Sofronas has 6 Wins, Kurtz 5 Victories Already in GMG Machinery This Year
GRANTSVILLE, Utah – The Global Motorsports Group operation out of Orange County, California entered the 2017 Pirelli World Challenge with quite a bit of optimism, as the team prepared four cars for various sports car competition in North America’s top GT-production road racing campaign.
Team owner and driver James Sofronas, second in all-time Pirelli World Challenge starts at 208, was excited about his organization’s chances this year as he hosted his annual team headquarters “Open House” in April. Even the personable Sofronas had no idea his squad would put up some 15 race wins by July.
After an impressive double win in GTA by college student Alec Udell at the season-opening St. Petersburg street event, the GMG team was on its way to a stellar season. Adding in team member Preston Calvert’s two GT Cup wins and Sofronas’ GTA podium finish at St. Petersburg, things looked to be solid as the series headed to GMG’s home track of Long Beach.
“Long Beach holds a special place for me now and I’m in GTA because I really don’t have the time to race because GMG is growing,” said Sofronas, after his impressive GTA victory at the streets of Long Beach. “I basically do it because I love it and they put the old guy in GTA now. That’s fine with me. My team is preparing solid, strong cars for the Pirelli World Challenge and it’s great to still race myself.”
That’s a bit of understatement for the 48-year-old veteran who has been stepping on the top step of the victory podium many times this year in his No. 14 GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.
In fact, Sofronas already has five wins in GTA Sprint races this year including last weekend’s double victory at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in sensational battles with young Michael Schein in the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R. James also has won in the SprintX (60-minute, two-driver format) Pro/Am division with Porsche professional racer Laurens Vanthoor at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.
In the GTA Sprint points, Sofronas holds the series lead with 163 over John Potter’s 133 with the final GTA Sprint double header weekend set for Sonoma Raceway on Sept. 16-18.
But Sofronas’ pride in his team’s performance comes with his other three partners within the GMG Racing contingent that includes Udell (GT Sprint/GT SprintX), Calvert (GTA/GT Cup Sprint/SprintX) and George Kurtz (GTSA).
Kurtz, the entrepreneur from Arizona, has been a regular in victory lane this year with his No. 04 CrowdStrike/GMG McLaren 570S sports car with five victories already in the GTS Am class. Kurtz, in his first full PWC series this year, currently leads the GTS Am point standings with 224 over Tony Gaples’ 214.
With Kurtz’ first win at CTMP in May, the president/CEO of the CrowdStrike cybersecurity corporation has reeled off five consecutive GTS Am victories with double race wins at Road America and Mid-Ohio.
“The CrowdStrike/GMG team has given me a great car this year,” said Kurtz. “We originally were going to run a Porsche in GTS but, at the last minute, we got this new McLaren 570S. The car came to the opener at St. Petersburg and I had never been in it. It wasn’t set up and had never run. But the GMG guys kept getting the car better with each race and I became more comfortable with it. We have been building momentum and winning races. Hopefully we can keep that momentum going when we come to Utah.”
The next Pirelli World Challenge series stop will be the Utah Motorsports Campus in Grantsville, Utah, on August 11-13 in the Security National Mortgage Supercar Grand Prix of Utah. All four drivers of the GMG Racing operation will be on hand seeking more victory celebrations.
Last year at Utah, both Calvert and Udell won their respective classes with Calvert taking two SprintX races in a Porsche 911 GT3 R and Udell winning in the GT Cup event. Udell took the GMG Racing Porsche GT3 Cup machine to 12 wins and the GT Cup title in 2016.
Last Sunday, Udell, who moved in the pro GT Sprint division after his double GTA win in March, scored his first GT podium finish at Mid-Ohio, taking his No. 17 Euroworld Motorsports/GMG Porsche 911 GT3 R to third behind past series champions Alvaro Parente and Patrick Long.
“I got a great start from tenth Sunday and made it up to third in the GT class,” said Udell. “My first GT podium was exciting. Ever since I was a little kid I’ve always wanted to make it in racing and I looked up to Patrick as a role model. When I grew up, I wanted to go racing against these guys. To go toe to toe with drivers like Alvaro and Patrick was my dream and now I am here.”
Udell, of The Woodlands, Tex., and Calvert, of Potomac, Md., will team up for the two SprintX GT features at Utah in the No. 77 Calvert Dynamics/Euroworld/GMG Porsche 911 GT3 R in the Pro/Am category, while Sofronas will drive with young Porsche factory driver Mathieu Jaminet of France in the No. 14 GMG Porsche 911 GT3 R also in the Pro/Am class.
Meanwhile, Kurtz will compete at Utah in the two GTS 50-minute Sprint races in an effort to continue his winning streak in the GTS Am division as well as leading the point standings.
Some 100 cars are entered in next weekend’s Utah Motorsports Campus sports car spectacular with practice and qualifying set for Friday (Aug. 11) and racing on Saturday (Aug. 12) and Sunday (Aug. 13).
All of the Pirelli World Challenge races on Saturday and Sunday (SprintX, GTS and Touring Car) can be live-streamed for free on www.motortrendondemand.com and www.world-challenge.com.