After long weeks of speculation and expectations, the weekend that ANSA Motorsports drivers, team owners and crew have been waiting for is finally here. The 2016 Pirelli World Challenge GTS championship season finale at Laguna Seca.
The final two Pirelli World Challenge GTS rounds of the year will be raced on the 11-turn, 2.238-mile jewel of a road course on California’s beautiful central coast: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Salinas, California.
ANSA Motorsports is going to be very busy at Laguna Seca with three KTM X-Bow GT4 race cars entered in rounds 18 and 19 for Brett Sandberg, Jason Wolfe and Bill Ziegler, and one Porsche 911 GT3-Cup entered in the final round of the 2016 SprintX GT-Cup championship for Ludovico Manfredi and local pro racer from Redwood City, California, Jonathan Summerton.
Alain Nadal and Patrick Otto Madsen’s ANSA Motorsports co-owned team is coming to Monterey, California, with the will to do well, race hard and ultimately triumph at the end of the weekend. Since the last success, registered three weeks ago by GTS championship leader, Brett Sandberg, driving the No. 13 KTM X-Bow to victory lane in round 17 at Sonoma Raceway, the team has been focused on the final two rounds to be raced at the California road course on Oct. 8 and 9.
ANSA Motorsports knows how to win as a team. In 2012 and 2014, the team took two of its drivers, Angel Benitez Jr. and Patrick Otto Madsen, to the top spot of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA Gold Cup championship. Last year ANSA Motorsports celebrated its Pirelli World Challenge debut with a third-place finish in the GT-Cup class of the Pirelli World Challenge GT championship and a Rookie of the Year award for its driver Lorenzo Trefethen. This time is totally different and a unique scenario for the team from Miami Gardens, Florida.
ANSA Motorsports drivers have the opportunity to do really well at Mazda Raceway and to help their team win the 2016 Pirelli World Challenge GTS team championship and also to help KTM win the manufacturer championship, which are two of the biggest prizes a team and a manufacturer can collect at the end of a motorsports season. Before the final two rounds, ANSA Motorsports is second but only 6 points behind the current team-championship leader. The final two races would be decisive to clinch the 2016 Pirelli World Challenge GTS team championship title. KTM leads the 2016 GTS manufacturer championship before the California event.
ANSA Motorsports racer Brett Sandberg is coming to Laguna Seca with a little bit of pressure, but like all true racing champions feel before a big event, he knows how to handle it and also knows that to clinch the 2016 title — he must have two mistake-free races.
Assisting Sandberg in his quest to win his first Pirelli World Challenge championship will be Bill Ziegler and Jason Wolfe. Ziegler joined the team earlier this season and is having a good season. He will be racing the No. 9 ANSA Motorsports KTM X-Bow GT4 at Mazda Raceway.
A former teenage sensation, Jason Wolfe, now 21, recently joined ANSA Motorsports for the 2016 GTS season finale. At 21, Wolfe has an impressive Pirelli World Challenge TCA championship resume. He won the 2014 and 2015 Pirelli World Challenge TCA driver’s championships, scoring five wins in 2014 and eight wins in 2015. Since 2014, Wolfe recorded an impressive 32 top-five finishes in 36 races and is looking to a successful GTS graduation this week at one of his favorite racetracks. Wolfe will be behind the wheel of the No.12 ANSA Motorsports KTM X-Bow GT4.
This weekend, ANSA Motorsports is also competing in the Pirelli World Challenge SprintX championship. The SprintX event is made of two one-hour races where drivers share the driving duties. Ludovico Manfredi and Jonathan Summerton will co-drive the No. 27 ANSA Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup in the GT-Cup class. This is the first time ANSA Motorsports is fielding a car in this championship, and the team is looking to race at the front of the GT-Cup class pack with the goal of a podium finish, despite the competitive GT-Cup field entered in the event.
Practice for the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca event starts Thursday, Oct. 6, with a promoter test day. The official meeting starts on Friday, Oct. 7; Pirelli World Challenge GTS competitors will have two sessions — at 11 a.m. and 2:50 p.m. Qualifying is set for Saturday, Oct. 8, at 9 a.m. Laguna Seca GTS race 1 (round 18) is also scheduled on Saturday at 1:55 p.m. Laguna Seca GTS race 2 (round 19) is set for Sunday, Oct. 9, at 10:50 a.m. (all Pacific Daylight times). Don’t miss both GTS races live at World-challenge.com.
The Pirelli World Challenge GTS Championship rounds 18 and 19 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will air on CBS Sports Network, Sunday, Oct. 23, at 4 p.m. EDT.
Practice for the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca SprintX event starts on Thursday with a promoter test day. The official meeting starts on Friday, Oct. 7; Pirelli World Challenge SprintX competitors will have two sessions — at 8:45 a.m. and 1:20 p.m. Qualifying is also set for Friday afternoon at 3:35 p.m. SprintX race 1 is set for Saturday, Oct. 8, at 4 p.m. Laguna Seca SprintX race 2 is set for Sunday, Oct, 9, at 3:15 p.m. (all Pacific Daylight times). Don’t miss both SprintX races live at World-challenge.com.
The Pirelli World Challenge SprintX Championship at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will air on CBS Sports Network, Sunday, Oct. 23, at 5 p.m. EDT.
For media interviews at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, contact Emmanuel Lupe at (623) 523-7856.
ANSA Motorsports Driver’s Quotes:
Jason Wolfe GTS KTM No. 12: “I’m very happy to be joining ANSA Motorsports for the final race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca yet my first race in the GTS category,” Wolfe said. “With the success the team has had this year I feel the car is a very good platform for the GTS class and especially fitting for the track. I’m looking forward to a great race and exited to take that step into GTS racing!”
Brett Sandberg GTS KTM No. 13: “Laguna Seca is one of my favorite tracks in North America,” Sandberg said. “Ending the season at this venue is going to be truly amazing, and with so much riding on one race weekend, it is going to make an even more amazing finale. The team has done a tremendous job preparing my car, and I know it will be perfect for this final event, with the championship resting on this last event!”
Ludovico Manfredi SprintX No. 27: “I am looking forward to being reunited with ANSA Motorsports, in what has been a year of little or no racing activity for me,” Manfredi said. “And what better way than doing so in my favorite car, the Porsche 991 GT3 Cup, and at MRLS, one of the coolest race tracks in the world, in one of the most beautiful spots in the world. Every time I compete at Laguna Seca, I feel truly lucky and thankful to be able to do so. The team will welcome Summerton as one of the two drivers for the two SprintX races. Jonathan impressed me with his drive at Spa last year in the Porsche Supercup with the team MOMO-Megatron, and I am looking forward to sharing the car with him. I am also curious to see how the SprintX format is developing.”
Jonathan Summerton SprintX No. 27: “Having an opportunity to drive for ANSA Motorsports is very exciting and to team up with Ludovico Manfredi,” Summerton said. “I’m sure together we can be competitive from the get-go and hope together we can bring home a podium.”
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Photos by Chris Green Copyright.