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Michelin Pilot Challenge

Clay Set for Pikes Peak, Watkins Glen Double in BMW M4 GT4s

James Clay set to compete in IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, Pikes Peak Hill Climb on same weekend…

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

James Clay and BimmerWorld Racing are set to take on a unique double this weekend, competing in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge round at Watkins Glen International as well as the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, both in BMW M4 GT4 machinery.

Saturday’s four-hour Tioga Downs Casino Resort 240 at The Glen will mark the fourth round of the Pilot Challenge season, with team owner/driver Clay again teaming up with Devin Jones in their No. 82 BMW GT4.

The duo enter the weekend just two points from the lead of the GS class standings.

Clay, meanwhile, will be shuttling between Watkins Glen, N.Y. and Pikes Peak Co., where he will drive a second BimmerWorld-entered BWW that’s entered in the Time Attack 1 class, marking his second Pikes Peak attempt.

Practice and qualifying for the 97th annual “race to the clouds” gets underway on Tuesday and runs through Sunday.

“Pikes Peak is a very difficult event on its own, but combine the run up the mountain to the over 14,115′ summit with the logistics of practicing on the mountain all week, then flying 1,700 miles for our IMSA race on Saturday, then back for an early morning race up Pikes, and I will be pushed pretty hard this year,” Clay said.

Strong Contingent of Sports Car Stars Set for PPIHC

The famed hill climb will once again be represented by a number of other sports car racing drivers teams and cars, including efforts from Flying Lizard Motorsports and RealTime Racing.

Clint Vahsholtz, the winningest driver at Pikes Peak, will pilot a Flying Lizard-prepped McLaren 650S GT3, also in the Time Attack 1 class, while longtime SRO Motorsports America competitor Peter Cunningham will again be at the wheel of a former World Challenge-entered Acura TLX GT, which will compete in the Pikes Peak Open class.

A Porsche 911 GT3 R is also entered in the class for sports car racing veteran David Donohue.

Six Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsports, meanwhile, will battle for honors in the Porsche Pikes Peak Trophy by Yokohama, including one 2019-spec model for Marc Bunting. 

Gradient Racing, which had initially placed an entry with its Acura NSX GT3 for Till Bechtolsheimer, will not be taking part in this year’s race.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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