GMG Racing will have an increased presence in Pirelli World Challenge this year, with multiple Audi R8 LMS GT4 entries planned, alongside the possible return of at least one Porsche 911 GT3 R in the GT class for 2018.
The California-based squad ran two Audi GT4s at Daytona last weekend in preparation for the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge season opener, and expects to take delivery of a third later this month.
After winning the GTSA class with George Kurtz last year in a McLaren 570S GT4, team principal James Sofronas indicated that getting track time with the team’s new Audis was critical to laying the ground work for the year to come in PWC.
“We plan to have a multiple Audi R8 LMS GT4 program in World Challenge,” Sofronas told Sportscar365.
“Obviously we’re running two here at Daytona to get our hands on them early and learn the chassis and the car itself.
“We spent a week between Christmas and New Year’s with two of our techs learning the car, setting it up, and it’s proven its worth.
“For World Challenge, with the SprintX format being introduced in their standalone races, we have a lot of interest in that and a couple of full-time Audi programs for the full season in GTS.”
Driver lineups for GMG’s GTS programs have not been confirmed, but 2017 GTA champion Sofronas said he will be driving the full GTS season.
Sofronas said several of his customers have expressed interest in running additional races in Continental Tire Challenge alongside its PWC commitments, with races at Road America and Laguna Seca singled out as potential targets.
In addition to multiple GT4 entries, GMG is evaluating GT3 programs with a Porsche, which would likely be spearheaded by Alec Udell.
“At this point we’re leaning towards World Challenge because that format bodes well for what we’re doing and we’re obviously already there,” said Sofronas.
“Our history with Porsche, with World Challenge, it makes sense.
“I’d say World Challenge looks more likely since we’re already going to be there with at least three to four [GTS] cars.”
NAEC Program on Hold
Sofronas said GMG’s expected Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup entry with a Porsche fell through due to damage sustained in a testing incident at Daytona in December.
After evaluation, the decision was made to pull the plug rather than rush the car back into action for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
“As you can imagine, if you’re going to run a race like the Rolex 24 you need to be 100-percent prepared,” he said.
“It didn’t allow us enough to time to be in that position so we decided to put the program on hold, regroup, and reassess everything, and hopefully come back with the car in one format or another.”