ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – With two cars returning for a full season campaign in the Pirelli World Challenge GTS category, Global Motorsports Group (GMG) would take top results at the season opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, with James Sofronas closing the weekend with a podium finish for the all-new Audi R8 LMS GT4, and George Kurtz demonstrating pace with a class pole.
“It was great to be instantly competitive in our first weekend with the new Audi R8 GT4,” stated team owner and driver Sofronas. “The Pirelli World Challenge GTS class is at an unprecedented level of quality right now, and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of it. It was a solid weekend for both George and I. Throughout practice and both races it was clear we had a podium pace, and between George’s pole position and race pace, he’s right in the mix. An opening weekend like this is a further testament to our ability to test and develop to be ahead of the curve, thanks to relationship with organizations such as The Thermal Club, we came in with a thorough understanding of the platform as a result of the access to testing we had.”
Taking top honors for the team, James Sofronas and the No. 14 The Thermal Club / 5.11 Tactical Audi R8 LMS GT4 would enjoy a strong showing of pace, highlighted by a podium to close the weekend.
Qualifying on the front row for Saturday’s Race One, James would show instant speed as he pushed hard with the lead pack, doing his best to keep up with a competitor whose marque was well suited to the tricky confines of the street course. Unfortunately, contact from behind headed in to the treacherous Turn One would send Sofronas spinning, ultimately setting the stage for a remarkable come-from-behind drive to take fifth overall.
For Sunday’s Race Two, yet another mounting charge by the Villa Park, California native would net further results, with James engulfed in a race-long battle for podium honors. After a continuous back-and-forth of battle throughout the 45-minute race, James would close the weekend with a podium, the first for the new Audi and furthering the team’s history as one of the most storied Audi teams in North America.
For George Kurtz in the GTSA category, a class pole would highlight a weekend where pace consistently proved strong. After setting some of the fastest laps in practice, the No. 04 CrowdStrike Audi R8 LMS GT4 would qualify first on Saturday morning, placing George as an immediate favorite for the race. Unfortunately early contact on Saturday would malign his day, only for a similar round of misfortune to be repeated on Sunday.
“Overall I’m very happy with the performance of the team,” stated Kurtz. “The new Audi R8 GT4 is an incredible car, and despite limited time the team has already amassed quite a bit of information, and it showed with us earning a pole in our first time out. It’s of course disappointing to have the result we did, but overall there were a lot of positives and we look forward to COTA.”
The next round of Pirelli World Challenge competition will take place in just two weeks’ time, with the first SprintX round of the season taking place at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) from March 23-25. As previously announced, the team will return with a minimum of three cars, featuring one of the strongest lineups in the GTS pro-am category.
Founded in 2001 by James Sofronas, GMG has quickly established itself as North America’s premier performance tuning and racing facility. What began as a small 1,200 sq. ft. shop, maintaining two race cars, has grown into a 30,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art performance tuning, racing and service facility located in (Orange County) Santa Ana, California. The staff’s experience, attention to detail, and passion are what make GMG the choice of professionals and enthusiasts world wide. Whether you want to maximize the performance of your street car, or race wheel-to-wheel on both amateur and professional racing series across North America, GMG’s reputation for service and quality is unmatched.
Learn more at www.gmgracing.com
About The Thermal Club
The Thermal Club is the premier private motorsports facility in the world. In addition to 4.5 miles of members-only racetrack, the Club facilities include a fully amenitized Clubhouse and Village unrivaled in the motorsports world. All 4.5 miles of our exquisite racetrack are designed to push both amateurs and professionals to their limit, giving members the thrill of driving at peak performance amidst the endless desert skies. Featuring three different private circuit configurations, trackside villas, a motorsport village with a state-of-the-art clubhouse, tuning shop, a fuel island, as well as member storage garages, The Thermal Club will bring the country club lifestyle to Southern California’s diverse car culture.
Learn more at www.thethermalclub.com
About Mobil 1
Conventional oil is simply refined crude oil. Mobil 1 synthetic oil, however, is not only refined, but it is also distilled, purified, and broken down into its basic molecules. It is then rebuilt and added to, so that it can better protect against wear, high heat, cold weather and sludge buildup. Ultimately, this process helps your car’s engine run better for longer. You can explore more about these benefits below.
Learn more at www.mobiloil.com.
With an extensive client base of leading global brands, CrowdStrike will be utilizing the Pirelli World Challenge as a hub for experiential entertainment, B2B networking, and as a forum for meeting with a litany of customers, prospects and partners. Race weekends will include executive-level security industry roundtables, combined with VIP access to the most compelling aspects of each racing venue. With a premium on forging and solidifying relationships, the utilization of both the series and GMG offers a great opportunity for the company to extend their platform.
You can learn more about CrowdStrike’s involvement in motorsports at crowdstrikeracing.com.
About 5.11 Tactical
5.11 Tactical. 5.11 Tactical is an Irvine, California-based brand of clothing consisting of uniforms and tactical equipment for military, law enforcement and public safety personnel. The company also operates a chain of retail stores, with 13 locations as of January 2017.
Learn more at www.511tactical.com.
Spyder was founded by avid skier and outdoor athlete David Jacobs. He rose to world-class rankings as a competitive skier, and stayed connected to the sport he loves by coaching, designing related products, and building one of the most powerful brands in the industry. His dedication to the sport of skiing and the Spyder brand is as inspiring as it is intriguing. Spyder’s growth exploded over the turn of the century, and the company is now the largest ski-specialty brand in the world. David has recently discovered the adrenaline rush in racing classic Formula One cars, finding success – not surprisingly – in this new pastime. For a man who’s thrived on sports, technology, and professional advancement, the world is sure to see David go a few more times around the track.
Learn more at www.spyder.com