This weekend, championships will be decided in Pirelli World Challenge’s GT, GTA, GT Cup and GTSA classes at Sonoma Raceway. In the case of GT, the Sprint title and the overall GT title is up for grabs.
For the GT/GTA/GT Cup races, 21 cars are currently entered. Outside of the championship, the big story of the week will be Memo Gidley’s return to racing in the TKO Motorsports No. 101 Porsche. It will be his first Pirelli World Challenge GT class start.
Absolute Racing was originally entered with their No. 88 Bentley for Adderly Fong. However, the team has chosen to withdraw.
In the point standings, Wright Motorsports’ Patrick Long is looking for the double (both the GT Sprint title and the overall GT title). Of the two, the overall title is more likely. In the overall standings, Long leads by 28 points over K-PAX Racing’s Àlvaro Parente by 28 points. That is more than one race. Cadillac Racing’s Michael Cooper is the only other driver still eligible for the title. A maximum of 26 points are available per race. However, to score any points at all, a driver must complete half of the race. The No. 8 Cadillac with Jordan Taylor at the wheel getting wrecked on the first lap of the final Sprint-X race at Circuit of the Americas severely hampered Cooper’s championship chances.
Also of note, Dream Racing Motorsport has entered the No. 27 Lamborghini in the GT class for Cedric Sbirrazzuoli. Whether the Huracan GT3 emerges from the transporter this weekend is up for interpretation. The car has been entered for GT races multiple times this year, but never appeared.
Long’s lead over Parente in the GT Sprint championship is much smaller, a mere five points. With 52 points available, that effectively makes it a toss-up. Cooper is still in contention as well, but just barely. Entering the weekend 44 points back, Cooper can only win the title with excellent form and both Long and Parente likely failing to finish both races. Teammate Johnny O’Connell is in even worse shape at 49 points back, but still technically alive. TR3 Racing’s Daniel Mancinelli is fifth and will be eliminated from contention as soon as Long completes 50 percent of either race this weekend.
In GTA, James Sofronas leads the standings by comfortable margins in both championships. He is 22 points ahead of Wright Motorsports’ Michael Schein in the overall GT championship. In the GTA Sprint points, Sofronas is 30 points ahead of Magnus Racing owner-driver John Potter. For GT Cup, only Dream Racing Motorsport’s Yuki Harata is entered. He has already clinched the championship.
Entry List: Pirelli World Challenge GT/GTA/GT Cup Classes at Sonoma
|GT||2 - CRP Racing||Ryan Dalziel||Mercedes-AMG GT3|
|GT||3 - Cadillac Racing||Johnny O'Connell||Cadillac ATS-V.R.|
|GT||4 - Magnus Racing||Pierre Kaffer||Audi R8 LMS GT3|
|GT||6 - K-PAX Racing||Bryan Sellers||McLaren 650S GT3|
|GT||8 - Cadillac Racing||Michael Cooper||Cadillac ATS-V.R.|
|GT||9 - K-PAX Racing||Àlvaro Parente||McLaren 650S GT3|
|GTA||14 - GMG Racing||James Sofronas||Porsche 911 GT3 R|
|GTA||16 - Wright Motorsports||Michael Schein||Porsche 911 GT3 R|
|GT||17 - GMG Racing||Alec Udell||Porsche 911 GT3 R|
|GT||27 - Dream Racing Motorsport||Cedric Sbirrazzuoli||Lamborghini Huracan GT3|
|GT||31 - TR3 Racing||Daniel Mancinelli||Ferrari 488 GT3|
|GT||43 - RealTime Racing||Ryan Eversley||Acura NSX GT3|
|GTA||44 - Magnus Racing||John Potter||Audi R8 LMS GT3|
|GTA||54 - Black Swan Racing||Tim Pappas||Mercedes-AMG GT3|
|GT Cup||55 - Dream Racing Motorsport||Yuki Harata||Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo|
|GT||58 - Wright Motorsports||Patrick Long||Porsche 911 GT3 R|
|GTA||69 - Champ 1||Pablo Perez Companc||Mercedes-AMG GT3|
|GTA||77 - Calvert Dynamics||Dr. Preston Calvert||Porsche 911 GT3 R|
|GT||93 - RealTime Racing||Peter Kox||Acura NSX GT3|
|GT||99 - GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing||Jon Fogarty||Porsche 911 GT3 R|
|GT||101 - TKO Motorsports||Memo Gidley||Porsche 911 GT3 R|
In the GTS/GTSA races, 21 more cars are entered. The GTS class has only eight of those entries. Blackdog Speed Shop’s Lawson Aschenbach has already clinched the GTS title and leads by nearly 2.5 races over Team Panoz Racing’s Ian James. However, there are some races further down the order. James is 17 points in front of Mantella Autosport’s Martin Barkey. Flying Lizard Motorsports teammates Rodrigo Baptista and Nate Stacy are tied for fourth (Baptista gets the tiebreaker by virtue of wins).
Former INDYCAR racer Alex Lloyd will drive the No. 22 Porsche for CRP Racing that debuted in Austin, replacing Cody Ellsworth. With Lloyd at the wheel, the car is now in the GTS class as opposed to GTSA.
GTSA will go the way of GMG Racing’s George Kurtz. Entering Sonoma with eight consecutive victories, Kurtz is up to sixth in overall GTS points and could actually break into the top five there if one of the Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsches has issues and fails to score in one of the races.
In GTA points, Kurtz has a 51-point lead over Blackdog Speed Shop’s Tony Gaples. That means that all Kurtz needs to do to clinch is complete 50 percent of one of the races this weekend.
Kurtz will have 12 other drivers to do battle with. No real surprises in the class. The No. 25 ANSA Motorsports KTM that was driven by Dakota Dickerson in Austin currently does not have a driver listed. Also, since Sonoma Raceway is the home race for The Racers Group, they have entered an Aston Martin for Derek DeBoer.
Entry List: Pirelli World Challenge GTS/GTSA Classes at Sonoma
|GTSA||007 - TRG-Aston Martin Racing||Derek DeBoer||Aston Martin Vantage GT4|
|GTSA||04 - GMG Racing||George Kurtz||McLaren 570S GT4|
|GTSA||017 - Case-It Racing||Adam Merzon||Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR|
|GTSA||018 - Case-It Racing||Cameron Cassels||Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR|
|GTSA||2 - Racers Edge Motorsports||Jason Bell||SIN R1 GT4|
|GTS||3 - Flying Lizard Motorsports||Rodrigo Baptista||Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR|
|GTSA||7 - GMG Racing||Carter Yeung||Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR|
|GTSA||9 - ANSA Motorsports||Bill Ziegler||KTM X-Bow GT4|
|GTS||10 - Blackdog Speed Shop||Lawson Aschenbach||Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R|
|GTSA||11 - Blackdog Speed Shop||Tony Gaples||Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R|
|GTS||12 - Ian Lacy Racing||Drew Staveley||Ginetta G55 GT4|
|GTS||14 - Flying Lizard Motorsports||Nate Stacy||Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR|
|GTS||19 - PMG Motorsports||Parker Chase||Ginetta G55 GT4|
|GTS||22 - CRP Racing||Alex Lloyd||Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR|
|GTSA||24 - Ian Lacy Racing||Frank Gannett||Ginetta G55 GT4|
|GTSA||25 - ANSA Motorsports||TBA||KTM X-Bow GT4|
|GTSA||45 - Racers Edge Motorsports||Bob Michaelian||SIN R1 GT4|
|GTSA||47 - NOLAsport||Keith Jensen||Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR|
|GTS||50 - Team Panoz Racing||Ian James||Panoz Avezzano GT|
|GTSA||62 - KPR||Mark Klenin||McLaren 570S GT4|
|GTS||80 - Mantella Autosport||Martin Barkey||KTM X-Bow GT4|
About the author
Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.
Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.
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