Having last raced in early June, Blancpain GT World Challenge America teams and drivers return to action August 30 to September 1 for Rounds 9 and 10 of the 2019 Championships at Watkins Glen International. Presented by CrowdStrike, the 18-car field featuring an international lineup of top drivers from over 10 countries piloting GT3 machinery from the world's best marques will compete at the scenic 11 turn, 3.4-mile road course located in upstate New York.
Ferrari, Bentley and Porsche Teams to Face Off Again Looking for Edge in Quest for Championships
As they have for a major portion of the season thus far, Bentley team K-PAX Racing enter the weekend leading in the Pro division team championship with 169 points and well as placing the manufacturer at the top of the championship standings (169 points). Co-pilots Andy Soucek of Spain and Alvaro Parente from Portugal will once again get behind the wheel of their #9 Bentley Continental GT3, while Brazilian Rodrigo Baptista and Belgium’s Maxime Soulet will co-drive the team’s second entry – the #3 Bentley Continental GT3.
While K-PAX Racing hold the lead in the team championship and Bentley the lead in the manufacturer’s standings, Ferrari team R. Ferri Motorsport come into the weekend with the pilot that leads in the driver's championship. Finland’s Toni Vilander sits atop the Pro division driver’s standings with 148 points tied with his usual co-pilot Miguel Molina. Subbing in this weekend for Molina is Brazilian Daniel Serra. The driver duo will pilot the #61 R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari 488 GT3. Ferrari sits second in the manufacturer’s championship with 156 points, while Soucek and Parente sit 14 points behind Vilander and Baptista and Soulet sit tied for third with 110 points.
After a first half of the season that saw more downs than ups, the Wright Motorsports duo of American Patrick Long and Canadian Scott Hargrove were finally able to get a bit of help from the racing Gods and get a positive result at Sonoma winning Round 8. The driver duo will pilot the #58 Porsche 911 GT3 R (991). Wright sits third in the team championship standings with 114 points, while Long and Hargrove are tied for fourth with 101 points in the driver’s championship. Porsche sits third in the manufacturer’s championship coming into the weekend with 139 points.
Also hoping to put Porsche on the top step in upstate New York are Canadian Daniel Morad and American Billy Johnson behind the wheel of the #22 Alegra Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R (991). Johnson replaces Michael de Quesada for the balance of the 2019 season – de Quesada steps aside to focus on his studies. Johnson is an accomplished veteran having raced in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, FIA World Endurance Championship, and NASCAR. Alegra Motorsports will also grid the #24 Porsche 911 GT3 R (991) for German driver duo Marco Holzer and Wolf Henzler.
Can Bechtolsheimer Close Gap on Barkey and Marcelli?
In the Pro/Am division, as they have for every race weekend thus far this season, Canadians Martin Barkey and Kyle Marcelli sit perched atop the driver’s championship standings and will co-pilot the #80 Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX. Barkey and Marcelli hold a 13-point lead over Gradient Racing’s Till Bechtolsheimer of Great Britain – Bechtolsheimer cut into the point gap at Sonoma and will look to do so further at Watkins Glen. The British driver will pilot the team’s #5 Acura NSX alongside American co-driver Marc Miller.
Wright Motorsports’ Anthony Imperato sits a further 11 points behind Bechtolsheimer in the driver championship standings. The American will co-pilot the #91 Porsche 911 GT3 R (991) with Norwegian Dennis Olsen.
Series veterans RealTime Racing bring their #43 Acura NSX for experienced US sports car duo Mike Hedlund and Dane Cameron. Hedlund will drive alongside Cameron for the duration of the season after joining the team at Sonoma and helping RealTime to a class victory and runner-up finish.
DXDT Racing brings two entries to Watkins Glen for Americans George Kurtz and Colin Braun who sit tied for fifth in the driver’s championship standings. The pair will drive the #04 Mercedes-AMG GT3. The team’s #63 Mercedes-AMG GT3 will be piloted by David Askew and accomplished sports car driver Ryan Dalziel. Askew fresh off a victory on water in one of the premier ocean racing events in the world (2019 Rolex Fastnet Race) will look to get carry that winning momentum back on land and into victory circle in upstate New York.
Rounding out the Pro/Am class is the #38 K2R Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R (991) with Americans Kevan Millstein and Alex Barron set to drive, and the #87 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW F13 M6 GT3 for US-based drivers Henry Schmitt and Gregory Liefooghe.
Fuentes Looks to Continue Dominance in Am Class
In the Am category, Squadra Corse driver Martin Fuentes from Mexico has had a dominant season thus far and leads the category driver’s championship entering the weekend. He will co-drive the team’s #7 Ferrari 488 GT3 with American Mark Issa. Also entered to run in the Am category are US-based pilots Christopher Cagnazzi and Anthony Lazzaro behind the wheel of the #19 One11 Competition Ferrari 488 GT3 and the #96 Turner Motorsport BMW F13 M6 GT3 for Japanese drivers Naoto Takeda and Takuya Shirasaka.
Over 100 cars will be competing over the weekend in SRO’s three series – Blancpain GT World Challenge America, Pirelli GT4 America and TC America. On-track action for the Blancpain GT World Challenge begins Friday, August 30 at 12 noon EST for the first Blancpain GT World Challenge practice of the weekend. Round 9’s 90-minute contest is scheduled to go green at 3:10 pm on Saturday, August 31, while Round 10 is scheduled to start at 3:15 pm EST Sunday, September 1.
Races and qualifying will be streamed live on gt-world-challenge-america.com, with Sunday's contest live on CBS Sports Network, September 1 starting at 3pm EDT.
Official Timetable - PDF LINK
Entry List - PDF LINK