James Sofronas says stepping back into the GT3 formula after a year out was driven by his GMG Racing team’s growing business interests with Porsche.
The California-based team is returning to GT3 competition with the new-for-2019 Porsche 911 GT3 R in this weekend’s Blancpain GT World Challenge America season-opener at Circuit of the Americas, with Sofronas and Brent Holden at the wheel of the Am class entry.
It marks the 50-year-old’s first time back in the class since winning both the GTA and Pro-Am SprintX titles in 2017.
Sofronas, who claimed all three Pirelli GT4 America titles in an Audi R8 LMS GT4 last year, said the move back to running Porsches was driven by GMG’s extensive ties to the German brand.
“A big part of going into the Porsche GT3 again is that our business is so predicated on the aftermarket tuning world for Porsche,” he told Sportscar365.
“The other day we had 22 GT3 RS and GT2 RSs in the shop at some level of prep. It’s been amazing.
“So it just made sense for us to continue what GMG has stood for, for years: race at the weekends, develop and learn so much that we can apply to our street components.”
Sofronas said that the new Porsche has so far met GMG’s expectations, following a productive pre-season testing program.
“We had high hopes and Porsche was touting this car as an entirely new platform with new aero, suspension, differential… that there are a lot of upgrades on this car, and the braking is amazing – and it’s all true,” Sofronas said.
“From the Gen 1 [Porsche] to this is a massive step-up in improvement. It’s not necessarily faster, just more capable.
“I loved the Audi, it was a great experience, but I’m excited to be in this car.”
Sofronas added that reuniting with Holden, who was his co-driver in 2016 when GMG ran its previous-generation Porsche 911 GT3 R, is an exciting development.
“It’s great to have a good friend and a long-time client in Brent wanting to come back in,” he said.
“He’s a big Porsche fanatic, as am I, and when the new car was announced we were really keen to try it out.
“With Porsche’s support, we knew we had everything we needed from them.”
GMG Not Yet Committed to Full-Season GT3 Run
Sofronas admitted he’s unlikely to make a full-season championship run in Blancpain GT America but is for planning additional outings in the new-gen Porsche throughout the year.
“I hope Brent and I do more races,” he said. “I will do more races – it’s a matter of whether Brent’s going to be in it with me.
“I think it’s going to be a little tough. I’ve got some other business opportunities that I’m pursuing. I’m probably going to run the Audi R8 GT4 at Long Beach.
“I’m going to dip my toe into a couple of races. We’ve got a two-car Lamborghini program this year.
“I’ve got some gentleman guys who are friends and clients of ours. That’s good right there for me.
“There’s no retiring per se, it’s more just picking schedules and events that make sense, not just for me but for my clients.”
John Dagys contributed to this report.