With over half of the 2019 Blancpain GT World Challenge America season now in the books, championship battles are in full throttle mode as teams get set to head to New York State's Watkins Glen, August 30 to September 1, for this year's third last weekend of competition. Featuring exotic and powerful GT3 race cars from the world's top marques and a star-studded roster of drivers representing over 10 nations, the final six 90-minute, full-service pit stop Blancpain GT World Challenge America races of 2019 are guaranteed to be action-packed and exciting.
Leading the Ferrari charge, Canadian-based team R. Ferri Motorsport, have had an impressive 2019 season to date in defense of their hard-earned 2018 crown. The team's all pro lineup featuring Ferrari factory drivers Miguel Molina from Spain and Finland's Toni Vilander have piloted their Ferrari 488 GT3 to three race wins this season including Round 7 at Sonoma – they co-lead the overall driver's championship standings and have helped Ferrari slot into second in the manufacturers championship. Additionally, R. Ferri Motorsport sits second in the team championship heading to Watkins Glen.
One of R. Ferri Motorsports' main protagonists – series stalwarts California-based K-PAX Racing – feature Spaniard Andy Soucek alongside 2016 series champ Alvaro Parente from Portugal. With two wins on the season, this duo sits second in the driver's championship standings heading into the final third of the season. The team's second Bentley Continental GT3 piloted by Rodrigo Baptista from Brazil and Maxime Soulet from Belgium has also won twice this season pushing Bentley to the top of the manufacturer standings as well as helping to propel K-PAX to the top of team championship standings. Baptista and Soulet sit third overall in the driver's championship standings.
Former series champions Wright Motorsports have had a challenging 2019 to date, but with a win in Round 8 at Sonoma, the Ohio-based team's Pro class entry featuring two former series champions – Porsche factory ace Patrick Long (2017 Overall) and newly-minted Porsche Selected Driver Scott Hargrove (2018 Sprint) – look to right the ship and make a push for the championships in the final six races of the season. Canadian Hargrove burst onto the scene last season by winning in his first two career starts, while American Long brings the experience of 15 years as a Porsche factory driver to the championship-winning outfit. Driving the team's Porsche 911 GT3 R the duo sits fourth in the driver's championship, while helping Porsche slot into third in the manufacturer's championship and Wright Motorsports in third in the team championship coming out of Sonoma.
Florida-based Alegra Motorsports are also looking to push Porsche to the top of the manufacturer championship standings with their two Porsche 911 GT3 R's. Canadian Daniel Morad and American Michael De Quesada currently sit sixth overall in the driver's championship, while German teammates Wolf Henzler and Marco Holzer piloting the team's second entry sit fifth overall in the Pro category driver's championships. Alegra sits fourth overall in the team championships.
In the Pro-Am class, the Acura NSX Racers Edge Motorsports team has had a dominant 2019 campaign. Featuring the Canadian driver duo of Martin Barkey (Am) and Kyle Marcelli (Pro) the team has won three class races this season and sit atop the driver's championship standings heading into Watkins Glen. Racer's Edge also tops the class team championship standings.
Also campaigning the Acura NSX GT3 in the Pro-Am class is Gradient Racing – currently sitting second in the team championship. The team's full-time Am driver Till Bechtolsheimer of Great Britain sits second in the class driver's championship coming out of Sonoma. He won Round 5 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park alongside Pro co-driver American Marc Miller.
Wright Motorsports Pro/Am entry features Am pilot Brooklyn, New York native Anthony Imperato, who currently sits third overall in the class driver's championship. Wright Motorsports sits second overall in the Pro/Am team championship standings.
Utah-based Mercedes-AMG GT3 team DXDT Racing sit fourth in the team standings led by the American duo of George Kurtz (2017 GTSA champion) and sports car pro Colin Braun co-driving and sitting tied in fifth in the driver's championship. The team's second entry is piloted by Am driver American David Askew – he sits ninth overall in the class' driver's championship. Scottish sports car ace Ryan Dalziel, who won the Pro-Am SprintX championship last year, is co-driving with Askew.
Sitting in fifth overall in the class team standings is series veterans Wisconsin-based RealTime Racing. The team's Acura NSX has two victories this season with the most recent victory coming at Sonoma in Round 7. Am driver Mike Hedlund, filling in for fellow Am driver Bret Curtis, co-drove with Pro Dane Cameron for the win at Sonoma and has signed on for the remainder of the year.
In the Am class, defending champions Martin Fuentes from Mexico and American Caeser Bacarella are atop the class driver's championship standing piloting their Squadra Corse Garage Ferrari 488 GT3. The Squadra Corse Garage team also leads the team championship.
James Sofronas' Southern California based GMG Racing's Porsche entry, led by Am driver Brent Holden, also looks to put their 911 GT3 R in victory circle in the back-end of the 2019 season. Sofronas who has over 200 series starts drove for Holden at Sonoma with co-driver Dirk Werner and were victorious in the Pro/Am class for Round 8.