|Full Field of cars|
GRANTSVILLE, Utah– Some 101 professional entries travel to Utah Motorsports Campus this weekend (Aug. 11-13) to contest the fast and challenging 3.048-mile, 14-turn permanent road circuit in the Security National Mortgage Supercar Grand Prix of Utah, another of Pirelli World Challenge’s headliner weekends.
Featuring a variety of racing machines from the lightning quick GT3 sports cars in SprintX to the “Muscle Cars" of the GTS/GT4 category to the closest thing to the street cars in the multi-classes Touring Cars, the doubleheader weekend brings the one of the biggest contingents of road racing vehicles to the popular Utah racing facility. Already in 2017, the Pirelli World Challenge has been represented by 25 auto makes and 44 different models.
Rounds 7 and 8 of the highly-competitive SprintX division have 33 two-driver entries in a pair of 60-minute main events on Saturday (Aug. 12) and Sunday (Aug. 13) with three separate divisions – Pro/Pro, Pro/Am and Am/Am – featuring many of the world’s best sports cars such as Acura, Aston Martin, Audi, Bentley, Cadillac, Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, Mercedes, Nissan and Porsche.
Along with the SprintX action, the Touring Car categories – TC, TCA and TCB – will have a superb field of 50 cars on the Utah Motorsports Campus road course at the same time with dual 40-minute contests on Saturday. The 32-car TC field brings a tremendous group of equipment from Audi, BMW, Honda, Lotus, Mazda, Nissan and Porsche.
The popular GTS division, showcasing a variety of GTS and GT4 cars, will have two 50-minute sprint races on Saturday and Sunday with the high-horsepower engines of the Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang, Aston Martin, Panoz Avezzano GT and Maserati going against the quick, responsive GT4 sports cars represented by the KTM XBow, SIN R1 GT4, Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR and McLaren 570S.
All Pirelli World Challenge races this weekend will be live streamed on www.motortrendondemand.com and www.world-challenge.com, and six feature races (SprintX, GTS and TC) will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network; the SprintX doubleheader will be shown on CBS Sports Network on Aug. 20 at 2:30 p.m. EDT, while GTS will be televised on Aug. 23 at 9 p.m. and TC on Aug. 23 at 8 p.m. EDT.
33 Teams Set to Battle in the Dual 60-Minute, Two-Driver Contests – SprintX Preview
|Utah action last year|
After five rounds, the SprintX GT campaign has produced five different teams (TR3 Racing, CRP Racing, Cadillac Racing, Wright Motorsports and Magnus Racing) in the winner’s circle and those squads represent five separate auto manufacturers (Ferrari, Mercedes, Cadillac, Porsche and Audi) as Round 6 and 7 head to the 3.048, 14-turn permanent road circuit.
A strong 33-car SprintX field will compete this weekend with world-class drivers set for Saturday (Aug. 12) at 1:40 p.m. MDT and Sunday (Aug. 13) at 12:30 p.m. MDT in the Pro/Pro, Pro/Am and Am/Am categories.
Sports cars such as Acura, Audi, Aston Martin, Bentley, Cadillac, Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, Mercedes, Nissan and Porsche will do battle and the competition is expected to be as fierce as in the earlier rounds at VIRginia International Raceway, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Lime Rock Park.
With the Mid-Ohio GT Sprint races dominated by defending GT champion Alvaro Parente of Portugal in his No. 9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S, the Overall GT point title has tightened.
2011 PWC GT champion Patrick Long of Manhattan Beach, Calif., currently holds a three-point margin over Cadillac’s Michael Cooper of Syosset, N.Y., 223 to 220, with Parente at 217 in the current Overall GT standings. The Overall GT championship consists of 19 races in both the GT Sprint and GT SprintX classes.
The same three battled down to the wire for last year’s PWC GT title with Parente, Long and Cooper finishing 1-2-3. With five SprintX races and two GT Sprint events remaining on the Pirelli World Challenge schedule, the top three figure to be in the mix for the 2017 Overall GT crown.
At Utah this weekend, Long, a three-time winner in 2017, will match up with endurance sports car star JÃ¶rg Bergmeister of Germany in the SprintX doubleheader with Cooper teaming up with Jordan Taylor of Orlando, Fla., in the No. 8 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R. Cooper and Taylor captured the CTMP Round 3 SprintX event and the Cadillac pair currently lead the GT SprintX Pro/Pro class points with 107.
Parente, a four-time GT Sprint race winner this year, will pair up with young open-wheel star Ben Barnicoat of England in the No. 9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S this weekend at Utah.
With the three GT overall point leaders leading the 32-car lineup at Utah, other GT SprintX challengers include 2017 SprintX race winners: VIR winners and second in SprintX points, Ryan Dalziel of Scotland and Daniel Morad of Canada in the No. 2 CRP Racing/DeVilbiss Mercedes-AMG GT3, VIR winner Daniel Mancinelli of Italy and Niccolo Schiro also of Italy in the No. 31 TR3 Racing Ferrari 488 GT3; and the Lime Rock winning car, No. 4 Magnus Racing Audi RS 8 LMS of Pierre Kaffer of Germany and Spencer Pumpelly of Atlanta.
However, the Pro/Pro division sports even more competition with another group of contenders led by four-time PWC GT champion and former Utah double winner Johnny O’Connell of Flowery Branch, Ga., and 24 Hours of Daytona champion Ricky Taylor of Apopka, Fla., in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS.V-R., Bryan Sellers of Braselton, Ga., and last year’s Utah double SprintX winner Michael Lewis of Laguna Beach, Calif., in the No. 6 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S, Ryan Eversley of Atlanta and Tom Dyer of Corte Madera, Calif., in the No. 43 RealTime Racing Acura NSX GT3, Road America winner Adderly Fong of Hong Kong and recent 24 Hours of Spa runner-up Vincent Abril of Monaco in the No. 88 Absolute Racing Bentley Continental GT3, and an impressive duo in the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing “Red Dragon" Porsche 911 GT3 R with Oregon’s Jon Fogarty and Germany’s Wolf Henzler.
Another very competitive category at Utah will be the Pro/Am SprintX class and point leaders Jan Heylen of Tampa, Fla., and Michael Schein of Glen Cove, N.Y. in the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R have won three races already in 2017. Heylen and Schein must be favorites Saturday and Sunday but the list of contenders is large and led by VIR winners Jeroen Bleekemolen of Monaco and Tim Pappas of Boston, Mass., in the No. 54 Black Swan Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: the CTMP-winning No. 14 Porsche 911 GT3 R of James Sofronas of Villa Park, Calif., and series newcomer Mathieu Jaminet of France; local favorites John Potter of Salt Lake City, Utah, and Marco Seefried of Austria in the No. 44 Magnus Racing Audi RS8 LMS and another Utah-based team of Aaron Povoledo of Toronto and David Askew of Salt Lake City in the No. 63 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3.
Former GTA class champion Frankie Montecalvo of Highlands, N.J., and his driving partner Ricardo Sanchez of Mexico in the No. 75 Always Evolving/AIM Autosport Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 could be a Pro/Am threat at Utah after winning two poles already in 2017. Other Pro/Am contenders include former GT Cup champion Alec Udell of The Woodlands, Tex., and two-time Utah SprintX winner Preston Calvert of Potomac, Md., in the No. 77 Calvert Dynamics/Euroworld/GMG Porsche 911 GT3 R; former Formula One racer Will Stevens of England and Andrew Kim of South Korea in No. 78 Absolute Racing Bentley Continental GT3; and Cedric Sbirrazzuoli of Monaco and Lawrence Degeorge of Jupiter, Fla., in the No. 07 Dream Racing Motorsports Lamborghini Huracan GT3.
Expected to challenge for the GT Am-Am division honors are class point leader Henrique Cisneros of Miami, Fla., and Jonathon Ziegelman of Delray Beach, Fla., in the No. 30 MOMO/NGT Racing Ferrari 458 GT3; the No. 013 R. Ferri Motorsports Ferrari 458 GT3 entry of Kris Wilson of Littleton, Colo., and Drew Regitz of Denver, Colo., second in the Am/Am standings; and James Dayson of Vancouver, B.C., Can., and GTSA regular Jason Bell of Tampa, Fla., in the No. 23 M1GT Racing Audi R8 LMS Ultra.
Others scheduled to compete in SprintX at Utah this weekend include GT Cup Pro/Am racers Allesandro Bressan/Yuki Harata in the No. 55 Dream Racing Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo; Andy Lee/Erich Joiner in the No. 95 Tool Racing Porsche 911 and former GT champion Brandon Davis/Jeff Burton in the No. 10 DXDT Racing/Burton Lumber Lamborghini LP620-2. Additional entries for SprintX at Utah are filled out by Joe Toussaint/Cory Friedman in the Autometrics Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Am/Am), plus GTS competitors Adam Merzon/Trent Hindman in the No. 017 Case-It Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR (Pro/Am) Derek Deboer/Jason Alexandridis in the No. 09 Lasalle Solutions/Adobe Road Winery/TMG-AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT4; Cameron Cassels/Phillip Bloom in the No. 018 Case-It Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR; Greg Liefooghe/Aristole Balogh in the No. 019 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M3 E46 and Jason Hart/Matt Travis in the No. 47 NOLAsport Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR (all in Am/Am).
New GT4 Cars Battle GTS Muscle Cars at Utah – GTS presented by Case-It Preview
The exciting door-to-door, bumper-to-bumper action of GTS competition has made the category fun for Pirelli World Challenge fans and the Utah weekend should supply the same in Rounds 13 and 14 for GTS presented by Case-It.
Leading the GTS division is current point leader Lawson Aschenbach of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., who won his first GTS race of the 2017 season recently at Mid-Ohio. The two-time GTS champion holds a healthy point lead (87 points) entering the Utah weekend in the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4R. Aschenbach has been consistent through the first 12 races this year including 11 podium showings.
The Flying Lizard Motorsports duo of Spain’s Rodrigo Baptista and 17-year-old Nate Stacy of Owasso, Okla., will be among the challengers this weekend to Aschenbach with their No. 3 and No. 14 Flying Lizard Porsche Cayman Clubsport MR sports cars, respectively. Baptista is a two-time winner in 2017.
The leading race winner in GTS this year is the personable Ian James of Paradise Valley, Ariz., in the popular No. 50 Team Panoz Racing Panoz Avezzano GT after scoring victories at Road America (two wins) and Mid-Ohio. James currently ranks second in the GTS standings.
Former GTS race winner Martin Barkey of Huntsville, Ont., in the No. 80 MBRP Performance Exhaust KTM Xbow could be a factor in both GTS race at Utah and veteran PWC racer Jeff Courtney of Milwaukee, Wis., brings his popular No. 99 Kenda/RecStuff.com Maserati GT4 this weekend in search of victory lane.
In the GTS Am class, the hottest driver has been entrepreneur George Kurtz of Paradise Valley, Ariz., with five consecutive victories in his No. 04 CrowdStrike/GMG McLaren 570S sports car and Kurtz has now taken over the class point lead.
VIR winner Jason Bell of Tampa will be in the hunt with his No. 2 Racers Edge Motorsports SIN R1 GT4 as well as Aschenbach’s Blackdog Speed shop teammate, Tony Gaples in the No. 11 Blackdog Speed shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4R.
The local Utah team from Ian Lacy Racing will be fan favorites at Utah Motorsports Campus with Drew Staveley of Salt Lake City, Utah, in the No. 12 Ian Lacy Racing/GT3 Racing Ginetta G55 and Frank Gannett of Steamboat Springs, Colo., in the No. 13 Ian Lacy Racing/GT3 Racing Ginetta G55.
The Case-It Racing teammates Adam Merzon of Greenwich, Conn., and Cameron Cassels of Coldstream, BC, Canada, also will be contesting in their No. 017 and No. 018 Case-It Porsche Cayman Clubsport MR machines, as well as Lime Rock racer winner Mark Klenin of Lone Tree, Colo., in the No. 62 KRP/Tender Belly McLaren 570S GT4; veteran Chris Beaufait of Freeland, Wash., in the Racers Edge No. 45 SIN R1 GT4; Bill Zeigler of Ponte Vedra, Fla., in the No. 9 ANSA Motorsports KTM XBow; Carter Young of Los Angeles in the No. 7 GMG/HK Battery Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR and Keith Jensen of Puerto Rico in the No. 47 NOLAsport Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR.
The GTS presented by Case-It events will be 50-minute sprint contests on Friday and Saturday.
33 Touring Car entries ready for action at Utah – Touring Car Preview
There is little doubt that some of the best racing happens in the 2017 Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car division and after the first six rounds of competition that trend is expected to continue this weekend at Utah Motorsports Campus.
The new Audi RS3 LMS Club Sport has shown a quick pace, especially with the talented Paul Holton behind the wheel. Holton, the TC Rounds 1 and 3 winner, comes to Utah as the class point leader in the No. 71 C360R Audi RS3 LMS Club Sport. Holton, who has been competing in Touring Cars in Europe recently, holds a 45-point margin over veteran Nick Wittmer in the No. 91 ST Racing/GPI Inc./Laurel BMW of Westmont, Ill., BWM M235iR.
In addition to Wittmer’s BMW sedan in TC this year, a strong group of BWM M235iR cars are prepared to do battle at Utah led by defending TC class champion, Toby Grahovec of Celina, Tex., in the No. 1 Classic BMW Motorsports BMW M235iR.
Contending with Grahovec will be VIR TC Round 2 winner Greg Liefooghe, in the No. 20 ART Racing/Steve Cameron Racing BMW M235iR as well as Wittmer’s teammate, college student Samantha Tan of Gormley, Ont., Canada, in the No. 38 ST Racing/GPI Inc./Laurel BMW of Westmont, Ill., BWM M235iR.
Other top contenders this weekend in TC will be the Florida-based Shea Racing brings popular team owner/driver Shea Holbrook of Orlando in her Honda Accord. Holbrook, a six-time PWC race winner, has been busy in the off-season with a four-car operation (two in TC, two TCA) but figures to be a challenger in the popular No. 67 Bubba Burgers/Lucas Oil Honda Accord.
TC ‘Rookie of the Year" Anthony Geraci, of Glen Cove, N.Y., won a pole position at VIR in the new No. 69 S.A.C. Racing Audi RS3 LMS Club Sport sedan and will be in the hunt at UMC. Young (age 19) Mason Filippi of Alamo, Calif., comes to Utah after a TC victory in CTMP in his No. 12 Winding Road Team BMW M235iR.
Another top contender based out of New York is BERG Racing led by team owner and last year’s Utah race winner John Weisberg of Webster, N.Y., who campaigns the No. 5 REDCOM Laboratories/Micro Precision Components/BERG Racing Mazda MX–5. Joining the BERG Racing team at Utah is young Jason Coupal of Rochester, N.Y., in the No. 009 REDCOM Laboratories/Micro Precision Components/BERG Racing Audi RS3 LMS Club Sport. Coupal currently ranks third in TC points.
The 33-car Touring Car field also features Jayson Clurie in the No. 2 Classic BMW Motorsports BMW M235iR; former Utah winner Vesko Kozarov of Salt Lake City, Utah., in the No. 3 Rearden Racing Nissan 370Z; Rodrigo Sales, in the No. 8 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M235iR; Andrew McCubbins of Salt Lake City, Utah, in the No. 13 Rearden Racing BMW M235iR; Stefan Sajic, in the No. 18 ZIMA Motorsports BMW M235iR; Aristotle Balogh, in the No. 19 ART Racing BMW M235iR; Robert Nimkoff, in the 28 AutoTechnic Racing BMW M325iR; Justin Raphael, in the No. 29 Classic BMW Motorsports BMW M235iR; former race winner Travis Washay in the No. 32 Indian Summer Racing Audi RS3 LMS Club Sport; Tony Rivera, in the No. 34 Brass Monkey Racing Nissan 370Z; Chetan Puranik, in the No. 36 ZIMA Motorsports BMW M235iR; Steve Kohli, in the No. 40 Parallax Racing/Billion Honda Honda Accord; Steve Burns in the No. 43 Ian Lacy Racing Ford Mustang; Anthony Magagnoli, in the No. 80 Rooster Hall Racing BMW M235iR; Jacob Ruud in the No. 81 Winding Road Team TFB BMW M235iR; Scott Thomas in the No. 82 AutoTechnic Racing BMW M235iR; Henry Schmitt, in the No. 87 in the BMW of San Francisco BMW M235iR; Chris Ohmacht, in the No. 92 Classic BMW Motorsports BMW M235iR; Karl Wittmer, in the No. 99 Honda Ste-Rose Honda Accord; Max Fedler in the No. 05 Summit of Everett Group/Classic BMW BMW M235iR; Jeff Kearl in the No. 06 Rearden Racing BMW M235iR; Greg Warnock in the No. 017 Rearden Racing BMW M235iR and Daren Jorgensen in the No. 065 Rearden Racing BMW M235iR.
Defending Champion Goulart Holds Slim Point Lead Coming to Utah – TCA Class Preview
Defending TCA series champion Elivan Goulart of Shelton, Conn., in the No. 70 S.A.C. Racing/SCDA1.com Mazda MX–5, was dominant in 2016 with five of 12 TCA races and 12 top-five placings. Now, after another strong performance at Lime Rock in May, Goulart takes the TCA point lead into Utah Motorsports Campus by just six over his S.A.C. Racing teammate Matthew Fassnacht of Madison, N.J., in the No. 74 S.A.C. Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup.
Goulart has totaled 140 points to Fassnacht’s 134 coming to the TCA doubleheader this weekend.
Fassnacht, last year's TCA Rookie of the Year, won twice at VIR for his first two PWC feature wins of his racing career.
Battling Fassnacht and Goulart at Utah will be the 2016 TCB series champion and CTMP TCA winner Tom O’Gorman of Mason, Ohio, who’ll drive the all-new No. 94 HPD/Black Armor Helmets/Gridlife Honda Civic Si for Shea Racing.
Joining Fassnacht and Goulart in the S.A.C. Racing team in 2017 will be Daniel Moen of Rindge, N.H., in the No. 73 S.A.C. Racing Mazda MX-5.
Eric Powell, in the No. 23 Tech Sport Racing Mazda MX–5 Cup, figures to be a contender at Utah is after placing third in last year’s TCA points with one win, eight top-fives and ten top-10s. The Orlando, Fla., teams with Breton Williams of Clinton, Ia., in the No. 22 Tech Sport Racing Scion.
Making its PWC debut at Utah will the all-new No. 86 DG-Spec Racing/ Toyota TMG 86 Cup machine driven by veteran Craig Stanton of Yorba Linda, Calif. The Dan Gardner-owned and prepared sedan
Others to watch in the 12–car TCA field include Kenny Murillo of Santa Rosa, Calif., in the No. 33 Murillo Racing Mazda Global MX-5 Cup; Glory Fernandez of Puerto Rico in the No. 52 Glory Racing Honda Civic Si; Tim Probert of Houston, Tex., in the No. 56 Murillo Racing Mazda Global MX-5 Cup; Daniel Williams of Scottsbluff, Neb., in the No. 68 S.A.C. Racing Mazda MX-5; Jeff Sexton of Austin, Tex., in the No. 89 Winding Road Team Mazda MX-5 Cup; and CTMP Round 3 winner Dean Copeland of Grasonville, Md., in the No. 07 Copeland Motorsports Mazda MX-5 Cup.
A wide-open title fight expected in 2017 in TCB – TCB Class Preview
With O’Gorman, the 2016 champion, moving to TCA in 2017, the series championship has proven to be a three-driver battle in 2017.
Touring Car B–Spec or TCB is the most cost-effective class but the competition supplies some of the most popular door–to–door racing and bumper-to-bumper drafting in all of the Pirelli World Challenge series.
Coming off a double TCB win weekend at Lime Rock Park, young Canaan O’Connell, son of four-time PWC GT champion Johnny O’Connell, returns to Utah just a year after his pro debut in the No. 24 Tech Sport Racing Chevrolet Sonic. O’Connell has moved into third in the TCB standings behind leaders Jake Pipal and Canadian P.J. Groenke. Canaan has three TCB victories in 2017.
Groenke of Richmond Hill, Ont., raced O’Gorman right down to the final race before settling for second in the 2016 championship. Groenke scored six podium (top-three) finishes and ten top-five placements in 2016. He’ll drive the No. 25 Tech Sport Racing Chevrolet Sonic this weekend at Utah Motorsports Campus.
Pipal, the 19-year-old from Oakdale, Calif., has enjoyed a good year thus far with his Jake Pipal Racing/Carbotech Brakes Mazda 2 with two wins and consistent runs in the other events.
Other contenders in TCB this weekend include Blake Thompson of Oak Creek, Wis., in the No. 37 ISellMiataParts.com Mazda 2 and Jasper Drengler of Shawano, Wis., in the No. 01 Drengler Racing/Chimney Mechanix Honda Fit.
3.048-mile, 14-turn permanent road circuit
Qualifying: (All times listed are MDT)
Friday, August 11, 2017
8:40 AM – 8:55 AM Pirelli World Challenge TCA-TCB (15 min.)
8:55 AM – 9:10 AM Pirelli World Challenge TC (15 min.)
9:20 AM – 9:40 AM Pirelli World Challenge GTS
10:45 AM – 11:00 AM Pirelli World Challenge – Sprint X (GT Am, GT Cup & GTS)
11:00 AM – 11:15 AM Pirelli World Challenge – Sprint X (GT Pro)
Live Internet Telecast (on motortrendondemand.com and www.world-challenge.com):
Saturday, August 12, 2017 (All times listed are MDT)
12:30 PM – 1:10 PM Pirelli World Challenge – Touring Car Race 1 (40 minutes)
1:40 PM – 2:40 PM Pirelli World Challenge – SprintX Race 1 (60 minutes)
3:10 PM – 4:00 PM Pirelli World Challenge – GTS Race 1 (50 minutes)
5:10 PM – 5:40 PM Pirelli World Challenge – Touring Car Race 2 (40 minutes)
Sunday, August 13, 2017 (All times listed are MDT)
10:30 AM – 11:20 PM Pirelli World Challenge – GTS Race 2 (50 minutes)
12:30 PM – 1:30 PM Pirelli World Challenge – SprintX Race 2 (60 minutes)
60 minutes (SprintX)
50 minutes (GTS)
40 minutes (TC/TCA/TCB)
Television (on CBS Sports Network): All times listed re: CBS broadcasts are Eastern.
SprintX: August 20, 2:30 PM
GTS: August 23, 9:00 PM
Touring Car/TCA/TCB: August 23, 8:00 PM