GMG Racing is set for a record-breaking weekend at Sonoma Raceway, with the California-based squad set to field a total of eight cars across five series and three different platforms in the SRO America event.
While committed to four full-season entries between the various series, the James Sofronas-led operation has added an additional four cars this weekend for what has turned into its home race following the cancelation of the Long Beach event earlier this year.
Longtime GMG customer Jason Bell will again take part in both the Pirelli GT4 America Sprint and SprintX series with Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport machines, alongside two Audi R8 LMS GT4 entries in SprintX for Elias Sabo/Andy Lee and Alex Welch/Michael McGrath.
Bell, who will be joined in the GT4 SprintX Porsche by Andrew Davis, is also set for the second round of the new-for-2020 GT Sports Club America, which sees three GMG-entered Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsport entries, including cars for Stu Frederick and Kyle Washington.
The team’s effort is topped off by its return to GT World Challenge America powered by AWS competition with a Porsche 911 GT3 R for Sofronas and Jeroen Bleekemolen.
It will mark the largest-ever effort by a entrant in SRO America competition and the first time a team has campaigned all three of Porsche’s customer racing offerings (GT2, GT3, GT4) on the same weekend.
“We snapped the record in 2013 at COTA with five Audis, a Porsche and a GTS car. Now we’re breaking our own record,” Sofronas told Sportscar365.
“Four cars were planned for the full season but we did a test last week in Sonoma that went very well.
“The clients were all excited and made great progress. That was basically the catalyst for them to make the final decision.
“It was planned and we had prepared for it but we didn’t get the green light until last Tuesday.
“When they all left the test with thumbs up and smiles, Joe [Foster, logistics manager] and I put our heads together and put the rest of the logistics in place.
“I was pretty much the last call, knowing that it would be cool to have a Porsche 911 GT3 R there to cap off the event and go for wins in all three classes, which would be pretty cool if we’re able to do that, which I know is a tall order.”
Sofronas and Bleekemolen claimed GT3 Pro-Am class honors in the opening GTWC America round of the season at Circuit of The Americas in March, in the team’s last outing in the series.
“We had the pace and were there on Saturday but couldn’t close the deal on Sunday,” Sofronas said. “I’d like to come back and try to redeem ourselves.
“I’d like to keep pushing myself when the opportunity presents itself.”
Sofronas said this weekend’s effort will involve more than 28 crew as well as a large turnout of guests, including several prospective Sports Club drivers that could add to the team’s roster later in the season.
“We have crew chiefs, logistics managers, team managers, engineers, driver coaches, technicians, hospitality… everything. Even a masseuse!
“This is a big effort but we’re prepared for it and being on the West Coast, it’s let us to manage the travel a little bit better.
“We’re bringing some in-house staff that works full-time at GMG coming up to help Joe as he will need some extra support.”
Sofronas Expecting Sports Club to Grow
While having debuted with a four-car field at VIR, combined inside the GTWC America races, Sofronas said he’s optimistic on the GT2 platform’s growth in the races to come.
Sofronas said under “normal circumstances” they would have likely seen around 12 cars in Sports Club alone.
“It’s a perfect gentleman car,” he said. “It’s fast, looks sexy, the air conditioning is fantastic and the cars are very capable and easy to drive.
“Unfortunately with COVID I think it took some of the momentum out to get all these cars focused together to run.
“There’s 70 of these Porsches here in the states and they’re all spread out. Many of the owners are not racing because of COVID but we’re bringing three out of the four with some anxious drivers looking forward to competing.”
Sofronas said the team recently took delivery of an Audi R8 LMS GT2 car for a customer that will likely see race action later this year.
“We’re doing our best because we have a larger gentlemen/Bronze driver clientele base than most,” he added.
“Unfortunately we’re dealing with circumstances that we couldn’t prepare for. That’s why the car count is low.”