Bowmanville, Ont. – Over 90 Pirelli World Challenge drivers across the series’ eight classes are set to battle it out May 20-22 at the legendary Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (Mosport), part of the Victoria Day Speedfest weekend. GT and GTA drivers will race Rounds 8 and 9, while GT Cup and GTS pilots race in Rounds 7 and 8. TC, TCA and TCB drivers will race Rounds 3 and 4, while this coming weekend marks the inaugural competition for the SprintX field. The Pirelli World Challenge Canadian Grand Prix presented by Audi event marks the 25th time the series will compete at the challenging 2.458 mile, 10-turn permanent road course.
O’Connell leads Championship Heading to CTMP – GT Preview
With over 10 world-renowned manufacturers represented by some of the top drivers in the world, the GT class features some of the best sports car racing on the planet.
Four-time and defending 2015 GT Driver’s Champion Johnny O’Connell leads the Driver’s Championship heading into the weekend with 638 points. Last year, O’Connell had a dominating CTMP weekend winning both races. He will pilot the No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R GT3. O’Connell’s teammate Michael Cooper, the 2015 GTS Driver’s Champion, comes into the weekend second overall with 622 points after scoring his first career GT win in Round 7 at Barber Motorsports Park. Cooper will drive the Cadillac Racing No. 8 ATS-V.R GT3.
You have to go back to 2011 to see a driver other than O’Connell listed as the PWC GT champion – Porsche factory driver Patrick Long came out on top that year – and he has returned to compete in the series in 2016. It’s been a whirlwind return for Long as for the first seven races he piloted the No. 31 EFFORT Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R, scoring a win in Round 1 at Circuit of the Americas, and finishing third at Long Beach in Round 5. With the team recently announcing a hiatus from competition this year, Long moves over to pilot the No. 58 Porsche 911 GT3 R for Wright Motorsports. He comes into the weekend sitting fifth in the standings with 527 points. Long also looks to help Porsche repeat as GT Manufacturer’s Champions in 2016 – Cadillac leads coming into the weekend by five points (58 – 53) over Porsche.
K-PAX Racing returns with three McLaren 650S GT3s for McLaren GT Factory Driver Alvaro Parente, McLaren GT Academy Driver and 2015 GT Cup Driver’s Champion Colin Thompson, and young up-and-comer Austin Cindric. With back-to-back wins in Round 5 at Long Beach and Round 6 at Barber, Parente moved into third in the driver’s championship standings, only 25 points behind O’Connell. Parente’s impressive racing resume includes winning the 2005 British Formula 3 Championship, the 2007 World Series by Renault Championship and the 2015 International GT Open Championship – he will drive the No. 9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S. Thompson dominated in GT Cup last year winning 13 of 18 class races and will pilot the No. 13 K-PAX Racing machine. Cindric has raced in a number of series previously including Mazda’s Road to Indy’s USF2000 series and the Global Rally Cross Championship and will pilot the No. 6 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S.
Nissan Motorsports and Always Evolving return with two GT-R GT3s for JD Davison and Bryan Heitkotter. Davison comes into the weekend sixth in Driver’s Championship points – he will pilot the No. 33 AE Replay XD Nissan GT Academy Nissan GT-R GT3. Heitkotter will drive the No. 05 Always Evolving/Replay XD/Nissan Nismo GT3 GT-R and comes into the weekend 9th in the championship points standings.
Up-and-coming sportscar racer Kyle Marcelli, from Barrie, Ontario will drive the No. 2 CRP Racing Audi R8. Marcelli sits seventh overall in the GT Driver’s Championship coming into the weekend.
Absolute Racing has joined the series and will run two Bentley Continental GT3s with Adderly Fong and Andrew Palmer piloting the cars. Fong won the 2013 Audi R8 LMS Cup and was Vice Champion of the 2015 GT Asia series, while Palmer returns to PWC last competing in the series in 2014 – Palmer was the 2015 North American Endurance Cup (LMPC) Driver’s Champion. Fong will drive the No. 88 Bentley Team Absolute Bentley Continental GT3, while Palmer drives the No. 87 machine. Palmer currently sits eighth in the championship.
Sports car veteran Jon Fogarty enters his second year in PWC in the No. 99 Gainsco Auto Insurance /Bob Stallings Racing McLaren 650S. Fogarty’s impressive racing resume includes 16 career Rolex Series victories, while being the 2007 and 2009 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Co-Champion. Fogarty finished 3rd in Round 2 at COTA.
Calvert Dynamics Racing enters the No. 78 Phoenix Performance Porsche 911 GT3 R for Andrew Davis. Davis comes off a 2015 campaign that saw him co-drive the Championship-winning car in the GS Class of the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Championship. Among many racing accomplishments, the Athens, Georgia resident has an extensive history with Porsche, winning the 2011 Rolex GT Championship for the German manufacturer.
Seven-time series Driver’s Champion Peter Cunningham owns almost every statistical record in the series and will look to add to it in 2016 behind the wheel of the No. 42 Acura/HPD/RealTime Racing’s Acura TLX-GT. Cunningham’s teammate Ryan Eversley finished sixth overall in the GT Championship in 2015 – he will run the No. 43 Acura/HPD/Red Line Oil/RealTime Acura TLX-GT. An additional note on the Acura TLX-GT – the platform is now in line with FIA GT3 standards and moves from an all-wheel to a rear-wheel drive platform matching all of the other platforms in the GT class.
Series veteran James Sofronas, in the No. 14 GMG/Spyder/Mobil 1/Thermal Club Porsche 911 GT3 R rounds out the 16-car GT field. Sofronas is set to make his 189th and 190th series starts this coming weekend.
Fuentes Continues Dominance after Sweeping in Birmingham – GTA Class Preview
The GTA driver classification recognizes gentlemen drivers competing in GT class machinery. At season’s end, the GTA driver that
accumulates the most points will be awarded the GTA Championship and the Sportsman Cup presented by B.R.M Chronographes. Along with the cup, a B.R.M championship chronograph will go to the champion.
Martin Fuentes continued his dominance claiming his seventh straight race win – a series record. He enters the weekend leading the GTA Driver’s Championship with 770 points and will pilot the No. 07 Hublot, Under Armour Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia.
Despite a tough start to the season, the 2015 GTA Driver’s Champion Frankie Montecalvo sits second with 618 points and will pilot the No. 66 DIME Racing Mercedes AMG SLS GT3. Montecalvo put together a dominating second half of 2015 winning seven of the final nine races and showed signs at Barber Motorsports Park that he could start to challenge Fuentes throughout the remainder of the 2016 season.
The GTA field also includes Michael Schein in the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R – Schein sits third overall with 346 points. Rounding out the six-car GTA field is Jorge De La Torre in the No. 4 De La Torre Racing Motor Aston Martin Vantage V12 GT3, Brent Holden in the No. 14 GMG/Spyder/Mobil 1/Thermal Club Porsche 911 GT3 R, and Bret Curtis, in the No. 96 Spectra Resources/United Steel Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3.
Urry and Udell Set to Continue Duel at CTMP – GT Cup Preview
Entering its sophomore season in 2016, GT Cup is a spec class featuring drivers piloting the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
Up-and-coming driver Alec Udell, piloting the No. 19 GMG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup had a dominating Barber weekend winning both GT Cup races to close the gap in the class driver’s championship. Udell sits a mere six points behind leader Sloan Urry. Urry, in the No. 20 Security National Mortgage/Avasis TruSpeed Autosport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup comes into the weekend leading in class with 644 points.
Corey Fergus, the 2015 TC Driver’s Champion, has moved up into the class and will pilot the No. 00 Byers Porsche, US LED, Motul Motorsports Promotions machine. Fergus had an impressive 2015 campaign scoring three TC wins and 13 top 5 finishes. He sits fourth in class driver’s championship points.
Preston Calvert returns in the No. 77 Calvert Dynamics Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Calvert sits third in the GT Cup standings. Canadian Chris Green, from Montreal, QC, will pilot the No. 09 Castrol, Glasurit, KPMG Pfaff Motorsports Porsche GT3 Cup.
SprintX Set for Inaugural Races at CTMP – SprintX Preview
The new SprintX class will feature GT/GTA and GTS teams. SprintX races are set to take place at 2016 Pirelli World Challenge headliner events, with the inaugural races scheduled for this coming weekend. There will be a total of six rounds throughout the season, two per weekend.
Races will be 60 minutes in length and feature mandatory driver and tire changes. These extended sprint races will run as separate races during the Series’ “headliner” event weekends in addition to the existing sprint format championship. Driver pairings are based on FIA driver criteria. For example, FIA listed Bronze drivers can drive with other bronze drivers as well as Silver, Gold and Platinum, while Silver drivers can be matched with Bronze, Silver and Gold drivers. Gold drivers can pair with Bronze and Silver drivers, while Platinum drivers can only be paired with Bronze level drivers.
Michael Mills and Kuno Wittmer will share duties on the No. 46 Mills Racing/Airtech Vacuum BMW Z4 GT3. Mills is the former 2014 PWC GTA Driver’s champion, while Wittmer was a co-driver on the team that claimed the IMSA GT-Le Mans class team championship back in 2014. Additionally, Wittmer has seven wins in 53 career PWC starts.
Maple, Ontario’s David Ostella and Dion von Moltke team up on the No. 69 Global Precast/Sky Rider Equipment/Connolly Marble & Granite/Tampa Bay Jaw Surgery/Surgery Center America M1 GT Racing Audi R8 LMS Ultra GT3. Ostella is a former Indy Lights driver and was the 2013 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada Champion, while Moltke has multiple wins in Skip Barber, Grand-Am, and American Le Mans series, including two wins at the legendary 12 Hours of Sebring (2012 and 2013) and a win at the Daytona 24 Hour race in 2013. M1 GT Racing is also fielding the No. 23 Audi R8 LMS Ultra GT3 for Walt Bowlin and Guy Cosmo. Bowlin has 13 PWC starts, while Cosmo has extensive experience in both Prototype and GT racing – he won the 2005 ALMS Rookie of the Year award in LMP2.
Global Motorsports Group has entered the No. 14 Spyder/ Mobil 1/ Thermal Club Porsche 911 GT3 R for sportscar veterans Colin Braun and Brent Holden. Braun has competed at the top levels of Sports Car racing in both GT and Prototype cars with 10 consecutive 24 Hours of Daytona events in both types of vehicles, while Holden has over 40 professional sportscar racing career starts.
Rounding out the eight-car field is the No. 4 Delgac, LLC/Gainesway/Angela Estate Aston Martin Vantage GT3 piloted by Jorge
De La Torre and Lars Viljoen; the No. 45 X Border Foods and Wines Racers Edge Motorsports SIN R1 GT4 piloted by Chris Beaufait and James Vance; the No. 07 Adobe Road Winery, LaSalle Solutions TRG-AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT4 for Max Riddle and Kris Wilson; and the No. 09 BRM Chronographes/Rebounderz/Rohnert Park/Racing for Cancer/Pirata Della Strada/Simon Ward TRG-AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT4 piloted by Derek DeBoer and Jason Alexandridis.
Aschenbach Leads Class Heading into CTMP – GTS Class Overview
The GTS class has featured some of the best wheel-to-wheel competition seen in racing in recent years. And 2016 has been no different with four different drivers piloting machinery from three different manufacturers scoring GTS race wins thus far this season.
With defending GTS Driver’s Champion Cooper moving up to GT, four-time series and two-time GTS champion Lawson Aschenbach returns to pilot the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Z28. Since 2013, a Blackdog Chevy has claimed the GTS Championship – Aschenbach did so in 2013 and 2014, with Cooper winning in 2015. Aschenbach has gotten off to a good start this season winning at COTA in Round 1, finishing second in Round 2, and scoring a second in Round 5 at Barber. He leads the class championship heading into the weekend with 546 points. He will team with series veteran Tony Gaples who will pilot the No. 11 Blackdog Speed shop Chevrolet Z28. Gaples made his 151th career start earlier this year at COTA.
A number of new teams have entered the series bringing new platforms to PWC including the Performance Motorsports Group. Fifteen-year-old Rookie Parker Chase pilots the team’s No. 19 Ginetta GT4 and sits second overall in the championship, only 28 points behind Aschenbach. Parker scored his best finish PWC finish in Round 6 at Barber with a second.
ANSA Autosport is another team debuting a new platform in PWC in 2016. Brett Sandberg pilots the No. 13 ANSA Motorsports KTM X-Bow GT4 – Sandberg won Round 2 at COTA and comes into the weekend third in the GTS Driver’s Championships standings with 504 points. Teammate Dore Chaponick Jr. will pilot the No. 12 ANSA Motorsports KTM X-Bow GT4 – Chaponick sits 10th overall.
Jack Roush Jr. in the No. 60 ROUSH Road Racing Ford Mustang Boss 302, and 16-year-old phenom Nate Stacy in the No. 14 Rehagen Racing/Stacy Racing machine team up to lead the Ford charge. Roush won back-to-back at St. Petersburg and comes into the weekend fifth. Stacy had a good start to the 2016 season finishing second in Round 1 and fourth in Round 2 and comes into the weekend fourth with 440 points. Roush and Stacy as well look to help Ford win its second consecutive Manufacturer’s Championship in 2016 – coming into the weekend Ford leads the championship by one point over Chevrolet.
TRG-AMR brings an Aston Martin Vantage GT4 to the GTS battle with Canadian Max Riddle piloting the No. 07 Adobe Road Winery, LaSalle Solutions machine.
Canadian team Mantella Autosport Inc. brings a two-car effort to the CTMP with Anthony Mantella in the No. 8 Gulf KTM X-Bow GT4, and teammate Martin Barkey in the No. 80 MBRP Sportlab Sawmill Creative car.
Rounding out the 16-car field is Kevin Marshall, in the No. 44 VSA Motorsports Lotus GT4, Mark Klenin, in the No. 62 Schomp/Premiere Copy Klenin Performance Racing Maserati GranTurismo MC GT4, Chris Beaufait and Torontonian James Vance sharing duties in the No. 45 Racers Edge Motorsports SIN Cars SIN R1 GT4, Scott Dollahite, in the No. 46 SDR Motorsports Lotus Evora, Scott Heckert in the No. 54 Racers Edge Motorsports SIN Cars/Racers Edge Motorsports SIN R1 GT4 and Ernie Francis, Jr. in the No. 98 Breathless Racing/Beta Tools/Liquid Performance Ford Mustang Boss 302.
Grahovec Leads Class Heading to CTMP – Touring Car Preview
With 2015 class champion Fergus moving up to GT Cup, a new champion will be crowned in 2016 from a very talented field of racers entered in the class for this season.
Toby Grahovec in the No. 26 Classic BMW Motorsports BMW M235iR comes into the weekend first in the driver’s championship with 208 points after finishing second in Round 1 at COTA and taking the win in Round 2 at the Austin-based track.
Adam Poland returns to pilot the No. 33 Doghouse Performance Mazda MX-5. Poland comes into the weekend third in championship points with 160 after a couple of top 5 finishes at COTA.
Shea Holbrook returns to run a full season in the No. 67 Shea Racing Honda Accord V-6 Coupe. In 2015, Holbrook ran a limited schedule while managing her race team. In 2014, Holbrook won five races in TCA and finished second overall in class. Teammate Jason Fichter in the No. 7 Shea Racing Honda Accord V-6 Coupe comes into the weekend 4th in the championship. Holbrook sits 5th.
Montreal’s Nick Wittmer returns to PWC to run a full campaign in the series. Wittmer will pilot the No. 91 Honda Ste-Rose Racing Honda Accord. He brings an impressive resume having previously won a number of sports car racing championships including back-to-back Canadian Touring Car Championships in 2009 and 2010. Wittmer sits 6th coming into the weekend.
The 18-car field also features Dennis Hanratty, Jr., in the No. 4 KRUGSPEED Racing/Beta Tools/OG Racing/Winmax Brakes Lotus Exige; Kevin Krauss, in the No. 88 Outlier/Scion Group Porsche Cayman; Anthony Geraci, in the No. 69 S.A.C. Racing/European Granite & Marble Group, Inc. Mazda MX-5; Daniel Moen, in the No. 73 S.A.C. Racing Mazda MX-5; Patrick Gallagher, in the No. 54 Atlanta Motorsports Group Mazda MX-5; Dinah Weisberg in the No. 50 REDCOM Laboratories/Red Line Oil/Power Brake BERG Racing Mazda MX-5; Steve Kohli, No. 40 Honda, NDA Parallax Racing Honda Accord V-6 Coupe; Steve Burns, in the No. 43 VP Racing Fuels/Works Garage Ian Lacy Racing Ford Mustang; Gino Carini, in the No. 27 Palermos Screaming Sicilian Pizza/Marenzo Construction Group/Classic BMW Motorsports BMW M235iR; John Weisberg, in the No. 5 Power Brake/REDCOM/Red Line Oil/Powerflex/Mann’s/Miller/MCS BERG Racing Mazda MX-5; Randy Hale, No. 17 TransAero, Inc. Hale Motorsports Mazda MX-5; Tony Rivera, in the No. 97 Brass Monkey Racing Tiburon Motorsports Nissan 370Z and Brian Lift, in the No. 99 Call One Outlier/Scion Group Porsche Cayman.
Goulart and Wolfe Lead Talented TCA Field into CTMP – TCA Class Preview
Two-time TCA Driver’s Champion Jason Wolfe piloting the No. 12 Kinetic Motorsports Kia Forte Koup comes into the weekend tied for the lead in the class Driver’s Championship after a win and a second at COTA. Wolfe has 208 points.
Wolfe is tied with Elivan Goulart who will pilot the No. 70 S.A.C. Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup. Goulart’s record mirrors Wolfe’s (a win and a second at COTA). Of note, Goulart won at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park last year.
Eric Powell, in the No. 23 Tech Sport Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup, enters the weekend in third with 181 points after a couple of thirds at COTA, while Joey Bickers, in the No. 49 Atlanta Motorsports Group Mazda MX-5 Cup, comes into the weekend sitting fourth with 174 points.
Another driver to watch is Markham, Ontario’s Gary Kwok, in the No. 6 M&S Racing Honda Civic Si. CTMP is Kwok’s home track and he’s had success at the track in the past including a PWC TC win in 2012.
Others to watch in the 14-car TCA field include Forrest Landy, in the No. 9 Atlanta Motorsports Group/Excitations.com Mazda MX-5 Cup; Jonathan Goring, in the No. 21 Tech Sport Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup; Kris Wright in the No. 35 Kinetic Motorsports Kia Forte Koup, Gormley, Ontario’s Samantha Tan in the No. 38 GPI Global Honda Civic Si; Kevin Anderson, in the No. 22 Tech Sport Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup; Jay Salinsky, in the No. 16 Fuse Lenses/Regenexx Cayman/Red Line Oil/Redcom/BERG Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup; Tom Noble, in the No. 66 Shea Racing Honda Civic Si; Alain Lauziere, in the No. 45 MINI GENUINE PARTS/Castrol/Bully/G-Loc Brakes/Perry Auto/Revolution MINI Team Octane MINI Cooper; Matthew Fassnacht, in the No. 74 S.A.C. Racing/Equity Residence Mazda MX-5 Cup. Tech Sport Racing has also entered their No. 21 Mazda MX-5 Cup for Jonathan Goring.
Hough Leads Nine-Car Field into CTMP – TCB Class Preview
Touring Car B-Spec or TCB is the most cost-effective class category of the series and features some of the most entertaining door-to-door racing on the planet.
Ted Hough in the No. 68 Breathless Racing Mazda 2 scored a win and a third at Circuit of the Americas and comes into the weekend leading the Driver’s Championship with 208 points. Tom O’Gorman scored two 2nds at COTA and comes into the weekend 2nd in the championship with 196 points. O’Gorman will pilot the No. 94 TNIA, Black Armor Helmets Honda Fit. Teaming with O’Gorman is James Wilson in the No. 55 Black Armor Helmets Mazda 2 – Wilson made nine TCB starts in 2015 finishing 12th in class. He comes into the weekend sixth overall with 148 points.
Rookie Henry Morse in the No. 14 Hale Motorsports MorseGPS powered by CalAmp/MazdaSpeed/FreeM USA/Corksport Performance/Rolling Hills Prep Mazda 2 posted two third place finishes in Rounds 1 and 2 to start the season and sits third with 180 points.
Richmond Hill, Ontario’s P.J. Groenke in the No. 25 Tech Sport Racing Chevrolet Sonic enters the weekend as the most experienced competitor in class – Groenke finished sixth overall in the TCB championship last year and is set to make his 51st PWC career start at CTMP. Groenke sits 5th with 152 points. Teaming with Groenke is Michael Johnson in the No. 24 Tech Sport Racing Chevrolet Sonic. Johnson sits fourth with 160 points.
Rounding out the field are Patrick Wilmot in the No. 18 The Precision Motorsports Group MINI Cooper; Will Rodgers in the No. 65 Solvang Brewing Co/Kelly Benifit Stratagies/Foundation Fighting Blindness Hale Motorsports Mazda 2 and Jasper Drengler, in the No. 01 Drengler Racing Chimney Mechanix Honda Fit.
Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, 15-turn 2.38-mile road course
Friday, May 20
9:30 AM – 10:00 AM Pirelli World Challenge Qualifying TC–TCA–TCB
11:30 AM – 11:50 AM Pirelli World Challenge GTS Qualifying
1:30 PM – 1:50 PM Pirelli World Challenge SprintX Qualifying Group1
1:55 PM – 2:15 PM Pirelli World Challenge SprintX Qualifying Group2
4:50 PM – 5:30 PM Pirelli World Challenge GT–GTA–GT Cup Qualifying
60 minutes (SprintX)
50 minutes (GT/GTA/GT Cup, GTS)
40 minutes (TC/TCA/TCB)
Live Internet Telecast (on motortrendondemand.com):
Friday, May 20
3:05 PM – 4:00 PM Pirelli World Challenge TC–TCA–TCB Race # 1
Saturday, May 21
8:30 AM – 9:30 AM Pirelli World Challenge TC–TCA–TCB Race # 2
10:20 AM – 11:20 AM Pirelli World Challenge GTS Race # 1
1:15 PM – 2:30 PM Pirelli World Challenge GT–GTA–GT Cup Race # 1
4:50 PM – 5:30 PM Canadian Touring Car Championship Race # 1
5:45 PM – 6:45 PM Pirelli World Challenge SprintX Race # 1
Sunday, May 22
8:15 AM – 9:25 AM Pirelli World Challenge SprintX GT Race # 2
10:15 AM – 11:15 AM Pirelli World Challenge GTS Race # 2
3:00 PM – 4:30 PM Pirelli World Challenge GT–GTA–GT Cup Race # 2
All times listed above Eastern
Television (on CBS Sports Network):
GT/GTA/GT Cup: May 29, 12 Noon
GTS: June 2, 8 PM
TC/TCA/TCB: June 2, 7 PM
SprintX: June 2, 9 PM
All times listed Eastern.