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IMSA GT Teams Set for Michelin GT Challenge at VIR

IMSA GT teams gear up for Michelin GT Challenge at VIR…

Photo: IMSA

Photo: IMSA

Competitors in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Le Mans class will be racing for the overall victory in the Michelin GT Challenge at VIRginia International Raceway on Sunday, August 28 (live, FS1, 1:30 p.m. ET).

The GT Daytona class will join the GTLM competitors in the two-hour, 40-minute race on the challenging, 3.27-mile layout. IMSA today released a 26-car entry list for the event, Round 10 of the 2016 WeatherTech Championship.


Porsche North America is the defending winner of the Michelin GT Challenge, with Patrick Pilet and Nick Tandy leading a 1-2 finish in 2015 in the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR. Frederic Makowiecki will join Earl Bamber in the No. 912 team car.

“I’m heading to Virginia with great memories,” Tandy said. “Last year, I clinched pole position and we won the race. We led practically from start to finish. If you consider the extremely tough competition in the IMSA WeatherTech Championship, this is something quite special.

“The Prototypes are not contesting this race, so all the competitors in the GTLM class are going for overall victory. For drivers, teams and manufacturers, this is a very special challenge.”

Factory teams from BMW, Chevrolet, Ford and Ferrari will challenge Porsche for both class and overall honors.

Corvette Racing is riding a two-race winning streak, with Virginian Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin holding a 13-point lead in the GTLM standings.

After opening the season with victories in the Rolex 24 At Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the No. 4 Corvette C7.R is coming off wins at Lime Rock Park and Road America. The team’s two-car entry also includes Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia in the No. 3 Corvette C7.R.

Ford Chip Ganassi Racing has collected three wins this year, with Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe second in the standings in the No. 67 Ford GT.

Also competing at VIR will be 24 Hours of Le Mans GTE Pro class winners Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller in the No. 66 Ford GT.

Risi Competizione won at VIR in 2014 on a last-lap pass by Giancarlo Fisichella, in addition to finishing on the podium last year. The team has a new Ferrari 488 GTE for 2016, with Fisichella joined by Toni Vilander.

Another team to watch is BMW Team RLL. John Edwards and Lucas Luhr scored the first podium finish of the season for the No. 100 BMW M6 GTLM in the most recent event at Road America, while Bill Auberlen and Dirk Werner have five top-five finishes this season in the team’s No. 25 BMW.

The GTD class features a variety of GT3 machinery fielded by six different manufacturers.

Ferrari enters the event with a 15-point lead atop the GTD standings. Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan won at Sebring and Watkins Glen among five podium finishes in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3, with the team the 2015 GTD winner at VIR.

Magnus Racing’s Andy Lally and John Potter are second in the points, trailing Nielsen and Balzan 243-228, with two victories and four podium finishes in the No. 44 Audi R8 LMS.

Stevenson Motorsports has a pair of runner-up finishes for Robin Liddell and Andrew Davis in the No. 6 Audi, with Lawson Aschenbach and Matt Bell in the No. 9 entry.

Porsche’s entry includes two cars for Alex Job Racing, the No. 22 WeatherTech Porsche 911 GT3 R driven by Cooper MacNeil, and the No. 23 Team Seattle/Heart of Racing entry of Mario Farnbacher and Alex Riberas.

Park Place Motorsports has the No. 73 Porsche for Patrick Lindsey and Joerg Bergmeister.

Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen – two-time 2016 GTD winners in the No. 33 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GT3-R – will be joined in the Dodge lineup by the No. 80 Lone Star Racing Viper of Dan Knox and Mike Skeen.

Lamborghini makes its WeatherTech Championship debut at VIR. Paul Miller Racing has Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow in the No. 48 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 that scored the manufacturer’s first podium finish at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

Change Racing has Spencer Pumpelly and Corey Lewis driving the No. 16 Lamborghini, while Dream Racing has Lawrence DeGeorge and Cedric Sbirrazzuoli in the No. 27 Huracán GT3.

BMW returns with a two-car entry for Turner Motorsport. Bret Curtis and Jens Klingmann share the No. 96 BMW M6 GT3, while Markus Palttala and Michael Marsal co-drive the No. 97 BMW.

Practice for the Michelin GT Challenge begins at 11:30 a.m. ET on Friday, August 26, with qualifying at 11:55 a.m. on Saturday.

The weekend also includes the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, racing on Saturday at 1:55 p.m. ET, plus the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo and Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama.

The latest sports car racing news from trusted series, manufacturer and team sources based around the world.


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