Next month’s Pirelli World Challenge season-opening weekend at Circuit of The Americas could deliver up to 100 entries between seven classes, with the preliminary entry list having been released.
A total of 93 cars are provisionally entered for the March 4-6 event, including 19 GT cars, 6 GTA class entries and 5 GT Cup cars that will take part in the pair of headline races.
ENTRY LIST: Circuit of The Americas
Eleven manufacturers are represented between the GT and GTA classes, with defending champions Cadillac back with its pair of ATS-V.R cars for Johnny O’Connell and newcomer Michael Cooper.
McLaren is represented on the grid with four 650S GT3s cars, three of which will be entered by K-PAX Racing with drivers Alvaro Parente, Austin Cindric and Colin Thompson, with GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing returning to top-level sports car racing with a 650S GT3 for Jon Fogarty.
Always Evolving has two Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3s entered, both in the GT class for James Davison and Bryan Heitkotter, while Bentley Team Absolute will make its North American debut with a pair of factory supported Bentley Continental GT3s for Andrew Palmer and Adderly Fong.
The COTA round will see some new GT3 machinery as well, with the North American race debut of the Mercedes-AMG GT3 for the new Dime Racing team. Drivers have yet to be announced for the effort.
Four of the new Porsche 911 GT3 Rs are also expected, with Porsche factory driver Patrick Long and Michael Lewis at EFFORT Racing; Calvert Dynamics stepping up to GT competition with Andrew Davis and GMG Racing entering a new-gen Porsche for team owner James Sofronas.
Additionally, M1 Racing will debut the new Audi R8 LMS for Walt Bowlin, who will compete in GTA.
RealTime Racing returns with its Acura TLX-GTs, which are now two-wheel drive to conform closer to FIA GT3-spec, with Peter Cunningham and Ryan Eversley as drivers.
CRP Racing has yet to announce the driver of its Audi R8 LMS ultra, although it won’t be Mike Skeen, who revealed via social media this week that he won’t be back with the team this year.
Joining Bowlin in the GTA class at COTA will be Jorge De La Torre (De La Torre Racing Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3), Michael Schein (Wright Motorsports Porsche), Drew Regitz (Stephen Cameron Racing Audi), Michael Mills (Mills Racing BMW Z4 GT3) and Martin Fuentes (Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 GT3).
Among the notable GT/GTA teams that took part last year that are currently absent from the COTA entry include R. Ferri Motorsport, NGT Motorsport, Reiter Engineering, TRG-AMR and 2015 GTA class champions DragonSpeed.
With 2015 GT Cup champion Colin Thompson stepping up to GT this year, a new champion awaits in the single-make Porsche class, which sees five provisional entries, but more expected, for the season-opener.
It includes Sloan Urry, who returns to TruSpeed Autosport, Alex Welch listed in a GMG Porsche, as well as Corey Fergus (Motorsport Promotions), Preston Calvert (Calvert Dynamics) and Will Hardeman (WPD/Moorespeed).
Alec Udell, who recently confirmed his return with GMG, is expected to be added to the entry list.
Additional entries in all three classes are expected prior to the event.