Veteran James, Teenager Chase top Pirelli World Challenge GTS Practice rounds Friday at Sonoma Raceway

Panoz, Ginetta drivers pace GTS action for Rounds 17 and 18

SONOMA, Calif. – Veteran Ian James and teenager Parker Chase led the GTS practice rounds Friday at Sonoma Raceway in the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Sonoma at the famed 2.35-mile, 12-turn road course north of the San Francisco Bay Area.

James, the five-time GTS race winner of Paradise Valley, Ariz., drove the No. 50 Team Panoz Racing Panoz Avezzano GT sports car to the quickest time in the 30-minute morning practice session with a time of one minute, 42.244 seconds (83.97 miles per hour) as the Brit looks to finish out the 2017 with victory circle celebrations in Round 17 and 18.

Chase, the 16-year-old high schooler from New Braunsfels, Tex., recorded the quickest 30-minute afternoon run in the heat of the day with a 1:42.651 (83.64 m.p.h.) lap in the No. 19 Performance Motorsport Group Ginetta G55 GT4 machine.

Another youngster, four-time race winner Rodrigo Baptista of Brazil, placed second in the No. 3 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR in the afternoon practice at 1:42.951 (83.39 m.p.h.) followed by newly-crowned GTS champion Lawson Aschenbach of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., in the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R at 1:42.983 (83.37 m.p.h.).

Aschenbach, the five-time PWC series champion, was second quickest in the morning session to James with a stellar 1:42.411 (83.83 m.p.h.) followed by Baptista at 1:42.745 (83.56 m.p.h.) and 17-year-old Nate Stacy of Owasso, Tex., at 1:43.618 (82.86 m.p.h.) in the No. 14 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR. Stacy became the youngest GTS race winner last year at Sonoma Raceway.

Leading the GTS Am division in both GTS practices Friday was veteran Derek DeBoer of Ashland, Ore., in the No. 007 TRG-AMR Lasalle Solutions/BRM Chronographe/Auto LeafStar/Castrol/FastLife TV Aston Martin Vantage GT4 with a best of 1:43.252 (83.15 m.p.h.) in the afternoon practice runs.

Taking second in the GTS Am category was point leader George Kurtz of Paradise Valley, Ariz., in the No. 04 CrowdStrike/GMG McLaren 570S at 1:43.336 (83.08 m.p.h.) and veteran Tony Gaples of Libertyville, Ill., in the No. 11 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R. at 1:43.821 (81.91 m.p.h.).

GTS Round 17 is set for Saturday, Sept. 16, at 5:15 p.m. PDT with Round 18 scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 17, at 1:30 p.m. PDT. Both 50-minute races can be viewed live on www.motortrendondemand.com and www.world-challenge.com.