Lakeville, Conn. – Sixty-eight Pirelli World Challenge drivers across the series’ seven classes are set to battle it out May 26-28 at the renowned ‘Bull Ring’ – part of the traditional Memorial Day Weekend season-opener at Lime Rock Park. GT and GTA drivers will race Rounds 10 and 11, while GT Cup and GTS pilots race in Rounds 9 and 10. TC, TCA and TCB drivers will race Rounds 5 and 6. The Pirelli World Challenge Lime Rock Park Grand Prix presented by Bentley marks the 17th appearance for the series at the 7-turn 1.5-mile road course.
Long, Parente, O’Connell and Cooper Set for Showdown at Lime Rock – 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.
It’s been an up and down 2016 season so far for Porsche Factory driver Patrick Long. Long, the former PWC 2011 GT Driver’s Champion, comes into the Lime Rock weekend on an upswing having just won back-to-back races at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. With those two wins, Long sits tied for the lead in the Driver’s Championship with McLaren Factory Driver Alvaro Parente. Both Long and Parente sit at 761 points each. Long will pilot the No. 58 Porsche 911 GT3 R for Wright Motorsports. Long also looks to help Porsche repeat as GT Manufacturer’s Champions in 2016 – Porsche comes into the weekend leading Cadillac by 15 points.
K-PAX Racing returns with three McLaren 650S GT3s for 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 plus two top 10 finishes at CTMP, Parente moved into a tie for the lead in the driver’s championship standings. 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.
Four-time and defending 2015 GT Driver’s Champion Johnny O’Connell sits third in the Driver’s Championship heading into the weekend only five points behind Long and Parente. 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 fourth overall only 10 points behind Long and Parente. Cooper will drive the Cadillac Racing No. 8 ATS-V.R GT3.
Nissan Motorsports and Always Evolving return with two GT-R GT3s for JD Davison and Bryan Heitkotter. Davison comes into the weekend fifth 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 ninth in the championship points standings.
Up-and-coming sportscar racer Kyle Marcelli, 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 sixth in the championship after scoring back to back seconds at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park – his best results on the season to date.
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. Davis sits 10th in the Driver’s Championship.
Seven-time series Driver’s Champion Peter Cunningham owns almost every statistical record in the series, but will vacate the seat of his No. 42 Acura/HPD/RealTime Racing’s Acura TLX-GT this weekend for his teammate Ryan Eversley who’s No. 43 Acura/HPD/Red Line Oil/RealTime Acura TLX-GT sustained damage in Round 9 at CTMP and will not be fixed in time for the weekend. Eversley currently sits 11th in the Championship.
Series veteran James Sofronas, in the No. 14 GMG/Spyder/Mobil 1/Thermal Club Porsche 911 GT3 R rounds out the 15-car GT field. Sofronas is set to make his 189th and 190th series starts this coming weekend.
Fuentes Continues to Lead Class Championship, Schein and Montecalvo Look to Close the Gap – 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 set a series record to open the season with seven straight wins before the CTMP weekend – but still had a great weekend scoring two second place finishes. He comes into Lime Rock leading the GTA Driver’s Championship with 966 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 708 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 has shown signs in that last couple of race weekends that he could start to challenge Fuentes throughout the remainder of the year.
Michael Schein, in the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R, had a tremendous CTMP weekend winning back-to-back races and sits third overall with 566 points.
Rounding out the four-car GTA field is Jorge De La Torre in the No. 4 De La Torre Racing Motor Aston Martin Vantage V12 GT3.
Udell Leads Urry Heading into Lime Rock Park – 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 continued him positive momentum at CTMP winning Round 7 and finished second in Round 8 and leads the class championship with 846 points.
Sloan Urry, scored a second and third at CTMP in the No. 20 Security National Mortgage/Avasis TruSpeed Autosport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup and comes into the weekend second only 14 points behind Udell with 832.
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.
Aschenbach Leads Class Heading into Lime Rock – 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 five different drivers piloting machinery from four 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, scoring a second in Round 5 at Barber and winning the Round 7 race at CTMP. He leads the class championship heading into the weekend with 690 points. He will team with series veteran Tony Gaples who will pilot the No. 11 Blackdog Speed shop Chevrolet Z28. Gaples will make his 158th and 159th career starts this weekend.
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 has had an impressive start to the season – he sits second overall in the championship, only 14 points behind Aschenbach. Parker equaled his best finish PWC finish in Round 6 at Barber with a second in Round 8 at CTMP. He will look to score his first PWC career series win this coming weekend. Parker will team with Harry Gottsacker, in the No. 29 Performance Motorsports Group Ginetta GT4.
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 666 points. Hugh Plumb, a veteran of multiple North American sportscar series, will pilot the No. 12 ANSA Motorsports KTM X-Bow GT4, while PWC veteran Bill Ziegler will drive the No. 9 ANSA Motorsports KTM X-Bow GT4.
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, fourth in Round 2 and third in Round 8 at CTMP and comes into the weekend fourth with 594 points. Roush and Stacy as well look to help Ford win its second consecutive Manufacturer’s Championship in 2016 – coming into the weekend Ford sits three points behind Chevrolet.
Ridgefield, Connecticut’s Scott Heckert will pilot the No. 54 Racers Edge Motorsports SIN Cars/Racers Edge Motorsports SIN R1 GT4. Teaming withk Heckert is Barber double winner Jade Buford in the No. 45 SIN Cars SIN R1 GT4.
Canadian team Mantella Autosport Inc. brings a two-car effort to Lime Rock 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 are 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, and Scott Dollahite, in the No. 46 SDR Motorsports Lotus Evora.
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 416 points after scoring wins in Round 2 at COTA, and Round 4 at CTMP.
Adam Poland returns to pilot the No. 33 Doghouse Performance Mazda MX-5. Poland comes into the weekend second in championship points with 318 points after a couple of top 5 finishes at COTA and a top 5 at CTMP.
Montreal’s Nick Wittmer returns for a full campaign in the series and 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 won Round 3 at CTMP and sits third in the championship with 313 points.
Shea Holbrook returns for a full campaign 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 fourth in the championship. Holbrook sits sixth.
The 14-car field also features Dennis Hanratty, Jr., in the No. 4 KRUGSPEED Racing/Beta Tools/OG Racing/Winmax Brakes Lotus Exige; 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; John Roberts, 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; Haddam, Connecticut’s Randy Hale, No. 17 TransAero, Inc. Hale Motorsports Mazda MX-5; and Tony Rivera, in the No. 97 Brass Monkey Racing Tiburon Motorsports Nissan 370Z.
Goulart Leads Talented TCA Field into Lime Rock Park – TCA Class Preview
Elivan Goulart, in the No. 70 S.A.C. Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup, scored back-to-back wins at CTMP and leads the TCA Driver’s Championship heading into the weekend with 435. Of note, Goulart, from Shelton, Conn., considers Lime Rock Park his home track.
Joey Bickers, in the No. 49 Atlanta Motorsports Group Mazda MX-5 Cup, comes into the weekend sitting second with 369 points after posting a third and a second at CTMP. Eric Powell, in the No. 23 Tech Sport Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup, enters the weekend in fourth with 271 points after a third at CTMP.
Others to watch in the nine-car TCA field include Norfolk, Connecticut’s Jonathan Goring, in the No. 21 Tech Sport Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup; Kris Wright in the No. 35 Kinetic Motorsports Kia Forte Koup; Kevin Anderson, in the No. 22 Tech Sport Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup; 2015 series TCB Champion Johan Schwartz, in the No. 66 Shea Racing Bubba Burger/Prostrate Cancer Awareness Honda Civic Si; Matthew Fassnacht, in the No. 74 S.A.C. Racing/Equity Residence Mazda MX-5 Cup and Spencer Patterson, in the No. 79 Jim Locke Automotive Patterson Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup.
Morse Looks to Take Over Lead in TCB Driver’s Championship Standings – 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 sixth and a fourth at CTMP to go along with win and a third earlier in the season at Circuit of the Americas. Hough leads the Driver’s Championship with 368 points but will not race this coming weekend at Lime Rock Park.
Rookie Henry Morse in the No. 14 Hale Motorsports MorseGPS powered by CalAmp/MazdaSpeed/FreeM USA/Corksport Performance/Rolling Hills Prep Mazda 2 was impressive in his first career series win at CTMP in Round 3 and comes into the weekend only 10 points behind Hough with 358. He’ll look to score points to take over top spot.
Canadian 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 fourth with 326 points after posted a season-best second in Round 4 at CTMP. Teaming with Groenke is Zack Kelly in the No. 24 Tech Sport Racing Chevrolet Sonic.
Will Rodgers in the No. 65 Solvang Brewing Co/Kelly Benifit Stratagies/Foundation Fighting Blindness Hale Motorsports Mazda 2 comes into the weekend fifth in the championship with 324 points after winning Round 4 and finished third in Round 3.
Rounding out the field are Milford, Connecticut’s Travis Washay in the No. 30 Indian Summer Racing MINI Cooper and Jasper Drengler, in the No. 01 Drengler Racing Chimney Mechanix Honda Fit.
Lime Rock Park, 7-turn 1.5-mile road course
Friday, May 27
1:00 PM – 1:15 PM Qualifying Pirelli World Challenge GTS Championship
1:25 PM – 1:37 PM Qualifying Pirelli World Challenge TC-TCA-TCB Group 1 (12 Minutes)
1:42 PM – 1:54 PM Qualifying Pirelli World Challenge TC-TCA-TCB Group 2 (12 Minutes)
2:05 PM – 2:17 PM Qualifying Pirelli World Challenge GT Cup / GT(A) Group 1 (12 minutes)
2:23 PM – 2:35 PM Qualifying Pirelli World Challenge GT Group 2 (12 minutes)
50 minutes (GT/GTA/GT Cup, GTS)
40 minutes (TC/TCA/TCB)
Live Internet Telecast (on motortrendondemand.com):
Friday, May 27
2:45 PM – 3:45 PM Race # 1- Pirelli World Challenge GTS Championship – 50 minutes
3:55 PM – 4:45 PM Race # 1- Pirelli World Challenge TC-TCA-TCB Championship – 40 minutes
4:55 PM – 5:55 PM Race # 1- Pirelli World Challenge GT-GTA-GT Cup Championship – 50 minutes
Saturday, May 28
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM Race # 2- Pirelli World Challenge GTS Championship – 50 minutes
2:05 PM – 2:20 PM Pre Race Pirelli World Challenge TC-TCA-TCB Championship
2:20 PM – 3:10 PM Race # 2- Pirelli World Challenge TC-TCA-TCB Championship – 40 minutes
3:20 PM – 4:00 PM Pre Race/March to the Grid Pirelli World Challenge GT-GTA-GT Cup Championship
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM Race # 2- Pirelli World Challenge GT-GTA-GT Cup Championship – 50 minutes
All times listed above Eastern
Television (on CBS Sports Network):
GT: Sunday, June 5, 4 PM
GTS: June 9, 3 PM
TC/TCA/TCB: June 9, 9 PM
All times listed Eastern.