Veterans Westphal, Franchitti join young race winner Trevor Baek with Ferrari 488 GT3
Vital Speed Motorsports takes on strong GT3 field in Intercontinental GT Challenge season finale
The Portland-based Vital Speed Motorsports team will field a solid driving lineup with their latest GT3 entry for the California 8 Hours sports car spectacular set for Oct. 26-28 at legendary WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
Veteran racers Jeff Westphal of San Carlos, California, and Scotland’s Marino Franchitti will be joined in the final 2018 Intercontinental GT Challenge event by young racing star Trevor Baek of Portland, Oregon, in the #87 Vital Speed Motorsports Ferrari 488 GT3 at the famed 3,602 km, 11-turn road circuit in the picturesque Monterey Peninsula.
Westphal has a strong racing resume dating back to his open-wheel competition before entering sports car racing. He has collected an impressive record including wins in Grand Am Rolex and IMSA WeatherTech Championship races. In addition, Jeff has international experience in the German GT3 series and was the first American driver to qualify on the pole for the 24 Hours of Nurburgring.
“It’s exciting to return to a classic circuit as Laguna Seca”, said Westphal, also a contender this year in the IMSA GT4 competition. “The Vital Speed Motorsports team is a young team but has many experienced personnel which helps in developing the Ferrari for the California 8 Hours. I have been impressed with Trevor’s abilities as a young driver and Marino is a longtime teammate and friend. I met Marino in 2015 and we became fast friends from the business and personal sides. He has come into the Vital Speed organization and has been a great asset for them to because he's really good at the mental side.”
“We have a pretty good program and it's a new team in terms of this style of racing (endurance). We're cautiously optimistic and very excited. We love the track and we're looking forward to racing at Laguna Seca. The Ferrari should be good there.”
Franchitti, younger brother of three-time Indy 500 champion Dario, has amassed a sensational driving career including two 12 Hours of Sebring victories (2013 and 2014) as well as dynamic drives in the American Le Mans Series and Grand Am Rolex events. Marino was also a past British GT Champion in the GTO division.
Baek, the 20-year-old second-year racer, has been shown potential despite his limited pro racing experience including two second place finishes in the Pirelli World Challenge GT SprintX Am classes as well as ranking third in the Ferrari Challenge series with a victory at Road Atlanta.
The Vital Speed Motorsports team will be taking on a strong GT3 field at the California 8 Hours. The California 8 Hours weekend is scheduled to begin with practice sessions on Friday (Oct. 26) and qualifying is set for Saturday (Oct. 27). The second annual California 8 Hours will begin at 9:15 a.m. PDT on Sunday (Oct. 28).