2018 GTS Title-winning organizations bring solid driving lineups for Intercontinental GT Challenge season finale
Cars from Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Ford, Ginetta, Mercedes-AMG, Panoz set to battle
GT4 driving stars Sofronas, James, Buford, Maxwell, Staveley, Liefooghe entered
This year’s championship-winning Pirelli World Challenge GTS drivers and teams are among the GT4 class entries set for the California 8 Hours sports car spectacular, the final event on the Intercontinental GT Challenge, on Oct. 26-28 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
The strong GT4 entrant list – to be joined by GT3 and TCR classes in the 30-plus car field – will compete in the fourth and final race in the 2018 Intercontinental GT Challenge series that included events at the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, Total 24 Hours of Spa and Suzuka 10 Hours.
Outstanding GT4 machinery will be represented in the eight-hour contest including Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Ford, Ginetta, Mercedes-AMG and Panoz as they vie for the coveted race win at the picturesque North California racing facility.
Leading the impressive list of GT4 entrants ready to battle on the legendary Monterey Peninsula 2.238-mile, 11-turn Northern California road circuit is the 2018 GTS Overall, GTS SprintX and GTS Sprint title-winning team, GMG Racing, with No. 2 GMG Racing Audi R8 LMS GT4 machine scheduled to be driven by GTS champion James Sofronas, GTS Am race winner Jason Bell and veteran Andrew Davis. Sofronas won GTS races at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) and VIRginia International Raceway this year.
Another championship effort, Ian Lacy Racing from Salt Lake City, Utah, will field GTS Am class titleholder Drew Staveley as well as Ian Lacy and Frank Gannett in the No. 12 Ian Lacy Racing Ginetta G55 GT4. Staveley was impressive in the GTS division with an overall win at Lime Rock Park this year as well as numerous GTS Am category victories.
The winningest GTS machine in the 2018 Pirelli World Challenge series this year is also entered for the California 8 Hours with the popular No. 50 Team Panoz Racing Panoz Avezzano GT4 to be piloted by race winners Ian James, Preston Calvert and Matt Keegan. James combined for five GTS wins, in both GTS SprintX and Sprint divisions, while Calvert and Keegan scored two class victories in Panoz sports cars. The Panoz team will be racing in a tribute to their late team owner Don Panoz, who passed away last month.
The PF Racing team recorded three PWC GTS race wins in 2018 in the squad’s Ford Mustang GT4 and a solid trio of racers is coming to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca with Jade Buford, Scott Maxwell and James Pesek in the No. 10 PF Racing Ford Mustang GT4.
The BMW contingent will be well-represented in the California 8 Hours led by the Northern California-based team of Stephen Cameron Racing and drivers Greg Leifooghe, Henry Schmitt and Sean Quinlan in the No. 88 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M4 GT4 as well as the No. 113 RHC Jorgensen-Strom Racing entry with No. 113 BMW M4 GT4 with Derek Jorgensen, Brett Strom and veteran Kuno Wittmer at the controls.
One team to watch in the GT4 action will be another Northern California-based squad, Murillo Racing, with its potent No. 34 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 sports car and driver Matthew Fassnacht, a former PWC TCA series champion, and veteran Christian Szymczak.
The always-popular marque of Aston Martin has a strong driver lineup for the California 8 Hours with veterans Charlie Putnam, Charles Espenlaub and Eric Lux in the No. 09 Automatic Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT4.
Utah-based Rearden Racing has entered two AUDI R8 LMS GT4 machines for the Oct. 26-28 event with drivers to be named.
Action for the California 8 Hours is scheduled to start with Free Practice on Friday October 26 and Qualifying and the Pole Shootout set for Saturday (Oct. 27). The second annual California 8 Hours will get underway at 9:15 a.m. PDT on Sunday October 28th.