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Broom Time for Kingsley with Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA Sweep at St. Pete

 
Oct. 25, 2020
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The second Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama race at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Sunday was a complete contradiction to the caution-filled competition a day before.

 
It didn’t matter to points leader Jeff Kingsley, who calmly drove to a weekend victory sweep under demanding green-flag conditions for all 45 minutes under bright sunshine and sizzling hot conditions. In doing so, Kingsley put the No. 16 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car on the precipice of clinching the 2020 championship.

 
Kingsley was pressured by chief title nemesis Riley Dickinson through much of Sunday’s race on the tight 1.8-mile, 14-turn temporary street course that includes a runway of Albert Whitted Airport. But while running less than a second behind Kingsley with just under 11 minutes to go, Dickinson pushed too hard in the No. 53 Moorespeed Porsche and slid into the runoff at Turn 10.

 
Kingsley coasted on to win by 8.606 seconds and pad his points lead to 31 over Dickinson, with only the doubleheader season finale at Sebring International Raceway from Nov. 12-14 remaining. Depending on the size of the Platinum Cup class field at Sebring, Kingsley could sew up the crown in the first race there.

 
“A perfect weekend for Kelly-Moss Road and Race, Children’s (Hospital) of Alabama and Medical Properties Trust,” Kingsley said. “Quickest in practice, qualifying and both races. I couldn’t be happier. Hats off to all my competitors for a caution-free race, it’s not easy to do that here.”

 
Kingsley called Sunday’s affair “probably the hottest race I’ve ever been in.” Having Dickinson in his mirrors much of the time didn’t make it any cooler.

 
“We were on pace with each other at the start there,” Kingsley said following his 10th win of the season. “I had a little bit more and pulled a bit of a gap, and then I was just catching traffic at the worst spots. … Nothing I could do and he closed that gap. From there, he kept the pressure on until he made a little mistake.”

 
In Platinum Masters for drivers 45 and older, Alan Metni reversed course on what had been a miserable weekend by taking the class win Sunday. It didn’t come easily. Metni had to recover from going into the Turn 1 runoff just five minutes into the race while avoiding a car stopped in the middle of the corner.

 
It dropped Metni to 11th place overall in the No. 99 Kelly-Moss/AM Motorsports Porsche, but he battled back to fifth by the checkered flag and first in Platinum Masters ahead of Frank Raso, who finished a season-best second in the No. 57 Topp Racing Porsche. It was Metni’s ninth class win in 14 races this season and ended a four-race winning streak for Charlie Luck.

 
Metni has a 27-point lead over Luck, who finished third on Sunday.

 
“I’m really proud of my team because we had a pretty big crash in (Friday) practice and hurt three of the four corners of the car pretty significantly,” said Metni. “My guys, and actually everybody under the tent at Kelly-Moss, jumped on the car, worked on it through the night and gave me a great car to start with. Hats off to them.”

 
The Gold Cup class for GT3 Cup cars built between 2014 and 2016 saw a fierce battle between Curt Swearingin and Efrin Castro for more than half the race. Points leader Swearingin (No. 17 ACI Motorsports Porsche) shadowed Castro (No. 65 TPC Racing Porsche) lap after lap until making the successful pass for the lead diving into the right-hand Turn 4 with 19 minutes remaining.

 
Swearingin, who also earned the Yokohama Hard Charger for passing the most cars under green-flag conditions, won by 2.281 seconds and extended his Gold Cup lead to 18 points over Castro.

 
“He got a great start; I’ve got to give it to Efrin. He’s driving great, driving like a true champion,” Swearingin said. “Our team put together a better car, I felt like. In certain sections of the track, we were a lot quicker. We knew it wasn’t over until the end. He got held up a little bit in (Turn) 1, we got a run on him up to (Turn) 4 and made a clean pass.

 
“It was a great victory; it was a great Hard Charger Award. You couldn’t ask for anything better today.”
A recap of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge weekend at St. Pete airs on NBCSN at 1 a.m. ET Sunday, Nov. 1.
Kingsley Wins Disjointed Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA Race 1 at St. Petersburg

 
Oct. 24, 2020
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The downtown streets of St. Peterburg took their toll on much of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama field in Saturday’s first race of the weekend, but not championship leader Jeff Kingsley.

 
Kingsley started from the pole and led the entire race, which was interrupted by three full-course cautions, had an eight-minute red-flag stoppage and finished under yellow. Regardless, it provided Kingsley his ninth win of the season in the No. 16 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car and allowed him to add three points on Riley Dickinson, his closest threat in the championship and the runner-up in Saturday’s race.

 
“It’s important to get the first one here this weekend to send a bit of a statement,” said Kingsley, whose gap over Dickinson is 28 points with three races left in the season. “It’s super difficult out there, it’s a lot different than what we had yesterday.”

 
Kingsley jumped to the lead at the wave of the green flag Saturday, with Dickinson (No. 53 Moorespeed Porsche) overtaking TJ Fischer (No. 58 Topp Racing Porsche) for second place heading into Turn 1 on the 14-turn, 1.8-mile temporary circuit. Soon after, though, the cars of Sean McAlister and Sebastian Carazo made contact, sending Carazo’s No. 27 Kelly-Moss Porsche hard into the Turn 3 wall. It brought out the first full-course caution and necessitated a red flag to allow for wall repairs.

 
The green flag returned with 15 minutes remaining and stayed out for seven laps before Fischer and Topp Racing teammate Kenny Murillo (No. 56 Porsche) came together in Turn 4, forcing the second full-course caution. A final restart came with just under 11 minutes remaining but was short-lived as Vernon McClure (No. 10 TPC Racing Porsche) and Frank Raso (No. 57 Topp Racing Porsche) collided while diving into Turn 1. McClure couldn’t get his car restarted, the yellow waved again and the race concluded under caution.

 
McAlister recovered from his early incident to finish third in the No. 11 JDX Racing Porsche. Charlie Luck finished fourth overall in the No. 45 Wright Motorsports Porsche and won the Platinum Masters class for drivers 45 and older for the fourth straight race.

 
With only nine green-flag laps completed in the 24-lap race, Luck knew how important it was to remain focused.

 
“The laps you got, you’ve still got to push, push, push, and you’ve got to race smart,” Luck said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a 45-minute race or a 25-minute race. From a driver’s standpoint, you’ve got to hit every mark that you can for that period of time. This is the first time I’ve been on a street course, so I’m super, super pumped about winning this thing.”

 
In Gold Cup action for GT3 Cup cars built from 2014 to 2016, Efrin Castro led the entire way to earn his fifth win of the season and narrow the deficit to class leader Curt Swearingin to 15 points.

 
“I’m just very happy for the win,” Castro said. “I’m glad we finished the race. There was a lot of carnage out there, a lot of incidents. We were very focused for this race, we felt really good at this track, and we proved it.”

 
Making its Grand Prix of St. Petersburg debut this weekend, the GT3 Cup Challenge concludes with another 45-minute race at 12:40 p.m. ET Sunday, with live streaming available on IMSA.com. Kingsley hopes cooler heads prevail.

 
“I think everyone’s learned a lesson to stay calm,” he said. “When you only get that many green laps, I don’t think anyone’s having fun.”
No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac Squad Seizes Opportunistic Victory

 
Oct. 17, 2020
By John Oreovicz
IMSA Wire Service
BRASELTON, Ga. – Ryan Briscoe and Renger van der Zande extended their points lead in the IMSA Weather Tech SportsCar Championship with a surprise victory in the 23rd annual Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

 
Van der Zande and the No. 10 Cadillac DPi.V.R were running in third place, nearly 20 seconds in arrears of Pipo Derani (No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac) and Ricky Taylor (No. 7 Acura Team Penske Acura ARX-05) when the leaders came together in Turn 6 with around 12 minutes to go in the 10-hour endurance race.

 
The No. 31 Cadillac and the No. 7 swapped the lead several times on the track and in the pits over the final two hours and the intensity of the battle was obvious as the race drew to a close. The leaders were rarely separated by more than a second over the last 60 minutes of the race, with Taylor putting Derani under extreme pressure on several occasions.

 
Working through traffic in the Esses, Taylor got a run on Derani and tried to outbrake the Cadillac into Turn 6. But the Acura appeared to lose front end grip. It nudged Derani’s car and sent it spinning backwards into a tire barrier. Taylor also spun and nearly collected van der Zande as he returned to the track. IMSA officials reviewed the incident, but decided to take no action against either driver.

 
Taylor and teammates Helio Castroneves and Alexander Rossi recovered to finish second, with the sister Penske Acura driven by Dane Cameron, Juan Pablo Montoya and Simon Pagenaud taking third. The race ended under caution after the No. 912 Porsche in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class crashed with less than five minutes left on the clock.

 
The No. 6 Penske Acura dominated the first half of the race but got swept into an incident involving three other cars near the pit exit. The No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac shared by Sebastien Bourdais, Loic Duval and Tristian Vautier finished fourth, with Derani, Felipe Nasr and Felipe Albuquerque classified fifth.

 
Van der Zande cut about 10 seconds of his deficit to the leaders in the final hour, but he appeared too far behind to think about victory until Taylor and Derani clashed.

 
“I was just chipping it down and chipping it down,” van der Zande said. “We kind of gambled on the setup, and in the hot, it was not so easy. But in the dark, when it was colder, the car was really flying. We’ve been working so hard on the car, and this was really nice.”

 
Briscoe and van der Zande opened an eight-point gap over Taylor and Castroneves in the DPi point standings, with Derani third, 12 points behind the leaders.

 
“This is massive,” exclaimed Briscoe. “It was such a great finish, and it just shows never give up and just hang in there. Renger did a hell of a stint there at the end, and he kept saying, ‘I’m not going to give up.’ Then fortune fell our way. We had a fast car all afternoon and I’m just so proud of this team.”

 
Derani was extremely unhappy with Taylor, and went to the Penske pit to exchange words with his rival after the race.

 
“I was in front, and he pushed me out. That’s it,” Derani told reporters. “There’s nothing much to say, and unfortunately we lost the race. We did everything we could, leading the race with 10 laps to go, and he just pushes me out on a desperate move to try and go to the lead. I think it was a mistake on his part, and I hope he sleeps on it.

 
“I lost a little bit of respect for him and for his teammates, who tried to accuse me of doing something wrong,” added the Brazilian. “It is what it is. I’m not at a racetrack to make friends – I want to win the next one.”

 
In LMP2, the No. 8 Tower Motorsports by Starworks ORECA LMP2 07 seized the lead in the ninth hour and John Farano, Mikkel Jensen, and Job van Uitert cruised to an easy victory.

 
The No. 52 PR Mathiasen Motorsport Oreca shared by Patrick Kelly, Simon Trummer and Scott Huffaker dominated the first eight hours of the event, but an off-course excursion by Trummer while running second in the final hour ended the team’s effort. Kelly still maintains a comfortable lead in the LMP2 point standings.

 
The No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Oreca with drivers James McGuire, Matthew Bell, and Colin Braun claimed second place in class, seven laps behind the leaders. Austin McCusker, Jakub Smiechowski, and Rob Hodes teamed to earn third place for the No. 51 Inter Europol Competition team.

 
The No. 8 entry was two laps down to the No. 52 at one point as driver rotations evolved, but clever pit strategy and hard driving put them in front.

 
“Luckily you can get some laps back with full course yellows,” said van Uitert. “We did what we had to do, and in the end, it worked out fine.”

 
The next race for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is the Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca Oct. 30 – Nov. 1.
No. 911 Porsche, No. 63 Ferrari Score Much-Needed Wins at Motul Petit Le Mans

 
Oct. 17, 2020
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
BRASELTON, Ga. – The dark cloud that has hung over a pair of GT entries in the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season lifted under the lights Saturday night at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

 
The No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR and the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 scored much-needed class victories in the 23rd annual Motul Petit Le Mans to break victory droughts.

 
The No. 911, with Nick Tandy, Fred Makowiecki and Matt Campbell taking turns behind the wheel, won in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class – logging Porsche’s first victory of the season and the first for the No. 911 since VIRginia International Raceway in August 2019.

 
The No. 63 Ferrari, driven by Cooper MacNeil, Jeff Westphal and Alessandro Balzan, took home the GT Daytona (GTD) win. It’s the first for the car since MacNeil, Gunnar Jeannette and Daniel Serra won the Motul Petit Le Mans two years ago.

 
GTLM honors appeared headed to the No. 24 BMW Team RLL BMW M8 GTE until near the end of the 10-hour race, when Augusto Farfus ran wide exiting the final turn and the car plowed through the dirt and grass just off track. Farfus was forced to pit to have dirt and debris cleared off the nose of the car and was relegated to a third-place finish.

 
Makowiecki was nearly 20 seconds back in second place when Farfus had his off-course excursion. After taking the lead in the No. 911, the Frenchman kept Antonio Garcia in the No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R in arrears the rest of the way. A pair of late full-course cautions bunched the field but Makowiecki wasn’t deterred and took the checkered flag under yellow. It delivered the first Motul Petit Le Mans triumph for him and Campbell, and the fourth in the iconic race for Tandy.

 
“Petit Le Mans is one of the big races during the season, you really want to get it,” said Makowiecki. “It was a very tough race, tough weekend, and I’m so proud about my team because we did not give up. We had some good moments, some bad moments, but we had the right one.

 
“It doesn’t count to lead nine hours and 59 (minutes), what counts is the last minute.”

 
Campbell admitted to nervousness watching from the pit stand as Makowiecki closed out the victory. The Aussie was also part of the No. 911’s third-place showing in the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January.

 
“It’s my first time to Petit, first time being part of this race and first time being part of Fred and Nick,” Campbell said. “A tremendous opportunity and obviously to pull off a win like this is fantastic.”

 
Motul Petit Le Mans: Eight-Hour Report
Oct. 17, 2020
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
BRASELTON, Ga. - The 23rd Annual Motul Petit Le Mans continues at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. Live streaming coverage in the U.S. is currently airing on the NBC Sports App, NBCSports.com and TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold. Live NBCSN television coverage returns at 9:30 p.m. ET through the checkered flag.

 
IMSA Radio coverage also continues on IMSA.com and SiriusXM Radio (Sirius channel 217, XM 202 and Internet 972).

 
Hour 8 Notebook:
-          The complexion of the 23rd annual Motul Petit Le Mans changed dramatically at the halfway point of the 10-hour endurance race in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

 
Separate two-car incidents unfolded almost simultaneously at the five-hour mark. The pole-winning No. 6 Acura Team Penske Acura ARX-05 DPi that has led the most laps appeared to make contact with the No. 8 Tower Motorsport by Starworks ORECA LMP2, sending Dane Cameron in the Penske Acura off track to driver’s left.

 
Meanwhile, the No. 77 Mazda Motorsports Mazda DPi wheeled by Olivier Pla was pushed into the wall on the opposite side of the track after coming together with Alessandro Balzan in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 as the No. 77 was exiting pit lane. Though Pla was able to drive back to the pits, the Mazda sustained considerable damage and lost nearly 20 laps while behind the pit wall for repairs. Cameron was able to remain on the lead lap.

 
-         The No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports and No. 8 Tower Motorsport continue fighting for LMP2 honors at the eight-hour mark, with both cars on the lead lap.

 
-         The No. 4 Corvette is relying on full-season driver Tommy Milner and endurance add-on Marcel Fassler to handle the lion’s share of duties behind the wheel. Oliver Gavin, the other full-time driver, sustained a rib injury in a biking accident earlier this week and was not expected to return to the car after satisfying his base drive time requirement.

 
-         The No. 912 Porsche was assessed a drive-through penalty for incident responsibility after making contact with the No. 3 Corvette in Turn 9 with just more than four hours remaining. Even with the penalty, the Porsche remained on the lead lap and in contention.

 
-         The No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura suffered suspension damage in a collision with the No. 23 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 with just under three hours remaining and went behind the wall for nearly 20 minutes to be repaired. It’s an incident that could have major implications on the GTD championship since No. 86 drivers Mario Farnbacher and Matt McMurry entered the race with a four-point lead in the standings.

 
IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup Points Update
The eight-hour mark brought the second of three IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup points-scoring opportunities at Motul Petit Le Mans, which brought a bit more clarity to most class standings.

 
The No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R squad of Renger van der Zande, Ryan Briscoe and Scott Dixon saw its four-point lead cut in half. While Dixon earned three points for the team for third place at eight hours, Felipe Nasr’s lead in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac brought the team and co-drivers Pipo Derani and Filipe Albuquerque into sole possession of second place, 28-26.

 
In the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class, meanwhile, the No. 24 BMW Team RLL M8 GTE and co-drivers Jesse Krohn, John Edwards and Augusto Farfus built their advantage, once again earning the maximum five points for leading at eight hours. The No. 24 is now seven points, 34-27, ahead of the No. 912 Porsche GT Team 911 RSR.

 
None of the GT Daytona (GTD) front-runners in the Michelin Endurance Cup standings scored more than the minimum two points in the middle segment. As a result, the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 trio of Bryan Sellers, Madison Snow and Corey Lewis continue to lead by nine points, 33-24, ahead of the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3 team.

 
And the No. 52 PR1-Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA team of Patrick Kelly, Scott Huffaker and Simon Trummer continued their dominance in LMP2, leading at eight hours and again scoring the maximum five Michelin Endurance Cup points. The No. 52 squad now leads with 38 points, double the 19-point total of the No. 8 Tower Motorsport by Starworks squad that is currently tied with the No. 18 DragonSpeed USA team that is not competing here.
Motul Petit Le Mans: Four-Hour Report
Oct. 17, 2020
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
BRASELTON, Ga. - The 23rd Annual Motul Petit Le Mans is under way at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. Live television coverage in the U.S. continues on NBCSN through 6:30 p.m. ET before switching to the NBC Sports App, NBCSports.com and TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold. NBCSN coverage will return at 9:30 p.m. through the checkered flag.

 
IMSA Radio coverage also continues on IMSA.com and SiriusXM Radio (Sirius channel 217, XM 202 and Internet 972).

 
Prototype Notebook:
-         The Safety Car appeared for only the second time just past the four-hour mark of the 10-hour endurance race. It was called out when the No. 51 Inter Europol Competition ORECA LMP2 07 entry in the Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) class driven by Rob Hodes spun and hit the wall at Turn 3.
 
-         Prior to that, the 31-car field was running at a record pace, with the caution for Hodes coming after nearly 3.5 hours unbroken hours of green-flag racing.

 
-         The intense battle for the overall and Daytona Prototype international (DPi) lead between the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R and the No. 6 Acura Team Penske Acura ARX-05 DPi rages on. The No. 31 short-pitted midway through Hour 4 and gained the lead over the No. 6 in the pit stop exchange despite executing a driver change from Filipe Albuquerque to Felipe Nasr. But Acura Team Penske regained the lead on the next round of stops, with Dane Cameron replacing Simon Pagenaud.

 
-         The top five in the DPi class (and overall) is rounded out by the No. 77 Mazda Motorsports Mazda DPi, the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R, and the No. 7 Acura Team Penske entry.

 
-         Now with Patrick Kelly back behind the wheel, the No. 52 Mathiasen Motorsport ORECA LMP2 has stretched its LMP2 lead to two laps over the similar No. 8 car fielded by Tower Motorsport by Starworks.

 
-         After running in second place through the first stint, the No. 7 Acura Team Penske entry dropped to fifth in the second hour after a slow pit stop and driver change from Ricky Taylor to Helio Castroneves. The team changed the nose of the Acura ARX-05 DPi during the service.

 
-         The fraught event continued for the No. 55 Mazda Motorsports team during the second hour. Already five laps down after encountering a brake issue just 12 minutes into the race, Ryan Hunter-Reay was on his out lap when the Mazda DPi came into contact with the GT Daytona (GTD) class No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 driven by Cooper MacNeil. The No. 55 endured another off-course excursion, but Hunter-Reay and MacNeil were both able to continue.

 
-         The first full-course caution waved 22 minutes into the event when Gabriel Aubry went off course in Turn 1 and nosed the No. 85 JDC-Miller MotorSports Cadillac DPi-V.R into a tire barrier. After the car was extracted by the AMR Safety Team, Aubry was able to drive back to the pits, but the car went behind the wall for extensive repairs.
 
GT Notebook:
-         BMW continued its strong showing in WeatherTech Championship endurance races, with the No. 24 BMW Team RLL BMW M8 GTE leading the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class through four hours of racing at the Motul Petit Le Mans.

 
The No. 24, co-driven by Jesse Krohn, John Edwards and Augusto Farfus, first took the class lead just past the two-hour mark of the 10-hour race. Other than during pit stop cycles, the BMW remained out front. Krohn, Edwards and Farfus, along with fourth driver Chaz Mostert, won the GTLM portion of the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona in January.

 
-         The other car in the BMW stable, the No. 25, wasn’t faring as well. Though it led early, the No. 25 – winner of the six-hour TireRack.com Grand Prix at Michelin Raceway six weeks ago – spent 45 minutes today behind the pit wall for repairs and was more than 30 laps behind the class leaders at the four-hour mark.

 
-         In GT Daytona (GTD), the polesitting No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3 was the class leader at the four-hour mark. With Mario Farnbacher at the wheel, the No. 86 was 2.045 seconds ahead of the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3.

 
-         The No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3, the GTD winner in last month’s six-hour race at Michelin Raceway, was a lap down, 11th in GTD after four hours.

 
IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup Points Update
The four-hour mark represented the first of three scoring segments at Motul Petit Le Mans for the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup.

 
Although it has been battling electrical issues and was running fifth at four hours, the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R shared by Renger van der Zande, Ryan Briscoe and Scott Dixon continues to lead the DPi standings with 25 points, four points ahead of a two-way tie for second between the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi that led the race at four hours and the No. 77 Mazda DPi that was in third place.

 
In the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class, the race-leading No. 24 BMW Team RLL M8 GTE entry shared by John Edwards, Jesse Krohn and Augusto Farfus extended its lead to five points, 29-24, over a two-way tie between the Nos. 911 and 912 Porsche 911 RSRs from the Porsche GT Team.

 
The No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 shared by Madison Snow, Bryan Sellers and Corey Lewis stands atop the GTD Michelin Endurance Cup standings. It earned four points in the first scoring segment for running second at four hours, and now leads by nine points, 31-22, over the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3 that was leading the race after four hours.

 
The No. 52 PR1-Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2 entry shared by Patrick Kelly, Simon Trummer and Scott Huffaker has effectively clinched the Michelin Endurance Cup. It collected the maximum five points by leading at four hours, running its point total to 33.

 
Even if it scores the minimum two points in the next two segments, all it must do is compete in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts on Nov. 14 to take the Endurance Cup.
Workhorse Kingsley Drives to Methodical Win in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Finale at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta

 
Oct. 17, 2020
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
BRASELTON, Ga. – If Jeff Kingsley is tired, he isn’t showing it on the racetrack. The 22-year-old drove to a methodical but dominant win Saturday in the final race of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama tripleheader at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta and widen his championship lead.

 
Kingsley won by 5.577 seconds over championship rival Riley Dickinson in the 45-minute race that ran caution-free. It gave Kingsley two victories for the weekend and nine for the season. The driver of the No. 16 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car has finished first or second in all 12 races this season.

 
The Canadian has been extraordinarily busy of late. He swept the tripleheader at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course the last weekend of September, had a weekend off and then made his IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship debut Oct. 9-10 on the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL before taking on the three GT3 Cup Challenge USA races this weekend at Michelin Raceway.

 
He’ll follow the GT3 Cup Challenge USA  to the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Fla., next weekend to make up the doubleheader event postponed from March. By the time that’s completed, Kingsley will have driven in nine races over a five-week span.

 
“It’s a lot of racing,” Kingsley said. “It’s definitely a challenge, but at this point in my career, a challenge is what I’m looking for. It’s the only way to get better and move forward and move up.”

 
Kingsley started from the pole on Saturday, jumped to the lead and gradually pulled away from Dickinson in the No. 53 Moorespeed Porsche. Sebastian Carazo, Kingsley’s teammate in the No. 27 Kelly-Moss entry, finished third for the second time this weekend.

 
Kingsley takes a 25-point lead in the Platinum Cup class for current-generation 911 GT3 Cup cars over Dickinson to St. Pete’s 1.8-mile temporary street course.

 
“I’m still focused race by race,” Kingsley said. “You can’t think too far ahead and get your hopes up because, in this sport, anything can happen. I’ve just got to focus one race at a time. We’ve got two coming up in St. Pete, a tricky track where anything can happen. I’ve got to keep it clean, keep the speed up and hope for a couple more wins.”

 
In the Platinum Masters class for drivers 45 and older, Charlie Luck was giddy after completing a weekend sweep of victories. Driving the No. 45 Wright Motorsports Porsche, Luck took the class lead when points leader Alan Metni spun halfway through the race. Metni, in the No. 99 Kelly-Moss/AM Motorsports car, recovered to erase an eight-second deficit to Luck, making a pass for the class lead with just eight minutes remaining.

 
Metni’s hopes for victory ended, however, when he pulled off course with a mechanical issue as the white flag waved to signal the final lap. Metni, who had won eight of the first nine Masters races before going winless this weekend, saw his points lead over Luck trimmed to 25 with four races left on the schedule.

 
“We have obviously never had a three-for-three,” an excited Luck said. “I just can’t say enough about all the preparation. We just tried to focus so hard on every brake application, every throttle, every apex. We had some luck with it, too, because Metni had trouble. It just goes to show consistency sometimes is what wins the race, and that’s what we did today.”

 
The Gold Cup class, for 911 GT3 Cup cars built between 2014 and 2016, saw its own drama between frontrunners Curt Swearingin and Efrin Castro. Starting behind Castro based on their fastest lap times in Friday’s second race, Swearingin spent most of Saturday working to get his No. 17 ACI Motorsports Porsche within striking distance of Castro in the No. 65 TPC Racing entry.

 
Swearingin’s opportunity came when Castro swung wide exiting the final turn of the 2.54-mile road course with 10 minutes left. As Castro’s car bounced along the front straight with two wheels in the grass, Swearingin sped past. Castro’s car sustained enough damage that he wasn’t able to finish, with Swearingin winning the Gold Cup class by 19 seconds over teammate Richard Edge in the No. 18 ACI Porsche.

 
“Efrin did a great job once I got to him of just keeping in front of me,” Swearingin said, “but then he made a slight mistake and it was over for him. Real glad to get the win. ACI put together a great car or I never would’ve been able to chase him down and get to him to make him make a mistake. We’re happy to get the two wins this weekend and extend our points lead. It’s all good.”

 
With eight Gold Cup victories this season, Swearingin takes an 18-point lead over Castro to St. Petersburg, which features races at 1:50 p.m. ET Saturday and 12:35 p.m. Sunday. Both will stream live on IMSA.com.

 

After combining with No. 912 teammates Laurens Vanthoor and Earl Bamber to win six races and finish 1-2 in the points last year, Tandy admitted to the frustration that Porsche has faced in 2020. That just made Saturday’s triumph more the sweeter.

 
“We’ve had such a poor season; there’s so many things that have gone wrong,” he said. “Kind of in the middle of the race, it looked like we weren’t going to be that competitive. To come out with a win, my fourth at Petit, it’s amazing. This makes up for all the bad times that we’ve had during the season so far. Mega.”

 
The second-place finish by Garcia, Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg allowed the No. 3 Corvette to widen its GTLM points lead to 28 over the No. 4 Corvette. Garcia and Taylor lead No. 4 drivers Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner by the same margin with two races remaining.

 
The No. 63 Ferrari made it known from the start that it would contend in GTD, with Westphal taking the lead from the second starting position on the opening lap. The car remained near the front the entire race, despite absorbing contact on more than one occasion while battling in traffic around the 2.54-mile, 12-turn circuit.

 
Back in the car for the finish, Westphal made the decisive pass for the lead with just more than an hour to go. He pushed the No. 63 hard into Turn 10 and past Jack Hawksworth in the No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3. From there, Westphal drove home the win – something he wasn’t expecting when the race weekend started.

 
“We showed up with a car that had great pace over one lap but it was killing the rear tires,” Westphal said. “Throughout each day, we made it better and better. We didn’t lose faith, we kind of just marched along and it really came alive in the race.”

 
It was Westphal’s third career IMSA win, the eighth for MacNeil and seventh for Balzan, who celebrated his 40th birthday in victory lane. On the heels of wrapping up a third straight Ferrari Challenge championship a week ago, MacNeil applauded the effort of his teammates and crew.

 
“This is one of the most difficult races in the world, even though it’s ‘only’ 10 hours,” he said. “These two guys drove their asses off, it was phenomenal all weekend. The team worked super hard all weekend, the Scuderia Corsa WeatherTech guys, I can’t thank them enough. We rolled the car off the truck expecting a good car because we had a good car during the six-hour here. That wasn’t the case; we had to work hard at it.”

 
Hawksworth, Aaron Telitz and Michael De Quesada finished second in the No. 14 Lexus. The No. 44 GRT Magnus Lamborghini Huracan GT3, with drivers Andy Lally, John Potter and Spencer Pumpelly finished third.

 
Telitz unofficially moved into the points lead, two ahead of Hawksworth and four up on No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche drivers Ryan Hardwick and Patrick Long.

 
The GT classes are back in action along with the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) and Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) classes Oct. 30-Nov. 1 at the Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

 

Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta Mural Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

 
Oct. 15, 2020
By Holly Cain
IMSA Wire Service
BRASELTON, Ga. - Inspiration was not a problem for renowned Atlanta artist Ashley Dopson. Commissioned by IMSA to paint a mural at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta honoring Hispanic sports-car drivers for Hispanic Heritage Month, Dopson says she had the best of all worlds: the ultimate combination of a worthy subject and iconic images to depict.
 
The result of her work is a massive, colorful celebration of IMSA’s Hispanic diversity over the years, which highlights four of racing’s heroes – former IMSA GTP driver Juan Manuel Fangio II, of Argentina; IMSA GTO champion Luis Mendez, of the Dominican Republic; three-time IMSA champion and current IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTLM points leader Antonio Garcia, of Spain; and one of the all-time most versatile racing superstars, reigning IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship champion and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya, of Colombia.
 
Their cars, set against the famed Atlanta skyline in the background, are depicted in a vibrant nod to the important and diverse contributions from Hispanic drivers over the years of IMSA competition. 
 
The artwork makes its much-anticipated debut this week at the Motul Petit Le Mans, the famed 10-hour race that features a wide array of racing talent from multiple series and diverse backgrounds.
 
“When I do Spanish art, there is always a lot of color and the style has a lot of geometric triangles and repeating lines, so I put that in the background to kind of show this rising Hispanic sun behind the city,’’ Dopson explained of her work. “The colors are an important deal to me because I feel whenever I think of Hispanic culture, I think of how vibrant it is, how colorful it is. That’s the first thing that comes to mind is all the colors.
 
“I hope they like the mural. I wanted to do them justice.’’
 
The result of Dopson’s inspired artwork – a 15-hour project painted under the track’s Fox Bridge using exterior latex paint and gloss – is a celebration of the Hispanic talent that has long existed in the IMSA paddock. The artwork’s unveiling comes at the October 15 conclusion to the annual Hispanic Heritage Month celebrated in the United States.
 
“Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta has been fortunate enough to see some of the biggest international names in motorsports compete at this racetrack over the decades,’’ said Rick Humphrey, Michelin Raceway president and general manager.
 
“In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month and the diverse backgrounds of the legends who have raced here, we’re proud to display this Hispanic heritage mural for the teams and fans to see as a tribute to Hispanic and Latino culture. Hispanic drivers and racing personnel are a part of Michelin Raceway’s history, and we’re thankful for the impacts they have made and continue to make.”

 
Although Dopson has never previously attended a race at Michelin Raceway – any race, for that matter – just learning about the competitors and cars she painted and enjoying the unique scenery of the beautiful race course north of her Atlanta hometown has resulted in another important creation for the artist. She enthusiastically designated herself and her brother Jason, who helped her on the project, as new race fans.
 
“Everybody there was so nice, and we thought this is fun and kind of really cool,’’ she said. “My brother and I were like, ‘We want to go to a race.’’’

 
Most importantly, Dopson is hopeful her inspired work will be a reminder of the major impact that Hispanic drivers and their culture have had on auto racing.

 

 

Barletta, Foley Break Through to Win Fox Factory 120

 
Oct. 16, 2020
John Oreovicz
IMSA Wire Service
BRASELTON, Ga. – They say timing is everything, and that was certainly the case Friday in the Fox Factory 120 for the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge.

 
The complexion of the two-hour race changed dramatically with 43 minutes remaining when Mathew Pombo buried the No. 73 LA Honda World Honda Civic TCR deep into the Turn 1 tire barrier, bringing out a full-course caution at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

 
That had a direct impact on the overall leader of the race – dominant pole winner Tyler McQuarrie in the Grand Sport (GS) class No. 39 CarBahn with Peregrine racing Audi R8 GT4.

 
McQuarrie had led from the start but yet to hand the car off to co-driver Jeff Westphal by the time the pits opened with 37 minutes to go. It meant Westphal could not meet IMSA’s 40-minute minimum-drive-time requirement.

 
The nightmare scenario for the No. 39 left the door open for Vincent Barletta and Robby Foley to claim the win for Turner Motorsport in the No. 96 BMW M4 GT4. Foley led the final 17 laps for his second Pilot Challenge win of the season, and the first for Barletta. Foley teamed with Bill Auberlen to win in the sister No. 95 Turner BMW at VIRginia International Raceway in August.

 
James Clay and Gregory Liefooghe (No. 82 BimmerWorld BMW M4 GT4) finished second, 0.794 seconds behind the winner. Robin Liddell claimed the final podium position, rallying to third place with Frank DePew in the No. 71 Rebel Rock Racing Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R.

 
As he’s done much of the season, Foley started the Fox Factory 120 in the No. 95 Turner car, which he handed off to Auberlen before jumping into the No. 96.

 
“For me, it was the restarts and trying to find a place to survive and get ready to hand it off to Robby,” noted Barletta, who started the race and drove the first 45 minutes. “Had a little contact so the toe was out a little, so Robby had to deal with that. Also pitting under the yellow with two cars, Robby has to get out of the (No.) 95 and get into the (No.) 96, and that took some time.”

 
“It was hectic!” exclaimed Foley. “We pitted at just the right time, and I honestly almost forgot to get into the No. 96 because we had a little drama with the (No.) 95 in the pit stop.

 
“We had a little bit of damage on the No. 96 that I struggled with until I learned how to drive the car. It was tough to drive, but once I knew kind of how to manage it, I knew at the end if I could get a good restart and hit my marks, they were going to have a hard race behind me. That played to my advantage and I was able to pull a little gap and just cruise on the last lap to bring it home.”

 
A sixth-place finish at Road Atlanta allowed Kyle Marcelli and Nate Stacy (No. 60 KohR Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage GT4) to extend their championship lead unofficially to 20 points over McQuarrie and Westphal, who wound up classified 19th in the GS class.

 
In the Touring Car (TCR) class, Michael Lewis made the winning pass with two laps remaining in a battle of Hyundai Veloster N TCRs. Lewis shared the winning No. 98 Hyundai with Mason Filippi for Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian, while Tyler Maxson and Tyler Gonzalez finished second in their Pilot Challenge debut driving the No. 27 Copeland Motorsports Hyundai.

 
“I had a great first stint and handed the car over to Michael, and he had an insane battle at the finish for that No. 1 spot,” Filippi said.

 
Lewis was happy to take over a car in excellent condition.

 
“Mason kept it in the hunt with clean fenders, kept it clean on the restarts, and once I started pushing, it led into those last few laps,” Lewis said. “The Michelin tires stuck well at Michelin Raceway, which is one of my favorite tracks. That was so fun – I was totally committed.

 
“Congrats to Tyler Gonzales and Tayler Maxson,” he added. “They were really fast, and it was hard to get around them, but we made it happen.”

 
Incoming TCR championship leaders Gabby Chaves and Ryan Norman finished 11th in class in the No. 33 BHA Hyundai. That allowed Filippi and Lewis to unofficially vault into the points lead, with an eight-point margin over their teammates.

 
The Michelin Pilot Challenge returns to action Oct. 30-Nov. 1 at the Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Challenge at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California.
Kingsley Gets Jump and Takes off to Win Second Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Race of Day at Michelin Raceway

 
Oct. 16, 2020
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
BRASELTON, Ga. – The second time around on Friday, Jeff Kingsley wasn’t to be denied.

 
Kingsley muscled past polesitter and championship rival Riley Dickinson at the start of the second Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama race of the day at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta and drove on to victory. It marked a reversal of the morning race when Dickinson won and Kingsley placed second.

 
Dickinson led the 20-car field to the green flag from the pole position in the No. 53 Moorespeed Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. Also starting on the first row in the No. 16 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche, Kingsley went into Turn 1 alongside Dickinson and held strong into Turn 2, where his inside line pushed him into the lead.

 
From there, Kingsley pulled away and went on to win by 5.023 seconds for his seventh victory of the GT3 Cup Challenge season.

 
“I knew I had to get him early, somewhere at the start,” Kingsley said. “I kind of just went for it. I didn’t know how it was going to end, to be honest. I just went in super, super hot and luckily it worked.”

 
The victory allowed Kingsley to negate the points Dickinson gained by winning the first race Friday. The Canadian, who made his IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship debut a week ago on the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL, maintained a 22-point advantage on Dickinson heading into the final race of the Michelin Raceway tripleheader at 10 a.m. ET Saturday (live stream on IMSA.com). Kingsley will start on pole and Dickinson second in that race.

 
“It’s been a close season all year between us two, but I think that was one of my best performances all season,” Kingsley said about the Friday afternoon race. “I got him good outside there at the start and I just drove away from there.

 
“The Children’s Hospital car was unbelievable today. We made a lot of improvements after Race 1 and we’ve just got to do it all again tomorrow.”

 
While Kingsley controlled the scene up front Friday afternoon, there was plenty of action and battling for wins in the Platinum Masters and Gold Cup classes.

 
Platinum Masters points leader Alan Metni and Race 1 winner Charlie Luck put on a frenetic battle for the class lead for several laps before Luck passed Metni with 13 minutes remaining in the 45-minute race. Soon after, Metni pulled off course with a mechanical issue and Luck cruised to the class victory in the No. 45 Wright Motorsports Porsche for the second time Friday.

 
Luck finished nearly 30 seconds ahead of Platinum Masters runner-up Michael Mennella in the No. 4 MCR Racing Porsche.

 
“It feels so good, I can’t tell you how good it feels,” Luck said following his second win in six hours. “The key to the race was just (being) super aggressive; consistent, consistent, consistent; and small mistakes, not big mistakes.

 
“I’m just so thrilled; this is two wins in one weekend. We have put so much energy and effort into this. Preparation, car, body, nutrition, everything. With two races in a day, it makes a difference.”

 
Gold Cup class contenders Curt Swearingin and Efrin Castro had their own tussle for the class lead early in Race 2. Castro spun in the No. 65 TPC Racing Porsche while challenging Swearingin for first place less than 15 minutes into the race. Swearingin went on to win in the No. 17 ACI Motorsports entry. Castro battled back to finish second in class – the opposite of how they finished in Friday’s first race.

 
“There was a big battle going in front of us, like four or five cars, and it was checking us up,” Swearingin said in explaining the incident with Castro. “He got inside of me going into (Turn) 10A and all he did was give me room at 10B, he pinched me and it spun him. I was right on his side and I just brake, brake, braked and then got around him. I was lucky to survive that.”

 
Bart Collins was the third-place Gold finisher in the No. 22 MCR Racing Porsche and claimed the Yokohama Hard Charger Award for passing the most cars under green-flag conditions.

 
Friday afternoon’s race was special for GT3 Cup Challenge USA veteran David Baker. He took the green flag in the aptly numbered No. 100 Topp Racing to record his 100th series start. While he didn’t finish the race on track, Baker waved the checkered flag to conclude the affair and was presented a trophy on the podium to commemorate his achievement.
Pole Roll Continues for Acura Team Penske, Cameron and Kelly
at Motul Petit Le Mans
Oct. 16, 2020
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
BRASELTON, Ga. – When it comes to IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying lately, Acura Team Penske, Dane Cameron and Patrick Kelly must be butter, because they’re definitely on a roll.

 
In qualifying for Saturday’s 10-hour Motul Petit Le Mans, Acura Team Penske picked up its fourth consecutive Motul Pole Award – and Cameron’s second straight – in the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class, while Kelly picked up his fourth consecutive Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) class pole.

 
Driving the No. 6 Acura ARX-05, Cameron edged teammate Ricky Taylor by 0.094 seconds, scoring the top starting spot Friday with a best lap of 1 minute, 8.412 seconds (133.660 mph). In the process, Cameron claimed the track record around the 2.54-mile, 12-turn Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta circuit, besting Felipe Nasr’s previous record of 1:08.457 set last year.

 
“We’re very pleased,” said Cameron, who is co-driving with Juan Pablo Montoya and Simon Pagenaud. “I was a little disappointed when we came here for the six-hour run a few weeks back. Usually we are pretty aggressive with our stuff for qualifying and I thought we did a really good job, but we missed a little bit. I told the engineers, ‘Let's really put the thing on the limit this time and see.’ I’m happy with what we ended up with, happy to get pole after missing out here the last time we showed up and the last couple of years here at Petit.”

 
It’s also the second consecutive front-row lockout for Acura Team Penske after Taylor claimed the outside spot with a lap of 1:08.506 (133.042 mph) in the No. 7 machine. He and co-driver Helio Castroneves will be going for their fourth consecutive victory on Saturday and are joined for the endurance race by Alexander Rossi.

 
Nasr wound up third on the grid at 1:08.612 (133.270 mph) in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R he shares with Pipo Derani and Filipe Albuquerque. The full DPi field was covered by a scant 0.817 seconds.

 
In the LMP2 class, meanwhile, Kelly remained on the same hot streak he’s been on since July’s Cadillac Grand Prix of Sebring. In Friday’s session, the Minnesotan posted a best lap of 1:11.590 (127.727 mph) in the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA to secure the class pole position by more than a second and a half.

 
He will go in search of his second consecutive Michelin Raceway victory with co-drivers Simon Trummer and Scott Huffaker, with whom he also won last month’s six-hour TireRack.com Grand Prix here. Kelly also enters Saturday’s race as the LMP2 points leader.

 
“The thing that I learned (in September), the difference for me, as crazy as it sounds, is being a little more patient with the car,” Kelly said. “I found myself trying to over-rush the car going into (Turn) 3 and maybe down into (Turn) 5 when I was here last time, as opposed to being a little more patient with the car and let it roll a little more. That’s what I learned the most.”

 
Rob Hodes qualified second on the LMP2 grid with a best lap of 1:13.161 (124.984 mph) in the No. 51 Inter Europol Competition ORECA he is sharing with Austin McCusker and Jakub Smiechowski. John Farano qualified third in the class aboard the No. 8 Tower Motorsport by Starworks ORECA at 1:14.082 (123.430 mph). His co-drivers are Mikkel Jensen and Job van Uitert.

 
Saturday’s race takes the green flag at 12:40 p.m. ET. Live NBC Sports television coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, with live IMSA Radio coverage also available on IMSA.com and Sirius XM Radio (Sirius channel 217, XM 202 and Internet 972).
Garcia, Michimi Claim Record-Setting Poles in Motul Petit Le Mans GT Qualifying

 
Oct. 16, 2020
By John Oreovicz
IMSA Wire Service
BRASELTON, Ga. – Track records fell by the wayside Friday in the Grand Touring classes of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for the 23rd annual Motul Petit Le Mans.

 
Antonio Garcia continued Corvette Racing’s run of recent success, guiding the No. 3 Corvette C8.R around Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta’s 12-turn, 2.54-mile layout in 1 minute, 15.163 seconds (121.655 mph) to claim the GT Le Mans (GTLM) pole. That was nearly three-tenths of a second quicker than Connor De Phillippi, who qualified second in the No. 25 BMW Team RLL M8 GTE. Garcia’s lap was 0.476 seconds better than the previous GTLM qualifying standard set last year by James Calado.

 
Meanwhile, Shinya Michimi powered the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3 around the undulating road course in 1:19.291 (115.321 mph) to lead the GT Daytona (GTD) field and reel in his first career Motul Pole Award. The depth of the GTD field was represented by a different manufacturer qualifying in each of the top five spots, with the first eight cars separated by less than a half-second.

 
Nearly perfect atmospheric and track conditions produced a remarkable jump in speed this week from years – or even months – past.

 
Nick Tandy extracted a quick lap of 1:15.858 from the No. 911 Porsche GT Team 911 RSR-19, some 0.3 seconds faster than he managed when he took pole position for the TireRack.com Grand Prix at Michelin Raceway six weeks ago. This weekend, that time was only good enough for sixth in the GTLM class.

 
John Edwards qualified the No. 24 BMW Team RLL entry third, followed by Laurens Vanthoor (No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR-19) and Tommy Milner (No. 4 Corvette Racing C8.R).

 
It was the third consecutive GTLM pole for the No. 3 Corvette, following top qualifying efforts from Jordan Taylor at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL. Championship leaders Taylor and Garcia are looking for their third consecutive GTLM race win and sixth overall in 2020.

 
For Garcia, it was his sixth pole in IMSA competition and first at Michelin Raceway. He set his best time with under three minutes remaining in the 15-minute qualifying session.

 
“Great job by the Corvette Racing crew, and I’m happy to get the pole,” said the 40-year old Spaniard, seeking his first Motul Petit Le Mans victory. “My first two qualifying laps were already very, very good, and I didn’t think I left anything on the table. On the cool-down lap, somebody told me on the radio that I lost pole position by a few hundredths of a second (to De Phillippi). Obviously, I had to go for it again and I put together a perfect lap.

 
“I really wanted this pole because I’ve lost many poles here by hundredths or even thousandths of a second,” Garcia added. “I have to look at the record books, but I think this is my first pole at Road Atlanta. Hopefully it leads to my first win here, because I’ve been waiting for a very, very long time.”

 
Michimi and teammates Mario Farnbacher and Matt McMurry won the six-hour GTD race at Michelin Raceway on Sept. 5, and the Meyer Shank team’s return to the popular Georgia venue is off to a successful start. Michimi edged by 0.239 seconds the GTD track qualifying record set last year by Corey Lewis.

 
Jeff Westphal qualified the No. 63 WeatherTech Ferrari 488 GT3 second for Scuderia Corsa, while recently married Frankie Montecalvo, the GTD pole winner last month at Michelin Raceway, was third in the No. 12 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3. Lamborghini and BMW also placed cars in the top five.

 
“Everyone at the team is really happy about this, and I have to thank everyone at Meyer Shank Racing,” said Michimi, a 27-year old Japanese American who was born in Cincinnati and lives in Tokyo. “But at the end of the day, it’s only half the battle. We’ve got a long 10 hours tomorrow, and I think it’s going to be a tricky one.
 
“We were able to get a win last month here, but unfortunately the guys had some really bad luck in the races in between,” Michimi added, referring to fifth- and seventh-place results at Mid-Ohio and Charlotte. “We were all really hoping to bounce off of that success from last month and go in here on a really positive note. We started off correctly, so hopefully we can continue that tomorrow.”
 
The 10-hour Motul Petit Le Mans will be green-flagged at 12:40 p.m. ET Saturday. NBCSN will broadcast the action live from 12:30-6:30 p.m. and 9:30-11 p.m., with continuous coverage available on NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports App and TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.

 
Smooth Sailing It Wasn’t, but Rao, Bell Take Win and Prototype Challenge Title

 
Oct. 16, 2020
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
BRASELTON, Ga. – There were nail-biting anxious moments late, but Naveen Rao and Matthew Bell persevered through to win the final race of the IMSA Prototype Challenge season and wrap up the championship in the process.

 
The drivers of the No. 64 K2R Motorsports Norma M30 lapped the field midway into the three-hour race Friday at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. Bell then survived handling issues and a late restart to win by 2.776 seconds over No. 11 K2R teammates Steven Thomas and Thomas Merrill, who earned the Bronze Cup class win and season title for Thomas with the effort.

 
“Frankly, it never goes how you think it’s going to,” said Rao, who could only watch nervously from pit lane as Bell had to pit late for fresh tires and avoided disaster when he slid off course and came precariously close to hitting the barrier. “Matt had to deal with some tire things but kept it right in front and managed the pace.”

 
Bell was at a loss for words to describe the last half of his two-hour stint in the car, when what seemed to be the easiest of victories went sideways.

 
“We weren’t expecting to change tires for that last stint (but) I was really, really struggling in the middle of the race,” he said. “We made some adjustments, changed (tires) for the last stint and had the problems again. It was a bit tricky to drive and it caught me out a couple of times. I had a little bit of an off-track moment, which I wasn’t expecting that at all. Just had to calm it down and trust that we had the gap to bring it home.”

 
Bell did just that, benefitting from lapped traffic between him and Merrill on the final restart with just under six minutes to go. Bell notched the second win in the last three races for the No. 64, which finished on the podium in all but one race.

 
“At the end, it was clear that we just had to protect the lead,” Bell said. “There were a few cars between us and P2 and P3 after that last caution. It wasn’t the ideal scenario … but I was confident to have held it and bring it home.

 
“So happy and so proud of the K2R guys,” he added. “They did such a good job all year; dominant second half of the year. Very good job by Naveen, he drove away from the field in the first half of the stint. Yeah, it was a great team performance here today.”

 
His teammate agreed.

 
“It’s awesome, it’s amazing,” Rao said of clinching the championship. “This is what we were hoping to do from the beginning. … This is wonderful.”

 
Thomas and Merrill were just as elated with their first overall Prototype Challenge podium and first Bronze class win. While Thomas drove in all six races this season, Merrill was his teammate at just the three-hour events – at Daytona International Speedway in January and Michelin Raceway on Friday.

 
“We were able to qualify P2 and got a really good start and turned it over to Thomas (Merrill),” said Steven Thomas, who first stepped into a race car only 18 months ago. “Thomas gets basically no practice laps because I take ‘em all. And he jumped into the car and was lightning.”

 
Like Bell in the No. 64, Merrill struggled with his car’s handling later in the race and left little opportunity to bid for the overall win.

 
“Our first stint was great, the tires came in beautifully and the car was really, really fast,” Merrill said. “We came in for a pit stop, we put some new tires on, and the car wasn’t as good.

 
“I was happy to see the (last) caution because it kind of helped us reset. When we went back green again, we had really good pace but everybody up front was running kind of the same pace, so we just brought it home in second place.”

 
Brothers Keith and David Grant entered the race weekend with an 11-point lead in Bronze Cup. But they weren’t eligible for class points Friday since Silver-rated driver Parker Thompson was added as a third driver in the No. 40 Forty7 Motorsports Norma.

 

 

 

No. 3 Corvette Continues Winning Ways in Wacky, Wet Race on Charlotte ROVAL

 
Oct. 11, 2020
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
CONCORD, N.C. - Not even treacherous conditions nor the pressure of a late restart could keep the No. 3 Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R from continuing its stellar season and winning ways in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

 
Antonio Garcia powered into the lead with 24 minutes to go Saturday night in the MOTUL 100% Synthetic Grand Prix and rolled on to the fifth win of 2020 for the No. 3 Corvette. The victory under rainy, slick conditions at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL was the fourth in the past five GT Le Mans (GTLM) races for Garcia and co-driver Jordan Taylor, helping them move closer to clinching the class championship.

 
Garcia crossed the finish line 1.474 seconds ahead of John Edwards in the No. 25 BMW Team RLL BMW M8 GTE at the conclusion of the 100-minute race, in IMSA’s return to the Charlotte road course after a 20-year absence but its first event on the 2.32-mile, 10-turn ROVAL layout that includes chicanes on both oval straights.

 
“That’s a perfect, magnificent car out there,” Garcia said of the mid-engine Corvette C8.R that debuted in competition this year, “and I’m glad to be driving for the best team out there – and winning.”

 
BMW Team RLL claimed a pair of GTLM podium positions with the No. 24 driven by Bruno Spengler and Connor De Phillippi finishing third.

 
The No. 4 Corvette placed fourth in class despite Tommy Milner spinning and crashing into the pit lane attenuator with 12 minutes left on the clock. With light rain falling, it set up the final dramatic restart. But Garcia got the jump on Edwards at the wave of the green flag and pulled comfortably away to earn his 22nd career IMSA victory.

 
The WeatherTech Championship race for the two GT classes started an hour late – under the lights at 9:05 p.m. ET – after the NASCAR Xfinity Series race that preceded ran long after being red-flagged for heavy rain and pooling water on track. Taylor started the WeatherTech Championship event on pole but was passed for the lead soon after by Jesse Krohn, who willed the No. 24 BMW from fourth to first in the opening four laps under the most difficult conditions.

 
Garcia replaced Taylor in the No. 3 Corvette on an early pit stop during a full-course caution and drove the final 80 minutes without a break. He bided his time for almost an hour before completing the winning pass on Edwards where the track exits the tight infield section onto the first turn of the high-banked oval.

 
“As soon as I saw that they were struggling a little bit on tires … I just went for it,” Garcia said. “I don’t know if it was a risky move or not. I wanted to win the race and as soon as I saw the opportunity, I went for it. And then as soon as I passed, just head down and tried to open a gap, and it worked.”

 
The Spaniard insisted it was anything but smooth sailing as he hounded Edwards before making the deciding pass, while also holding De Phillippi at bay in the No. 25 BMW.

 
“It was super, super stressful,” Garcia said. “Even if it felt like I was just following, I was hanging (it) out and I almost crashed like everybody, I believe, like four or five times. … Once we got into the pace and into the rhythm, the track improved, for sure. But also at the end, with (older) tires and it started to rain again, so it was very, very tricky again. And being in the wet and in the dark, it’s very difficult to spot where the standing water is.”

 
Taylor earned career win No. 26 with his 20-minute stint. The American was delighted that he and Garcia expanded their championship lead unofficially to 24 points over No. 4 Corvette teammates Milner and Oliver Gavin with three races remaining.

 
“Really awesome to maximize the points here when we didn’t expect it,” Taylor said, “so we can kind of go into the next three races and race for the win as well. Just another great day for Corvette Racing with the fifth win for us in the C8.R and sixth for the team.”

 
On the flip side, the disastrous season for the Porsche GT Team continued Saturday. The Nos. 911 and 912 Porsche 911 RSR-19s each sustained damage after sliding into barriers in separate incidents within 10 minutes of the race’s start. Both cars retired after completing a combined total of 12 laps. Coming off a 2019 season that saw Porsche claim the GTLM driver, team and manufacturer titles, the German marque is winless in 2020.

 
All four WeatherTech Championship classes – GTLM, GT Daytona, Daytona Prototype international and Le Mans Prototype 2 – return to action in the week ahead at the 23rd annual Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. The 10-hour endurance race airs live in combination on NBCSN and TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday, Oct. 17.

 
It didn’t look easy to start with, but for the second half of Saturday night’s MOTUL 100% Synthetic Grand Prix on a rainy Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL, the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 and driver Bill Auberlen were in control of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Daytona (GTD) race.

 
Auberlen’s co-driver, Robby Foley, started the race from second on the class grid, but the No. 96 fell victim to the treacherous conditions on the opening lap, when Foley tangled on the frontstretch chicane with the spinning GT Le Mans (GTLM)-class BMW driven by Bruno Spengler. It dropped Foley to second-to-last in the running order, but the No. 96 was plenty fast and he began carving his way forward throughout his stint before turning the car over to Auberlen just over 30 minutes into the 100-minute race.

 
“I think at the beginning it was sort of about keeping it out of the wall, which was easier said than done at the time,” Foley said. “When we started, it was raining really, really hard. There was a lot of standing water, which our cars don’t love so much because when the water gets sort of packed up, the car hydroplanes and you sort of lose control.

 
“So, I came through NASCAR Turn 4 (of the Charlotte oval), a couple cars did it before me, I managed to hit a puddle and just lost control immediately. Basically, the start was just about trying to sort of maintain pace and not making any mistakes, which I ultimately did. After that I sort of just settled in, tried to pick off one or two cars when I could.”

 
By the time the pit-stop sequence was completed, Auberlen was up to third in the GTD class and closing fast. He made his way around Patrick Long’s No. 16 Porsche and into second place with an hour remaining in the race. With just over 45 minutes left, Auberlen sped past Mario Farnbacher’s No. 86 Acura on an oval portion of the ROVAL to take the lead.

 
Once he took over the top spot, Auberlen checked out, building an advantage of nearly 20 seconds. But it’s never easy in rainy conditions, and the race’s third and final full-course caution period when Tommy Milner’s No. 4 GTLM Corvette crashed on the frontstretch eliminated Auberlen’s lead.

 
“It was pretty much a flawless race until the very end, a yellow comes out,” Auberlen said. “And I just couldn’t believe it. It’s like your heart falls. We knew we had a good car, and I knew the guy behind me was Pat Long. I’ve raced against him for many years. And he is not afraid to put a tire on your car to get to the front. I’ve had him do it many times. I was hoping he was going to be fairly nice.”

 
The race was restarted with six minutes to go. Long made one attempt in Turn 1 just after the green flag flew, but Auberlen kept him at bay and crossed the finish line 1.497 seconds ahead. It was the second WeatherTech Championship win of the season for Auberlen and Foley – the duo also won August’s Michelin GT Challenge at VIR – and was Auberlen’s 62nd IMSA win, adding to his all-time record total.

 
“That BMW was running like a missile the whole race,” Auberlen said. “It loves that drying condition so as it’s drying a little bit, it just puts the power down so well and makes the grip. And it does everything really right.”

 
Long and co-driver Ryan Hardwick finished a season-best second in the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R. It was their third consecutive podium finish after back-to-back third-place outings.

 
The performance also moved Hardwick and Long into a tie for second in the WeatherTech Championship GTD standings with Aaron Telitz – and just four points behind the leading No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura duo of Farnbacher and Matt McMurry (200-196).

 
Ian James – who along with Auberlen were the only drivers to compete in IMSA’s last Charlotte Motor Speedway appearance back in 2000 – combined with WeatherTech Championship rookie Roman De Angelis to score a season-best third-place result in the No. 23 Heart Of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3.
Telitz – who started the race from the pole position in the No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 – and co-driver Jack Hawksworth lost a potential top-five result on the final restart. Hawksworth was called for incident responsibility with Farnbacher, who spun following contact in the frontstretch chicane coming to the final green flag. The No. 86 wound up seventh in class, one spot ahead of the No. 14.

 
It’s a quick turnaround for the WeatherTech Championship GT machines as they head directly to Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta for next Saturday’s 10-hour Motul Petit Le Mans. Live NBCSN television coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. ET.
T and T Are Dynamite: Taylor, Telitz Each Collect Second Straight Pole of Season

 
Oct. 10, 2020
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
By Mark Robinson

 
CONCORD, N.C. - Jordan Taylor and Aaron Telitz each made it back-to-back IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship pole positions in qualifying today on the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL. It remains to be seen if the GT drivers can turn it into consecutive race wins from the pole tonight.

 
Taylor put the No. 3 Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R on the overall pole for the MOTUL 100% Synthetic Grand Prix in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) qualifying session on the 10-turn, 2.32-mile road course. In GT Daytona (GTD) qualifying that preceded, Telitz pushed the No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 to the Motul Pole Award for his class.

 
The achievements marked the third pole position this season for each driver and second in a row, following the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio two weeks ago. Both cars went on to earn class victories in the race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Sept. 27.

 
Taylor laid down the best lap of one minute, 14.278 seconds (112.442 mph) with just more than a minute remaining in a disjointed GTLM session that included a red flag after the No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR-19 made wall contact exiting the infield portion of the circuit that uses nearly all of the 1.5-mile, high-banked oval.

 
Taylor’s effort was just enough to hold off Fred Makowiecki, who qualified was 0.056 seconds back in the No. 911 Porsche.

 
“It was a stressful session,” Taylor admitted. “I think everyone was kind of waiting, knowing that it was only going to take a couple of laps to really maximize the tires and then you have a small drop-off.

 
“Then the red flag came out on our first timed lap, so it was very poor timing for us. … I think no one really knew what they had going back out. I think our car performed really well, the car really came alive. It’s been good all weekend, no matter if it’s dry or wet. Whatever the race brings tonight, we should be in good shape.”

 
Taylor and co-driver Antonio Garcia are looking to expand their 17-point lead in tonight’s race (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN) over teammates Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner in the No. 4 Corvette. Bruno Spengler and Connor De Phillippi, driving the No. 25 BMW Team RLL BMW M8 GTE, qualified third and sit third in the GTLM standings, 22 points in arrears of the No. 3 Corvette.

 
Telitz won the GTD pole with a harrowing final lap of 1:17.954 (107.139 mph) that included a brush with the outside wall as he crossed the finish line. Regardless, it held up by 0.123 seconds over Robby Foley in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3.

 
As in GTLM qualifying, the GTD session included a red flag when the No. 57 Heinricher Racing with MSR Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3 clipped the wall and sustained damage.

 
“That was the toughest qualifying session I’ve had in a while with that red flag coming out halfway through and then having to go back out and try to get the Michelin tires to turn back on there,” Telitz said. “I pushed as hard as I could with all we had. I even put some love stripes down the right side of the car coming down to the checkered flag on the last lap to get pole.”

 
Telitz trails No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura drivers Mario Farnbacher and Matt McMurry by three points in the GTD standings. Jack Hawksworth, teammate of Telitz in the No. 14, is five points behind the No. 86 duo.

 
The forecast is calling for a 50 percent chance of rain tonight. It adds to the uncertainty of a race that is already unusual because it’s the shortest on the schedule (100 minutes), the first IMSA race in Charlotte in 20 years and first time ever on the current ROVAL configuration.

 
“If it’s dry, it’s going to really come down to strategy and pit stops,” Telitz said. “Passing on track is going to be tough if it’s a dry race. If Mother Nature throws us a curveball and it’s wet, I think it’s wide open.
“Either way, it’s going to put on a show.”

 
Bamber, Tandy Eager to See NASCAR Races in Person
In addition to their own race weekend, some WeatherTech Championship drivers are relishing the rare opportunity to see a pair of NASCAR races up close this weekend as IMSA shares the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL weekend. The Xfinity race precedes the MOTUL 100% Synthetic Grand Prix on Saturday, with the NASCAR Cup Series set for Sunday afternoon.

 
Porsche GT Team drivers Earl Bamber and Nick Tandy were especially keen to take in what they could of the Xfinity race from the infield and play fan for the Cup Series race.

 
“I think it’s going to be a really cool event. To join them on the support card is really, really cool,” Bamber said. “We’ll have the best seats in the house that you’re going to get, especially for the Xfinity race, and I think we’re all trying to get into the (Cup) race on Sunday to watch from the grandstand.”

 
Tandy was excited to witness a pair of NASCAR playoff elimination races in person.

 
“It’s a playoff race, the end of the group of 12, so it’s a big race for the series,” he said. “To see the haulers, to see the cars, to hear the cars on track, it’s something we’re all looking forward to.

 
“I think the last race I watched from a fan perspective was Indy in 2014, which was the last time I think that IMSA shared a weekend with NASCAR. … It’s something different and we’re looking forward to it.”

 
They’re also looking forward to showing their road-course creds in the WeatherTech Championship race. Bamber, who raced in the Cup Series race on the Daytona International Speedway road circuit in August, savored over the thought that Cup is expanding to six road-course events next season. He’s looking at his race performance tonight as an audition for future NASCAR opportunities.

 
“I’m sure for all of us it’s going to be quite a good spot to showcase what we can do,” he said.

 

Krohn lights up the ROVAL with fastest lap in
MOTUL 100% Synthetic Grand Prix opening practice

 
Oct. 9, 2020
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
CONCORD, N.C. - Improved lighting and improved conditions late in the session helped BMW Team RLL take the top two positions in opening practice for the MOTUL 100% Synthetic Grand Prix, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s first race on the ROVAL layout at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

 
Jesse Krohn laid down the fastest lap with two minutes remaining in the hour-long practice Friday night on the 2.32-mile, 10-turn road course that uses nearly all the 1.5-mile high-banked oval along with a twisting, tight infield section. Driving the No. 24 BMW Team RLL BMW M8 GTE, Krohn was clocked at one minute, 15.482 seconds (110.648 mph), edging the lap turned in seconds earlier by teammate Bruno Spengler in the No. 25 BMW. The gap between the cars was 0.069 seconds.

 
A light rain fell throughout much of the session but let up near the end. It allowed Krohn and Spengler to notch their best laps in improving conditions. Krohn was also able to run his session-leading lap without putting on a new set of Michelin tires.

 
“It was drizzling most of the session, so the track kept getting quicker for me, and also I built some confidence,” Krohn said. “The consequences are so high here if you make a mistake, so I was slowly building up to it. Towards the end, the rain dialed down so then I was able to get a good lap in.

 
“Overall, a very positive session and it’s good to see that we’re P1 even without putting new tires (on) at the end.”

 
Krohn also credited IMSA for making changes to lighting around the circuit following a test at the track in Concord, North Carolina, last month. Then, the infield portion had no lighting and the contrast with the full lighting around the oval concerned drivers. IMSA worked with Charlotte Motor Speedway officials to get lights added to the infield portion this weekend and tone down some of the oval lights to achieve a better overall balance.

 
“That really made a difference,” Krohn said. “I think it made the session safer and more comfortable for everyone.”

 
This weekend’s WeatherTech Championship race is only for the GT classes, and the competition remains fierce. Led by Krohn, the six cars in GT Le Mans (GTLM) were separated by just 0.359 seconds in Friday’s practice.

 
The No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3 leads the season standings in GT Daytona (GTD), and Mario Farnbacher put the car atop the GTD time chart in Friday practice with a lap of 1:17.682 (107.514 mph). It was, however, just 0.046 seconds quicker than the No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 with Jack Hawksworth at the wheel.

 
Farnbacher and teammate Matt McMurry lead Hawksworth’s co-driver, Aaron Telitz, by three points in the GTD standings. Hawksworth is five points out of first place.

 
The remaining WeatherTech Championship action at Charlotte takes place on Saturday. A final practice runs from 9:45-11 a.m. ET, with qualifying at 2 p.m. (live stream on IMSA.com) and the 100-minute race airing live at 8 p.m. on NBCSN.
 
‘Awesome Good’ Lap Puts Kingsley on Pole for First St. Pete Race
in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama

 
Oct. 23, 2020
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Jeff Kingsley warned how difficult the tight Grand Prix of St. Petersburg street course is heading into the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama weekend, but the series points leader made it look easy in qualifying for the first of two races.

 
Kingsley strung together three successively faster laps early in the 15-minute session Friday afternoon, the best topping out at an impressive 1 minute, 14.976 seconds (86.427 mph) on the 14-turn, 1.8-mile temporary circuit. It put the No. 16 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car on the pole with nearly a half-second to spare on the field.

 
“It’s definitely not easy. It may have looked like it but definitely not,” Kingsley said, adding he was surprised by his pole-winning time following just a pair of practices earlier in the day.

 
“I didn’t even feel like we were that quick,” he said. “The team wasn’t saying much on the radio, so I assumed maybe we were OK, otherwise they’d tell me to get my act together. Awesome good. It was a bit quicker than I would’ve thought but the track’s cooling off. I’m learning every single lap, so I’m definitely not complaining.”

 
Kingsley will start first for the seventh time this season in Saturday’s 45-minute race (1:55 p.m. ET, live stream on IMSA.com). The second race of the St. Pete weekend rolls off at 12:40 p.m. Sunday.

 
TJ Fischer, who made his season debut last week in the tripleheader at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, ran a strong second in qualifying, with a lap of 1:15.451 (85.883 mph) in the No. 58 Topp Racing Porsche. Riley Dickinson, who trails Kingsley by 25 points in the standings, qualified third in the No. 53 Moorespeed Porsche at 1:15.542 (85.780 mph).

 
It was a tough day for Alan Metni, leader of the Platinum Masters class for drivers 45 and older. Metni had incidents in both practices that damaged his No. 99 Kelly-Moss/AM Motorsports Porsche and he didn’t participate in the qualifying session.

 
Efrin Castro was fastest in Gold Cup for Porsche GT3 Cup cars built between 2014 and 2016. He turned a best lap of 1:17.644 (83.617 mph) in the No. 65 TPC Racing Porsche. Castro trails Gold Cup points leader Curt Swearingin by 18 points with four races remaining – two this weekend and two at the final round Nov. 12-14 at Sebring International Raceway.

 
“I love these street tracks,” Castro said. “This is the first one that I’ve been to, and I just love the risk that we have to take to go fast. It makes me want to push harder. I’m up to the challenge and it’s working out for me. These are the type of courses that I like – high-risk, fast courses.”

 

 

Entry List Notebook – Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship

 
Oct. 21, 2020
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca
Monterey, Calif.
Oct. 30 – Nov. 1, 2020
 
Fast Facts:
Race Day/Time: Sunday, November 1 – 4:05 p.m. ET
TV Broadcast on NBCSN: Same day delay at 6:30 p.m. ET
TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold Coverage: LIVE – Flag-to-flag beginning at 4 p.m. ET
IMSA.com/TV Live Qualifying Stream: Sunday, November 1 – 11:25 a.m.
IMSA Radio: All sessions live on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com; SiriusXM live race coverage begins Sunday at 4 p.m. (Sirius channel 217, XM 202, Internet 972)
Circuit Type: 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course
Race Length: Two hours, 40 minutes
Track Social Media: Twitter/Instagram/Facebook: @WeatherTechRcwy
Event Hashtags: #IMSA, #IMSAMonterey

 
 
WeatherTech Championship Track Records
Qualifying:
DPi:       Ricky Taylor, Acura DPi, 1:15.035 / 107.373 mph, September 2019
LMP2:  Kyle Masson, ORECA LMP2, 1:16.817 / 104.882 mph, September 2019
GTLM:  Jesse Krohn BMW M8 GTE, 1:21.557 / 98.787 mph, September 2019
GTD:     Katherine Legge, Acura NSX GT3, 1:24.456 / 95.396 mph, September 2018
 
2019 Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship Winners:
DPi:       Juan Pablo Montoya/Dane Cameron, No. 6 Acura Team Penske Acura DPi
LMP2:  Matt McMurry/Dalton Kellett, No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2
GTLM:  Joey Hand/Dirk Mueller, No. 66 Ford Chip Ganassi Ford Racing GT
GTD:     Bryan Sellers/Corey Lewis, No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3

 
Storylines
·        Homestretch Run, Different Finish Line: Four the fourth straight year, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca plays host to the penultimate race on the WeatherTech Championship schedule. In the past three seasons, the WeatherTech Raceway event has preceded the season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. In this pandemic-influenced year of 2020, however, the schedule has been reshuffled and the season finale will be the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts at Sebring International Raceway on Nov. 14.
·        DPi Points Battles Rages On: The Daytona Prototype international (DPi) championship is still up for grabs with two races remaining. Renger van der Zande and Ryan Briscoe pushed their lead in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R to eight points following a surprise win in Saturday’s Motul Petit Le Mans. Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor (No. 7 Acura Team Penske Acura ARX-05 DPi) are second in the standings, four points ahead of Pipo Derani, who shares the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac with Felipe Nasr. A late collision between Taylor and Derani opened the door for van der Zande to win the Motul Petit Le Mans and stoked emotions heading to WeatherTech Raceway.
·        GTD Championship Wide Open: There’s a new points leader atop the WeatherTech Championship GT Daytona (GTD) standings coming into the Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship. Aaron Telitz has split time between AIM Vasser Sullivan’s two Lexus entries in 2020. He has a two-point lead over Jack Hawksworth, with whom he’s sharing the No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 the rest of the season. Hovering just two points behind Hawksworth are No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche GT3R drivers Patrick Long and Ryan Hardwick. In fourth place, seven points from the lead, are last year’s GTD champion Mario Farnbacher and No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3 co-driver Matt McMurry.
·        Sprint Cup Finale: The IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup, consisting of the seven GTD non-endurance races, wraps up with the WeatherTech Raceway event. Holding a sizable 19-point advantage that includes three wins, No. 14 Lexus drivers Hawksworth and Telitz will clinch the Sprint Cup by starting the race on Nov. 1.
·        Clinchers for LMP2, GTLM? The driver titles in the Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) and GT Le Mans (GTLM) classes could be decided at WeatherTech Raceway. In LMP2, Patrick Kelly (No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2 07) has a 34-point lead over Dwight Merriman and Kyle Tilley, who currently are not slated to race. In GTLM, Antonio Garcia and Ricky Taylor (No. 3 Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R) hold a 28-point advantage over teammates Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner (No. 4 Corvette). If Garcia and Taylor add seven points to the gap, they will clinch the crown.
 
Who’s Hot?
·        No. 7 Acura Team Penske: Despite the controversial collision near the end of the Motul Petit Le Mans, Taylor salvaged a second-place finish that came on the heels of three straight wins for him and Castroneves. Their teammates, Dane Cameron and Juan Pablo Montoya in the No. 6 Acura, won last year’s event at WeatherTech Raceway on their way to the championship. A win for Taylor and Castroneves could put them in position to do the same and provide Team Penske an appropriate swansong as it exits DPi competition after this season.
·        WeatherTech, WeatherTech, WeatherTech: Cooper MacNeil and Alessandro Balzan (along with Jeff Westphal) are fresh off a GTD win at Motul Petit Le Mans in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3, and the stars couldn’t seem to be better aligned in the Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship. MacNeil and Balzan will drive in the WeatherTech-sponsored car, at the WeatherTech-named track, in the WeatherTech-sponsored series. Also, Balzan won in a Ferrari at WeatherTech Raceway along with Christina Nielsen in 2017.
·        Corvette Racing: The class-leading No. 3 of Jordan Taylor and Antonio Garcia has finished first or second in five of the past six GTLM races. That string might be in jeopardy, however. While the team has more wins (7) at WeatherTech Raceway than any other, Corvette Racing hasn’t been victorious at the track since 2014.
 
Who’s Good Here?
·        Patrick Long and Oliver Gavin: Long is the leader among entered drivers in past wins at WeatherTech Raceway with five. Gavin is second with four. However, Long hasn’t been victorious at the track in nine years, Gavin in eight.
·        BMW Team RLL: With three GTLM wins in the past five WeatherTech Raceway events, Team RLL must be considered a favorite. There’s likely extra incentive, since what looked like a certain victory at Saturday’s Motul Petit Le Mans slipped away when the No. 24 BMW had an off-track excursion while leading in the final hour and wound up third.

 
Previous Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship Winners in 2020 Field (22)
Patrick Long (5) – ALMS GT2 – 2005, 2009; DP – 2007; ALMS GT – 2010, 2011
Oliver Gavin (4) – ALMS GT1 – 2005, 2007, 2008; ALMS GT – 2012
Dane Cameron (3) – GT – 2012; GTD – 2014; DPi – 2019
Antonio Garcia (3) – DP – 2012; ALMS GT – 2013; GTLM – 2014
John Edwards (2) – GTLM – 2015, 2017
Andy Lally (2) – GT – 2007, 2013
Tommy Milner (2) – GT – 2005; ALMS GT – 2012
Spencer Pumpelly (2) – ALMS GT – 2011; GTD – 2015
Renger van der Zande (2) – PC – 2014; P – 2017
Bill Auberlen (1) – ALMS GT – 2005
Alessandro Balzan (1) – GTD – 2017
Ryan Briscoe (1) – GTLM – 2016
Connor De Phillippi (1) – GTLM – 2018
Pipo Derani (1) – P – 2018   
Mario Farnbacher (1) – GTD – 2016
Matt McMurry (1) – LMP2 – 2019
Juan Pablo Montoya (1) – DPi/Overall – 2019
Alvaro Parente (1) – GTD – 2018
John Potter (1) – GT – 2013
Bryan Sellers (1) – GTD – 2019
Jordan Taylor (1) – DP – 2013
Nick Tandy (1) – ALMS GTC – 2013

 
Previous Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship Winning Pole Winners in 2020 Field (15)
Ricky Taylor (3) – DP – 2011; P – 2017; DPi – 2019
Jordan Taylor (2) – P – 2015, 2018
John Edwards (1) – GT – 2013
Oliver Gavin (1) – GTLM – 2018
Jesse Krohn (1) – GTLM – 2019
Patrick Long (1) – DP 2006
Spencer Pumpelly (1) – GTD – 2014

 
Previous Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship Winning Teams in 2020 Field (12)
Corvette Racing (7) – ALMS GTS – 2004; ALMS GT1 – 2005, 2007, 2008; ALMS GT – 2012, 2013; GTLM – 2014
Acura Team Penske (4) – ALMS P2 – 2005, 2006, 2007; DPi – 2019
BMW Team RLL (3) – GTLM – 2015, 2017, 2018
PR1-Mathiasen Motorsports (3) – ALMS PC – 2013; PC – 2016; LMP2 – 2019
Meyer Shank Racing (2) – P – 2016; GTD – 2018
Wayne Taylor Racing (2) – DP – 2006, 2013
CORE autosport/Porsche GT Team (1) – ALMS PC – 2012
GRT Magnus (1) – GT – 2013
Paul Miller Racing (1) – GTD – 2019
Scuderia Corsa (1) – GTD – 2017
Turner Motorsport (1) – GTD 2014

 
Previous Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship Winning Manufacturers in 2020 Field (10)
Porsche – 18
Chevrolet – 11
BMW – 9
Audi – 8
Ferrari – 6
Acura – 5
Mazda – 3
Aston Martin – 2
Lamborghini – 1
Lexus – 1
Three Takeaways: Motul Petit Le Mans

 
Oct. 19, 2020
By David Phillips
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - With all due respect to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Rolex 24 At Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts, at 10 hours the Motul Petit Le Mans may be the ideal length for a sports car endurance race. Surely long enough to be worthy of the term “endurance,” by the same token it’s brief enough for the committed fan to watch from start to finish without ingesting a gallon of coffee only to “crash” within moments of the checkered flag.
 
And if history is any barometer, those watching the race on television or spectating at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta will be party to a dramatic finish – witness the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac taking the overall win this year after Pipo Derani and Ricky Taylor came together while battling for first place with a dozen or so minutes remaining Saturday night. Or, for that matter, last year when the leading Mercedes-AMG ran out of fuel on the final lap just as Bill Auberlen sped past in his BMW to win the GT Daytona (GTD) class. Or when the podium was determined on the final lap a few minutes after the Mustang Sampling Cadillac suffered mechanical problems and handed the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class and overall win to the Whelen Engineering Cadillac.
 
Last Team with the Ball Wins
 
Not unlike a run-and-gun basketball game or a football shootout between gunslinger quarterbacks where the last team to possess the ball wins, it appears the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi and GTD class championships will go down to the last lap of the last race of the season, namely the 12-hour Sebring enduro. Every race sees a different cast of characters on the podium and produces a shakeup in the pecking order in those class championship standings, even as the points differential between the major players tightens like a boa constrictor.
 
The post-Motul Petit Le Mans DPi standings show No. 10 Konica Minolta’s Ryan Briscoe and Renger van der Zande just eight points clear of No. 7 Penske Acura’s Taylor and Helio Castroneves with No. 31 Whelen Engineering’s Derani 12 markers out of the lead. The GTD class standings have Aaron Telitz two points ahead of No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus teammate Jack Hawksworth, and No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche’s Patrick Long and Ryan Hardwick another two points back. Meanwhile, Mario Farnbacher and Matt McMurry in the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura are now seven points out of first spot, having led the points coming to Michelin Raceway.
 
Spoiler Alert
 
Saturday’s Motul Petit Le Mans saw the GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GTD class wins go to a pair of teams and manufacturers that are non-factors in their respective season championships, albeit for different reasons.
 
Running a limited WeatherTech Championship GTD schedule, the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari of Cooper MacNeil, Jeff Westphal and Alessandro Balzan scored its first win of the season. Westphal moved to the lead in the opening laps and the WeatherTech Ferrari 488 GT3 stayed at or near the front for the next 10 hours, despite contact with the Mazda DPi entries on a couple occasions. Still, it took a determined overtaking maneuver by Westphal in the final hour to secure the win as he out-braked Hawksworth’s Lexus to grab a lead he would hold to the finish. 
 
On the other hand, the Porsche GT Team has faced a snake-bitten season in defense of its 2019 GTLM title. The worm turned Saturday when the second-placed Nick Tandy, Fred Makowiecki and Matt Campbell No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR inherited first place after the class-leading BMW of Augusto Farfus was forced off the road while being lapped by a DPi competitor. Although the Antonio Garcia’s No. 3 Corvette closed within striking distance in the closing laps, an incident between the GTD No. 12 Lexus of Townsend Bell and (ironically) the No. 912 Porsche of Laurens Vanthoor meant the race ended under yellow and insured Porsche’s first win of the season.
 
More than Meets the Eye
 
September’s TireRack.com Grand Prix at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, a six-hour race, saw PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports’ Patrick Kelly, Simon Trummer and Scott Huffaker take the Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) class win by a sizable 32 laps. Fast forward to the Motul Petit Le Mans, where Tower Motorsports by Starworks’ winning margin was a hefty, if marginally less comfortable, seven laps.
 
Any parallels between the two races begin and end there. Saturday’s LMP2 contest was anything but a walk for No. 8 Tower drivers John Farano, Mikkel Jensen and Job van Uitert. For at least the first nine hours, they were engaged in a battle with the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen entry. Unfortunately, Trummer’s off-course excursion in the final hour sent the No. 52 ORECA to the pits to effect repairs, paving the way for the win for the No. 8 – but not before the LMP2 class competitors had given a good account of themselves.
Dickinson Holds off Late Challenges to Win Opener of
Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Tripleheader

 
Oct. 16, 2020
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
BRASELTON, Ga. – Riley Dickinson saw his championship hopes directly in his mirror and didn’t blink. The Texan held off Jeff Kingsley on a pair of late restarts to win this morning’s first race of a Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama tripleheader at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

 
Starting from the pole position in the No. 53 Moorespeed Porsche 911 GT3 Cup machine, Dickinson built a comfortable lead in the first half of the 45-minute race. Kingsley, meanwhile, quickly maneuvered his No. 16 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche from fourth to second. Dickinson maintained a lead of about three seconds until two full-course cautions in the final 22 minutes bunched the field behind the pace car.

 
Dickinson held strong on both restarts with Kingsley directly on his bumper and prevailed by 0.435 seconds for his third win of the 2020 season.

 
“I feel like it was a great race on my end and Moorespeed’s as well,” Dickinson said. “They delivered me a great car once again. I put in the best performance I could. Ultimately, with a couple late-race cautions, it definitely tested it a little bit, but at the end of the day, we got it done. We have two more left in the weekend and we’ll just keep on focusing on those.”

 
Sebastian Carazo, Kingsley’s Kelly-Moss teammate in the No. 27 Porsche, completed a successful pass on Sean McAlister (No. 11 JDX Racing Porsche) on the final restart to finish third.

 
With the victory, Dickinson trimmed his deficit to Kingsley to 19 points in the GT3 Cup Challenge Platinum Cup class standings for current-generation 911 models. With two races remaining this weekend at Michelin Raceway and six total the rest of the season, he retains championship hopes.

 
“All the races are important in the entire season,” Dickinson said. “We had a little bit of struggles earlier in the year, but right now, it’s just focusing on what we’ve got to do. Whatever happens with anyone else, that’s up to them. We’ve got to focus on what we’re doing.”

 
In the Platinum Masters class for drivers at least 45 years of age, Charlie Luck collected his first win of the season in the No. 45 Wright Motorsports Porsche, holding off runaway points leader Alan Metni in the No. 99 Kelly-Moss AM Motorsports entry by 0.789 seconds. Metni had won eight of the first nine races this season.

 
“I can’t tell you how happy I am,” Luck said. “It’s been a long spell, and Alan’s done such a good job with his development and we’ve been working so hard. Damn, it feels so good! That was just super racing.

 
“You know, that’s what we come to do. We come to push each other hard, race clean and get the job done. It’s just so rewarding when all that comes together, so I just couldn’t be more thrilled for the whole team and for everybody that’s a part of this. It’s just, so, so sweet.”

 
In the Gold Cup class for 911 GT3 Cup cars built between 2014 and 2016, honors went to Efrin Castro, whose No. 65 TPC Racing Porsche crossed the finish line 0.781 seconds ahead of Curt Swearingin in the No. 17 ACI Motorsports entry. It was Castro’s fourth class win of the season and moved him within 10 points of Swearingin atop the Gold standings.

 
“I just had to keep my head in the game and do just turn by turn,” Castro said. “I’m just glad that we came up with the win. It was a bit hard because the track was very cold this morning, but I’m just glad that we came out with the win. Now, we go on to Race 2 and my main focus is Race 2 now.”

 
Joseph Lombardo, driver of the No. 92 Wright Motorsports Porsche, earned the Yokohama Hard Charger Award. The race was also memorable for David Baker, who made his 99th career GT3 Cup Challenge start this morning and will make his 100th this afternoon in the aptly numbered No. 100 Topp Racing Porsche.

 
Race 2 starts at 1:55 p.m. ET this afternoon, with the final race of the weekend at 10 a.m. Saturday. Both races will stream live on IMSA.com.
IMSA One-Make and Challenge Series – Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta Thursday Notebook

 
Oct. 15, 2020
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
McQuarrie Avoids Drama to Put No. 39 Audi on Michelin Pilot Challenge Pole

 
Qualifying to set the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge grid for Friday’s Fox Factory 120 was straightforward Thursday evening at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. The drama occurred a day earlier.

 
A brake failure on the No. 20 M1 Racing McLaren 570S GT4 during a test session Wednesday on the 12-turn, 2.54-mile road course sent driver Ryan Nash’s car careening off track and into a wooded area. Fortunately, Nash was unhurt, but the McLaren sustained extensive damage and was not repairable.

 
Determined to compete this weekend, M1 Racing acquired use of a Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport from Archangel Racing. The Porsche still carried the neon yellow Archangel livery but was rebranded as the No. 20 M1 Racing entry. Nash qualified the car 19th in the Grand Sport (GS) class on Thursday.

 
Archangel, meanwhile, opted to make an early change to its new Aston Martin Vantage GT4 this weekend, with Alan Brynjolfsson qualifying the No. 7 fifth.

 
Pole position went to Tyler McQuarrie in a runaway. Driving the No. 39 CarBahn with Peregrine racing Audi R8 GT4, McQuarrie fashioned a fast lap of 1 minute, 25.921 seconds (106.423 mph) to secure the pole by more than three-quarters of a second over Robby Foley in the No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT4.

 
The Touring Car (TCR) class saw a frantic finish to its qualifying session following a red-flag stoppage midway through. At the conclusion, the top four cars were separated by a mere 0.067 seconds, with the No. 84 Atlanta Speedwerks Honda Civic of Todd Lamb barely beating out a trio of Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian Hyundai Veloster Ns.

 
Lamb’s late lap of 1:28.887 (102.871 mph) took top honors, just ahead of Mason Filippi in the No. 98 BHA Veloster, Mark Wilkins in the No. 21 BHA entry and Ryan Norman in the No. 33 BHA car.

 
Friday’s two-hour race begins at 3:35 p.m. ET. The live broadcast airs live on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.

 
Points Leaders Will Start from Pole in Prototype Championship Finale

 
Naveen Rao put himself and teammate Matthew Bell in prime position to wrap up the IMSA Prototype Challenge championship, claiming the pole in qualifying Thursday for the season finale.

 
Rao logged a lap of 1 minute, 17.898 seconds (117.383 mph) with four minutes left in the 15-minute qualifying session and held on for the top spot in the No. 64 K2R Motorsports Norma M30. Teammate Steven Thomas made Rao sweat, turning a lap within 0.09 seconds in the No. 11 Norma to lock up the front row for K2R Motorsports.

 
Rao and Bell hold a six-point lead over Dakota Dickerson in the Prototype Challenge standings going into Friday’s three-hour race. Dom Cicero, Dickerson’s co-driver in the No. 54 MLT Motorsports Ligier JS P3, qualified the car fourth on the grid. Rao and Bell will clinch the championship with a podium finish.

 
The race starts at 9:10 a.m. ET Friday and streams live on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.

 
Dickinson Rolls to Pole Position in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama Qualifying

 
For the third straight event, Riley Dickinson led Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama qualifying and will start from the pole position in the first of three races this weekend at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

 
Dickinson posted a lap of 1 minute, 23.427 seconds (109.604 mph) in the No. 53 Moorespeed Porsche 991 to edge Sean McAlister in the No. 11 JDX Racing Porsche by 0.019 seconds. Sebastian Carazo qualified third in the No. 27 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche.

 
Heading into the tripleheader, Dickinson trails No. 16 Kelly-Moss driver Jeff Kingsley by 22 points in the driver standings.

 
Efrin Castro led Gold class qualifying with a best lap of 1:25.457 (107.000 mph) in the No. 65 TPC Racing Porsche.

 
The GT3 Cup Challenge races are scheduled for 8 a.m. and 1:55 p.m. ET Friday, and at 10 a.m. Saturday. Each race streams live on IMSA.com.

 
Andretti Autosport Announces Prototype Challenge Entry for Jarett Andretti in 2021

 
The legendary Andretti name is returning to sports-car racing in 2021. Andretti Autosport announced it will field a Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3) entry in the IMSA Prototype Challenge with Jarett Andretti driving.

 
Retired IndyCar great Michael Andretti – the son of racing legend and three-time Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring winner Mario Andretti – is chairman and CEO of Andretti Autosport, which has fielded winning teams in IndyCars, Formula E, rallycross and more. Jarett Andretti is the son of the late John Andretti, Mario’s nephew and a winning driver in IndyCar, NASCAR and drag racing. Jarett Andretti just finished a championship-winning season in the Pirelli GT4 America SprintX series.

 
“To say I’m excited to be joining IMSA and the Prototype Challenge for 2021 would be an understatement,” Jarett Andretti said. “In December of last year, Dad and I had many discussions about series we should grow into for 2021, and he felt strongly about the LMP3 cars and that it would be great for my development as well as our sponsors. We set that goal to move to Prototype racing and have been lucky to have a great partner, Gallant, join the team this year as an associate and then grow into a primary sponsor for 2021 and beyond.”

 
Andretti Autosport will race a new Ligier JS P320 in the six-race Prototype Challenge, which will feature classes for new-specification and 2020 spec LMP3s in the 2021 season.

 
“We are very happy to have Jarett join the IMSA Prototype Challenge for 2021,” Michael Andretti said. “He has shown impressive talent with the GT4 series and we can’t wait to see what he can do in the LMP3 cars.”
 

 

Objects in Mirror May Be Closer than They Appear in GTD Battle


 
Oct. 14, 2020
By David Phillips
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Caution: Objects in mirror may be closer than they appear. So should be the mantra for competitors atop the GT Daytona (GTD) standings in the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
 
While the likes of manufacturers Acura and Lexus, teams Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian and AIM Vasser Sullivan, and drivers Mario Farnbacher, Matt McMurry, Aaron Telitz and Jack Hawksworth have been slugging it out in the points and on the racetrack throughout the season, they would do well to keep an eye on the Turner Motorsport BMW.
 
Piloted by Bill Auberlen, Robby Foley and, in this weekend’s Motul Petit Le Mans, Dillon Machavern, the No. 96 Turner BMW M6 GT3 has not played a featured role in the championship battle. Auberlen and Foley have, however, won two of the past four races. While they sit sixth in the driver standings, 18 points out of first, there’s a sense of momentum in the No. 96 camp.
 
What’s more, this weekend sees them return to Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta as defending Motul Petit Le Mans champions, having scored one of the most memorable wins in GTD history a year ago.
 
While the Turner team still faces a mountain to climb to challenge for GTD hardware this season, that mountain became less steep last week at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s ROVAL when Auberlen and Foley won the MOTUL 100% Synthetic Grand Prix as the championship leaders finished well down the order.
 
“Honestly, going into Charlotte I didn’t think we had a shot at winning,” said team owner Will Turner. “It’s a track that is unforgiving, not a lot of space to pass, and we just wanted to survive. I never would have thought we’d only be 18 points back after Charlotte.
 
“The success at Charlotte has turned it around. With just three races left, 18 points is a lot to make up but we’re sniffing around, right? Don’t count us out. We’re a longshot but we’re gonna do what we always do, which is do our best and hope it shakes out well.” 
 
A key factor in the Turner surge has been Foley’s performance. In his second season with the team (and third full season of racing), the 23-year-old is rapidly adding to his driving data bank. In addition to his GTD duties all season with Auberlen, Foley is campaigning in both of Turner’s BMW M4 GT4s in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge.
 
“The GS and the GTD cars don’t always translate directly,” Foley said. “They’re very different to drive and you’re going a lot faster in one than the other, but it helps to gain track knowledge. Yes, I’m reasonably experienced but I’ve only been racing at this level for two or three years, and every lap helps anytime you can get behind the wheel of a race car. With the schedule the way it is this year, now we’re racing nearly every weekend, so it’s good to stay active.”  
  
Few have been more “active” over the years than Auberlen, who turned 52 on Tuesday. As has been well documented, Auberlen supplanted Scott Pruett as IMSA’s winningest driver when he took his 61st checkered flag at VIRginia International Raceway in August.
 
“There’s no substitute for mileage in a race car,” Auberlen said. “It’s all developing the library, as I call it. Every experience – when that tire goes off, the fuel load burns off, the track changes, or the temperature goes up or down, you’re putting all this information in (your head) for the next time you run across it. So over the years I come up to a situation and say, ‘Yep, I remember that from six years ago and this is what I need to do.’ So you minimize your mistakes and maximize every tenth of a second on every lap you’re out there.”
 
Auberlen applied all that knowledge when he battled with the Mercedes-AMG of Felipe Fraga and the Audi of Christopher Mies for lap after lap in the closing stages of the 2019 Motul Petit Le Mans. Auberlen took the win when the Mercedes ran out of fuel midway through the final lap and fended off Mies’ last-ditch overtaking maneuver a couple turns from the finish. 
 
“I’ve been racing since I was 17,” he said, “and I’ve had a lot of great races. Petit Le Mans last year ... it was my birthday, we were battling for second in the championship and we’re battling Fraga and the Audi behind me for the lead of this race for hours. When I crossed the finish line, it was one of the most exciting moments of my career. To be on the top step of that podium was one of the highlights of my career. I loved it so much.”
 
While Auberlen can’t promise a repeat Saturday evening, he guaranteed they will make every effort to get there. And at endurance grinds like the Motul Petit Le Mans, effort often equals results.
 
“It’s such a long race but know this: We will fight and never give up,” Auberlen emphasized. “Petit Le Mans and Sebring are similar in that, even if you don’t have the fastest car, you can will your way to the front.
 
“You grind for every tenth of a second, and you race that guy. You race that guy until he falls off the track, makes a mistake or runs out of gas, and you try to get on that podium and gain every point you can. And sometimes miracles happen.”
 
Motul Petit Le Mans action begins with practices at 11:15 a.m., 3:45 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. ET Thursday, followed by qualifying at 12:30 p.m. Friday. Each of those sessions will stream live on IMSA.com.
 
Live coverage of the race is available on NBCSN from 12:30-6:30 p.m. Saturday, switching to NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports App and TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold from 6:30-9:30 p.m., and returning to NBCSN for the dramatic conclusion from 9:30-11 p.m.
Mazda MX-5 Cup to be Sanctioned by IMSA Starting in 2021
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 15, 2020) - The close and competitive racing that has become a hallmark of Global Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires® competition is headed for a new sanctioning home and some of North America’s most prestigious road racing event weekends in 2021.

 
After careful evaluation, Mazda Motorsports has selected the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) as the sanctioning body partner for the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Series. The championship is set to celebrate its 15th season in 2021.
 
“For Mazda, our core mission is to uplift people, and one of the ways we do that is through motorsports,” Director of Mazda Motorsports Nelson Cosgrove said. “Our long-term alliance with IMSA has proven we share enthusiasm for sportscar racing and commitment to uplift our teams and fans. Adding the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Series to the IMSA event schedule will allow those fans to gain a deeper understanding of the brand.”

 
The Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Series is the signature spec series for the Mazda Road to 24 (#MRT24). Mazda-powered grassroots champions earn a Mazda scholarship to advance their career. The Global Mazda MX-5 Cup champion earns a $200,000 scholarship.
 
The integration of Global Mazda MX-5 Cup into the IMSA events promises to provide race fans with the opportunity to see the Mazda Road to 24 in action. The first opportunity to do that will be as part of 59th Rolex 24 At Daytona event weekend that opens the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season on Jan. 28-31, 2021.

 
The 2021 Global Mazda MX-5 Cup season will end as part of another iconic endurance racing weekend, at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta alongside the WeatherTech Championship’s annual Motul Petit Le Mans on Oct. 6-9. The complete 2021 Global MX-5 Cup schedule will be unveiled in the near future.
 
“One of the key ideals on which IMSA was founded upon over five decades ago is having a platform of various race series that allows passionate and aspiring drivers, mechanics, engineers and race teams the opportunity to enter the highest levels of sports car racing in a cost-effective manner,” said IMSA President John Doonan. “There is no question that the Global MX-5 Cup Championship aligns with that primary IMSA goal. 

 
“The nonstop racing action in MX-5 Cup is some of the most exciting anywhere in the world and is a tremendous steppingstone for the next generation of sports car racing talent. Based on the significant value for partners and manufacturers on site or during race broadcasts, MX-5 Cup and IMSA provide a perfect venue to grow brands, entertain clients and guests, and realize massive return on investment.”
 
Andersen Promotions, which grew its operations to manage the championship on behalf of Mazda starting with the 2017 season, has also reached an extended agreement to continue to oversee the one-make category.

 
The weekend format will continue to feature two practice sessions, a qualifying session and then two races. No major changes to the rulebook are expected at this time. 
 
Ahead of the move to IMSA sanctioning in 2021, the 2020 season is set for another thrilling championship showdown with a double-header season finale weekend set to take place as part of the St. Pete GP in St. Petersburg, FL (October 23-25).
 
About The Global Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires:
The Global Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires is the signature spec series for the Mazda Road to 24 (#MRT24). Mazda-powered grassroots champions earn a Mazda scholarship to advance their career. The Global Mazda MX-5 Cup champion earns a $200,000 scholarship.
DPi Leaders Bring in Championship-caliber Driving Help for Motul Petit Le Mans

 
Oct. 13, 2020
By John Oreovicz
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Renger van der Zande and Ryan Briscoe lead a hotly contested championship battle in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class. They’ve again enlisted the help of a driver embroiled in his own championship fight to further their cause in this week’s Motul Petit Le Mans.

 
Joining van der Zande and Briscoe in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R for Saturday’s 10-hour endurance event at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta is open-wheel racing star Scott Dixon, who’ll seek his sixth IndyCar championship a week later in St. Petersburg, Florida.

 
In the meantime, Dixon is ready to moonlight in sports cars, eager to help Briscoe and van der Zande in their quest to earn the WeatherTech Championship title. Dixon and Kamui Kobayashi shared driving duties with van der Zande and Briscoe when the No. 10 Cadillac won the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona.

 
“I’m excited to be back in the car,” Dixon said. “This has been a crazy year, and Daytona was the last race that felt somewhat normal, especially with all the victory celebrations and things like that. It’s great to see that the No. 10 team is still leading the championship, just the way it started off. Hopefully I can add to the championship fight, keeping it clean and helping these guys go on to another victory.”

 
Although Dixon’s year-long concentration has been on the IndyCar championship, this weekend’s outing is actually providing a bit of respite from his normal competition.
The last few races have not gone well for the New Zealander, as Josef Newgarden has closed the gap in the points race.

 
“It’s pretty nice, actually,” Dixon said. “The IndyCar championship was looking fairly easy there for a while, and through mistakes by myself and the team, we’ve made it a little bit tougher. It’s kind of nice to focus on something else and take your mind away from it, especially when you’ve got a lot of down time going into the IndyCar final race.”

 
The top five teams vying for the DPi championship are separated by just nine points heading to Michelin Raceway, with the No. 10 three points up on the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac. The No. 7 Acura Team Penske pairing of Ricky Taylor and Helio Castroneves has come on particularly strong of late, winning the last three WeatherTech Championship races.

 
Taylor and Castroneves rank third in the standings, five points behind the leaders, and will have another IndyCar standout, Alexander Rossi, as their third driver this weekend.

 
“It’s definitely exciting, and it’s anyone’s title at the moment,” Briscoe observed. “I’d prefer if we were just running away with it, but the competition has just been so good. We’re definitely pushing very hard to try to finish out the season with some wins, and we’re hoping our strong point is in the long-distance races.”

 
Wayne Taylor Racing is looking to win Motul Petit Le Mans for the third time. Van der Zande shared the winning car in 2018 with Jordan Taylor and Ryan Hunter-Reay.

 
Hunter-Reay will co-drive the No. 55 Mazda Motorsports DPi this weekend with Harry Tincknell and Jonathan Bomarito, while Taylor is looking for his third consecutive GT Le Mans (GTLM) win this season for Corvette Racing. Tincknell and Bomarito rank fourth in the DPi standings, eight points behind van der Zande and Briscoe. Sebastien Bourdais is nine points back and heads an all-French trio driving the No. 5 Mustang Sampling/JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac this weekend with Tristan Vautier and Loic Duval.

 
Van der Zande says it will be difficult to balance aggression and caution over the final three events of the 2020 campaign. While consistency has put the No. 10 team atop the standings, the Dutchman knows that a conservative approach doesn’t always pay off.

 
“It’s the tightest championship, I would say, ever in IMSA,” he said. “That’s really cool. I think the team is really focused on doing well and trying to make the most out of the situation. I think consistency is key, and podiums make a big difference in points. So being on the podium is the first goal. If you take crazy risks for a win, maybe that’s not worth it. But on the other hand, winning is so nice!”

 
“With three races to go, we need to be smart still, and see where we stand going into the final race,” Briscoe added. “It will be clearer who you’re racing in the points, and where you have to finish. The one thing we need to watch is putting a stop to that No. 7 car, because they’re really making a big comeback in the points.”

 
Motul Petit Le Mans action begins with practices at 11:15 a.m., 3:45 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. ET Thursday, followed by qualifying at 12:30 p.m. Friday. Each of those sessions will stream live on IMSA.com.

 
Live coverage of the race is available on NBCSN from 12:30-6:30 p.m. Saturday, switching to TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold from 6:30-9:30 p.m., and returning to NBCSN for the dramatic conclusion from 9:30-11 p.m.
Entry List Notebook – IMSA Prototype Challenge at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta

 
Oct. 13, 2020
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – One IMSA championship will be determined this weekend during Motul Petit Le Mans activities at Michelin Raceway Road America, when the IMSA Prototype Challenge conducts the finale of its six-race season.

 
Fourteen cars are entered in the Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3) race, but it’s essentially a two-horse chase for the title. The No. 64 K2R Motorsports Norma M30, driven by Naveen Rao and Matthew Bell, holds a six-point lead over Dakota Dickerson, who’s sharing the No. 54 MLT Motorsports Ligier JS P3 this weekend with Dom Cicero.

 
A podium finish by the No. 64 guarantees the title, no matter where the No. 54 finishes.

 
“The championship is our main goal,” said Rao, the Bronze-rated driver for the No. 64. “If we have to sacrifice anything else to do that, we will. Then our next goal is to win the race. In terms of the championship, there’s really only one car that I think we need to worry about, so we’re going to make sure we’re in a great spot for that. Outqualify them, make sure our pace is good. … Beyond that, don’t take any undue risks.”

 
His teammate agreed, but Bell was quick to add that “the simplest way to win championships is to win the races.” The No. 64 has reached the podium in all but one of the first five races but has only one win thus far. Both drivers feel a couple early season chances slipped away and they’d like nothing better than to put an exclamation point on a championship season with a victory in the finale.

 
“We have a hunger for not only winning the championship,” Bell said. “Obviously, that was the target at the outset of the year, but we want to win races, too.”

 
Other things to look for in the Prototype Challenge finale, which will stream live at 9:05 a.m. ET Friday on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold, include:

 
·        Strategy for the season finale will differ based on the race length of three hours. While January’s season opener in Daytona also was a three-hour race, the past four were each one hour, 45 minutes in length. The minimum drive time for a driver is 40 minutes.

 
·        Dickerson and Cicero hope to keep the pressure on Rao and Bell. The No. 54 drivers won last month’s Prototype Challenge race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course to trim three points off the No. 64’s advantage.

 
·        Can the No. 9 JDC MotorSports Norma duo of Gerry Kraut and Scott Andrews regain their winning form? They were victorious in their first two outings this season – at Sebring and Road America – but have finished seventh in the last two races. The No. 9 is the only car with more than one win this season.

 
·        Friday’s race will be the last for the Prototype Challenge under its current setup. Beginning next year, LMP3s with a new Evo kit will be allowed to compete in the both the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and IMSA Prototype Challenge. The latter will feature two classes, one for the updated LMP3s and one with the current-generation LMP3s. 

 

 

Entry List Notebook - Motul Petit Le Mans

 
Oct. 12, 2020
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
Fast Facts
Race Day/Time: Saturday, Oct. 17 – 12:40 p.m. ET
U.S. Television Coverage (All Times ET): 
Saturday, Oct. 17 –
·        12:30 – 6:30 p.m. NBCSN
·        6:30 – 9:30 p.m. NBC Sports App / NBCSports.com / TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold
·        9:30 – 11 p.m. NBCSN
TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold Coverage: LIVE – Flag-to-flag beginning at 12:30 p.m.
IMSA.com/TVLive Live Qualifying Stream: Friday, Oct. 16 – 12:30 p.m.
IMSA Radio: All sessions live on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com; SiriusXM live race coverage begins Saturday at 12:30 p.m. (Sirius channel 217, XM 202, Internet 972)
Circuit Type: 2.54-mile, 12-turn road course
Race Length: 10 Hours
Track Social Media: Twitter/Instagram/Facebook: @RoadAtlanta
Event Hashtags: #IMSA, #MotulPetitLeMans
 
WeatherTech Championship Track Records
Qualifying:
DPi:       Felipe Nasr, Cadillac DPi, 1:08.457 / 133.572 mph, October 2019
LMP2:  Kyle Masson, ORECA LMP2, 1:10.722 / 129.294 mph, October 2019
GTLM:  James Calado, Ferrari 488 GTE, 1:15.639 / 120.889 mph, October 2019
GTD:     Corey Lewis, Lamborghini Hurácan GT3, 1:19.530 / 114.975 mph, October 2019
 
2019 Motul Petit Le Mans Winners
DPi:       Felipe Nasr/Pipo Derani/Eric Curran, No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi
LMP2:  Matt McMurry/Gabriel Aubry/Dalton Kellett, No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen ORECA LMP2
GTLM:  James Calado/Daniel Serra/Alessandro Pier Guidi, No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE
GTD:     Bill Auberlen/Robby Foley/Dillon Machavern, No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3

 
Storylines
·        New Place on the Schedule: The Motul Petit Le Mans is typically the season finale for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, but this is anything but a typical year. Due to scheduling shifts necessitated by the global coronavirus pandemic, two events are still to come following this weekend’s race at Michelin Raceway. The Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship takes place Nov. 1 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts set to close the campaign on Nov. 14.
·        Weren’t We Just Here? The schedule changes also mean this will be the second WeatherTech Championship race at Michelin Raceway in six weeks. The six-hour race originally planned for Watkins Glen International was moved to Michelin Raceway and became the TireRack.com Grand Prix on Sept. 6.
·        Return of the Prototypes: The WeatherTech Championship is coming off its second GT-only event of the season, run last Saturday night on the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL. At Michelin Raceway, both the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) and Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) classes return to their championship battles. As a reminder, No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R. co-drivers Renger van der Zande and Ryan Briscoe hold a three-point lead, 180-177, in the DPi standings over Pipo Derani in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac. Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor, winners of the last three DPi races in the No. 7 Acura Team Penske Acura ARX-05, have closed within five points of the lead. In the LMP2 class, Patrick Kelly holds a six-point edge on Dwight Merriman and Kyle Tilley in the championship hunt.
·        Short Turnaround for GT Entries: The GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona (GTD) have made a quick turnaround from last weekend’s MOUTL 100% Synthetic Grand Prix on the ROVAL at Charlotte Motor Speedway. They’ll go from one extreme to the other, with the Charlotte event being the shortest in length (100 minutes) to the 10-hour marathon that is Motul Petit Le Mans.
 
Who’s Hot?
·        No. 7 Acura Team Penske: As mentioned above, Castroneves and Taylor are sizzling hot with three straight victories. It’s allowed them to make an amazing climb from eighth to third in the DPi standings and decrease their deficit to the leaders from 22 points to five. The three-win streak started at Road America in August.
·        Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor: The No. 3 Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R drivers won Saturday night on the soggy Charlotte ROVAL to push their GTLM points lead to 24 over teammates Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner in the No. 4 Corvette. Garcia and Taylor have won four of the last five GTLM races, the only blemish coming with a fifth-place finish in last month’s six-hour race at Michelin Raceway.
·        Bill Auberlen and Robby Foley: The No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 co-drivers won Saturday’s GTD portion of the Charlotte race, extending Auberlen’s record for career IMSA victories to 62. Along with endurance driver Dillon Machavern, they are also defending class winners of the Motul Petit Le Mans.
·        Wright Motorsports: Three consecutive podium finishes for the No. 16 Porsche 911 GT3R has put drivers Ryan Hardwick and Patrick Long squarely into the GTD championship conversation. They are tied with No. 14 Lexus driver Aaron Telitz at 196 points, just four behind leaders Matt McMurry and Mario Farnbacher in the No. 86 Acura. Jan Heylen, who helped the No. 16 Porsche to a third-place finish last month at Michelin Raceway, rejoins Hardwick and Long behind the wheel for Motul Petit Le Mans.
 
Who’s Good Here?
·        Oliver Gavin: The five-time Motul Petit Le Mans winner should be one to watch again, although it’s been 10 years since his last victory at Michelin Raceway. With Tommy Milner and Marcel Fassler as his co-drivers in the No. 4 Corvette, the duo will look to extend Corvette Racing’s 2020 dominance in GTLM.
·        Porsche: While Corvette Racing has eight victories at Michelin Raceway, contributing to Chevrolet’s total of 10, Porsche is in a league of its own with 20 wins at the Motul Petit Le Mans. There are four Porsche entries between the GTLM and GTD classes in search of the manufacturer’s 21st win this weekend.
·        PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports: While it’s expected to see bigger-name teams at the top of the victory list, PR1/Mathiasen has crept up throughout the years with four Motul Petit Le Mans wins plus another LMP2 triumph in the six-hour race last month at Michelin Raceway. Patrick Kelly, Simon Trummer and Scott Huffaker, who won the September race in the No. 52 ORECA LMP2, will look to make it back-to-back Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta wins on Saturday.
·        Bill Auberlen: While the winningest IMSA driver is tied with Patrick Long and Nick Tandy for three Motul Petit Le Mans wins apiece, Auberlen returns as the defending GTD winner alongside Robby Foley and Dillon Machavern in the No. 96 BMW.

 
Previous Motul Petit Le Mans Winners in 2020 Field (29)
Oliver Gavin (5) – ALMS GTS – 2002, 2004; ALMS GT1 – 2005, 2008; ALMS GT2 – 2010
Bill Auberlen (3) – ALMS GT – 2001, GTLM – 2017, GTD – 2019
Patrick Long (3) – ALMS GT2 – 2005, 2006; ALMS P2 – 2007
Nick Tandy (3) – ALMS GT – 2013, GTLM/Overall – 2015; GTLM – 2018
Ryan Briscoe (2) – ALMS P2 – 2008, 2013
Spencer Pumpelly (2) – ALMS GTC – 2013, GTD – 2015
Bryan Sellers (2) – ALMS GT – 2013; GTLM – 2014
Madison Snow (2) – ALMS GTC – 2013, GTD – 2015
Jordan Taylor (2) – P/Overall – 2014, P/Overall – 2018 
Renger van der Zande (2) – PC – 2014, P/Overall – 2018 
Gabriel Aubry (1) – LMP2 – 2019
Matthew Bell (1) – GTD – 2014
Sebastien Bourdais (1) – P – 2015
Helio Castroneves (1) – ALMS P2 – 2008
Connor De Phillippi (1) – GTD – 2017
Pipo Derani (1) – DPi/Overall – 2019
Mario Farnbacher (1) – ALMS GTC – 2012
Robby Foley (1) – GTD – 2019
Ryan Hunter-Reay (1) – P/Overall – 2018
Ben Keating (1) – GTD – 2016
Andy Lally (1) – ALMS GTC – 2010
Dillon Machavern (1) – GTD – 2019
Cooper MacNeil (1) – GTD – 2018
Fred Makowiecki (1) – GTLM – 2018
Matt McMurry (1) – LMP2 – 2019
Felipe Nasr (1) – DPi/Overall – 2019
Simon Pagenaud (1) – ALMS P2 – 2010
Olivier Pla (1) – P/Overall – 2016
Ricky Taylor (1) – P/Overall – 2014

 
Previous Motul Petit Le Mans Pole Winners in 2020 Field (14)
Dane Cameron (2) – ALMS PC – 2011, 2013
Olivier Pla (2) – ALMS P2 – 2012; P/Overall – 2016
Bill Auberlen (1) – GT3 – 1998
Earl Bamber (1) – GTLM – 2015
Ryan Briscoe (1) – ALMS P2 – 2008
Helio Castroneves (1) – P/Overall – 2017
Pipo Derani (1) – P/Overall – 2018
John Edwards (1) – GTLM – 2018
Oliver Gavin (1) – ALMS GTS – 2004
Jack Hawksworth (1) – PC – 2014
Corey Lewis (1) – GTD – 2019
Felipe Nasr (1) – DPi/Overall – 2019
Spencer Pumpelly (1) – ALMS GTC – 2013
Nick Tandy (1) – GTLM – 2014
 
Previous Motul Petit Le Mans-Winning Teams in 2020 Field (13)
Corvette Racing (8) – ALMS GTS – 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004; ALMS GT1 – 2005, 2007, 2008; ALMS GT2 – 2010
AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (4) – ALMS PC – 2011; PC – 2015, 2016; LMP2 – 2019
Acura Team Penske (3) – ALMS P2 – 2006, 2007, 2008
CORE autosport/Porsche GT Team (3) – ALMS PC – 2012; GTLM/Overall – 2015; GTLM – 2018
Action Express Racing (2) – P – 2015; DPi/Overall – 2019
Wayne Taylor Racing (2) – P/Overall – 2014, 2018
BMW Team RLL (1) – GTLM – 2017
Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports – GTD – 2016
Meyer Shank Racing (1) – P/Overall – 2016
Paul Miller Racing (1) – GTD – 2014
Scuderia Corsa (1) – GTD – 2018
Starworks (1) – PC – 2014
Turner Motorsport (1) – GTD 2019

 
Previous Motul Petit Le Mans Race-Winning Manufacturers in 2020 Field (8)
Porsche – 20
Audi – 11
Chevrolet – 10
Ferrari – 10
BMW – 3
Cadillac – 2
Aston Martin – 1
Mazda – 1

 

Three Takeaways: MOTUL 100% Synthetic Grand Prix at Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL

 
Oct. 12, 2020
By David Phillips
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - It took a while for the green flag to wave on the second GT-only race of the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season. A deluge of biblical proportions, coupled with a NASCAR Xfinity race that went into overtime, saw the 18-car GT Le Mans/GT Daytona field waved off for an hour from the scheduled start time.
 
But the wait proved worth it. The race was nothing if not dynamic throughout as some drivers (and cars) proved more suited to the constantly changing conditions than others, with the finishing order in doubt until the 100th minute of the 100-minute event.
 
Different Horses for Different Courses
 
While the rain eventually abated, the combination of a water-logged track and tropical humidity meant the racing surface never truly dried, negating any thoughts of gambling on a switch from rain tires to slicks. Nevertheless, the ever-evolving conditions clearly favored some cars over others.
 
The No. 24 BMW Team RLL BMW of Jesse Krohn showed a clean (if wet) pair of heels to the GTLM field on a flooded track in the opening laps. Similarly, the sister car of Bruno Spengler sliced through the field after an early spin. But when the track dried, the No. 3 Corvette C8.R came into its own as Antonio Garcia dispatched erstwhile leader John Edwards in the No. 24 BMW and loped away to a convincing win. The two BMWs completed the podium after the No. 4 Corvette smote the wall exiting the oval Turn 4 following a suspected suspension failure.
 
Lengthy Pit Stop Fogs up Lexus Chances
 
For want of a nail the horseshoe was lost, for want of a horseshoe the horse was lost, for want of a horse the battle was lost …
 
It was widely predicted that clean pit stops would play a crucial role in the outcome of the MOTUL 100% Synthetic Grand Prix. Little could anyone have known, however, that a pair of fogged goggles would not only affect the race but, quite possibly, the overall GTD championship. That’s what happened during the race’s one and only pit stop when the No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 crew member assigned to re-attach the driver door safety net attempted to perform his duties virtually blind thanks to a pair of foggy goggles. 
 
The resulting slow stop dropped the race-leading (and championship-contending) Aaron Telitz and Jack Hawksworth Lexus down to P5. That set the stage for a disastrous sequence of events that saw Hawksworth penalized after inadvertently pitching Mario Farnbacher’s No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3 into a spin in the closing laps.
 
The incident dropped Farnbacher to a seventh-place finish with Hawksworth following in his wheel tracks, even as Bill Auberlen took the win for the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 after a “storming” drive. The Wright Motorsports No. 16 Porsche of Patrick Long and Ryan Hardwick came home second ahead of the No. 23 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin after Roman De Angelis slithered past the No. 12 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus of Townsend Bell on the back straightaway chicane with a couple laps remaining.
 
Thus, are the GTD manufacturer, driver and team championships very much up for grabs heading into the homestretch of the 2020 season.
 
Porsche’s Hopes Washed Away
 
Spare a thought for the Porsche GTLM team. After missing the Mid-Ohio race when several of its 24 Hours of Le Mans team members tested positive for coronavirus, Porsche was fancied as the team to beat at Charlotte by those who figured the nimble 911 RSRs would take to the ROVAL like ducks to water, if you’ll pardon the expression.
 
Then the rains came, and while Corvette’s Jordan Taylor narrowly edged Fred Makowiecki in the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR-19 for the pole, the No. 912 Porsche gridded last in class after Laurens Vanthoor lost control on the wet track and smacked the wall.
 
Worse – much worse – was to come in the race. First, Vanthoor spun and clouted the wall on Lap 4, with Makowiecki following suit a few laps later. Although the Porsche crews gave it the old college try, both cars were damaged beyond immediate repair and retired.
 
Porsche’s GTLM swansong went from bad to worse, not only having gone winless but having snatched defeat from the jaws of victory on a couple of occasions – and now effectively scoring goose eggs in the past two races. With all due respect to BMW and Corvette, it would take a cold heart indeed not to hope for a Porsche victory in one of the final three races of the season. 

 

MOTUL 100& Synthetic Grand Prix - Friday Pre-Event Notebook

 
Oct. 5, 2020
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
Porsche GT Team Stoked for Return to WeatherTech Championship Action
There may be no one more eager to take the track this weekend in the MOUTL 100% Synthetic Grand Prix than the Porsche GT Team.

 
The two-car entry in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Le Mans (GLTM) class was forced to sit out the race two weeks ago at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course as a precaution when several members of the Porsche team at the 24 Hours of Le Mans tested positive for the coronavirus. Erring on the side of safety cost Porsche any chance of repeating as driver, team and manufacturer class champions, but won respect throughout the IMSA paddock.

 
Now, however, the drivers are itching to get back behind the wheel of their Porsche 911 RSR-19s on the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL, beginning with opening practice tonight.

 
“We were hugely disappointed that we couldn’t go as a team to Mid-Ohio,” said Nick Tandy, co-driver of the No. 911 Porsche with Fred Makowiecki. “It’s the first race that the Porsche North America team has missed since Daytona 2014, I think. We understand the situation surrounding the decision, but of course as competitors, you live to compete and go racing.”

 
Tandy, Makowiecki and No. 912 Porsche drivers Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor all sit 55 points out of the drivers’ standings lead with four races remaining, an insurmountable deficit realistically. In some ways, it simplifies strategy the rest of 2020 since the Porsches won’t need to be concerned with points racing.

 
“We’re looking forward to going back and getting to see the (crew) guys again,” said Bamber. “They were all really disappointed that we had to miss a race. That sort of dashed our championship hopes, so now we’re just trying to get podiums and hopefully a win for the team.”

 
A race victory would be a first for either Porsche this season. Bamber and Vanthoor have a pair of runner-up results; Makowiecki and Tandy a trio of third-place finishes. The Charlotte ROVAL that is a late addition to the revised 2020 calendar could be just the place for Porsche to fashion a change of luck.

 
“We haven’t won a race yet this year,” Tandy said, “so we’re hoping that Charlotte (could be the setting for a victory). It’s a new event, a new circuit, a 100-minute race. Things are very different to what we normally set up for your standard two-hour, 40-minute race, so we’re looking forward to it.”

 
De Quesada Filling in at Charlotte ROVAL for Wedding-bound Montecalvo
Racing is taking a backseat to nuptials for AIM Vasser Sullivan driver Frankie Montecalvo. The 29-year-old from New Jersey will miss the MOTUL 100% Synthetic Grand Prix to get married, a date that was set before the global pandemic altered the WeatherTech Championship schedule.

 
Michael De Quesada will replace Montecalvo in the team’s No. 12 Lexus RC F GT3, teaming with Townsend Bell. De Quesada has been serving as an endurance-race driver in the team’s other Lexus and will return to that role with No. 14 co-drivers Jack Hawksworth and Aaron Telitz for the remaining two endurance events – the Motul Petit Le Mans on Oct. 17 and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts on Nov. 14.

 
“I am very excited for the opportunity to race with AVS at the Charlotte ROVAL,” De Quesada said. “It’s unfortunate that Frankie can’t make it, but I think him getting married is a pretty legitimate reason. I’m looking forward to driving the Lexus RC F GT3 again and working with Townsend and all the guys.”

 

What to Watch For: MOTUL 100% Synthetic Grand Prix

 
Oct. 8, 2020
By David Phillips
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – And now for something completely different.
 
The first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship trip to Charlotte Motor Speedway’s ROVAL (as opposed to the original 2.25-mile infield road course/oval used in the ’70s, ‘80s and 2000) puts every GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona (GTD) competitor on a new and (relatively) level playing field. While many got a day’s test on the 10-turn, 2.32-mile oval/road course last month, no drivers expected to take part have raced on the current layout before and, of course, no teams have raced there, either.
 
While that would seem to place everyone on equal footing for the MOTUL 100% Synthetic Grand Prix, it’s never quite that simple.
 
We live in an age when manufacturers put state-of-the-art simulators at the disposal of their race teams. What’s more, some teams (most notably Corvette Racing) have had a chance to pick the brains of their NASCAR Cup Series counterparts (read “Chevrolet”) who have competed on the ROVAL the past two years and will do so again this weekend in the tripleheader that includes the WeatherTech Championship along with NASCAR’s Cup and Xfinity series.
 
As well, various commercial simulation services (iRacing, Assetto Corsa, Forza, etc.) include the Charlotte ROVAL in their catalogue of race circuits. Thus, most drivers and teams will arrive familiar with the layout, not to mention having worked with their race engineers to develop baseline setups that should only need fine-tuning once practice and qualifying commences.
 
Virtual Reality to Real Reality at Warp Speed
 
All that said, a tight schedule means real track time will be at a premium. Communication will be critical between drivers and engineers, engineers and mechanics and throughout teams from top to bottom (including Michelin’s tire engineers) for maximum productivity; to achieve quick qualifying times AND consistent performance over the course of a race stint.
 
Some will hit the moving targets better than others … and at different times. Don’t be surprised if a car that was blisteringly quick over a qualifying lap fades during the course of longer race stints, especially given that qualifying is set for 2 p.m. ET Saturday while the race start is slated for 8:05 p.m. that night – meaning, of course, dramatically different track temperatures.
 
Premium Pit Stops 
 
With a race length of 100 minutes, shortest of the season, each car will likely make just one scheduled pit stop. That will place a premium on execution by the entire team. Drivers will have to hit their marks, be clean and precise in driver changes, have quick in and out laps, and, of course, the pit crews must be flawless.
 
Did we mention that the first time drivers will do “hot” pit stops on pit lane will be during the race itself? Also, given the short race time, track position will be at a premium. In addition to an abundance of “sharp elbow” racing, there will be little opportunity to regain lost ground via alternate strategies. In other words, expect a sprint from start to finish.
 
Rain, Anyone?
 
The Charlotte forecast calls for as much as an 80 percent chance of rain Saturday evening. A full wet race is one (entertaining) thing. But a race where the rain comes and goes (and even comes back again) is quite another. The outcome of a race run in ever-changing conditions could well be decided by who makes a timely call on switching from slicks to rain tires or vice-versa.
 
In that case, two-car teams will have an advantage as they’re able to make the tire switch on one car (most likely the lowest placed), monitor its progress and get feedback from the driver, then choose the ideal moment to swap tires on their lead car. Single-car teams can keep track of their competitors in the same manner but won’t have the benefit of real-time feedback from a driver on “alternate” tires.
Drivers Brace for ‘Street Course on Steroids’ at Charlotte’s ROVAL

 
Oct. 7, 2020
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – In a normal season, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship would have run races by now on a couple temporary street circuits. But in this pandemic-unsettled year of 2020, events at Long Beach and Detroit were scuttled and no true street courses are on the revised calendar.

 
Enter the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL, officially listed as a road course but more characteristically like a street circuit according to drivers who recently tested there ahead of this week’s MOTUL 100% Synthetic Grand Prix.

 
In fact, AIM Vasser Sullivan pilot Jack Hawksworth labeled the 2.32-mile, 10-turn track “a street circuit on steroids.”

 
Saturday’s 100-minute race (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN) will feature GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona (GTD) cars in a skirmish with bearing on the overall season championships in both classes and for the IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup in GTD. It will also mark the first IMSA event on the Charlotte road course in 20 years, although it has been updated in recent years to accommodate a NASCAR race weekend.

 
Changes included the addition of chicanes on portions of the oval track, along with larger, higher curbing. All of which should lead to entertaining and unpredictable WeatherTech Championship racing.

 
“I didn’t really know what to expect of it (before the mid-September test), quite frankly,” admitted Hawksworth, co-driver of the No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 with Aaron Telitz in GTD. “I was kind of expecting it to be a bit Mickey Mouse, but it really isn’t. It’s a super-high-intensity, high-level, technical track. I think the racing is going to be insane.

 
“I have to say I really enjoyed the circuit,” Hawksworth added. “It surprised me how much fun it was to drive. I think it is going to be a great race around there. That place is a street circuit on steroids in one of our cars. (You’re) really, really on the limit, difficult chicanes, walls everywhere, no room for error at all. It feels like you’re flying. There’s no rest, either. It’s probably the most physical track that we go to.”

 
Teammate Telitz agreed, saying the ROVAL test was the first time he experienced a sore neck from the G forces in all his time in a GT car.

 
“It’s probably not going to be all that hot since it’s a night race in the fall,” Telitz said, “but just the physicality of keeping yourself going for a full stint – it’s a shorter race but those guys are going to be hanging on at the end, I think.”

 
Antonio Garcia, driver of the No. 3 Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R and GTLM standings leader with teammate Jordan Taylor, compared the ROVAL to the concrete jungle on the streets of Long Beach, California.

 
“It felt a little bit like Long Beach for the first 5-10 laps (at the test),” Garcia explained. “It was a little bit stressful how fast you could go around there and how many walls you could fly by very, very close. Once you get in a rhythm, it’s just kind of a normal racetrack. With traffic, it’s going to be very tricky. I anticipate there will be a ton of mistakes and probably more yellows than normal.”

 
Taylor said that, while the WeatherTech Championship also competes at Daytona International Speedway on a road course that includes portions of the oval, the experiences are not alike. Daytona offers more runoff space in its infield section.

 
“A lot of it in the infield feels a bit like a street course,” Taylor said of the ROVAL. “There’s a lot of walls so not a lot of room for error, which is a lot different to Daytona. … Learning the track was pretty stressful just because there’s bumps in odd places and the flow of it feels a bit funny.

 
“And the chicanes – the big, blue curbs – we can’t really touch those. One of the other cars there testing crashed twice just from clipping the blue curbs in the chicane. There’s definitely going to be some attrition in the race if people start getting racy.”

 
Add in that the infield section isn’t as well lit as the oval, Garcia said, and it’s all a recipe for a wild affair come Saturday.

 
“We were able to run at night (during the test) and it’s not easy because just the oval is lit,” the Spaniard said. “All the infield was completely dark and it’s not easy, too. It’s going to be a question mark for everybody.”

 
Action at the MOTUL 100% Synthetic Grand Prix begins with a one-hour practice at 7:30 p.m. ET Friday. Saturday will see the WeatherTech Championship machines on track for a second practice from 9:45-11 a.m., followed by qualifying at 2 p.m. and can be streamed live on IMSA.com.

 
Live race coverage begins at 8 p.m. on NBCSN, with the green flag dropping at 8:05 p.m. In addition to the NBCSN telecast, IMSA Radio coverage airs on IMSA.com and SiriusXM Radio (Sirius channel 217, XM 202 and Internet 972).

 

IMSA’s Taylor, NASCAR’s Elliott Take Teammate Mentality to Charlotte ROVAL

 
Oct. 6, 2020
By John Oreovicz
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Jordan Taylor and Chase Elliott aren’t teammates in the truest sense of the word.

 
But the two drivers will be working together this weekend at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL – though they are not even competing in the same race.

 
The connection between the pair is General Motors – and more specifically, Chevrolet’s Driver in the Loop simulator, located just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina.

 
Taylor co-drives the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R for Corvette Racing in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class of the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship. Elliott is pilot of the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE in the NASCAR Cup Series. Both forms of racing will be in action this weekend on the Charlotte ROVAL in a unique IMSA/NASCAR doubleheader.

 
Elliott is defending champion of the ROVAL Cup race, and he scored a win earlier this year in the Cup Series’ first-ever race on the Daytona International Speedway road course that, like Charlotte, features a portion of the high-banked oval along with an intricate infield section. The 24-year-old son of NASCAR legend Bill Elliott credits Taylor for assisting in that win.

 
“I talked to Jordan a lot,” Elliott said. “He was kind enough to share a lot of his notes and things from his past experience at the track, which I found to be helpful. I really appreciated the help from him and everybody that contributed. Definitely a lot of prep work went into that, and I think it showed.”

 
As a payback, Elliott gave Taylor an idea what to expect from the Charlotte ROVAL, which features 10 turns spread over 2.32 miles and was updated with additional corners, chicanes and curbing before NASCAR first took to it two years ago.

 
It’s a course that has produced some memorable slam-bang NASCAR action. Ryan Blaney was gifted a win in 2018 when Jimmie Johnson took out leader Martin Truex Jr. on the last lap. Last year, Elliott rallied to prevail after stuffing his Camaro into a tire barrier during a restart just past the halfway point.

 
“I think that track is kind of choppy,” Elliott said. “It doesn’t flow very good and it’s hard to get into a rhythm and do things consistently lap after lap.”

 
That’s the challenge Taylor and his Corvette Racing co-driver Antonio Garcia will face this weekend in the MOTUL 100% Synthetic Grand Prix on a circuit that is new to them. They had the benefit of a recent one-day test session on the ROVAL, as well as significant time in the Chevrolet simulator.

 
Taylor and Garcia have won four WeatherTech Championship races this year and lead the GTLM standings in a highly successful first season for the Corvette C8.R.

 
The day of on-track testing was an unexpected bonus during a campaign when almost all race car testing is handled via the simulator. For Corvette Racing, that’s an additional hurdle as it continues development of an all-new, mid-engine design.

 
“Antonio and Tommy Milner and I were able to do some laps and get a feel for the track,” Taylor reported. “I think having a day at the simulator to kind of figure it out definitely sped up the learning process by the time we got to the track – understanding what curbs you can and can’t use, and where you want to line up the car and set up for other corners.

 
“It was definitely a big help and I think having the Chevy simulator to use has been a big part of our whole season,” Taylor added. “Chase had a big part in developing the ROVAL stuff on the simulator, which has been a big help for us. I’m sure as the weekend unfolds, we’ll have some questions and maybe we can play on top of those guys, and vice-versa.”

 
It’s not inconceivable that NASCAR star Elliott could join Corvette Racing for an IMSA endurance race sometime in the future.

 
“I think it would be a blast,” Elliott remarked. “I’ve always enjoyed watching the Rolex 24-hour race (at Daytona). I know that’s one of the bigger events every year, and it kind of kicks off the racing season.

 
“I think it would be fun to give it a shot sometime down the road. If the opportunity ever presented itself, I think I would enjoy the challenge, for sure.”

 
The weekend schedule at the MOTUL 100% Synthetic Grand Prix calls for a one-hour practice session at 7:30 p.m. ET Friday. Saturday will see the WeatherTech Championship machines on track for a second practice from 9:45-11 a.m., followed by qualifying at 2 p.m.
Live race coverage begins at 8 p.m. on NBCSN, with the green flag dropping at 8:05 p.m. In addition to the NBCSN telecast, IMSA Radio coverage airs on IMSA.com and SiriusXM Radio (Sirius channel 217, XM 202 and Internet 972).
Blast from the Past: IMSA Has Obscure yet Impressive History
on Charlotte Road Course

 
Oct. 5, 2020
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Teams and drivers in the two IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT classes are preparing for an all-new experience this week when they’ll race in the MOTUL 100% Synthetic Grand Prix on the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL.

 
And while this is the first WeatherTech Championship event on the road course that incorporates much of the oval track, there is celebrated history on the circuit – if you’re willing to dig deep into the IMSA record books. It’s been 20 years since the professional sports-car series has competed on Charlotte’s road course, with occasional appearances dating back nearly five decades.

 
IMSA’s return comes this Saturday, with the GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona (GTD) classes racing in a 100-minute sprint event that airs live at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN. The winners will join a who’s-who list of those to take the checkered flag in past races on what is now known as the ROVAL – a combination of road course and oval – at the facility in Concord, North Carolina.

 
Many of the early Charlotte events were run in conjunction with action surrounding the NASCAR Cup Series’ 600-mile race on the oval in late May each year. The first IMSA-sanctioned event came in 1971 as part of the IMSA GT Series, a three-hour race with Dave Heinz and Or Costanzo winning in a Chevrolet Corvette ahead of some pretty legendary company, Peter Gregg and Hurley Haywood in a Brumos Porsche 914.

 
IMSA didn’t return for three years until a 300-mile race in 1974 as part of the Camel GT Challenge. This time, Gregg and Haywood drove solo in Porsche Carreras, finishing 1-2 overall and in the GTO class.

 
There wouldn’t be another IMSA-sanctioned event for eight more years, though Can-Am and TransAm races filled the void on a few occasions. When IMSA returned for a 500-kilometer race in 1982, John Paul Sr. and John Paul Jr. were behind the wheel of the victorious Porsche 935.

 
In the four years that followed at Charlotte, IMSA 500-kilometer race winners included: Al Holbert and Jim Trueman in 1983; Randy Lanier and Bill Whittington in ’84; Holbert and Derek Bell in ’85; and Drake Olson and Price Cobb in ’86.

 
That would be the last sports-car appearance until April 1, 2000, when the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) conducted its only race on the Charlotte road course. J.J. Lehto and Jorg Muller drove to victory in a BMW Motorsports/Schnitzer Motorsport Le Mans Prototype (LMP), finishing 7.884 seconds ahead of David Brabham and Jan Magnussen in the Panoz Motor Sports LMP.

 
The sister entry for the winning BMW that year was co-driven to a fourth-place finish by Bill Auberlen. Two decades later, Auberlen is the winningest driver in IMSA history with 61 victories. At age 51, Auberlen returns to Charlotte this week still driving a BMW, now for Turner Motorsport.

 
The weekend schedule at the MOTUL 100% Synthetic Grand Prix calls for a one-hour practice session Friday night beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET. Saturday will see the WeatherTech Championship machines on track for a second practice from 9:45 to 11 a.m., followed by qualifying from 2 to 2 :40 p.m.

The green flag drops at 8:05 p.m. ET. In addition to the live NBCSN telecast, IMSA Radio coverage airs on IMSA.com and SiriusXM Radio (Sirius channel 217, XM 202 and Internet 972).

  Intercontinental GT Challenge

ROWE Racing survives late scare to secure Total 24 Hours of Spa victory for Porsche

> Tandy, Bamber and Vanthoor beat Audi Sport Team Attempto by 4.6s
> Broken gearbox can’t prevent back-to-back Porsche victories
> Nine Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli nominees in the top-10
> Result: Total 24 Hours of Spa
> Championship points: Drivers’ |
Manufacturers’

 

Nick Tandy completed the final lap with a broken gearbox to claim Total 24 Hours of Spa and Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli victories for Porsche alongside ROWE Racing co-drivers Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor earlier today.

The sick 911 GT3 R somehow made it around the 527th tour to beat Audi Sport Team Attempto Racing’s Frederic Vervisch, Patric Niederhauser and Mattia Drudi by 4.6s, while Matteo Cairoli’s late pass on Alessandro Pier Guidi sealed third place overall for Dinamic Motorsport’s Porsche.

GPX Racing’s Matt Campbell, Mathieu Jaminet and Patrick Pilet completed the Intercontinental rostrum in fourth overall after also passing AF Corse’s Ferrari late on.


A TENSE FINISH TO AN INTRIGUING RACE

Nick Tandy was part of the ROWE entry that finished second overall behind GPX last season, but the Englishman was able to go one better a year and 92 days later by nursing his sick-sounding Porsche around the final lap-and-a-half. Incredibly, the oil that flowed from its damaged gearbox casing combined with the already wet track surface to create an unintentional slick that kept the chasing pack headed by Patric Niederhauser at bay.

It was also a race that ROWE first led on merit at the start of the final hour after Audi, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Mercedes-AMG all spent time at the front.

Raffaele Marciello converted pole position into an early lead but was hauled in by the rapid-starting Dennis Lind who moved Orange 1 FFF Racing’s Huracan from eighth to second during the first two hours.

A quicker pitstop then helped Marco Mapelli jump ahead of Felipe Fraga, and it was the Huracan that led for the next two hours before AKKA ASP’s Mercedes-AMG re-took the advantage before quarter-distance. Alternative strategies aside, it would remain out front until the 11th hour when James Calado – whose Ferrari had maintained a presence inside the top-five since the start – passed Fraga into Les Combes.

Damage caused by a left-front brake failure ended AKKA’s hopes soon after, which left Alessandro Pier Guidi and AF Corse co-driver Nicklas Nielsen out front until daybreak when a series of accidents and subsequent Safety Car periods brought others back into contention.

Indeed, Audi’s indifferent day was about to be revived by the incidents that accounted for Dennis Lind’s victory-contending Lamborghini and Martin Tomczyk’s BMW. Both its #66 and #25 entries minimised the time lost in their longer, mandatory technical pitstops by stopping during Safety Car periods to vault into contention.

The net result was Christopher Hasse leading Mattia Drudi as the race entered its final third. But subsequent pitstops, at which Winkelhock and Vervisch climbed aboard their respective Sainteloc and Attempto R8s, set up a particularly entertaining hour in which bursts of rain helped or hindered the wet and slick-shod Audis.

The pair repeatedly traded the lead while being caught by AF Corse and SMP’s Ferraris until Vervisch’s decision to fit wets left Attempto 1m25s clear when the intermittent localised drizzle turned to circuit-wide rain.

However, his hard-earned advantage was soon eroded by another Full Course Yellow and Safety Car period that allowed the chasing pack, which also included ROWE’s #98 Porsche and HRT’s Mercedes-AMG, to negate the time lost making another pitstop. Further caution periods thereafter continued to jumble the top-six as teams timed their stops to re-set stint lengths and play with strategies as the final hour approached.

The rain that set in at around lunchtime had allowed ROWE’s Porsche to become a serious contender in the hands of Tandy who reeled in and passed both factory Ferraris before setting his sights on the Audis. Time saved changing just two tyres at the third-from last stop, only refuelling at the penultimate visit, and Tandy driving through to re-set his stint length as the race ticked into its final 65 minutes left the Porsche out front when it mattered.

38 minutes remained when the Safety Car withdrew for the final time. Niederhauser, who’d taken over from Vervisch, did well to stick with Tandy initially and even got within two seconds at one stage before the Porsche reasserted its authority.

From there victory appeared assured. But with less than two laps remaining onboard footage suggested things were far from well with the 911, which had developed a distinct grinding sound.

“Halfway through the penultimate lap I had a small lock-up into Turn 8, and when I exited the corner, I heard this loud knocking noise,” said Tandy. “I thought a driveshaft joining had broken, but the car was still running. Apparently, the gearbox casing was broken as well, and unfortunately for our competitors we coated the track with oil. We can only apologise for this, but it kind of saved us.

“I had to drive the last lap and a half without pushing, and I had to coast through the corners in order not to cause more damage. But in the end, to win this with [Vanthoor and Bamber], it is an incredible feeling. And to be able to share this with all the team at ROWE… they have been so good this week, and I’m so happy that they could win Spa and Nürburgring in the same year.”

Track conditions made it impossible for Niederhauser or anyone else to take advantage of the ailing Porsche. Instead, the Swiss came home 28s ahead of Cairoli, Sven Mueller and Christian Engelhart whose Dinamic Porsche, which wasn’t nominated to score Intercontinental points, enjoyed a trouble-free run to third overall.

GPX’s #12 911 remained a top-six contender throughout and duly collected points for third in Intercontinental, as well as fourth place overall ahead of AF Corse’s Ferrari featuring Calado, Pier Guidi and Nicklas Nielsen. The 488 spent most of the early hours out front before slipping back towards the finish.

The Sainteloc Audi that led with six hours remaining would likely have finished on the podium without the afternoon’s rain and Safety Car periods. Instead, Marcus Winkelhock, Dorian Boccolacci and Christopher Haase banked solid Intercontinental points in sixth overall after finishing ahead of HRT’s Mercedes-AMG shared by Maro Engel, Luca Stolz and Vince Abril.

Frikadelli Racing ensured three cars – the maximum number permitted – scored Intercontinental points for Porsche, while Team Honda Racing and Bentley also featured in the overall top-10 after a topsy-turvy 24 hours in which each had the pace to finish inside the top-six.

Following the highs of Indianapolis, erstwhile championship leaders BMW endured a challenging Total 24 Hours of Spa where neither of Walkenhorst’s Pro entries finished.

The result has helped Porsche turn a 10-point deficit into a 29-point Manufacturers’ Championship lead over Mercedes-AMG, while race winners Bamber and Vanthoor top the Drivers’ standings by one point from Porsche factory colleagues Campbell, Jaminet and Pilet.

The Kyalami 9 Hour hosts this season’s Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli championship showdown on December 10-12.

 

_____

2020 INTERCONTINENTAL GT CHALLENGE POWERED BY PIRELLI CALENDAR

Complete – Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour – Australasia
Complete – Indianapolis 8 Hour – North America
Complete – Total 24 Hours of Spa – Europe
December 10-12 – Kyalami 9 Hour – Africa

_____

MEDIA LOGIN DETAILS

Click the images above to download in high-resolution or access a wider range by logging in to Intercontinental GT Challenge's press area.

www.intercontinentalgtchallenge.com/press-members-home

_____

#IntGTC SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook: Intercontinental GT Challenge
Twitter: @IntercontGTC 
Instagram: @IntercontinentalGTChallenge

_____

INTERCONTINENTAL GT CHALLENGE POWERED BY PIRELLI

Overseen by SRO Motorsports Group, the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli represents the highest echelon of long-distance GT3 racing.
 
The series has grown since its 2016 debut to encompass five of the world’s biggest GT3 events on as many continents, although Suzuka’s cancellation due to COVID-19 will restrict this year’s calendar to four rounds.

As such, the majority of this season’s remaining events - Indianapolis 8 Hour (Oct 2-4), Total 24 Hours of Spa (Oct 22-25) and Kyalami 9 Hour (Dec 10-12) - take place during the final third of 2020. The Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour was staged as planned on Jan 31-Feb 2.
 
GT3’s continued success, 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, plus the continuity of using Pirelli tyres at every round, offers regional customer teams an opportunity to officially represent their manufacturer on a global level while reducing freight and logistical costs.

_____

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.

_____

SRO MOTORSPORTS GROUP - THE GLOBAL LEADER IN GT RACING

With more than 25 years’ experience at the forefront of a continuously evolving industry, SRO Motorsports Group is the established international leader in GT racing.

Best known for the development and implementation of the GT3 and GT4 regulations, SRO promotes and organises championships that embrace professional and amateur competitors. Its portfolio of highly regarded series spans Europe, America and Asia, while its flagship Intercontinental GT Challenge features events on five different continents. 

The 2019 season saw more than 100 races run under the SRO Motorsports Group banner, highlighted by the prestigious Total 24 Hours of Spa. In addition to promotion and organisation, the company operates SRO Race Centre by MMC – a high-level technical centre at Circuit Paul Ricard – and provides the ultimate driving opportunities at world-renowned facilities through Curbstone Track Events. 

SRO Motorsports Group is chaired by company founder and CEO Stephane Ratel. With offices in London, Paris, Liège and Hong Kong, its work is facilitated by a dedicated global team of full-time and freelance staff.

Combining a passion for performance with industry-leading experience, SRO is ready to play a key role in shaping the future of international GT racing.

> Click here for more details

BMW dominates inaugural Indianapolis 8  Hour

> German brand bags maiden #IntGTC win with one-two finish at the Brickyard
> Walkenhorst’s Catsburg, De Phillippi and Farfus beat team-mates Pittard, Tomczyk and Yelloly
> GT4 one-two caps perfect day for BMW 
> Indianapolis 8 Hour:
Provisional result

 

BMW scored its maiden Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli victory in dominant fashion with a one-two finish in today's inaugural Indianapolis 8 Hour.

The German manufacturer was expertly represented by the Walkenhorst Motorsport squad, which delivered a faultless showing amid changeable weather conditions at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Nicky Catsburg, Connor De Phillippi and Augusto Farfus were equally polished at the wheel of their #34 M6 GT3, with each driver displaying speed and composure to secure a commanding victory over the sister #35 machine of David Pittard, Martin Tomczyk and Nick Yelloly.

The winning BMW started the race from pole position, but this was anything but a lights-to-flag story. The field rolled across the yard of bricks to take the start just as heavy rain swept the Speedway, soaking the 2.4-mile circuit and posing an immediate strategic challenge.  

Both Walkenhorst BMWs were among those to stop for wet-compound Pirelli tyres, dropping them into the pack, while the slick-shod #7 K-PAX Racing Bentley led in the hands of Jordan Pepper. The South African demonstrated supreme car control in increasingly challenging conditions before ultimately calling in for wets. 

Over the following hour the lead changed hands several times, with the #1 Squadra Corse Ferrari, #30 Team Honda Racing Acura and #75 SunEnergy 1 Racing Mercedes-AMG all enjoying turns at the head of the order. The combination of rain and on-track incidents also ensured that the Safety Car was out front during the opening hour, but as the skies cleared above the circuit a lengthy period of green flag racing ensued. 

Pepper hit the front once again around the two-hour mark and was able to stretch his legs, pulling clear of Farfus and Yelloly in the chasing BMWs. But the Bentley charge ended when Pepper was tagged by a GT4 runner, causing substantial damage to the rear-right corner of the Continental GT3. He was initially able to continue, only for the car to snap out of control on the straight before sliding to a halt.  
 
With the Bentley out of contention the BMWs were in control, but this did not prevent an entertaining spell of racing. The leading M6 GT3s went wheel-to-wheel on a number of occasions, with Yelloly in particularly combative mood as he shot past De Phillippi shortly before the three-hour mark. It remained this way for almost an hour before De Phillippi restored his crew's advantage by passing Pittard. 

The only serious challenge to the Walkenhorst cars came from the factory Acura. Though clearly among the quickest cars on-track, the #30 NSX GT3 was pegged back by a number of issues during the opening stages. The squad finally caught a break during the sixth hour when a safety car period allowed Dane Cameron to regain a lap, after which the American kept pace with the BMWs and brought the contest to life once more. 

This challenge effectively ended when the #30 car could not pull away from its penultimate stop, while the BMWs simultaneously made routine visits to pit road. The extended delay cost the factory NSX a lap and put paid to its Indy ambitions with two hours remaining. 

With their only major rival falling by the wayside the final quarter of the race was comfortable for the Walkenhorst BMWs. Catsburg took the wheel of the leading car and settled into a metronomic rhythm, pulling more than half a minute clear by the chequered flag. With the #35 following him home in the hands of Yelloly, BMW scored Intercontinental’s first one-two finish since Audi dominated at Laguna Seca in 2018. 

The factory Acura completed the podium after a sterling drive from Cameron, Mario Farnbacher and Renger van der Zande. They finished two laps clear of the Audi Sport Team Hardpoint WRT crew of Mirko Bortolotti, Markus Winkelhock and Spencer Pumpelly, whose eventful race included penalties, a puncture, and several close-fought battles. 

The #04 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG was sixth and first among the Pro-Am runners thanks to an accomplished run from George Kurtz, Ben Keating and Colin Braun. The #20 Wright Motorsports Porsche was next, followed by the #93 Racers Edge Motorsport NSX, #1 Squadra Corse Ferrari and #75 Sun Energy 1 Mercedes-AMG. 

The overall top-10 was completed by the GT4 class winner. This ended with another BMW one-two as the #82 Bimmerworld machine of Bill Auberlen, Chandler Hull and James Clay led home the #438 ST Racing crew. The winning squad started the race from ninth among the GT4 runners but prevailed in a race that saw several strong contenders for victory. The GMG Racing Porsche finished third after a back-and-forth battle with the ST BMW during the closing stages.  

Further back, the #7 Bentley recovered to 17th overall and 10th among the GT3 entrants. This ensured that the trio of Pepper, Jules Gounon and Maxime Soulet scored a single point and therefore maintain their championship advantage following victory in February’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour. They hold the slenderest of leads, with the #34 Walkenhorst BMW crew just one point in arrears and several others within striking distance. 

Indeed, the battle for the Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ titles are wide open ahead of the blue riband Total 24 Hours of Spa. Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli continues with the twice-around-the-clock Belgian contest on 22-25 October.

 

_____

2020 INTERCONTINENTAL GT CHALLENGE POWERED BY PIRELLI CALENDAR

Complete – Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour – Australasia
October 2-4 – Indianapolis 8 Hour – North America
October 22-25 – Total 24 Hours of Spa – Europe
December 10-12 – Kyalami 9 Hour – Africa

_____

MEDIA LOGIN DETAILS

Click the images above to download in high-resolution or access a wider range by logging in to Intercontinental GT Challenge's press area.

www.intercontinentalgtchallenge.com/press-members-home

_____

#IntGTC SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook: Intercontinental GT Challenge
Twitter: @IntercontGTC 
Instagram: @IntercontinentalGTChallenge

_____

INTERCONTINENTAL GT CHALLENGE POWERED BY PIRELLI

Overseen by SRO Motorsports Group, the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli represents the highest echelon of long-distance GT3 racing.
 
The series has grown since its 2016 debut to encompass five of the world’s biggest GT3 events on as many continents, although Suzuka’s cancellation due to COVID-19 will restrict this year’s calendar to four rounds.

As such, the majority of this season’s remaining events - Indianapolis 8 Hour (Oct 2-4), Total 24 Hours of Spa (Oct 22-25) and Kyalami 9 Hour (Dec 10-12) - take place during the final third of 2020. The Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour was staged as planned on Jan 31-Feb 2.
 
GT3’s continued success, 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, plus the continuity of using Pirelli tyres at every round, offers regional customer teams an opportunity to officially represent their manufacturer on a global level while reducing freight and logistical costs.

_____

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.

_____

SRO MOTORSPORTS GROUP - THE GLOBAL LEADER IN GT RACING

With more than 25 years’ experience at the forefront of a continuously evolving industry, SRO Motorsports Group is the established international leader in GT racing.

Best known for the development and implementation of the GT3 and GT4 regulations, SRO promotes and organises championships that embrace professional and amateur competitors. Its portfolio of highly regarded series spans Europe, America and Asia, while its flagship Intercontinental GT Challenge features events on five different continents. 

The 2019 season saw more than 100 races run under the SRO Motorsports Group banner, highlighted by the prestigious Total 24 Hours of Spa. In addition to promotion and organisation, the company operates SRO Race Centre by MMC – a high-level technical centre at Circuit Paul Ricard – and provides the ultimate driving opportunities at world-renowned facilities through Curbstone Track Events. 

SRO Motorsports Group is chaired by company founder and CEO Stephane Ratel. With offices in London, Paris, Liège and Hong Kong, its work is facilitated by a dedicated global team of full-time and freelance staff.

Combining a passion for performance with industry-leading experience, SRO is ready to play a key role in shaping the future of international GT racing.

> Click here for more details

De Phillippi fires BMW to inaugural Indianapolis 8 Hour pole

> American ace De Phillippi gives BMW second #IntGTC pole at maiden Brickyard event
> Bentley’s grid penalty hands Honda/Acura font row start
> Pole Shootout: Result
> Race:
Starting grid

 

BMW will start tomorrow's inaugural Indianapolis 8 Hour from the front of the pack after Walkenhorst Motorsport driver Connor De Phillippi mastered the IMS Road Course in this evening's Pole Shootout.

The Californian lapped the iconic Brickyard in 1m23.318s to beat Jules Gounon (#7 K-PAX Bentley) in a battle of GT3's big beasts. The French driver was first to hit the top of the timing screens with four of the 15 minutes elapsed and looked set to clinch a maiden pole for the Bentley brand.

But there was a clear threat in the shape of De Phillippi, whose #34 BMW led the way in this afternoon's three-driver qualifying session. With five minutes of the Pole Shootout remaining he went second-fastest, then found even more time to snatch top spot from Gounon. The American remained 0.242s clear at the front to earn BMW its second #IntGTC pole after team-mate Augusto Farfus topped qualifying for Team Schnitzer at last year's Suzuka 10 Hours.

The championship-leading #7 Bentley crew of Gounon, Maxime Soulet and Jordan Pepper looked to have secured an ideal position from which to extend their points advantage, only to be hit with a 10-place penalty when it was found that the car's GPS was improperly installed. The grid drop will be applied to the Pole Shootout result, leaving the Bentley squad to start from 10th tomorrow afternoon.

Mario Farnbacher qualified the #30 Team Honda Racing machine third and will start second, continuing the fine form shown by the Japanese brand throughout today's running. The German ace left nothing on the table, briefly skating across the infield grass as he chased crucial tenths of a second in his NSX. Nick Yelloly was next in the #35 Walkenhorst BMW, followed by the #93 Racers Edge Motorsport Honda/Acura driven by Trent Hindman. The American booked his squad's spot on the second row of the grid with a very late effort that was within 0.15s of the factory entry.

Alessandro Balzan put the #1 Squadra Corse Ferrari fifth overall and at the head of the Pro-Am order. Ryan Dalziel was sixth in the #63 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG, followed by Max Root (#20 Wright Motorsports Porsche) and Jeff Westphal (#6 Vital Speed Ferrari). Mirko Bortolotti's #31 Audi Sport Team Hardpoint WRT entry qualified seventh but will start from ninth, one spot ahead of the #7 Bentley, due to a penalty incurred during an earlier session.

The Pole Shootout saw times fall short of those from this afternoon's qualifying run. De Phillippi could not match the 1m22.915s set by Jan Heylen in the #20 Porsche, with significant amounts of rubber laid down by other series the likely cause of this drop-off in pace.

Connor De Phillippi, Walkenhorst Motorsport: "Pole position is certainly a great performance from the team, BMW and myself. We couldn't have a better starting position for tomorrow, which I think will be a tough race. There might be some weather that throws a curveball into the mix. No one's experienced that here yet, so it could be interesting. Overall this has been a good day. We didn't look great on Friday but we made some good steps overnight and it demonstrates that the team has done a fantastic job. I have two great team-mates so we'll go out and put on a show tomorrow."

Tomorrow's eight-hour Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli race will be the first staged at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway and second event in 2020’s global GT3 series following February's Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour. Action gets underway at 10.00 ET (14.00 GMT) and will air live on the series’ website and Facebook page, as well as SRO’s GT World YouTube channel.

 

_____

2020 INTERCONTINENTAL GT CHALLENGE POWERED BY PIRELLI CALENDAR

Complete – Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour – Australasia
October 2-4 – Indianapolis 8 Hour – North America
October 22-25 – Total 24 Hours of Spa – Europe
December 10-12 – Kyalami 9 Hour – Africa

 

 

Bernadette Spinoy, Total Belgium: "A competitive fuel is a special recipe"

It is a partnership that has lasted for more than 20 years. What's more, there are no clouds gathering on the horizon – a rare occurrence when it comes to Spa-Francorchamps! After joining the 24 Hours of Spa as a partner at the end of the nineties, Total remained committed through the change that occurred in 2001, when the race was placed under the leadership of SRO Motorsports Group and transformed into a GT event.

 

Since 2007 the brand has strengthened its ties further by becoming title sponsor of what is now firmly established as the Total 24 Hours of Spa. The multi-energy group also supplies the high-performance fuel used by all competitors and draws upon motorsport both for its image and to develop its products.

A few days from what will be an exceptional 2020 edition, Bernadette Spinoy, CEO of Total Belgium, explains the very close ties shared by the brand and the twice-around-the-clock race.

Mrs Spinoy, Total has been the title sponsor of the 24 Hours of Spa since 2007 and you recently extended your contract for a further three years. What does this event represent for Total Belgium?

“The Total 24 Hours of Spa is clearly the biggest GT race in the world and takes place on what many consider to be the most beautiful circuit in the world. Like the 24 Hours, we are the leaders in our field. This legendary race allows us not only to reach the general public, but also to welcome our customers in a very special context. During a normal edition, around 20,000 people are invited to Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps for the event. The COVID-19 crisis will unfortunately prevent us from doing so this year, but the efforts of SRO Motorsports Group and Total to ensure that the race is broadcast live – completely free of charge – will allow fans to experience it as intensely as possible. As for the 5,000 customers who had already won a ticket to attend this year's race, we look forward to welcoming them as soon as public can return to the circuit. All being well, that will at next year's edition (29 July to 1 August 2021)."

What values do the 24 Hours of Spa and Total share?

"There are many: performance, quality, reliability, safety, pioneering spirit, solidarity. When we talk about performance, quality and reliability, it goes far beyond our products: these are also values that we promote in the services we offer to our clients. For solidarity, it goes without saying that motorsport, especially endurance racing, is above all a team effort. Finally, let's not forget the pioneering spirit, because competition has often pushed the boundaries of what we thought possible."

In this regard, motorsport has often been referred to as a test bed for new technologies. Is this still the case?

"Of course. Total is the exclusive fuel supplier for SRO Motorsports Group championships and this role allows us to continuously develop our products. A competition fuel is a clever mix, a special recipe for withstanding the enormous demands of racing. You have to take into account the energy content, combustion speed, power and consumption. The Core 50 fuel used by every Total 24 Hours of Spa competitor is proven to provide significant power gains while maintaining engine reliability."

And what about lubricants?

“We do not have exclusivity in this area, but we are proud to see that many competitors use Total Quartz lubricants and that very often these prevail at the end of the 24 Hours. Once again, the constraints on the mechanics during this race are enormous. A good lubricant will protect the engine by limiting clogging and reducing friction, which has the effect of both improving performance and reducing fuel consumption. On this point as well, competition allows us to develop new technologies that are then found in our products."

The world of mobility is currently going through great changes. Do you think motorsport should play a role in what is called ‘the energy transition’?

“Obviously, but it has not waited for these changes. Historically, competitors have sought maximum efficiency, and making better use of the allocated energy is one of the keys to winning. Loving motorsport does not contradict respect for the environment. Moreover, the CO2 produced by the race will be offset by participation in various forest preservation projects. In the future, it is obvious that sport will continue to play a pioneering role. Whatever type of energy is used, Total will be there to push the boundaries and deliver the results of its research to its customers."

As someone who has often come to watch the race, what are the key moments for you?

"There are a lot of them. Like everyone, I feel a special emotion at the start, in the middle of the night, or when the chequered flag drops and you see the joy of the winners. In recent years, the Total 24 Hours of Spa has been very unpredictable on the sporting front and that makes the victory even more special. Normally, I particularly like moments of excitement such as the parade or the concert, but I also appreciate the conviviality that is created with our customers and our guests. Everyone is more relaxed so we can get to know each other better and share good times. Attending the Total 24 Hours of Spa is a mixture of passion and emotion. Even in this exceptional year, I am sure that these two ingredients will be there for all the fans and for the participants. May the best team win!”

___

lien vers version Française

link naar Nederlandstalige versie

____

Total 24 Hours of Spa 2020

Provisional Timetable

Provisional Entry list

 

 

 

Total 24 Hours of Spa poised for epic Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli battle

> Record 39-car entry features 22x Pro, 8x Pro-Am, 8x Silver and 1x Am crews
> #IntGTC nominations: Total 24 Hours of Spa
> Click play to watch ‘We Go Again’

 

The largest Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli grid ever assembled will tackle the world’s biggest GT3 race this weekend (October 22-25) when 39 entries nominated by eight manufacturers compete at the Total 24 Hours of Spa.

Following rounds in Australasia and North America it’s now – finally – Europe’s turn to host the global endurance series, which should have visited Belgium back in July. Instead, the rescheduled event takes place against a rather more autumnal Ardennes backdrop just three weeks after its last outing at the Indianapolis 8 Hour.

Bentley and BMW lead the Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ Championships, respectively, after claiming a victory apiece at the first two rounds. But that could all change at Spa where each marque can nominate up to four professional driver line-ups amongst their six-car Intercontinental GT Challenge quota.

As always, and in the true spirit of endurance, points are only awarded at the finish, while the three best-placed crews score points towards their respective manufacturer’s championship tally.

Five of #IntGTC’s registered manufacturers – Audi, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Mercedes-AMG and Porsche – have nominated the maximum number of entries, while Bentley are just one shy of capacity. Indianapolis 8 Hour winners, BMW, are represented by three M6 GT3s, and Honda’s sole factory-backed NSX returns to the Ardennes following a strong run there last year.

The record entry is 11 more than Intercontinental’s previous best – also set at Spa last season – and almost 70% of the entire 56-strong field. Nominated cars are easily identified by their white windscreen banners and the #IntGTC roundels that appear on their bonnet and flanks.


BMW – 3x M6 GT3 – MANUFACTURERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP: 1st (43 POINTS)

> 2x Walkenhorst Motorsport | 1x Boutsen Ginion Racing

 

No manufacturer has scored more Total 24 Hours of Spa victories than BMW whose current M6 and previous-generation Z4 have won three of the last five editions. What’s more, it arrives in Belgium leading Intercontinental’s Manufacturers’ Championship following a dominant one-two finish at Indianapolis.

If that wasn’t enough, Indy victors Walkenhorst – who also masterminded BMW’s last Spa triumph two years ago – enter both factory-backed M6s, one of which features past winners Philipp Eng and Nick Catsburg. The latter is enjoying a particularly strong run of form after clinching major GT wins at the Nurburgring 24 Hours and Indianapolis 8 Hour, finishing second in class at Petit Le Mans, and scoring a WTCR victory all within the last 30 days. Augusto Farfus is no slouch either, while the other works car relies on the same crew that finished second in America: Martin Tomczyk, David Pittard and Nick Yelloly.

BMW’s third entry will contest the Pro-Am class and is notable for its ‘art car’ livery designed by visual artist Peter Halley, who was commissioned by his friend and former gallerist Alain Noirhomme to produce a unique on-track aesthetic for the event.


MERCEDES-AMG – 6x GT GT3 – MANUFACTURERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP: 2nd (42 POINTS)

> 2x HRT | 2x AKKA ASP | 1x HTP Motorsport | 1x SPS automotive performance

 

They might have a lower percentage of factory cars amongst their quota this year but Mercedes-AMG’s big guns are still bound to be near the front come Sunday afternoon. AKKA ASP and HRT both pack fully professional line-ups but, on paper at least, it’s the latter that has the strongest chance. Maro Engel claimed pole position and a podium finish last year and is again joined by his full-season GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS co-drivers Luca Stolz and Vincent Abril.

Of course, it would be unwise to rule out any car driven by Raffaele Marciello, and especially one that lies second in this year’s Endurance Cup standings. What’s more, Timur Boguslavskiy leads the combined Sprint and Endurance championships, for which points will be awarded at the six and 12-hour marks.

Both teams also field Silver Cup entries, either of which has the potential to claim class honours and break into Intercontinental’s top-10, while HTP Motorsport and SPS automotive performance complete the list of Mercedes-AMG nominations.


PORSCHE – 6x 911 GT3 R – MANUFACTURERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP: 3rd (33 POINTS)

> 1x GPX Racing | 1x KCMG | 1x Frikadelli Racing | 1x ROWE Racing | 1x Dinamic Motorsport | 1x Herberth Motorsport

 

Porsche’s Intercontinental title defence hasn’t gone entirely to plan thus far, although the 10-point gap to current leaders BMW could be closed with a strong result at Spa where it finished one-two in 2019. Stuttgart certainly arrives with strength in numbers. Indeed, there are more Pro-crewed 911s than Porsche are permitted to nominate! Those that have been feature the cream of global GT racing’s current crop. 

Michael Christensen, Kevin Estre and Richard Lietz are back to defend their crown, albeit in the unfamiliar surroundings of KCMG which made its previous #IntGTC appearances with Nissan. The trio didn’t put a foot wrong en route to victory in treacherous conditions last year and – as one of Porsche’s two all-Platinum-graded crews – surely start amongst the pre-race favourites.

2019 winners and runners-up, GPX and ROWE, also call on full factory line-ups. Matt Campbell and Mathieu Jaminet – both Intercontinental race winners last season – are joined at GPX by 2019 Spa runner-up Patrick Pilet, while Porsche’s GTE regulars Earl Bamber, Laurens Vanthoor and Nick Tandy – a Petit Le Mans class winner alongside Campbell last Sunday – comprise a particularly eye-catching crew.

Elsewhere, reigning Drivers’ Champion Dennis Olsen re-joins Frikadelli for his first Intercontinental outing since clinching the title with the same team at Kyalami last December. 

 
BENTLEY – 5x CONTINENTAL GT3 – MANUFACTURERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP: 4th (26 POINTS)

> 2x K-PAX Racing | 2x CMR | 1x Team Parker Racing

 

Damage caused by a GT4 car while leading the Indianapolis 8 Hour means Bathurst winners Jules Gounon, Jordan Pepper and Maxime Soulet arrive at Spa just one point clear of BMW’s Farfus/Catsburg/De Phillippi at the top of the Drivers’ standings.

Predicting Bentley’s form at the world’s biggest GT3 race has never been easy. On the one hand its runner-up finish in 2017 remains the best result by a British manufacturer at Spa since 2006, as well as the only rostrum achieved by a non-German brand during the 10-year GT3 era. On the other, bad luck has often conspired against the first and second-generation Continentals, the latter of which endured a particularly torrid 2019 edition.

Now, a host of new customer teams will be hoping to change that. Gounon – whose Audi denied Bentley victory in 2017 – Pepper and Soulet head-up K-PAX Racing’s two-car assault that also features Alvaro Parente, Andy Soucek and Rodrigo Baptista, while CMR add a third Pro entry featuring another factory Bentley Boy: Seb Morris.

Team Parker Racing’s Silver Cup contender and a second CMR entry, albeit in the Am class, complete Crewe’s five-strong contingent.


HONDA – 1x NSX GT3 – MANUFACTURERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP: 5th (21 POINTS)

> 1x Team Honda Racing

 

Traditionally, manufacturers must rely on several entries to ensure at least one enjoys a fault-free run over 24 hours. But that’s a luxury Honda won’t enjoy at Spa where Renger van der Zande, Dane Cameron and Mario Farnbacher carry the weight of Japanese hopes.

And, if 2019’s race is anything to go by, it’s a challenge they’re willing to accept. A largely trouble-free run helped Farnbacher and Van der Zande – then joined by Bertrand Baguette – climb from 33rd on the grid to sixth overall by the chequered flag. 

Team Honda Racing’s NSX also arrives fresh from its best-ever Intercontinental result at the Indianapolis 8 Hour where the same driver crew finished third.


AUDI SPORT – 6x R8 LMS GT3 – MANUFACTURERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP: 6th (18 POINTS)

> 3x Team WRT | 2x Attempto Racing | 1x Sainteloc Racing

 

The most successful manufacturer of Spa’s GT3 era will be desperate to add a fifth overall victory to its tally this weekend, as well as an eighth Intercontinental GT Challenge win in what will be its 18th championship start.

It’s a mark of how seriously Audi takes Spa that it, like Porsche, has more Pro crews than can be nominated for #IntGTC points. Instead, two Silver Cup entries overseen by WRT and Attempto join the four selected factory line-ups, two of which – also like Porsche – include all-Platinum drivers.

Picking just one is a tricky business. But there’s no denying that current GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS Endurance Cup championship leaders Mirko Bortolotti and Kelvin van der Linde – joined this weekend by double DTM champion and two-time Spa winner Rene Rast – represent a formidable proposition. What’s more, their WRT squad have twice won the race with Audi, although not since 2014 when Rast was also part of the line-up.

Sainteloc – who clinched Audi’s last win in 2017 – pair former winners Markus Winkelhock and Christopher Haase with DTM championship contender Nico Mueller, while WRT can also call upon Christopher Mies, Robin Frijns and newly-crowned Sprint Cup champion Dries Vanthoor. And there’s also the small matter of Attempto’s factory GT3 regulars Mattia Drudi, Patric Niederhauser and Frederic Vervisch.

Take your pick from that lot!


FERRARI – 6x 488 GT3 – MANUFACTURERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP: 8th (4 POINTS)

> 2x AF Corse | 1x HubAuto Racing | 1x SMP Racing | 1x Sky - Tempesta Racing | 1x Rinaldi Racing

 

You have to go all the way back to 2004 and before the GT3 era to find Ferrari’s last Total 24 Hours of Spa victory. But surely the Scuderia will never have a better chance to add to its total than this year when three 488 GT3s will be in overall contention.

Having qualified third, SMP Racing headed into the final five hours of last year’s race leading on merit but were ultimately thwarted by accident damage that ruled Davide Rigon and Miguel Molina out of contention. Both return this weekend with new full-season GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS co-driver and fellow Platinum, Sergey Sirotkin.

There’s more Ferrari factory talent in AF Corse’s lead entry, which sees FIA WEC stars Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado and Nicklas Nielsen join forces, while HubAuto return to Intercontinental duty with Kamui Kobayashi partnering Tom Blomqvist and team regular Marcos Gomes.

Several more works aces are also scattered across two of three Pro-Am entries. Daniel Serra and two-time winner Andrea Bertolini comprise one-half of AF Corse’s second 488 crew, while Giancarlo Fisichella is onboard Sky - Tempesta Racing’s example. Rinaldi Racing complete Maranello’s six-car fleet.


LAMBORGHINI – 6x HURACAN GT3 – MANUFACTURERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP: 9th (0 POINTS)

> 2x Orange 1 FFF Racing | 2x Emil Frey Racing | 2x Barwell Motorsport

 

Spa hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for Lamborghini during the GT3 era. Indeed, its best finish of eighth proves what a difficult race this is to win, even with a car as successful as the Huracan.

This year, though, could be very different. For starters, Lamborghini has filled half its Intercontinental quota with Pro crews and packed the rest with Silver and Pro-Am entries. What’s more, its two factory line-ups – split equally across Orange 1 FFF Racing and Emil Frey – are some of the best in the business.

Andrea Caldarelli and Marco Mapelli won just about everything other than Spa last year and team up once again with fellow works ace Dennis Lind. The same trio performed well at Bathurst before a fuel issue ended FFF’s promising run. Franck Perera, Giacomo Altoe and Albert Costa also know how to get the job done and will benefit from fellow Pros Ricardo Feller, Norbert Siedler and Mikael Grenier working on the other side of Emil Frey’s garage.

FFF’s other entry leads the Endurance Cup Pro-Am standings ahead of Spa, while father/son combo Rob and Ricky Collard feature amongst Barwell Motorsport’s class contending Huracans.


HOW AND WHEN TO WATCH

Local restrictions will prevent spectators from attending this year’s Total 24 Hours of Spa. However, fans around the world can watch every session from Pre-Qualifying onwards and all 24 hours of racing live, free and unrestricted on SRO’s GT World Youtube channel.

Tuesday 20 October
11:10 – 12:00: Private Intercontinental GT Challenge Test
13:00 – 14:50: Private Intercontinental GT Challenge Test
15:00 – 18:00: Bronze Test

Thursday 22 October
11:10 – 12:40: Free Practice 1
15:15 – 16:15: Pre-Qualifying (Live)
18:55 – 19:10: Qualifying 1 (Live)
19:17 – 19:32: Qualifying 2 (Live)
19:39 – 19:54: Qualifying 3 (Live)
20:01 – 20:16: Qualifying 4 (Live)
20:35 – 22:05: Night Practice (Live)

Friday 23 October
17:30 – 18:00: Warm-up
18:20 – 18:50: Super Pole (Live)

Saturday 24 October
15:30: Total 24 Hours of Spa (Live)

All times CEST until 03:00 on Sunday morning when the clocks go back by one hour (CET).

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2020 INTERCONTINENTAL GT CHALLENGE POWERED BY PIRELLI CALENDAR

Complete – Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour – Australasia
Complete – Indianapolis 8 Hour – North America
October 22-25 – Total 24 Hours of Spa – Europe
December 10-12 – Kyalami 9 Hour – Africa

_____

MEDIA LOGIN DETAILS

Click the images above to download in high-resolution or access a wider range by logging in to Intercontinental GT Challenge's press area.

www.intercontinentalgtchallenge.com/press-members-home

_____

#IntGTC SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook: Intercontinental GT Challenge
Twitter: @IntercontGTC 
Instagram: @IntercontinentalGTChallenge

_____

INTERCONTINENTAL GT CHALLENGE POWERED BY PIRELLI

Overseen by SRO Motorsports Group, the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli represents the highest echelon of long-distance GT3 racing.
 
The series has grown since its 2016 debut to encompass five of the world’s biggest GT3 events on as many continents, although Suzuka’s cancellation due to COVID-19 will restrict this year’s calendar to four rounds.

As such, the majority of this season’s remaining events - Indianapolis 8 Hour (Oct 2-4), Total 24 Hours of Spa (Oct 22-25) and Kyalami 9 Hour (Dec 10-12) - take place during the final third of 2020. The Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour was staged as planned on Jan 31-Feb 2.
 
GT3’s continued success, 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, plus the continuity of using Pirelli tyres at every round, offers regional customer teams an opportunity to officially represent their manufacturer on a global level while reducing freight and logistical costs.

_____

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.

_____

SRO MOTORSPORTS GROUP - THE GLOBAL LEADER IN GT RACING

With more than 25 years’ experience at the forefront of a continuously evolving industry, SRO Motorsports Group is the established international leader in GT racing.

Best known for the development and implementation of the GT3 and GT4 regulations, SRO promotes and organises championships that embrace professional and amateur competitors. Its portfolio of highly regarded series spans Europe, America and Asia, while its flagship Intercontinental GT Challenge features events on five different continents. 

The 2019 season saw more than 100 races run under the SRO Motorsports Group banner, highlighted by the prestigious Total 24 Hours of Spa. In addition to promotion and organisation, the company operates SRO Race Centre by MMC – a high-level technical centre at Circuit Paul Ricard – and provides the ultimate driving opportunities at world-renowned facilities through Curbstone Track Events. 

SRO Motorsports Group is chaired by company founder and CEO Stephane Ratel. With offices in London, Paris, Liège and Hong Kong, its work is facilitated by a dedicated global team of full-time and freelance staff.

Combining a passion for performance with industry-leading experience, SRO is ready to play a key role in shaping the future of international GT racing.

> Click here for more details

 

 

 

Record 39 Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli entries confirmed for Total 24 Hours of Spa

> Five manufacturers fill capacity six-car allocation
> Intercontinental GT Challenge nominations:
Total 24 Hours of Spa

A record number of Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli entries are scheduled to contest this year’s Total 24 Hours of Spa on October 22-25.

39 of the 56 cars provisionally scheduled to take part in the world’s biggest GT3 race are nominated to score points counting towards the global long-distance endurance series, which has already visited the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour and inaugural Indianapolis 8 Hour in 2020.

Spa’s special status as the jewel in world GT3 racing’s crown entitles registered manufacturers to nominate up to six cars each, two more than at any other #IntGTC round. What’s more, four of these – one more than usual – can feature Pro driver line-ups, with the other two entries drawn from the Silver, Pro-Am and Am classes. The number of best-placed cars eligible to score manufacturer points also rises from two to three.

And it’s these regulations, which were revised at the start of 2020 to encourage more nominations across the classes, that have resulted in Intercontinental’s largest-ever entry. Indeed, the new provisional record is 11 more than the previous benchmark set at Spa in 2019 and represents almost 70% of this season’s entire field.

Five of #IntGTC’s registered manufacturers – Audi, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Mercedes-AMG and Porsche – have filled their maximum quota of six cars, while Bentley is one shy of that total. Last weekend’s Indianapolis 8 Hour winners, BMW, have entered three M6 GT3s, and Honda’s sole factory-backed NSX returns to the Ardennes following a strong run last year.

Standout entries include Bentley’s Drivers’ Championship leaders Jules Gounon, Jordan Pepper and Maxime Soulet who again join forces with K-PAX Racing; 2019 Spa winners Michael Christensen, Kevin Estre and Richard Lietz who line up with new Porsche customer KCMG; and last year’s pole-winner Maro Engel whose HRT entry pays tribute to 10 years of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing.

Capping the number of professional driver crews eligible to score Intercontinental points has also caused some interesting omissions.

Porsche’s decision to split its nominations evenly between customer teams has resulted in one Pro entry each at 2019 winners GPX Racing, KCMG, ROWE Racing and Frikadelli Racing whose line-up includes reigning Intercontinental GT Challenge Drivers’ champion Dennis Olsen. Respective Silver and Pro-Am entries for Dinamic Motorsport and Herberth Motorsport complete Stuttgart’s Intercontinental programme.

Audi, too, has more Pro line-ups than it can accommodate – Belgian Audi Club Team WRT’s Charles Weerts, Frank Stippler and Edoardo Mortara miss out on this occasion.

Bentley, Ferrari and Lamborghini have all nominated three Pro crews amongst their Intercontinental contingents, while BMW and Mercedes-AMG field two factory efforts. And Honda have opted for the same works crew that finished third at Indianapolis last Sunday.

Elsewhere, Aston Martin – the ninth registered manufacturer at Bathurst – will not contest Spa or Kyalami as an Intercontinental entrant.

_____

2020 INTERCONTINENTAL GT CHALLENGE POWERED BY PIRELLI CALENDAR

Complete – Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour – Australasia
Complete – Indianapolis 8 Hour – North America
October 22-25 – Total 24 Hours of Spa – Europe
December 10-12 – Kyalami 9 Hour – Africa

_____

MEDIA LOGIN DETAILS

Click the images above to download in high-resolution or access a wider range by logging in to Intercontinental GT Challenge's press area.

www.intercontinentalgtchallenge.com/press-members-home

_____

#IntGTC SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook: Intercontinental GT Challenge
Twitter: @IntercontGTC 
Instagram: @IntercontinentalGTChallenge

_____

INTERCONTINENTAL GT CHALLENGE POWERED BY PIRELLI

Overseen by SRO Motorsports Group, the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli represents the highest echelon of long-distance GT3 racing.
 
The series has grown since its 2016 debut to encompass five of the world’s biggest GT3 events on as many continents, although Suzuka’s cancellation due to COVID-19 will restrict this year’s calendar to four rounds.

As such, the majority of this season’s remaining events - Indianapolis 8 Hour (Oct 2-4), Total 24 Hours of Spa (Oct 22-25) and Kyalami 9 Hour (Dec 10-12) - take place during the final third of 2020. The Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour was staged as planned on Jan 31-Feb 2.
 
GT3’s continued success, 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, plus the continuity of using Pirelli tyres at every round, offers regional customer teams an opportunity to officially represent their manufacturer on a global level while reducing freight and logistical costs.

_____

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.

_____

SRO MOTORSPORTS GROUP - THE GLOBAL LEADER IN GT RACING

With more than 25 years’ experience at the forefront of a continuously evolving industry, SRO Motorsports Group is the established international leader in GT racing.

Best known for the development and implementation of the GT3 and GT4 regulations, SRO promotes and organises championships that embrace professional and amateur competitors. Its portfolio of highly regarded series spans Europe, America and Asia, while its flagship Intercontinental GT Challenge features events on five different continents. 

The 2019 season saw more than 100 races run under the SRO Motorsports Group banner, highlighted by the prestigious Total 24 Hours of Spa. In addition to promotion and organisation, the company operates SRO Race Centre by MMC – a high-level technical centre at Circuit Paul Ricard – and provides the ultimate driving opportunities at world-renowned facilities through Curbstone Track Events. 

SRO Motorsports Group is chaired by company founder and CEO Stephane Ratel. With offices in London, Paris, Liège and Hong Kong, its work is facilitated by a dedicated global team of full-time and freelance staff.

Combining a passion for performance with industry-leading experience, SRO is ready to play a key role in shaping the future of international GT racing.

> Click here for more details

 

Total 24 Hours of Spa on the final straight ahead of 72nd edition

  • Full timetable revealed for 2020 Total 24 Hours of Spa 
  • Race to run behind closed doors due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions
  • Total 24 Hours of Spa general manager Laurent Gaudin discusses upcoming event 

 

The completion of last week's Total 24 Hours of Spa test days (29/30 September) launched the final phase of preparations for the 2020 running of the Belgian endurance classic. 

With track activity in the Ardennes less than three weeks away the full timetable for the 22-25 October event has been revealed, including complete session times for the twice-around-the-clock race and its support categories.

Regrettably, it has also been confirmed that this year's Total 24 Hours of Spa will be staged without public due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions. What's more, it will revert to its usual 24-hour format as opposed to the unique 25-hour programme that had been planned as an added incentive for race-going fans.   

With these details now finalised, Total 24 Hours of Spa general manager Laurent Gaudin has provided further insight into the decision-making process and his hopes for this year's event.  

__

How was the decision to run without public reached?  

"First, it is important to underline that unfortunately we are not the only ones in this position. None of the annual large-scale events held at Spa-Francorchamps have welcomed public since the health crisis began, including the DTM, the ELMS, the WEC, and Formula 1. 

"It is also true that the disease has not declined, something that we are frequently reminded of by the media. Nevertheless, we believed until the end. We tried everything to manoeuvre this huge event through the various protocols and very strict health constraints. After multiple proposals, with the requirements increasing and the volume of public authorised falling, we had to face facts and the whole team made the sad decision to lay down arms. Of course, anyone who has already purchased tickets will be contacted.

"We are truly sorry for all our fans and I have no doubt that we will face criticism, but SRO Motorsports Group is not above the law. Now that the decision has been taken, we must put all of our efforts into the race. " 

It was previously announced that the race would run for 25 hours. Why has the decision been taken to revert back to 24? 

"Since the chequered flag fell in 2019 we had imagined this year's Total 24 Hours of Spa - the 20th edition of the GT era - as an automotive festival, with the presentation of new models, exhibitions, parades, a bigger concert, and many other initiatives that would bring the public closer than ever to the event. Unfortunately, the health crisis and the financial repercussions meant that everything had to be put on hold. 

"So we went back to work with the aim of giving fresh impetus to the October edition. New projects were created: covered spaces for the public, shuttles to discover the 'backstage' of the circuit, improved lighting, meetings with key characters. As part of this, we also planned to run an extra hour to coincide with the time change. We were optimistic and we thought, a little naively, that the disease would be behind us by this time of the year. With this not being the case and with no fans able to join us, we have elected to revert to the original format."

What is the feeling now that these decisions have been taken?

"Of course, we will miss our fans at this year's Total 24 Hours of Spa. But while the show will not be in the stands or in the village, it will take place on the circuit with elite brands and drivers. On the sporting side, we have no doubt that this is the biggest GT race in the world. In 2020, millions of people across the globe will follow the Total 24 Hours of Spa live with non-stop, free-to-view coverage. For those who are used to attending in person this will be a new experience and we will ensure that the show goes on for all of them."

__

Timetable confirmed for 72nd edition 

The full timetable for this year's event has been officially confirmed. Teams will begin installing at Spa-Francorchamps on Monday 19 October, building the paddock that will form their base of operations over the following seven days. The first Total 24 Hours of Spa track activity will take place on Tuesday with two sessions for the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli crews that missed the official test days to contest the Indianapolis 8 Hour. These take place at 11.00-12.00 and 13.00-14.50 and will be followed by the Bronze Test, which runs from 15.00 through 18.00.

The action ramps up on Thursday with significant running for Total 24 Hours of Spa contenders. A 90-minute free practice will take place at 11.10, followed by a one-hour pre-qualifying session at 15.15. This will set the stage for the main qualifying contest, which will decide the 20 Super Pole contenders and establish the starting order for the remainder of the field. 

Friday evening traditionally produces the quickest laps of the event and begins at 17.30 with a 30-minute warm-up for the 20 fastest qualifiers. Then, at 18.20, the Super Pole session will establish the first 10 rows of the grid, with one driver rising above the rest to secure the coveted P1. 

Saturday is race day. The action gets underway at 15.30 and will conclude 24 hours later at 14.30, with the end of Central European Summer Time meaning that clocks will move back by one hour at 03.00 on Sunday morning. 

In addition to the Total 24 Hours there will be a wealth of support action taking place in the Ardennes, including the familiar presence of GT4 European Series, Formula Renault Eurocup and Lamborghini Super Trofeo. 

What’s more, TCR Europe will make its first appearance alongside the Belgian endurance classic, adding a touring car component to the established GT and single-seater offerings. All four categories will stage a pair of races, the first on Friday and the second before the 24 Hours kicks off on Saturday.

While the fans’ disappointment is fully understandable, this year’s event promises to be as exciting as ever. The full entry list for the 2020 Total 24 Hours of Spa will be announced this week, adding further impetus to the pre-event build up. Indeed, race day in the Ardennes is now less than three weeks away.

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➢ Total 24 Hours of Spa Provisional Timetable

 

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lien vers version Française

link naar Nederlandstalige versie

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Instagram: total24hoursofspa

Hashtag: #SPA24h

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Total - Official Partner of the Total 24 Hours of Spa

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With operations in more than 130 countries, Total is a top-tier international oil company and a world-class natural gas operator, refiner, petrochemical producer, and fuel and lubricant retailer.

Our nearly 99,000 employees leverage their globally acknowledged expertise so that together they can discover, produce, refine and distribute oil and gas to provide products and services for customers worldwide.
We are also broadening our offering by developing energies that can partner oil and gas — today, solar energy and tomorrow, biomass.

As a responsible corporate citizen, we focus on ensuring that our operations consistently deliver economic, social and environmental benefits.

_____

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.

_____

About SRO Motorsports Group – The global leader in GT racing

With more than 25 years’ experience at the forefront of a continuously evolving industry, SRO Motorsports Group is the established international leader in GT racing.

Best known for the development and implementation of the GT3 and GT4 regulations, SRO promotes and organises championships that embrace professional and amateur competitors. Its portfolio of highly regarded series includes continental GT World Challenge powered by AWS categories in Europe, America and Asia, which are combined to determine a global manufacturers' champion, while the flagship Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli features events on five different continents. 

In addition to promotion and organisation, the company operates SRO Race Centre by MMC – a race-car service center at Circuit Paul Ricard – and provides the ultimate driving opportunities at world-renowned venues through Curbstone Track Events. 

SRO Motorsports Group is chaired by company founder and CEO Stephane Ratel. With offices in London, Paris, Liège, the United States and Hong Kong, its work is facilitated by a dedicated global team of full-time and freelance staff.

Combining a passion for performance with industry-leading expertise, SRO continues to play a key role in shaping the future of international GT racing.

 

> Click here for more details
 

    trans am series

/www.gotransam.com


   

  SRO E-SPORT GT SERIES

www.sro-motorsports.com

   

  Sports Car Club of America 

www.scca.com

  

  sportscar vintage racing association 

www.svra.com


 

 

Stephane Ratel outlines plans for 2021 and beyond during Total 24 Hours of Spa press conference

  • 2021 calendars unveiled ahead of Belgian endurance classic
  • Newly launched initiatives mark clear return to the roots of GT racing
  • Cost-effectiveness, e-sports and sustainably placed at the forefront

 

Stephane Ratel has outlined plans for SRO Motorsports Group in 2021 and beyond during his annual Total 24 Hours of Spa press conference, presenting a full complement of calendars and launching targets that will reduce costs and accelerate the drive towards sustainability. 

The traditional media gathering was staged on the eve of a unique autumn edition of the world-renowned endurance contest, which will begin its 20th running as a GT race on Saturday afternoon. Following a 2020 campaign that has seen plans significantly redrawn in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the schedules put in place for next season represent a return to the established order. 

Four of the five Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli rounds originally scheduled for this year will run in 2021, with the Total 24 Hours of Spa reclaiming its rightful summer date on 29 July-1 August. The only change sees the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour take a one-year hiatus due to travel restrictions in Australia.

GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS will return to a 10-event calendar split equally between the Sprint Cup and Endurance Cup formats, highlighted by the Total 24 Hours of Spa. Across the Atlantic, GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS will stage seven rounds, including a place alongside Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli at the Indianapolis 8 Hour. 

After being paused in 2020, GT World Challenge Asia Powered by AWS will resume next year at Sepang on 19/20 June, with the starting date reflecting a cautious approach. A non-championship warm-up race will be staged at the same track on 29/30 May, while five more events will run in Japan, China and potentially Thailand. 

The GT4 European Series retains the schedule first announced in September, with six doubleheader rounds running alongside GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS. 

There is positive news on the domestic front, too. The FFSA French GT Championship will return to a six-event schedule that begins with the Coupe de Pâques at Nogaro, while the Intelligent Money British GT Championship is also set for its traditional Easter Weekend opener at Oulton Park. What's more, both series will participate in the returning Spa Speedweek, which is set to take place one week before the 24 Hours (24-25 July). 

GT4 America and TC America will undertake the same seven-event calendar as GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS, taking each series to some of North America's premier road racing venues and concluding at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Further announcements regarding the final schedule details for 2021 will be made in due course. 

Back to the roots of GT racing

A strong emphasis on amateur competitors has been placed at the heart of SRO's future initiatives, signalling a clear return to the roots of modern GT racing. In particular, significant work has been invested in re-establishing GT Sports Club on the international calendar as an umbrella category for three distinct championships.  

Thanks to an expanded partnership with Rebellion Timepieces, the renamed GT Rebellion Series will provide gentlemen drivers with their own championship for the latest generations of GT3 cars. This will see two Bronze-graded competitors join forces for three-hour races at some of Europe’s premier circuits.

Within the same events, the new GT2 European Series will create a competitive environment for the next generation of machinery, which will expand to feature four manufacturers next year. This will consist of two 50-minute sprint races, either in pairs or driving alone, with Am and Pro-Am podiums. 

The calendar for both series will include the Monza GT3 15th Anniversary meeting. This special four-day event will celebrate a special milestone for the enduringly popular category by bringing together 30-minute “Anniversary” races for Generation 1 (2006-2009) and Generation 2 (2009-2013) GT3 machinery, the new GT Rebellion and GT2 European Series, as well as the opening round of GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS. Crucially, both new series will enjoy the same volume and quality of media coverage as GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS. 

Complementing these series, the GT1 Sports Club draws upon the same ethos to create a non-competitive programme for super sports cars such as the Aston Martin Valkyrie, Lamborghini SCV12 and McLaren Senna GTR, which do not usually have the opportunity to join together on-track. This non-racing, race-inspired concept will offer eight hours of track time and limited numbers on the circuit, with events to follow GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS weekends.

First staged in 2019, the FIA Motorsport Games will undertake an expanded second edition that features an ambitious programme. The unique multi-disciplinary event sees drivers compete in the colours of their national flag, with a strong emphasis placed on amateurs and young entrants.

Next year it will move to Circuit Paul Ricard, while Marseille acts as host city. A number of new categories will be added, with a total of 15 to 17 expected to be staged in 2021. The concept will also grow to encompass a competitor village, entertainment area and sports forum.

The Vendôme 80 Rally will transport participants back to the 1980s with the cars, music and style of the decade. Running on 21-23 May, the event will include a Concours d’Elegance and prize-giving ceremonies, celebrating the eighties’ bold aesthetic, instantly recognisable soundtrack and remarkable machinery.

Finally, a new series will race under the SRO banner next season. Launched by the French Federation of Automobile Sport (FFSA) and organised by SRO Motorsports Group, FFSA TC France will bring the touring car discipline back to one of its spiritual homes. 

Multiple brands will compete at the nation's top venues, with the calendar following the FFSA French GT Championship schedule. This will place FFSA TC France at high-profile events such as the Coupe de Pâques, Spa Speedweek and at Circuit Paul Ricard.

Cost-effectiveness, e-sports and sustainability

To meet the challenges that will follow the events of 2020, a cost-effectiveness programme is being discussed with GT World Challenge Powered by AWS teams. Measures under consideration include running a mandatory Silver-graded driver, as well as a restriction to one truck per-car. A reduction in the number of tyres and a ban on the use of tyre warmers, as well as revised pit stop rules, will also be reviewed with the aim of driving down costs. 

E-Sports has enjoyed significant growth this year, with a considerable uptake in sim racing among professionals and amateurs alike. The SRO E-Sport GT Series was part of the revolution, staging a multi-event championship that featured real-world drivers and professional sim racers. 

Further progress will be made next year as SRO continues to expand within the e-sports space. In 2021, continental series will run in Europe, Asia and America between March and November, focussing solely on sim drivers. The best from each will go head-to-head at the season’s end, while a winter series for real-world competitors will run from January through March.

Further integration between e-sports and real-world competition is also under consideration. This would see Pro and Silver teams enter one driver in an on-site sim racing championship that would contribute points towards the GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS teams’ classification, while a prize fund would also be on offer. 

First announced at last year's Total 24 Hours, GTeXperimental World Tour will draw inspiration from the city-to-city contests that laid the foundation stones of motorsport during the early part of the 20th century. Just as those events saw new technologies put to the test, so GTX World Tour will embrace the latest automotive developments.

It will officially launch in 2021 with a two-day media event that travels from Geneva to Monaco via Turin. This condensed tour will demonstrate the full potential of the GTX concept, combining a scenic journey with legendary automotive institutions, fine cuisine and high-exposure brand promotion in three key markets. The next step, in 2023, will be an eight-day journey from Paris to Berlin, adding circuit racing, hillclimb and rally stage demonstrations to the regularity element of the competition.

SRO would not be credible in promoting GTX World Tour without making efforts to reduce its own carbon footprint. As such, a sustainability strategy will be introduced to meet the firm objective of achieving carbon neutral status by 2023. The organisation will work alongside Futerra to quantify its carbon emissions, while Permian Global will offset what cannot be reduced. 

Emissions will be minimised through a variety of efforts, such as sustainable tyre recycling, optimised logistics and an environmentally sustainable approach to live events. What's more, SRO will establish and promote a sustainable motorsport network, encouraging its teams and partners to follow a set of guidelines that allow them to support green racing. 

Before these developments are put in place, there is still more to come in 2020. Following the Total 24 Hours of Spa, the GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS campaign will conclude at Circuit Paul Ricard on 13-15 November, while Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli wraps up its season at Kyalami on 10-12 December. 

There are also concluding events for the GT4 European Series, FFSA French GT Championship and Intelligent Money British GT Championship, bringing the curtain down on a uniquely challenging season that has, thanks to the hard work of all involved, run with considerable success.

___

Link to 2020 Press Conference presentation

___

 

 

> Click here for more details

 

 

 

SVRA 2021 SCHEDULE GROWS DESPITE 2020 GLOBAL CHALLENGES

SVRA Surges Forward with Record Number of Race Weekends

Southlake, TX (October 19, 2020) – Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) today announced a 17-race schedule for 2021, affirming its resilience in the face of the pandemic-produced global business challenges. SVRA’s vintage racing, contemporary sports cars, and other features present the most diverse and exciting array of race car design and engine sounds in the world and continues to generate growth in sponsorship and membership.

The 2021 schedule boasts 17 SpeedTour race weekends, a record number in SVRA’s 42-year history.  New to the schedule are Charlotte Motor Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Brainerd International Raceway, and Utah Motorsports Campus. The schedule also includes an unprecedented number of West Coast events starting with Auto Club Speedway in February. Also, West Coast weekends will include a return after a three-year hiatus to Sonoma Raceway, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, and Portland International Raceway. Most of the races will be live-streamed on the SVRA app.

Another feature of the schedule is its design to allow racers a single tow between tracks within the same region on successive weekends. The approach provides SVRA members with a convenient and economical way to plan a vacation road trip over two weekends. "Single Tow" weekends begin in February with Sebring International Raceway and Homestead, in March with Charlotte and Road Atlanta, and then again between Laguna Seca and Sonoma in April.

“I could not be more pleased with how my team has risen to the challenges of 2020,” said SVRA CEO Tony Parella. “We navigated a gauntlet, and we are determined to deliver a new season and return to normal weekends as much as possible. So many of our fans have contacted us about attending our SpeedTour races, and we look forward to the day we can welcome them back at every venue."

Notably missing from the expanded schedule is the Brickyard Invitational held since 2014 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Parella explains that he built the event around the Vintage Race of Champions (VROC), which is now on hold due to fan attendance uncertainty.

"We built the Brickyard Invitational around the Pro-Am racing," says Parella. "Our first-ever Pro-Am occurred at IMS in 2014, and we need that element for the weekend to make sense. I will be regrouping with the IMS team in January to explore options in 2022."

The SpeedTour formula is appealing to sponsors. Among the premier brands supporting SVRA are Jaguar, Land Rover, NetJets, Avis, Mazda Motorsports, Big Machine Vodka, Sunoco Race Fuels, Bell Helmets, Remington, TireRack.com, RACELOGIC, Cook Wealth Management, EAROS, Hawk Performance and Marathon Coach. SVRA's nationwide platform is at the heart of the organization's growth strategy. The national platform combines with the significant participation of legendary professional drivers and the high net worth demographic in the paddock to attract sponsors. This strategy provides three pillars for business expansion.

About SVRA: Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) is the premier vintage racing organization in the United States. Founded in 1978, SVRA has grown steadily to 2,500 active members with a database of over 11,000 race cars. Race weekends take place at some of the finest racing venues in the United States, including Charlotte Speedway, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Sebring International Raceway, Road America, Watkins Glen International, Michelin Road Atlanta Raceway, the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Portland International Raceway, Auto Club Speedway, Lime Rock Park, Sonoma Raceway and Virginia International Raceway (VIR). In 2013, SVRA hosted the first U.S. Vintage Racing National Championships at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas—a tradition it continues today. Find additional information on SVRA, a complete annual schedule, and entry lists on the SVRA website. Be sure to check our Facebook page and YouTube channel, which currently boast a library of over 300 action-packed event videos, or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

2021 SVRA Schedule

 

February 5-7 Auto Club Speedway

February 18-21 Sebring International

February 26-28 Homestead-Miami Speedway

March 18-21 Charlotte Motor Speedway

March 25-28 Michelin Road Atlanta

April 23-25 Sonoma Raceway

April 28-May 2 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca

May 13-16 Road America

May 28-31 Lime Rock Park  

June 24-27 Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course

July 15- 18 Brainerd International Raceway

July 23-25 Portland International Raceway

September 9- 12 Watkins Glen International

September 23-26 Virginia International Raceway

October 7-10 Utah Motorsports Campus

October 22-24 Savannah Speed Festival

November 4-7 Circuit of The Americas

 

International Motor Sports Assoc. Sports Car Club of America

Date

 

 

Jan. 23-26

Rolex 24 at Daytona

DPi, LMP2*,

 

Daytona International Speedway

GTLM, GTD

 

Daytona Beach, Florida

 

 

 

 

March 18-21

Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring

DPi, LMP2,

 

Sebring, Florida

GTLM, GTD

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 17-18

Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach

DPi, GTLM

 

Streets of Long Beach, California

 

 

 

 

May 1-3

Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

DPi, LMP2, 

 

Lexington, Ohio

GTLM, GTD

 

 

 

May 29-30

Chevrolet Sports Car Classic

DPi, GTD**

 

Detroit, Michigan

 

 

 

 

June 25-28

Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen

DPi, LMP2,

 

Watkins Glen International

GTLM, GTD

 

Watkins Glen, New York

 

 

 

 

July 3-5

Canadian Tire Motorsport Park

DPi, GTLM,

 

Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada

GTD

 

 

 

July 17-18

Lime Rock Park

GTLM, GTD

 

Lakeville, Connecticut

 

 

 

 

July 31 – Aug. 2

Road America

DPi, LMP2,

 

Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin

GTLM, GTD

 

 

 

Aug. 21-23

Virginia International Raceway

GTLM, GTD

 

Danville, Virginia

 

 

 

 

Sept. 11-13

WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca

DPi, LMP2, 

 

Monterey, California

GTLM, GTD

 

 

 

Oct. 7-10

Motul Petit Le Mans

DPi, LMP2,

 

Braselton, Georgia

GTLM, GTD

 

Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta

 

Intercontinental GT Challenge
trans am series

Trans Am Championship by Pirelli 2020 Schedule
Feb. 29-Mar. 1   Sebring International Raceway (with SVRA)
March 28-29       Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta (with SVRA)
May 1-3               WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca (with SVRA)
May 22-25           Lime Rock Park (TA2 is Saturday May 23) (with SVRA)
May 29-31           Detroit Grand Prix (TA2 only) (with Indy Car)
June 19-21           Indianapolis Motor Speedway (with SVRA)
June 26-28           Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (with SVRA)
July 10-12            Brainerd International Raceway
Aug. 6-8               Road America (with NASCAR)
Sept. 11-13          Watkins Glen International (with SVRA)
Sept. 25-27          Virginia International Raceway (with SVRA)
Nov. 6-8               Circuit of The Americas (with SVRA)

SOUTHEAST CONFERENCE

January 3-5: Homestead-Miami Speedway; Florida Region; Homestead Florida                               

January 10-12: Sebring International Raceway; Central Florida Region; Sebring, Florida 
Hoosier Super Tour 

March 20-22: Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta; Atlanta Region; Braselton, Georgia 
Hoosier Super Tour

April 10-12; VIRginia International Raceway; North Carolina Region; Alton, Virginia
Hoosier Super Tour (Dual Southeast/Northeast Conference Event)

June 6-7: Charlotte Motor Speedway; Central Carolinas Region; Concord, NC

June 27-28: Roebling Road; Southeast Division; Bloomingdale, Georgia      

                                                    

SOUTHERN CONFERENCE

January 25-26: MSR Cresson; Texas Region; Cresson, Texas  RESULTS

February 8-9: Circuit of the Americas; Lone Star Region; Austin, Texas
Hoosier Super Tour

April 4-5: Hallett Motor Racing Circuit; Ark Valley Race Group; Jennings, Oklahoma
Hoosier Super Tour (Dual Mid-States/Southern Conference Event)

May 2-3: Eagles Canyon Raceway; Texas Region; Decatur, Texas

May 23-24: MSR Houston; Houston Region; Angleton, Texas

Sept 5-6: MSR Houston; Houston Region; Angleton, Texas


WESTERN CONFERENCE

January 24-26: Auto Club Speedway; Cal Club Region; Fontana, California 

February 21-23: Buttonwillow Raceway Park; Cal Club Region; Buttonwillow, California
Hoosier Super Tour

March 21-22: Willow Springs Raceway; Cal Club Region; Rosamond, California

April 3-5: WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca; San Francisco Region; Salinas, California

May 16-17: Portland International Raceway; Oregon Region; Portland, Oregon
Hoosier Super Tour

May 23-24: Pacific Raceways; Northwest Region; Kent, Washington


NORTHEAST CONFERENCE

April 10-12; VIRginia International Raceway; North Carolina Region; Alton, Virginia                   
Hoosier Super Tour    (Dual Southeast/Northeast Conference Event)

April 25-26: Summit Point Motorsports Park; Washington DC Region; Summit Point WV      

May 9-10: Pittsburgh International Race Complex; Steel Cities Region; Wampum Pennsylvania

May 23-24: Pocono Raceway; Northern New Jersey Region; Long Pond, Pennsylvania

June 19-21: Watkins Glen International; Finger Lakes Region; Watkins Glen, New York
Hoosier Super Tour              

July 11-12: Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park; New England Region ;Thompson, Connecticut    

July 17-19: New Jersey Motorsports Park; South Jersey Region; Millville,New Jersey                                       
 

MID-STATES CONFERENCE

April 4-5: Hallett Motor Racing Circuit; Ark Valley Race Group; Jennings, Oklahoma
Hoosier Super Tour (Dual Mid-States/Southern Conference Event)

April 18-19: Heartland Motorsports Park; Kaw Valley Race Group; Topeka, Kansas

May 2-3: World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway; St. Louis Region; Madison, Illinois

May 23-24: Pueblo Motorsports Park; Continental Divide Region; Pueblo, Colorado

July 4-5: High Plains Raceway; Colorado Region; Deer Trail, Colorado

August 22-23: High Plains Raceway; Colorado Region; Deer Trail, Colorado

 

NORTHERN CONFERENCE

May 2-3: Blackhawk Farms Raceway; Blackhawk Valley Region; S. Beloit, Illinois

May 16-17: Gingerman Raceway; South Bend & Detroit Regions; South Haven, Michigan

June 12-14: Road America; WeatherTech Chicago Region June Sprints; Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
Hoosier Super Tour

July 11-12: Road America; Milwaukee Region; Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin

July 17-19: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course; Ohio Valley Region; Lexington, Ohio
Hoosier Super Tour       

August 22-23: Grattan Raceway; Western Michigan Region; Belding, Michigan

August 29-30: CANCELLED  Brainerd International Raceway; Land O'Lakes Region; Brainerd, Minnesota    

 

sportscar vintage racing assoc.  gt celebration racing series

      Indianapolis Motor Speedway Brickyard Invitational, June 17-21

·      Vintage Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio, June 25-28

·      Portland International Raceway Vintage Racing Festival, July 23-26

·      Watkins Glen International U.S. Vintage Grand Prix, September 9-13

·      Virginia International Raceway Heacock Classic Gold Cup, September 24–27

·      Lime Rock Park Festival, October 16–17

·      Savannah Speed Classic, October 24-25

·      COTA U.S. Vintage National Championship, November 5–8

·      Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta Grand Prix, November 19-22

·      WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca Trans Am Speedfest, December 3-6

 

 

 

 

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