GMG Racing Hauls in Multiple Podium Finishes and Pole Positions in Competitive Season-Opening SRO America Weekend at Sonoma Raceway

GMG Racing Hauls in Multiple Podium Finishes and Pole Positions in Competitive Season-Opening SRO America Weekend at Sonoma Raceway

GMG Racing hauled in three podium finishes, two fastest race laps, a pair of pole positions and several in-race performance awards in a challenging but competitive season-opening SRO America event weekend at Sonoma Raceway on Saturday and Sunday. The team's multi-tiered 2024 SRO America racing program began the season with four GMG Racing entries in three classes across the Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS and the GT America powered by AWS series that each featured Saturday and Sunday doubleheaders on the 2.52-mile "Wine Country" road course.

"Overall, considering the issues all in the paddock had to overcome with the track maintenance and repairs, everyone at GMG Racing performed at a successful level," GMG Racing Founder, Principal and Team Driver James Sofronas said. "The entire event came to a standstill for more than two days after the new pavement on the track started to come up on Wednesday, but SRO kept the paddock together while Sonoma Raceway worked hard to repair and repave more than half of the track. The fact that we even raced at all, and without any additional issues Saturday and Sunday, was incredible, and huge thanks to SRO and Sonoma Raceway."

The Sonoma opener was the debut of the full-season Fanatec GT World Challenge championship campaign by longtime GMG team driver Kyle Washington and co-driver Tom Sargent in the No. 32 GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R. Washington and Sargent shook off some mechanical gremlins and in-race issues in Saturday's opening round to run on a competitive pace with the other contenders and score a seventh-place Pro-Am finish in Sunday's final 90-minute race.

"It’s obviously a tough track but I got a lot faster over the brief time we had here," Washington said. "Working with Tom in one of our first races driving together is great. He’s teaching me a lot, which will help throughout the season and hopefully get me smarter and faster." 

Washington turned his fastest laps of the weekend in the second half of the Sunday finale after an equally strong race-opening stint by Sargent.

"I’ve never been to Sonoma, never driven this car in a race, so there were obviously a lot of firsts for me, but I’m super stoked for Kyle," Sargent said. "It was a big step forward for him. This Porsche GT3 R is a very tricky car, so for him to learn and see the laps he turned out in the second race is great. Kyle really, really brought it home for the team, and I'm pretty pumped about how I drove too. For an opening weekend with limited track time and so many 'firsts,' we have to leave happy and stoked for the rest of the season."

Sofronas kept a focused eye on the No. 32 GT World Challenge entry in addition to competing alongside Washington in the weekend's twin 40-minute GT America races.

"To see Kyle become more competitive and race harder and faster in each race over the weekend was impressive," Sofronas said. "After a challenging start in Saturday's GT World Challenge race, Kyle ran similar lap times to the other drivers on Sunday. World Challenge is Kyle's major full-season campaign this year and we left Sonoma with our Porsche in one piece, learned a ton and gathered quite a bit of data. It all combines for a solid foundation we can build on heading into the balance of the season."

In the single-driver GT America races, Washington drove his Type 991.2 No. 32 GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R while Sofronas returned to his No. 14 GMG Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO2 for the first time since an accident in the car last August at Road America. The best GT America results for both Washington and Sofronas in GT America came in Sunday's finale despite a crushing last-lap hit that knocked Washington off of what would have been a double podium showing for both GMG drivers.

"The accident on the last lap in Sunday's GT America race was disappointing," Washington said. "The guy I was racing with just missed his brake zone in the Turn 9 Bus Stop and T-boned me pretty hard. He just made a mistake."

While Sofronas recovered from his own competitor contact issues earlier in the race to finish second, the last lap bump-and-run dropped Washington to fourth instead of having the chance to join his close friend and team owner in the top three with a third-place showing.

Sofronas started Sunday's race from the pole after securing the top starting spot and earning the CrowdStrike Fastest Lap Award for setting the top lap time in Saturday's opening race. His race-opening lead was short lived, however, as Sofronas was hit on the opening lap.

"I am happy with the ultimate result and with all of the hard work the guys put in on all of our cars all week," said Sofronas, who captured another CrowdStrike Fastest Lap award Sunday in his charge back to the front. "I was turning laps in my car less than eight months after the crash last year at Road America, so I was really just getting up to speed. It came back quickly, but the aggressive racing in both GT America rounds caught us out and definitely cost us a victory on Sunday. It was frustrating. We started on the pole and knew we had a car to run up front, but to get hit on the first lap was really aggravating. I had to fight my way back, but knowing we had a car to win and not being able to show it made it one of the most frustrating races in my long career. Big disappointment, but that's racing, and I’m proud of the guys and the potential for what the car brings us for the rest of the year."

The GT America races also saw a successful return to GMG Racing by longtime team driver Brent Holden. After making his last start with GMG co-driving a Porsche 911 GT3 R with Sofronas in GT World Challenge at Circuit of The Americas (COTA) in 2019, Holden is back and competing in the emerging GT2 category at the wheel of the new No. 44 GMG Racing Mercedes-AMG GT2.

Garnering GT America results on the weekend similar to Sofronas, Holden finished second in the GT2 class on Saturday and earned the CrowdStrike Fastest Lap Award in the race to secure the pole position for Sunday's final round, in which he finished third.

"Brent had some great results in his GT America debut and it was cool earning a pair of poles for the Sunday race with him when we both turned the fastest race laps in our classes on Saturday," Sofronas said. "He is clearly showing good pace as the GT2 class evolves. For a brand-new car, I was happy to see him show the high-performance capabilities." 

Holden was delighted to be back on track with GMG Racing.

“It was a fun weekend," Holden said. "It was fun to be back with GMG Racing, and James Sofronas is the person who taught me how to drive. He was my coach back in 2006 and 2007 and probably through 2012. I used to buy tickets to go watch him race. It was great to make my first GT America start with the Mercedes-AMG GT2. Just being part of the entire GT World Challenge SRO weekend was great, and I’m definitely looking forward to Long Beach.”

The 49th Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 19 - 21, is next up for GMG Racing that fields another four-car entry for a Saturday and Sunday GT America doubleheader on the legendary street course just South of Los Angeles.

Washington, Holden and Sofronas will compete in the same cars they drove in the Sonoma GT America opener and will be joined at Long Beach by familiar team driver CJ Moses in the No. 58 GMG Racing/CrowdStrike/AWS Audi R8 LMS GT2.