KTM Drivers Pace Early GTS Competition in PWC’s 1st Event at VIR in 7 Years

ALTON, Va. – Canadians Anthony Mantella and Martin Barkey led the Friday GTS practice action in the Pirelli World Challenge’s return to VIRginia International Raceway after a seven-year absence for Rounds 3 and 4 this weekend in the PWC Nissan Grand Prix of VIR.

The last appearance at VIR for the PWC machinery was in 2010 when the GTS track record was 2 minutes, 6.936 seconds (92.739 miles per hour) set by the series’ winningest driver, Peter Cunningham in the RealTime Racing Acura TSX.

Mantella, in the No. 8 Mantella Autosport KTM Xbow GT4, clocked a top time Friday of 1:57.192 (100.2 m.p.h.) to lead the 17-car GTS field at the picturesque 3.27-mile, 17-turn permanent road circuit north of the Raleigh/Durham and Greensboro metropolitan areas.

“We have been working hard in the off-season, both in the gym and the race shop,” said Mantella, who won last year at Utah Motorsports Campus. “Martin and I worked together very well with our training as well as our racing platform. We came here last month after St. Petersburg and really put in some solid laps. This track is not the best for us on the long straights, and the other GT4 cars are faster in straight line speed so we have to work very hard in the other portions of the circuit. We have prepared our cars well coming into this weekend. I hope we can continue the momentum.”

Barkey, a winner in 2016 at Sonoma Raceway, notched the second position Friday at VIR in the No. 80 MBRP Performance Exhaust/Mantella Autosport KTM Xbow GT4 with a lap of 1:57.370 (100.2 m.p.h.) in the practice rounds. Third in the GTS group was 17-year-old Nate Stacy of Owasso, Okla., in the No. 14 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR with a 1:57.393 (100.2 m.p.h.).

“Mantella Autosport have given us very good cars for this weekend,” said Barkey. “We put in over 700 miles in testing here at VIR. I have been fortunate enough to run 13-hour races here and I really love this track. It is one of the old-school type tracks in North America. There are a lot of really good drivers in this series. I think you’ll see some of them step up on Saturday for qualifying and the race and we hope to do the same. I’m excited for Saturday and Sunday’s races.”

GTS newcomer Jason Bell of Tampa, Fla., led the GTS/Am division Friday at 1:57.783 (99.9 m.p.h.) in the No. 2 Racers Edge Motorsports SIN R 1 GT4.

GTS action gets underway Saturday with qualifying at 10:15 a.m. EDT and Round 3 for the GTS field is set for 2:10 p.m. EDT. Round 4 in the GTS division will start Sunday at 11:10 a.m. EDT.

ALTON, Va. –Practice results for the GTS class Friday in the Pirelli World Challenge Nissan Grand Prix of VIR at VIRginia International Raceway.

Pos,PIC,Class,Name,Hometown,Car,Laps,Status,Fastest Lap Time,Fastest Lap Avg. Speed
1,1, Pro,Anthony MANTELLA,Toronto, ON,KTM Xbow GT4, 1:57.192,100.4 m.p.h.

2,2, Pro,Martin BARKEY,Huntsville, ON,KTM Xbow GT4, 1:57.370,100.2
3,3, Pro,Nate STACY,Tulsa, OK,Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR,1:57.393,100.2
4,4, Pro,Jeff COURTNEY,Milwaukee, WI,Maserati GT4, 1:57.436,100.2
5,1, Am,Jason BELL,Tampa, FL,SIN R1 GT4,1:57.783,99.9
6,2, Am,George KURTZ,Paradise Valley, AZ,McLaren 570S GT4,1:57.845,99.8
7,5, Pro,Lawson ASCHENBACH,Palm Beach Gardens, FL,Chevrolet Camaro GT4, 1:58.082,99.6
8,6, Pro,Ian JAMES,Paradise Valley, AZ,Panoz Avezzano GT,1:58.514,99.3
9,3, Am,Adam MERZON,Greenwich, CT,Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR,1:58.561,99.2
10,4, Am,Mark KLENIN,Lone Tree, CO,McLaren 570S GT4, 1:58.670,99.1
11,5, Am,Tony GAPLES,Libertyville, IL,Chevrolet Camaro GT4,1:58.785,99.1
12,6, Am,Cameron CASSELS,Coldstream, BC, CA,Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR,1:59.818,98.2
13,7, Am,Ricco SHLAIMOUN,Irvine, CA,KTM Xbow GT4, 2:03.910,95.0
14,8, Am,Chris BEAUFAIT,Freeland, WA,SIN R1 GT4,2:05.322,93.9
15,7, Pro,Rodrigo BAPTISTA,Barcelona, Spain,Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR, No Time
16,8, Pro,Nico JAMIN,,KTM Xbow GT4, No Time
17,9, Am,Aristotle BALOGH,Palo Alto, CA,Aston Martin Vantage GT4, No Time