- Competitors Visit the Lush Greenery and Scenery for Rounds 5 and 6
- Thirty-two Drivers Suit Up Again for Double-Header Weekend
- Mercedes-AMG, Lamborghini Heat Up Race for Global Manufacturers Championship
- Entry List - PDF Link
- Event Schedule - PDF Link
Alton, Virginia - North American GT racing returns to form as the Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS season kicks off it’s first East Coast visit on June 4 - 6 in the lush landscape of VIRginia International Raceway in Alton, Virginia. In addition to the first Eastern series weekend this year, the VIR event will mark the first time fans have been welcomed into the paddock to witness racing action from the stands.
This weekend’s GTWC Europe event at Circuit Paul Ricard is sure to add fuel to the fire that is brewing up around Mercedes-AMG and Lamborghini in the Global GTWC Manufacturer’s championships. While the two try to pull away from Audi, currently sitting in third place in the championship, there are still plenty of opportunities left in the global season to have any of the record-high seven competing manufacturers aim for the top spot.
Nestled in the rolling hills and greenery near Virginia’s southern border, the VIRginia International Raceway circuit is seventeen challenging turns and dramatic elevation changes in a 3.27-mile configuration that’s favored by many drivers. Billed as America’s first “Motorsport Resort”, the seasonally unpredictable weather expected at VIR could play a part in tire selection and pit-stopping strategies all weekend.
Premiere-level Pro Class Ready to Show Out for Fans
K-PAX Racing and their duo of Pro-classed Lamborghinis are on a tear, and not very much seems to be able to stop them. Both cars are coming out of their all-podium weekends at a very difficult COTA circuit and expecting to keep that momentum into VIR. The usual suspects - Jordan Pepper and Andrea Caldarelli in the #3 Lamborghini, and Giovanni Venturini and Corey Lewis in the #6 car - are slated to return on their seemingly unstoppable march to the championship trophy case.
An overall Top 5 and a podium to close out the weekend meant that adjustments made by the Winward Racing team paid off with dividends. Canadian racing ace Mikael Grenier will make his first start of the season with Russell Ward, scheduled to man the #33 Mercedes-AMG GT3 in their bid for an armful of podium hardware.
The season also seems to be on the mend for the Turner Motorsport crew, who also left COTA with a Top 5 and podium showings in the double-header race weekend. Converted GT4 champions Michael Dinan and Robby Foley hope to continue to find their respective grooves in their quest for the top step of the podium behind the wheel of #96 BMW F13 M6 GT3 machine.
Pro-Am Class Ready to Rumble
Fred Poordad and Jan Heylen, co-drivers of the #20 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3-R (991.2) are the duo to beat as they sit at the top spot in the Drivers Championship going into VIR, where they intend to defend that position.
DXDT Racing drivers George Kurtz and Colin Braun, pilots of the #04 Mercedes-AMG GT3, have found their stride as they come into VIR weekend with 2nd and 1st place trophies from COTA. Team members Erin Vogel and Michael Cooper, driving the #19 car, ran into trouble at COTA due to the errant weather conditions and mechanical gremlins, but hope that doesn’t carry over to their scheduled VIR weekend. Also looking to improve upon their results from COTA, team principal and co-driver David Askew and Ryan Dalziel, in the #63 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG, hold third-in-class driver standings in their search for weekend-long consistency to climb in the standings.
Brendan Iribe and Ollie Millroy head up the British invasion that has established itself in GT World Challenge America. Behind the wheel of the #70 inception racing McLaren 720S GT3, the pair revealed a full-season entry at COTA and promptly gave notice of their commitment, walking away with a win in their double-podium first-try weekend.
The TR3 Racing crew, campaigning the #9 Lamborghini Huracan GT3, return with Ziad Ghandour and Giacomo Altoe once again behind the wheel. The two, looking to break out of the mid-pack, have their fourth place finish at COTA’s Race 1 to serve as the model to build upon.
Frank Gannett and Drew Staveley are continuously learning about their new #12 Ian Lacy Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 since the beginning of the season. The pair hope to make strides at VIR and get up to speed for a competitive bid.
Racers Edge Motorsports started the season with a two-podium finish at Sonoma but ran into trouble at COTA. The #93 Acura NSX GT3 primary driver Taylor Hagler and returning co-driver Jacob Abel both look to return to form at VIR.
Fellow Acura racers Compass Racing with driver Matt McMurry look to the Virginia outing as a time for a hard reset as they’ve only been able to complete one of four races due to varying issues, and are eager for the opportunity to improve upon that sole Top Five in-class finish. Their VIR stint will see Michael DiMeo co-piloting the #77 Acura NSX GT3.
Rearden Racing’s third-place showing at COTA race 1 was marred by the DNF in race 2. Look for #91 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 pilots Jeff Burton and Vesko Kozarov to regroup with their best feet forward.
The Zelus Motorsports #88 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 is doing double-duty in two SRO series and now seems to be finding pace as the team starts to show steady improvement. Drivers Jason Harward and Madison Snow hope to make VIR their first podium appearance.
AF Corse AM #61 Ferrari 488 GT3 Jean-Claude Saada and Conrad Grunewald have proven their capability to mix it up with the Pro and Pro-Am classes by recording two Overall Top Ten finishes in four races. It’s anyone’s guess as to how far up the Overall ladder they’ll climb in the Old Dominion.
Official practice starts Friday, June 4th. Saturday’s Qualifying sessions, as well as Races 1 and 2, will be streamed live on the GTWorld YouTube channel, with audio simulcasts on SiriusXM Satellite Radio Channel 392 (992 on the SXM web app). CBS Sports Network live programming begins Sunday at 1:30 pm EDT; check your local listings for channel information.
Fans are welcome! Catch all the action in-person at VIRginia International Raceway with an open paddock, non-stop sports car racing, camping, car corrals, and more. Visit www.virnow.com for more information.