Entries now open for round two of Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli

MONTEREY, CA. – Round two of 2019’s Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli – the California 8 Hours at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca – will now take place on Saturday March 30th, one day earlier than previously announced.

The three-day event, which follows Bathurst’s season opener on February 1-3, has been moved 24 hours earlier in order to better accommodate live TV.

The event’s final timetable and broadcast schedule will be revealed in due course. However, testing is expected to take place on Wednesday 27 March before the weekend’s official track action begins on Thursday. Friday brings with it qualifying and subsequent Pole Shootout ahead of Saturday’s race.

Teams and manufacturers can now also submit and nominate their California 8 Hours entries after the process officially opened this week.

Reigning Manufacturers’ champions Audi return to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca eager to claim a third outright victory after also triumphing there in 2017 and ’18. Their cars will be joined on the grid by current full-season entrants Bentley, BMW, Porsche and Mercedes-AMG, which confirmed its participation earlier today, as well as a host of other marques entered by international and US teams. Another full-season entry will be announced before the championship’s opening round at Bathurst on February 1-3.

Indeed, the California 8 Hours marks the first Intercontinental GT Challenge outing for the new Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo and Porsche 911 GT3 R. Other new-for-2019 GT3 machinery is also expected alongside GTC, GT4 and TCR entries.

Incredibly, just 5.3s separated the top-two finishers last season after eight hours of racing. South African ace Kelvin van der Linde will also be hoping to make it back-to-back-to-back wins, subject to his selection, after previously triumphing with Audi Sport Team Land and Team Magnus.

The historic US circuit hosts one of five Intercontinental GT Challenge rounds in as many regions this season, with the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour (Australia), Total 24 Hours of Spa (Europe), Suzuka 10 Hours (Asia) and revived Kyalami 9 Hour (Africa) comprising the other four throughout the year.

SRO’s global GT championship celebrates its fourth season in 2019 by reviving a historic race in a fifth region.

The series’ purpose couldn’t be simpler: reward the manufacturer and drivers who achieve the best collective results in the world’s greatest endurance events.

The proliferation of GT3, built on a decade of manufacturer involvement and SRO’s Balance of Performance stability, has resulted in it becoming the de facto senior class for all of the world’s most prestigious GT races. This, as well as using the same Pirelli tyres, offers manufacturers an incentive to compete in all such events by employing regional customer teams without the expense of freighting cars around the world.

The season begins with the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour in Australia before Laguna Seca welcomes the US leg two months later. The Total 24 Hours of Spa plays host to the world’s biggest GT3 event in July followed by Asia’s round at the iconic, figure-of-eight Suzuka in Japan. Kyalami in South Africa then brings the curtain down on 2019 following the resurrection of its historic nine-hour race that was last staged in 1982.
The championship’s first season in 2016 comprised three rounds but has now expanded to include five of the world’s biggest GT3 events on as many continents. Intercontinental GT Challenge thus represents the highest echelon of long-distance GT racing globally.

Pirelli is a tyre manufacturer and world leader in the automotive industry. It has an exclusive relationship with over 50 racing series worldwide, including Formula One.

Pirelli has a long and illustrious history in endurance racing, and has also claimed a huge variety of class wins in GT racing all over the world. The design of the new Pirelli GT tyres meets the needs of GT racing while maintaining the performance characteristics that endurance drivers have appreciated in the past. The slick tyres used for GT racing are branded Zero: just like the slicks that have become a central feature of Formula One. The name P Zero is used in the highest categories of motorsport such as GT racing.

With more than 25 years’ experience at the forefront of a continuously evolving industry, SRO Motorsports Group is the established international leader in GT racing.

Best known for the development and implementation of the GT3 and GT4 regulations, SRO promotes and organises championships that embrace professional and amateur competitors. Its portfolio of highly regarded series spans Europe, America and Asia, while its flagship Intercontinental GT Challenge features events on five different continents.

The 2019 season will see more than 100 races run under the SRO Motorsports Group banner, highlighted by the prestigious Total 24 Hours of Spa. In addition to promotion and organisation, the company operates SRO Race Centre by MMC – a high-level technical centre at Circuit Paul Ricard – and provides the ultimate driving opportunities at world-renowned facilities through Curbstone Track Events.

SRO Motorsports Group is chaired by company founder and CEO Stephane Ratel. With offices in London, Paris, Liège and Hong Kong, its work is facilitated by a dedicated global team of full-time and freelance staff.

Combining a passion for performance with industry-leading experience, SRO is ready to play a key role in shaping the future of international GT racing.