the first three hours of the 8-hour enduro to secure the final GTWCA points of the season before taking on their third drivers for the remainder of the Indy 8 Hour; Mirko Botolotti for the #3 K-PAX car, Marco Mapelli for the #6 K-PAX entry, Marvin Dienst for the #33 Winward Mercedes-AMG, and 2020 Indianapolis 8 Hour Champion Connor De Phillippi in the #96 Turner Entry. 

GT3 Pro-Am

In the highly-contested Pro-Am division, we see the return of the #04 DXDT Racing pair of George Kurtz and Colin Braun running along with teammates Erin Vogel and Michael Cooper in the #19 Mercedes-AMG and team principal David Askew and Ryan Dalziel riding out in the #63 entry; their three-pronged approach is sure to give Pro-Am Team points leader Wright Motorsports and their Drivers’ Champions-elect Fred Poordad and Jan Heylen (#20) a run for their money to secure the championship. Also in that fight, GT3 Academy alumni Racers Edge Motorsports, whose weekend team of anchor driver Taylor Hagler and Dakota Dickerson will fight the uphill battle for the Pro-Am Team championship points that are still within reach.

Ian Lacy Racing drivers Frank Gannett and Drew Staveley will suit up to contest the #12 Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 in their quest for year-end standings, as will returning entrants inception racing in the #70 McLaren 720S GT3 with co-drivers Brendan Iribe and Ollie Millroy behind the wheel.

Compass Racing’s starting driver line-up gets a shake-up for the race-within-a-race weekend as the #77 Acura NSX GT3 sees usual driver Matt McMurry paired with series newcomer Ashton Harrison.

Adding to Lamborghini’s Manufacturer Championship final points tally are #88 Zelus Motorsports (Jason Harward and Madison Snow) and #91 Rearden Racing (Jeff Burton and Vesko Kozarov); both teams have run exhaustive, full-season dual series bids in the Lamborghini and are the two teams not expected to continue past the three-hour mark for the remainder of the race. Instead, additional drivers expected to jump in for hours four through eight of the enduro include: #04 Ben Keating, #12 Ian Lacy, #19 Thomas Merrill, #20 Max Root, #63 Scott Smithson, #70 Kevin Madsen, #77 Mario Farnbacher, and #93 Jacob Abel.

GT3 Am

The Am class championships have been settled, but the bragging rights and the chance to enter into the Indianapolis 8 Hour extravaganza have called the champions and the competitors to the grid for one last go this year; #10 TR3 Racing’s Bill Sweedler and John Megrue will run the 180-minute sprint section of the race before welcoming third-driver Giacomo Altoe, while champions-elect AF Corse will see the #61 Ferrari piloted by the Jean-Claude Saada and Conrad Grunewald for the opening stint before adding Mark Kvamme for the Indy 8 Hour.

Catch All the Action from Anywhere

The weekend action begins on Friday with a paid test session at 9:20 am EDT, followed by the first official Free Practice at 11:20 am EDT. The evening closes with an all out extravaganza welcoming the field to Indianapolis with the Downtown Speedway Parade starting at 5:30 pm EDT.

Pre-qualifying begins on Saturday at 8:30 am EDT, followed by the separate Driver Qualifying Sessions Saturday afternoon starting at 2:00 pm EDT, and finally the Pole Shootout at 4:20 pm EDT before Sunday’s 8-hour affair that goes green at 10:00 am EDT, with the final GT World Challenge America checkered flag dropping at 1:00 pm EDT. Catch all the live timing and scoring at gt-world-challenge-america.com/live and live-stream all Qualifying sessions as well as the entire GTWCA and Indy 8 Hour races at GTWorld’s YouTube channel, or catch the Indy 8 Hour in two-parts on CBS Sports Network, with coverage for the opening leg of the race starting at 12:00 pm EDT and the last 2.5-hours premiering at 4:00 pm EDT.

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Follow all the action at gt-world-challenge-america.com and across social channels
Facebook & Instagram: @gtworldchallengeamerica
Twitter: @gtworldcham
 
Official Series Hashtag: #GTWorldChAm
Event Hashtag: #INDY8H

 

 

 

 

Record 41 cars primed for Indianapolis 8 Hour Presented by AWS

> 28 GT3s and 13 GT4s eclipse IGTC’s previous US best
> Audi Sport and Ferrari lead IGTC’s Manufacturers’ and Drivers’ Championships
> Entry list: 2021 Indianapolis 8 Hour Presented by AWS

The largest-ever entry for an Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli round in North America assembles at the world-famous Brickyard next weekend (October 15-17) when 41 cars tackle the Indianapolis 8 Hour Presented by AWS.

2021 marks IGTC’s fifth consecutive visit to the US and second at Indy after Laguna Seca previously hosted the globetrotting GT3 championship in 2017-19. This year’s entry eclipses the championship’s previous best in North America by nine after 32 cars travelled to California in 2018. 

The race also doubles as Fanatec GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS’s season finale, while a GT4 entry featuring 13 cars adds an intriguing multi-class element that has been a feature of all Intercontinental rounds on American soil.

17 cars from IGTC’s five full-season entrants – championship leaders Audi Sport and Ferrari, plus Lamborghini, Mercedes-AMG and Porsche – are battling for Manufacturers’ and Drivers’ points, two international entries will compete for Pro-Am Challenge honours, and individual class podiums are on offer for the event’s best placed Pro-Am, Silver, Am and GT4 crews.

Only each registered marque’s two best placed entries can score Manufacturers’ points at Indianapolis, but that might still be enough for Audi to clinch its first IGTC title since 2018. Leaving the Brickyard with a 44-point advantage – one more than available for finishing first and second – would be enough to seal the crown before Kyalami’s season finale this December.

The same points-scoring limitations do not apply to each manufacturer’s nominated driver crews, all of whom will score points if they finish inside IGTC’s top-10.


AUDI – 4x R8 LMS GT3

Championship: 1st (43pts) | IGTC entries: 3x Pro, 1x Silver

Three Pro nominations and another Silver – the strongest possible combination permitted under IGTC rules at Indy – suggests Audi Sport fully expects to extend its 15-point Manufacturers’ Championship lead next weekend. What’s more, its three overall victory contenders feature patriotic Stars and Stripes liveries, just as they did in California three years ago.

The entries are split equally between Ingolstadt’s proven Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS factory squads and IGTC race winners: Team WRT and Sainteloc. Indeed, they’re two of just three outfits to have won multiple Intercontinental races since the championship began in 2016.

Newly crowned Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS champions Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts – who also lie second in the IGTC Drivers’ standings – are joined by Christopher Mies, while Mattia Drudi, Robin Frijns and Nico Mueller take charge of Team WRT’s second car. Mueller and Frijns are also firmly in title contention after completing IGTC’s podium in Round 1.

Meanwhile, Sainteloc’s works entry features three more drivers from the factory roster: Christopher Haase, Patric Niederhauser and 2017 IGTC Drivers’ champion Markus Winkelhock. The French squad’s Silver crew comprises Aurelien Panis, Lucas Legeret and Nicolas Baert.


FERRARI – 3x 488 GT3

Championship: 2nd (28pts) | IGTC entries: 2x Pro, 1x Am

Spa’s winning manufacturer has stated its IGTC intent by confirming go-to factory squad, AF Corse, will contest this year’s remaining Intercontinental rounds with a pair of Pro entries.

Both of Ferrari’s factory line-ups pack plenty of punch but it’s Alessandro Pier Guidi, Come Ledogar and Nicklas Nielsen who head to Indianapolis atop the Drivers’ standings after sealing such a memorable victory in Round 1. Indeed, it’s perhaps fitting that theirs and the sister car shared by Antonio Fuoco, Alessio Rovera and IndyCar-bound Callum Ilott feature a hint of Belgium’s national racing colours thanks to Francorchamps Motors’ support.

The Prancing Horse has scored one previous IGTC victory on American soil, although that came at Laguna Seca in 2019. Either of these two Pro crews, who ordinarily race for Iron Lynx in Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS, certainly have the potential to add a second.

Should they falter, Ferrari will be hoping AF Corse’s Am contender – featuring American trio Jean-Claude Saada, Conrad Grunewald and Mark Kvamme – can contribute a point or two to the Scuderia’s total.


PORSCHE – 3x 911 GT3 R

Championship: 3rd (12pts) | IGTC entries: 1x Silver, 2x Pro-Am 

The reigning Manufacturers’ Champions didn’t make the best of starts to their title defence at Spa and face another uphill battle next weekend after opting against sending a full factory line-up to Indy. Instead, Stuttgart’s honour is upheld by local teams and another international entrant, which collectively feature a Silver and two Pro-Am line-ups.

This apparent mismatch is accounted for in IGTC’s regulations, which prevent any more than each manufacturer’s two best placed cars from scoring points. As such, a solid run from this trio will likely have significance in the title race.

Clinching their domestic Pro-Am crown at Sebring offered Wright Motorsports the option of adding a second Pro driver. As such, regular duo Fred Poordad and Jan Heylen are joined by Max Root – the same combination that claimed Indy’s Silver class honours last season. 

Meanwhile, GMG Racing have paired 2019 IGTC champion Denis Olsen with amateurs Kyle Washington and James Sofronas.

The third and final 911 GT3 R comes from much further afield – New Zealand via Malaysia – courtesy of EBM Giga Racing who, as well as being nominated by Porsche, are contesting Intercontinental’s Pro-Am Challenge. Adrian D’Silva is joined by Jeff Kingsley and Nicholas Boulle.


MERCEDES-AMG – 4x GT GT3

Championship: 4th (10pts) | IGTC entries: 2x Pro, 1x Silver, 1x Pro-Am

Mercedes-AMG also endured a tricky time at Spa and have responded by sending a host of factory talent and two international teams to bolster its American contingent.

Few line-ups top the firepower posed by Maro Engel, Luca Stolz and Jules Gounon whose Craft-Bamboo squad are making their first IGTC appearance outside of the Asia-Pacific. What’s more, their entry is instantly recognisable thanks to sponsorship from iconic US autoparts specialist, Mooneyes.

There’s more factory talent in the form of Raffaele Marciello and Felipe Fraga who are joined by 2020’s overall Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS champion Timur Boguslavskiy at AKKA ASP. 

Three Silver graded drivers – Russell Ward, Phillip Ellis and Marvin Dienst – comprise Winward Racing’s nomination, while IGTC stalwarts SunEnergy1 Racing run their regular Pro-Am trio of Kenny Habul, Martin Konrad and Mikael Grenier.


LAMBORGHINI – 3x HURACAN GT3 EVO

Championship: 5th (8pts) | IGTC entries: 2x Pro, 1x Pro-Am

Two US teams and five factory drivers split across three entries carry Lamborghini’s hopes at Indianapolis where the Huracan is likely to be a victory contender given its impressive Fanatec GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS form this season.

Indeed, K-PAX Racing are sticking with the same trusted duo of Jordan Pepper and Andrea Caldarelli at Indy after wrapping up the Teams’ and Drivers’ titles at Sebring last weekend. Another factory ace, Mirko Bortolotti, adds further impetus to what will surely be a frontrunning entry.

Caldarelli’s season-long US commitments with K-PAX and Pepper have resulted in Lamborghini re-thinking its IGTC plans for Indy. As such, Marco Mapelli – who was scheduled to partner Bortolotti and Caldarelli at FFF Racing in all three IGTC rounds – moves across to a second K-PAX Huracan featuring fellow Squadra Corse driver Giovanni Venturini and home favourite Corey Lewis.

Those driver combinations have resulted in FFF Racing opting to skip Indianapolis. Instead, TR3 Racing’s Pro-Am contender – piloted by Bill Sweedler, John Megrue and Giacomo Altoe – completes the manufacturer’s IGTC nominations.


IGTC PRO-AM CHALLENGE

Although Pro-Am exists as its own class within the Indianapolis 8 Hour, a separate Pro-Am Challenge will also award points to two entries contesting all three of this year’s Intercontinental rounds. 

While EBM’s Porsche shared by Adrian D’Silva, Jeff Kingsley and Nicholas Boulle is also nominated to score Manufacturers’ Championship points, Inception Racing is battling purely for Pro-Am Challenge honours.

The globe-trotting British squad run by Optimum Motorsport is known for sampling myriad series and standalone races as well as mounting a full-season International GT Open campaign in Europe. Indeed, regular drivers Brendan Iribe and Ollie Millroy are on course to win the Pro-Am title with one round remaining, and also took class honours on their Fanatec GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS debut earlier this year at COTA.

They'll race at Indy with Iribe's compatriot Kevin Madsen who joined Inception's crew at the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa earlier this year.


FOLLOW INDY LIVE

A paid practice session kicks off this year’s Indianapolis 8 Hour Presented by AWS next Thursday before the first official session takes place the following day. Qualifying and Pole Shootout – featuring the 15 fastest qualifiers – are scheduled for Saturday before the race itself begins at 10:00 local time Sunday.

There’s live timing from every session on intercontinentalgtchallenge.com/live, while GT World’s free, globally available YouTube livestream begins from Qualifying.


INDIANAPOLIS 8 HOUR TIMETABLE (ALL TIMES EDT (-4 GMT))

Thursday 14 October
14:00 – 15:15: Paid Test Session

Friday 15 October
09:20 – 09:50: Bronze Test Session
11:20 – 12:50: Free Practice
17:30 – 19:30: Downtown Speedway Parade

Saturday 16 October
08:30 – 10:00: Pre-Qualifying
14:00 – 14:15: Qualifying 1 (Live stream)
14:22 – 14:32: Qualifying 2 (Live stream)
14:45 – 15:00: Qualifying 3 (Live stream)
16:20 – 16:35: Pole Shootout top-15 (Live stream)

Sunday 17 October
10:00 – 18:00: Indianapolis 8 Hour Presented by AWS (Live stream)

 

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#IGTC SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook: Intercontinental GT Challenge
Twitter: @IntercontGTC 
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INTERCONTINENTAL GT CHALLENGE POWERED BY PIRELLI

Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli represents the highest echelon of long-distance GT racing.

Established in 2016, the series’ purpose couldn’t be simpler: reward the manufacturer and drivers who achieve the best collective results in the world’s greatest standalone endurance events. 

The proliferation of GT3, built on a decade of manufacturer involvement and SRO’s Balance of Performance stability, has resulted in it becoming the de facto senior class for all of the world’s most prestigious GT races. This, as well as using the same Pirelli tyres, offers manufacturers an incentive to compete in all such events by employing regional customer teams without the expense of freighting cars around the world.

National coronavirus measures have prevented 2021's season from starting at the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour in Australia or visiting the Suzuka 10 Hours in August. Instead, the campaign begins with the world's biggest GT3 race - the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa - in late July/early August before moving on to the world-famous Brickyard which hosts the Indianapolis 8 Hour in October. Teams then head from North America to Africa for the Kyalami 9 Hour's season finale.

 

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PIRELLI - OFFICIAL TYRE SUPPLIER

Pirelli is a tyre manufacturer and world leader in the automotive industry. It has an exclusive relationship with over 50 racing series worldwide, including Formula One.

Pirelli has a long and illustrious history in endurance racing, and has also claimed a huge variety of class wins in GT racing all over the world. The design of the new Pirelli GT tyres meets the needs of GT racing while maintaining the performance characteristics that endurance drivers have appreciated in the past. The slick tyres used for GT racing are branded Zero: just like the slicks that have become a central feature of Formula One. The name P Zero is used in the highest categories of motorsport such as GT racing.

 

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Stéphane Ratel details current and future projects during annual SRO Motorsports Group press conference

Stéphane Ratel conducted his annual SRO Motorsports Group press conference during the 2021 Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS finale at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya (8-10 October). Traditionally part of the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa build-up, this year's event took place later in the season to allow the full complement of calendars to be discussed. 



We spoke with Stéphane about a variety of topics, such as the progress made during 2021, plans for the year ahead, and the future projects on which SRO Motorsports Group will focus its attention. 

Australia joined Fanatec GT World Challenge Powered by AWS as the fourth continental series this year. How has the project developed?

This has been one of the ‘good news stories’ for 2021 and it has been achieved despite the obvious difficulties of Covid. It was an honour for SRO to be named co-organisers of Australian GT under the Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS banner. Thanks to our Australian partners ARG we have seen promising grids, even with interstate travel restrictions having resulted in some events being cancelled, so I think we can be pleased with the early results.

SRO has also launched the Fanatec GT2 European Series this year. What is your assessment of the season and how do you see the championship evolving?

Honestly, the road was steeper than we first anticipated. Nevertheless, with 16 cars finishing the season and the exciting Brabham BT62 joining the grid, we have proven that the category has genuine potential. Driving in the series myself, I know that it’s a really good concept for true gentlemen drivers and that the price-to-performance ratio is correct. It was important to create a specific series for these cars and this type of driver. We hope to grow further next season and we are having conversations with new manufacturers about joining the field. It is worth remembering that we launched GT4 in 2007 and it became a real success in 2016. We do not anticipate GT2 taking this long, but we understand that patience is required. 

Another project for 2021 has been the GT1 Sports Club, which launches this weekend at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. What was the inspiration behind this and, looking at the grid, can we say that it is a success?

It’s an old dream becoming reality and I’m excited to not only see it launch but to take part myself. The idea is that manufacturers are still producing unbelievable hyper sportscars designed specifically for the track. These would be the GT1 cars of today if the category had not vanished 10 years ago, but until now there was no opportunity for them to come together. We want to give the owners a chance to enjoy them in their natural environment and it’s also great promotion for Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS, as the cars will be displayed in the paddock and will have a short run before Sunday’s race. But above all this is a club: that’s the spirit in which it is being launched. There is no competitive element and it is not a traditional championship. The motivation is to showcase the technology in its natural setting.

This has also been the first year in which SRO has undertaken a full sustainability programme. How will this evolve?

We are really committed to the objective of being carbon neutral by 2023 and we now have an emission reduction plan in place. What we cannot reduce we will offset, and this cost will become part of the entry fee for teams. SRO has been very successful in bringing together great partners; if we want to keep them, we know that sustainability must be a central part of the company’s strategy. 

Esports has also taken a big step forward in 2021 having initially become successful during last year’s Covid shutdown. How do you see this developing?

Firstly, I can tell you that I’ve been doing it myself! It’s a good way to prepare for my GT2 races and for the GT1 Sports Club this weekend (laughs). My last experience at Barcelona wasn’t ideal, so I’m glad to have the extra practice! Most importantly, our esports programme gives us visibility among a large community of global sim racers, which is the prime target of our championships. This year we also launched the Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series, which has been a big success and will continue in 2022. Going forward, I anticipate further integration between our sim community and real-world racing. This is what we will develop during the year ahead.

Le Vendôme 80 took place last month, setting off from Paris and travelling through the Loire Valley to the town of Vendôme. You participated in the rally; can you tell us about the idea behind it?

It was an extraordinary trip down memory lane, with around 50 exceptional cars produced during the eighties and participants dressed in the unique style of the decade. It is a different challenge for SRO and one that I am very happy we have undertaken. This was only the second such event and it proved to be a success. People like it and we can see that there is a market for it, so we will use the same concept for a series of events that run under the “Total Look Rallies” banner. The location and the time period will change, but the ethos will be the same. 

Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli began its season at the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa, with two more races to follow in the United States and South Africa. 2021 wasn’t easy with the travel restrictions between the continents. What is the status of the series as we look towards 2022? 

Our priority is to maintain the races that we have and to return to them when possible. I can confirm that the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour will be back on the calendar in March 2022 subject to travel restrictions being eased by the time of the event, as is widely expected. We already know that Suzuka will not happen again next year, but we will stay focussed on what we have rather than trying to replace it. The good news is that the Indianapolis 8 Hour Powered by AWS has expanded from 22 cars in 2020 to more than 40 this year. That is simply fantastic growth and we can proudly say that this is the biggest GT-only race in America.

Speaking of America, it seems that 2021 has been a positive year for SRO across the Atlantic. Would you agree? 

Yes, I think we can say that the excellent grid for Indy is directly tied to the progress made by SRO America. After a very difficult 2020, this had been a good comeback year for Fanatec GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS. Pirelli GT4 America has had another strong season and the TC America Series Powered by Skip Barber Racing School remains very important. The reintroduction of a single-driver GT America Powered by AWS with mixed machinery has been positive and the trip to Nashville went down very well with the paddock. SRO America has been our biggest investment in the past five years, so it is really gratifying to see it turning into a success.

The global Fanatec GT World Challenge Powered by AWS has also expanded this year. 

That’s something that gives us great satisfaction. To go from two brands to seven in such a short space of time is fantastic and proves that this global project works. Initially, it was not easy to explain to manufacturers that they would put their name on something that is only in the hands of clients. But it’s a challenge between customer racing departments and the one that sells the most cars to the best teams will win. This year it has been very close between Mercedes-AMG and Lamborghini all around the world.

We are in Barcelona this weekend for the final round of Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS and the GT4 European Series, two of SRO’s longest-running championships. Are you happy with proceedings in Europe?   

Yes, I believe we have maintained a high level. The Endurance Cup is extremely strong, even if the grid isn’t quite back to where it was in 2019. In the Sprint Cup we have our biggest grids since 2017, with up to 30 cars, so we can say that this is very healthy. As for the GT4 European Series, what an amazing comeback this has been, from 18 cars last year to more than 40 throughout 2021. Championnat de France FFSA GT remains exceptional and went through the pandemic unscathed, so there are clearly very strong foundations to our GT4 platform. We have seen FFSA Tourisme TC France launch this year and we are pleased that there is real interest in this category. Next weekend we conclude the Intelligent Money British GT Championship, which has suffered from the Covid situation but still remained strong. It has a good mix of GT3 and GT4 grids and is ready to bounce back.

We have seen the Am Cup disappear from Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS over the past two years. Is this an area that you are working on for 2022?

Absolutely, it has been a priority. In fact, we are awaiting feedback from the teams about a rethink of the driver categorisation, which we believe needs a complete overhaul. We have two categories – Platinum and Gold – covering the same drivers. Then there is a huge Silver class that runs from young professionals through to accomplished amateurs. They are two different kinds of driver, so that does not make sense. We propose the Gold class being for young drivers with a full single-seater career behind them while Silver should be for the best amateurs and some older competitors who have been downgraded. That was the aim from the beginning, but it drifted over time. 

Would this require any changes to the class structure?

Yes, there would need to be some changes. We want to avoid the downgrading of Silver drivers to fit the Pro-Am class, which must remain for two Bronze drivers and a professional, by introducing a new class for a Gold or Platinum, a Silver, and a Bronze. This will be named the Gold Cup, bringing us back to the four categories we had before the Am class faded away. We are also considering mandating that each Pro car in the Sprint Cup runs at least one Gold or Silver driver, knowing that most current Gold drivers will be upgraded to Platinum in the SRO classification. This is already the case for most teams, so it would just be a case of making it official. 

While the majority of series have been able to run full calendars this year, there were some postponements. How will these develop in 2022? 

We missed Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia Powered by AWS again because the quarantines made it impossible for any series to operate across multiple territories in Asia. We are presenting a conservative 2022 calendar that begins around the summer, and we really hope that we can restart by then. Quarantines also contributed to the postponement of the FIA Motorsport Games. With travel restriction in place the grid would have been almost entirely European, perhaps with multiple cars from each. If we do that it’s just another race, so the decision was taken to postpone. All the work has already been completed and we are focussed on running next year at the same locations and on the same weekend as we had hoped to in 2021. It was a similar story for the FIA GT World Cup in Macau. We had 27 entries and were hopeful that the quarantine period would be reduced, but in fact it increased and that forced us to wait another year.  

What is the status of the GT Experimental World Tour (GTX) that was first discussed in 2019? 

It is making progress. The objective we are working towards is a new edition of Paris-Berlin, 122 years after it first ran 1901. GTX is about exposure, so the cars would be exhibited in seven cities along the way. Efficiency would be measured, both in terms of the car and the driving, and each day there would be two competitive stages. We would use small circuits at which noise is highly restricted, hillclimbs, rally stages and acceleration runs. The infrastructure would be fully electric and the ultimate goal would be to create a green environment. We have presented the idea to manufacturers and the first reactions have been positive but transforming that into an entry is different. Like everything SRO does the end goal is to create a customer racing environment, though to make it work we need the commitment of the manufacturers. To support this, we are looking to organise a prologue from Geneva to Monaco in summer 2022. Manufacturers would be invited to bring cars, but it would not be a competitive event: it would be about proving the concept.

Next year will mark the 30th anniversary of SRO’s involvement with GT racing. Are there plans to celebrate this milestone?

Time flies! We won’t stage a huge party like we did for the 25th anniversary in Paris, but the idea is still to do something special. We are planning an exceptional race that brings together cars from all the different series we have organised over the years. Working with Patrick Peter, the aim will be to have 60 cars on-track at Spa-Francorchamps, during the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa build up. Can you imagine all of these cars joining the parade? The participants and others who have marked this period would also be invited to a special dinner and we will have a new edition of our GT Racing book that was first published in 2018.

That’s SRO’s heritage, but what are your goals for the years to come?

Firstly, to preserve the traditional form of racing that we have worked so hard to develop and which I firmly believe will continue to thrive. While 99% of road cars may use electric or hydrogen power, you will still have good old-fashioned engines going around race tracks. After all, horse racing and show jumping remain immensely popular more than a century after the arrival of the automobile.  Alongside this we will move towards new technologies with the GTX Experimental, while also developing the FIA Motorsport Games, GT2 and our digital projects. These are the pillars that we will build upon.

 

  Lamborghini Super Trofeo series

www.imsa.com  Lamborghini Super Trofeo series   trans am series  Sports Car Club of America  gt celebration  sportscar vintage racing association

 

  

    trans am series

/www.gotransam.com

Trans Am West Coast Announces 2022 Schedule

Trans Am West Coast Championship set for seven-race 2022 calendar

 

MIAMI (21 OCTOBER 2021)- The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli West Coast Championship returns for its sixth season in 2022, visiting iconic tracks in the Western half of the United States in conjunction with the SportsCar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) SpeedTour.

With a continued focus on budget management, Trans Am West Coast will host seven races at six venues in 2022, highlighted by three combined event weekends with the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli National Series (WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Sonoma Raceway and Circuit of The Americas) and a doubleheader slated for its penultimate round at Utah Motorsports Campus.

This season, the West Coast TA2 grid saw an 85 percent growth in participation over 2020 and has served as a launchpad for multiple regional players like Thomas Merrill and Erich Joiner to step into the National Series.

"The West Coast championship is a great way for drivers in the Western part of the United States to get their feet wet in Trans Am," said John Clagett, president of the Trans Am Race Company. “It’s a great exposure opportunity for the West Coast Championship to be able to travel with the SpeedTour again in 2022 and expand to three combined National and West Coast events."


The 2022 Trans Am West Coast Championship season will kick off with back-to-back weekends alongside the National Series, debuting at the home of the Corkscrew at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for the Trans Am SpeedFest April 22-24. The series then moves up the Golden Coast to Sonoma Raceway for the Sonoma SpeedTour April 30-May 1.

The series will continue up the Pacific Northwest for its summer tour with the first stop at The Ridge Motorsports Park in Shelton, Washington, as part of The Ridge SpeedTour June 10-12. The inaugural event, held this year, brought teams and drivers to a park-like setting nestled between Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens near the state capitol in Olympia. The scenery paired with the high-speed straights, sweeper turns and heavy braking zones, became an instant track favorite for competitors.

The West Coast drivers will then head to Portland International Raceway for the Portland SpeedTour July 15-17. It's the 29th time Portland has hosted the roar of Trans Am American Muscle, the first time was in 1972, with a Two-Five Challenge race for sub-compact sedans.

The schedule will see a two-month break before returning for the final three races of the season. Utah Motorsports Campus will host the only doubleheader on the Trans Am West Coast calendar on its new date of October 14-16 before the West Coast wraps up its season at Circuit of The Americas with the National Series on November 4-6 with the Austin SpeedTour.




 


 

 

 

 

Trans Am's Long History with F1 Circuits in North America

 

AUSTIN (19 October 2021) – When the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli returns to Circuit of The Americas for its 2021 season finale on Nov. 5-7 with the Austin SpeedTour for the Heacock Classic, the visit will be only two weeks after the Formula 1  Aramco United States Grand Prix.

Over the years, Trans Am has been a frequent competitor at tracks used by Formula 1 – in both the United States, Canada and Mexico. The series raced at all 10 American venues used for F1 races, in addition to all three Canadian circuits to host F1, and the long-time host of the Mexican GP.

CoTA will be Trans Am’s third race this season at a circuit with Grand Prix heritage. The 2021 season (as well as Trans Am’s history) opened at Sebring, which hosted the first U.S. Grand Prix in 1959, and also competed at Watkins Glen, whose proud legacy includes 20 F1 races from 1961 through 1980.

The tradition goes all the way back to the beginning of Trans Am, when F1 tracks sandwiched the inaugural 1966 season. Fittingly, the campaign opened at Sebring, and ended seven races later in Riverside, Calif., scene of the second U.S. GP in 1960. Watkins Glen first hosted Trans Am in 1968, a year when the series also competed at Circuit Mont-Tremblant in St. Jovite – host of the Canadian Grand Prix in 1968 and 1970. (VIDEO: Throwback Race ft. Mario Andretti- Trans Am at Sebring 1970 - YouTube)

Mosport (now known as Canadian Tire Motorsport Park) held its first Trans Am in 1976. That challenging circuit held F1 races eight times, beginning in 1967. (VIDEO: Upset at Mosport in Final Moments of 1994 Trans Am Classic (Full Race) - YouTube)

Montreal began hosting the Canadian Grand Prix at Circuit Ile Notre Dame in 1978, which was renamed Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 1982. Trans Am raced at that circuit in 2005, two months after the F1 event.

In 1978, the Trans Am season ended in Mexico City’s Magdalena Mixhuca circuit – later named in honor of fallen Mexican stars Rodrigo and Pedro Rodriguez (Hermanos Rodriguez). That circuit hosted F1 from 1963 through 1970, 1986-92, and returned in 2015.

Las Vegas hosted F1 in 1981 and 1982 on a temporary track located at Caesars Palace. CART took over the race in 1983, with Willy T. Ribbs winning Saturday’s Trans Am and Mario Andretti the CART winner the following day.

Trans Am partnered with F1 for the first time in 1984, running in the streets of Detroit as the Saturday warm-up for the U.S. Grand Prix – a position it held through the final GP in 1988. (VIDEO: The Trans Am Series at the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix - YouTube)

Dallas hosted both F1 and Trans Am at Dallas Fair Park. The 1984 GP was run in 100-degree heat on a crumbling track, remembered by an exhausted Nigel Mansell collapsing while attempting to push his car to the finish line. Trans Am raced at the venue in 1988, won by Hurley Haywood in an Audi on a 1.3-mile circuit that used portions of the GP track. These were the lone races held at that circuit.

In 1990, Trans Am opened its 25th season on the streets of Phoenix, serving as the Saturday race for the Formula 1 Iceberg USA Grand Prix. Robert Lappalainen won the 250th Trans Am race, running the circuit used by F1 from 1989 through 1991. 

Indianapolis Motor Speedway took its turn as host of the U.S. Grand Prix from 2000 through 2007. Trans Am competed at the Brickyard three times, from 2017 through 2019. Ernie Francis Jr. won the opening two races, with Chris Dyson victorious in 2019. (VIDEO: The Trans Am Series - Full Race - Indianapolis Motor Speedway - YouTube)

Formula 1 returned to the United States in 2012 at Austin’s Circuit of The Americas, competing there annually since then with the exception of the 2020 pandemic. Trans Am first raced at CoTA in 2015, one month after the inaugural F1 race, with Amy Ruman (TA), Adam Andretti (TA2) and Ernie Francis Jr. (TA3 American Muscle) winning races. CoTA has returned to the Trans Am calendar annually since then.

Live Timing and Scoring for Heacock Classic for Trans Am will be available at www.GoTransAm.com/LiveTiming

 

 

 

Trans Am Ready for Utah after Decade Absence
West Coast Championship intensifies ahead of penultimate round at Utah Motorsports Campus


TOOLE, UTAH (5 October 2021)- With five rounds complete, the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli West Coast Championship will return to action at Utah Motorsports Campus (UMC) Oct. 7-9 for its penultimate race. 

It's the first time in a decade that the roar of American Trans Am muscle will echo 4,409 feet above the Beehive State.

The national Trans Am Series last visited Utah in 2011 when the facility was named Miller Motorsports Park, running the 3.048-mile course. Tony Ave won from pole while setting the fastest lap in an Ave Motorsports-prepared Corvette, the same Corvette he claimed the checkered flag during the inaugural Trans Am Utah event in 2010 (on the 2.2-mile Miller course).

This weekend will mark the West Coast Championship's first visit to UMC where 18 drivers will compete on the 14-turn, 3.048-mile Outer Course as part of the Utah SpeedTour. With two rounds left in 2021, the title chase for the TA2 West Coast class tightens up with nine drivers still mathematically  in the hunt, though four of those drivers, Carl Rydquist, Tim Lynn, Mitch Marvosh and Darrell Anderson, have pulled a gap ahead of the rest. 

After winning the SGT West Coast Championship in 2020, Rydquist has continued his success in his first season of TA2, amassing three wins in the No. 47 Racecars4Rent/GroupWholesale/OptimalStunt Ford Mustang. Rydquist will be working with a new motor at Utah, after mechanical issues at Portland forced the Nelson Motorsports' driver to retire early and eventually lead the team to replace the powerplant between events.

Despite the Portland setback, Rydquist still leads the class with 137 points, 29 points ahead of his nearest rival Lynn (108 points) who has two season victories.

"Utah has such a great circuit layout, I  look forward to racing the No. 47 Nelson Motorsports/GroupWholeSale/Optimal Stunt Mustang," said Rydquist. "At 4400 foot altitude the cars see less cooling effect so everyone will be monitoring drivetrain and brake temps a little extra. I've done a lot of extra long run cardio and intervals the last eight weeks because  you need extra stamina at this place because of the elevation. The field is stacked with quick and experienced drivers to keep us on our toes, additionally Tim (Lynn) is a smart racer who is hunting us for the title. We've had a championship mindset all year which has been to work our way toward incremental goals session by session. It works well so we'll keep our heads down and keep doing that."

As Rydquist keeps his head down, Marvosh intends to keep his eyes clear looking ahead to his first hometown race. A small margin of 15 points separates second place from fifth place in the championship. Marvosh is third overall in the TA2 class, first in the Master's Class, trailing Lynn by five points (108 vs.103) entering Utah. 

"As a driver with Team CHR, I’m personally super excited to see UMC for the first time, it looks like a fast, fun track!" said Marvosh. "My family origins are from Utah, so we are taking this one as a “Home Track”, regardless of never running UMC before!. We are currently locked in a crazy tight race between a great group of drivers. UMC is a pivotal race leading up to the final round at Circuit of The Americas for the season  The No. 29 Wolf Entertainment Howe Ford Mustang will be 110 percent podium hunting in the Beehive State!"

Leading the Rookie of the Year standings and fourth overall is Anderson in the No. 45 Park Place Constructors Chevrolet Camaro. Anderson finished third overall at Portland in a recovery drive to the checkered.

"We are going through the car thoroughly after hitting the wall in Portland," said Anderson. "We will need to bring our A game to Utah to stay up front. I have never been to the Utah Motorsports Campus so we will really need to put our head down and utilize every lap in Practice to get the car and driver to a place where we can compete up front."

This year marks John Schweitzer's first season in professional racing after winning a season championship at the club level. The rookie wheeled the No. 00  Superior Builders Inc Ford Fusion to victory at Thunderhill Raceway and leads the SGT championship.

"Our rookie season in the Trans Am West Coast Championship has been a big step up from club racing in all aspects, and to be leading the SGT class points with two events to go is very exciting for our team," Schweitzer said. "None of this would be possible without a lot of support and encouragement from my family and the efforts and commitment of the team. On a personal level the experience has been challenging both mentally and physically since the races are quite a bit longer than typical club races and I have learned so much about racing and myself too. Our goals for the remaining events continue to be staying focused on getting to the starting line fully prepared, executing our race strategy and having fun."

Schweitzer will have a pair of Vipers in full attack mode behind him as Lux Performance returns to the lineup with Cindi Lux (No. 5 LuxPerformance/BlackRockCoffee Dodge Viper) and Dirk Leuenberger (No. 35 Lux Performance Group Dodge Viper). Lux's season started at The Ridge, and she's won every round she's entered since. Out of all the drivers on the entry list, Lux has the most laps turned at UMC. The Portland native served as the Director of the Ford Racing School, working with the former track owners for a decade. 

"I have probably turned more than 25,000 laps at UMC over the 10 years of teaching and testing there," explained Lux. "I haven't been back since 2016 but I am confident that the team will fall right back in motion."

The Trans Am West Coast drivers will have a full day of testing on Friday to get up to speed before the official race weekend starts on Saturday with an all-class practice starting at 10:50 a.m. Mountain Time followed by qualifying at 2:50 p.m. The drivers will take the green on Sunday at 10:50 a.m. for 33 laps or 75 minutes.
 
Follow Live Timing and Scoring all weekend at
www.gotransam.com/livetiming

 

EVENT INFORMATION

 

  Sports Car Club of America 

www.scca.com

 

 

 

 

What to Watch: 2021 National Championship Runoffs

What to Watch: 2021 National Championship Runoffs

It’s here, it’s here! The 58th running of the SCCA National Championship Runoffs, at the world-famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the second time, is wound up and ready for action. A whopping 879 entries, second only to the amazingly huge 969 entries at Indy in 2017, are on the entry list with many having started their journey to the Midwest by the time you read this.

That’s 879 entries and nearly as many stories. Some are trying to win their 16th National Championship (we’re looking at you, John Heinricy); some are just hoping to finish and cross the famed yard of bricks. One driver is entering a Runoffs class for the 62nd time (hello, Mark Weber), but 213 entries are heading to the Runoffs grid for the very first time.

At the end of the weekend, only 26 will win. Only 26 drivers will add their names to Indy royalty, joining Helio Castroneves, AJ Foyt, Rick Mears, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt, Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton and Ray Harroun as those who have conquered that famed facility. Only 26 drivers will go down in history as SCCA Runoffs Champions.

But this event isn’t just about winning. It’s about the comradery of the Club, the tears and the laughter, the triumph over each person’s own personal goals. It’s about the stories of amateur racers like a young Bobby Rahal, who used his Runoffs win as a springboard to professional glory and an Indy 500 victory. It’s about drivers like Richard Colburn, who climbed into an SCCA race car nearly 50 years ago, loved the way it fit and the way it made him feel, and never left – now back at the Runoffs for the 47th year. It’s about drivers and workers and crew who burn up vacation time from the real world, or skip school, or toss a tent in trunk of a car just to stand on a corner holding a flag in the rain, heat and cold – all to celebrate a sport they love.

Qualifying begins on Tuesday, September 28 and runs through Tire Rack Pole Day on Thursday, September 30. The Hagerty Race Days begin on Friday, October 1 and go through Sunday, October 3, with all 26 races streamed live on SCCA.com.

In the meantime, here are a few things to look out for:

Last Chance For Greatness

If Spec Miata and Spec Racer Ford didn’t already have a reputation for rough and tumble, short-track style racing, the fields at Indianapolis Motor Speedway confirm it.

Though there are 92 and 84 entries in Spec Miata and Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, respectively, only 72 can start the race in a formula determined by the FiA and the SCCA General Competition Rules. That, then, brings out the final element in the short-track special: the Last Chance Qualifier.

The top 60 cars in qualifying on Tuesday and Wednesday will line up to start the race, no problem, with the best lap in either Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday qualifying setting the grid. The remaining cars will go to a 15-minute race on Thursday afternoon at the end of the day, with the top 12 in that race added to the back of the main grid.

Expect the fences at the facility to be lined with spectators, and those at home will be able to watch the stream of the race as well.

Full House

While the LCQ’s from Spec Miata and Spec Racer Ford will draw eyeballs, there are plenty of other classes with spectacularly large fields.

B-Spec has set a class record with a whopping 61 entries at Indianapolis. As a community, the B-Spec team made a huge field their mission, and it has paid off. Only a class since 2013, it seems to be in a strong place moving forward.

Whether or not it can match Formula Vee in its sustainability is a question, but the small open-wheel class remains a model for participation. Crowning champions since 1964, this year’s Runoffs has 50 cars on the entry list.

Or maybe a better model for B-Spec to follow is H Production? An SCCA staple HP has been crowning National Champions since 1958, and the army of small bore production cars carries 45 on the entry list in 2021.

Not to be outdone, Touring 4 has a stout 49 car field and Super Touring Lite is bringing 44 – meaning that, as always, a podium finished will be earned and not given.

Same Face, Different Location

One of the most interesting things to keep an eye on are some familiar faces that have changed their view from the driver’s seat.

Two of those are 2017 champs at Indianapolis who have moved to entirely different classes for 2021. Michael Varacins was the king of Formula Vee, winning in 2012, 2013, earning the 2014 pole before being knocked out on the first lap, and then winning four more in a row from 2015 to 2018. Looking for a new challenge, he made the jump over to the winged Formula Continental class and climbed back to the podium a season ago. Is Indy a breakthrough?

Likewise, Kip Van Steenburg has won E Production at the last two Runoffs he has entered – in 2017 at Indy, and in 2019 at VIR. This year, however, his Porsche 944 is a Super Touring Under car. How will that change balance his chances?

Or how about Justin Hille? Everything came together perfectly for the young driver in 2016 at Mid-Ohio, where he sat on pole, led every lap and scored the win. Indianapolis was tougher, and then life forced him away for a couple of years before retuning in a Spec Racer Ford a season ago. With some experience under his belt in that car, can he shock the world again?

Same Name, Different Face

Once in a while, the name stays the same but the face changes – and not because we’re getting older. If race car drivers can be a cult classic, Boris Said qualifies. Said was an SCCA racer and three-time Runoffs winner before moving on to… well, literally anything and everything with a steering wheel and an opportunity.

This year’s Runoffs entry list has that same name, with one important distinction – a “Jr.” at the end.

High School senior and 17-year-old second-generation racer Boris Said Jr. is on the Spec Miata entry list and making his Runoffs debut. In fact, everything the youngster has done this year has essentially been a debut, as Said is in his first season with a competition license. After racing for a couple of years in karts, he’s made the jump to cars.

It’s not just the driving talent that appears to be hereditary, however. If you’re wondering which one is Boris Jr., keep an eye out for that distinctive mane of hair.

Keep An Eye Out

Those are just a few things we’re looking for when the Runoffs gets underway next week – but there are many more. Keep up to speed on all things Runoffs here at SCCA.com, where you’ll get stories, news, live timing, an audio feed of all three qualifying days, and the full race broadcasts live for all 26 races

2021 SCCA Runoffs: With A Little Help From Our Friends

2021 SCCA Runoffs: With A Little Help From Our Friends

The SCCA National Championship Runoffs — one of the most unique events on the annual motorsports calendar — returns to the Racing Capital of the World this year for three action-packed days of racing Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with three days of qualifying in the buildup. The action gets rolling on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 2.592-mile-course on Tuesday, September 27 and runs through Sunday, October 3.

Each of the races are streamed live for those at home but, thanks to SCCA’s valuable relationship with Partners, the days at the track bring with them something that makes the trip to Indy just a little bit sweeter for drivers and for those members dedicating their time to make sure the event goes off without a hitch.

Sunoco 260 Tuesday

The Sunoco 260 GT race fuels are a 100 octane, street-legal unleaded fuel designed for high performance cars, and Sunoco 260 Tuesday certainly brings with it a high-octane rating.

Once again, Sunoco grabs the opening day of qualifying and waves the green flag on the week-long event, where 900 competitors take to the course for their first timed sessions. Thanks to this partner, the driver in each of the 26 classes whose best qualifying time comes closest to including .260 receives a full fill up of any Sunoco race fuel for their car.

Driver’s aren’t the only ones supported by Sunoco. The more than 400 event staff and volunteers waving flags, keeping time and making sure the event’s behind-the-scenes engine keeps running smoothly will have lunch provided at the Sunoco 260 Tuesday lunch break.

Hawk Brake-Through Performer Wednesday

Day two of qualifying kicks off Wednesday and the action will start to heat up as the qualifying order begins to shuffle. It’s that chance to move forward that led our friends at Hawk Performance to declare Wednesday Hawk Brake-Through Performer Day where the biggest mover in each of the 26 classes earns a set of Hawk brake pads for their racecar, tow rig or street car.

Drivers aren’t the only brake-through performers at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs, though, so Hawk Performance will also provide lunch to all of the event staff and volunteers at Wednesday’s “Lunch Brake.”

Tire Rack Pole Day

Aside from race days, Thursday – Tire Rack Pole Day – is one of the most exciting days of Runoffs competition. Each of the 26 classes head out on track for one last chance at setting their best qualifying time and improve their grid position before the race. By the end of the day, Tire Rack will help 26 competitors celebrate their Pole Position for the upcoming race days.

SCCA’s Official Tire Retail Partner gives each polesitter $500 to spend at Tire Rack along with some braggable swag.

Tire Rack Pole Award winners will be celebrated at the end of the day in Victory Circle but, first, the beehive of workers making the event run will grab Thursday’s lunch thanks to our friends at Tire Rack.

Hagerty Race Days

Hagerty is once again all in for Hagerty Race Days that will feature 26 sprint races across three days, each culminating in a winner-takes-all National Champion!

All races are 19 laps or 40 minutes, whichever comes first. Friday and Saturday each feature nine races, and eight more round out the race weekend on Sunday.

And, of course, those races can’t happen without that core group of folks keeping the event running, so Hagerty will be providing lunch for workers on Saturday.


Sunoco 260 Tuesday and Hawk Brake-Through Performer Wednesday will be featured with streaming audio coverage, static cameras and live timing at SCCA.com/live. All 26 Runoffs races, as well as Last Chance Races for Spec Miata and Spec Racer Ford 3 on Thursday, will be broadcast live on SCCA.com. More information on the event can be found at SCCA.com/Runoffs.

  

Photo Courtesy of Indianapolis Motor Speedway

 

 

 

  gt celebration


 

 

  sportscar vintage racing association 

www.svra.com gt celebration  sportscar vintage racing association


 

International Motor Sports Assoc.Sports Car Club of America
2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Revised Provisional Schedule
Date                Event/Venue                                           Length     Classes
Jan. 22-24       Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona     Test            DPi, LMP2, LMP3, GTLM, GTD
Jan. 30-31       Rolex 24 At Daytona                             24 Hours  DPi, LMP2*, LMP3*, GTLM, GTD
March 20         Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring           12 Hours    DPi, LMP2, LMP3, GTLM, GTD
                        Presented by Advance Auto Parts
May 16            Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course              2 Hr., 40 Min.   DPi, LMP3, GTD
June 5            Raceway at Belle Isle                        100 Minutes       DPi, LMP2, GTD**
June 27          Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen           6 Hours              DPi, LMP2, LMP3, GTLM, GTD
July 4            Canadian Tire Motorsport Park             2 Hr., 40 Min.     DPi, LMP3, GTLM, GTD**
July 17          Lime Rock Park                                      2 Hr., 40 Min.     GTLM, GTD
Aug. 8           Road America                                         2 Hr., 40 Min.     DPi, LMP2, LMP3, GTLM, GTD
Sept. 12       WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca    2 Hr., 40 Min.     DPi, LMP2, GTLM, GTD
Sept. 25        Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach         100 Minutes      DPi, GTLM, GTD
Oct. 9            VIRginia International Raceway           2 Hr., 40 Min.     GTLM, GTD
Nov. 13          Motul Petit Le Mans                                10 Hours              DPi, LMP2, LMP3, GTLM, GTD
BLUE – IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup Event
* - LMP2, LMP3 races not for season-long WeatherTech Championship points
**- IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup only

 
2021 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Revised Provisional Schedule
Date                     Venue                                                      Length
Jan. 22-24           Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona      Test
Jan. 28-31           Daytona International Speedway             4 Hours
March 17-20       Sebring International Raceway                 2 Hours
May 14-16           Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course                    2 Hours
June 24-27          Watkins Glen International                       4 Hours
July 2-4               Canadian Tire Motorsport Park                2 Hours
July 16-17           Lime Rock Park                                        2 Hours
Aug. 6-8              Road America                                           2 Hours
Sept. 10-12         WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca      2 Hours
Oct. 8-10             VIRginia International Raceway               2 Hours
Nov. 10-13          Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta               2 Hours

 
2021 IMSA Prototype Challenge Provisional Schedule
Date                     Venue
Jan. 22-24           Daytona International Speedway
March 13-14       Sebring International Raceway
May 14-16           Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
July 2-4               Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
Oct. 8-10             VIRginia International Raceway

Nov. 10-13          Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta

Lamborghini Super Trofeo series
 

Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America - Calendar 2021

Round 1: Laguna Seca (USA), 23-25 April      
Round 2: Circuit of the Americas (USA), 21-23 May           
Round 3: Watkins Glen (USA), 24-27 June           
Round 4: Road America (USA), 6-8 August           
Round 5: VIRginia International Raceway (USA), 20-22 August 
Round 6: Misano Adriatico (Italy), 28-29 October

Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia – Calendar 2021

Round 1: Sepang (Malaysia), 18 -20 June        
Round 2: Buriram (Thailand), 2- 4 July
Round 3: Suzuka (Japan), 20 -22 August
Round 4: Shanghai (China), 10-12 September               
Round 5: Misano Adriatico (Italy), 28-29 October

Lamborghini World Final

Misano Adriatico (Italy), 30-31 October

 

SOUTHEAST CONFERENCE

- January 6-8: Homestead-Miami Speedway; Homestead, Florida  RESULTS

- January 13-15: Sebring International Raceway; Sebring, Florida  RESULTS
Hoosier Super Tour

- March 4-5: NOLA Motorsports Park; Avondale, Louisiana  RESULTS
Hoosier Super Tour (Dual Southeast Conf./Southern Conf. Event)

- March 10-12: Road Atlanta; Braselton, Georgia  RESULTS

- April 14-16: VIRginia International Raceway; Alton, Virginia  RESULTS
Hoosier Super Tour (Dual Southeast Conf./Northeast Conf. Event)

- July 1-3 – Roebling Road Raceway; Bloomingdale, Georgia RESULTS

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE

- January 13-15: Auto Club Speedway; Fontana, California  RESULTS

- March 11-12: Willow Springs International Raceway; Rosamond, California RESULTS
Hoosier Super Tour

- April 1-2: Thunderhill Raceway Park; Willows, California RESULTS

- April 29-30: Buttonwillow Raceway Park; Buttonwillow, California  RESULTS
Hoosier Super Tour

- May 19-21: Portland International Raceway; Portland, Oregon RESULTS
Hoosier Super Tour

- June 17-18: The Ridge Motorsports Park; Shelton, Washington RESULTS

 

MID-STATES CONFERENCE

- April 8-9: Hallett Motor Racing Circuit; Jennings, Oklahoma  RESULTS
Hoosier Super Tour (Dual Mid-States Conf./Southern Conf. Event)

- April 22-23: Circuit of St. Louis (Gateway Motorsports Park); Madison, Illinois RESULTS

- May 13-14: Heartland Park Topeka; Topeka, Kansas  RESULTS

- May 27-28: Pueblo Motorsports Park; Pueblo, Colorado RESULTS

- July 1-2: High Plains Raceway; Deer Trail, Colorado RESULTS

- CANCELED - July 22-23: Motorsport Park Hastings; Hastings, Nebraska
(Please check back for a new Conference event addition)
 

August 5-6:  Heartland Park Topeka; Topeka Kansas RESULTS

August 19-20:  High Plains Raceway; Deer Trail, Colorado

 

SOUTHERN CONFERENCE

- February 11-12: Texas World Speedway; College Station, Texas RESULTS

- March 4-5: NOLA Motorsports Park; Avondale, Louisiana  RESULTS
Hoosier Super Tour (Dual Southern Conf./Southeast Conf. Event)

- March 24-26: Circuit of The America; Austin, Texas RESULTS
Hoosier Super Tour

- April 8-9: Hallett Motor Racing Circuit; Jennings, Oklahoma  RESULTS
Hoosier Super Tour (Dual Southern Conf./Mid-States Conf. Event)

- April 29-30: Motor Speedway Resort Houston; Angleton, Texas RESULTS

- May 27-28: Texas World Speedway; College Station, Texas RESULTS

 

NORTHEAST CONFERENCE

- April 14-16: VIRginia International Raceway; Alton, Virginia  RESULTS
Hoosier Super Tour (Dual Northeast Conf./Southeast Conf. Event)
 

- April 29-30: Summit Point Motorsports Park; Summit Point, West Virginia RESULTS

- May 13-14: Pittsburgh International Race Complex; Wampum, Pennsylvania RESULTS

- May 27-28: Pocono Raceway; Long Pond, Pennsylvania RESULTS

- June 23-25: Watkins Glen International; Watkins Glen, New York RESULTS
Hoosier Super Tour

- July 15-16: Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park; Thompson, Connecticut  RESULTS
 

- July 22-23: New Jersey Motorsports Park; Millville, New Jersey RESULTS

 

NORTHERN CONFERENCE

- May 6-7: Blackhawk Farms Raceway; South Beloit, Illinois RESULTS

 - June 2-4: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course; Lexington, Ohio  RESULTS
Hoosier Super Tour

- June 16-18: Road America; Plymouth, Wisconsin  RESULTS
Hoosier Super Tour (June Sprints)

- July 8-9: GingerMan Raceway; South Haven, Michigan  RESULTS

- July 29-30: Road America; Plymouth, Wisconsin RESULTS

- August 12-13: Grattan Raceway; Belding, Michigan RESU

 

sportscar vintage racing assoc. gt celebration racing series

2022 SVRA/SpeedTour Schedule

 

1.     Auto Club-February 4-6

2.     Sebring-February 24-27

3.     Charlotte-March 17-20

4.     Road Atlanta-March 24- 27

5.     NOLA-April 8-10

6.     Laguna Seca-April 21-24

7.     Sonoma-April-28-May 1

8.     Road America-May 19-22

9.     Lime Rock-May 27-30

10. Ridge-June 10-12

11. Indianapolis Motor Speedway-June 16-19

12. Mid-Ohio-June 23-26

13. Portland-July 2-4

14. Watkins Glen-September 7-11

15. VIR-October 6-9

16. Utah Motorsport Campus-October 14-16

17. CoTA-November 3-6

 

trans am series
2022 Trans Am West Coast Schedule



April 22-24           Trans Am SpeedFest (WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca)*
April 30-May 1     Sonoma SpeedTour (Sonoma Raceway) *
June 10-12          The Ridge SpeedTour (The Ridge Motorsports Park)
July 15-17            Portland SpeedTour (Portland International Raceway)
Oct. 14-16           Utah SpeedTour (Utah Motorsports Campus) ^
Nov. 4-6               Austin SpeedTour (Circuit of the Americas) *

*Combined National and West Coast Event

^Doubleheader 

 
 


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