A total of 33 cars are set to take part in next weekend’s California 8 Hours, in a significantly expanded grid compared to last year’s inaugural event at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
The entry list, released on Friday, features 16 GT3 cars, including a dozen all-pro lineups that will be battling for overall honors in the Intercontinental GT Challenge season finale.
Factory efforts from Audi, Bentley, Mercedes-AMG and Porsche make up the majority of the GT3 Overall field, with McLaren, as expected, absent from the race following only a single-car entry in August’s Suzuka 10 Hours.
While only having a single all-works driver crewed entry in the No. 911 Wright Motorsports car, Porsche has increased its support of the Black Swan Racing effort, with factory ace Patrick Long joining Tim Pappas and Jeroen Bleekemolen.
GT3 Pro-Am will see a four-car class, led by SunEnergy1 Racing and Strakka Racing, which will have its drivers Kenny Habul and Nick Leventis battle for the Bronze Cup title alongside Pappas.
The U.S.-based DXDT Racing and PPM teams will also take part in the class with a Mercedes-AMG GT3 and Lamborghini Huracan GT3, respectively.
GT4, meanwhile, sees a 13-car field with a total of eight manufacturers represented.
Among the late additions include a two-car Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR entry from TRG and a second Audi R8 LMS GT4 entered by Rearaden Racing.
While the GTC class features only a single Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo for US RaceTronics, three TCR cars will do battle, including the previously announced Bryan Herta Autosport effort with Hyundai i30-Ns along with a M1 GT Racing Audi RS 3 LMS TCR.
Mercedes-AMG, Audi Set for IGTC Title Fight
Thirteen of the GT3 entries are nominated to score IGTC points in final round of the season, which is currently led by Mercedes-AMG following its dominant run in Suzuka.
Both of the AKKA-ASP entered SunEnergy1 Mercedes, as well as two Strakka Racing-run entries are eligible to score manufacturer points, compared to the three factory-backed Audis from WRT and Land.
Mercedes-AMG holds a nine-point lead over Audi in the manufacturers’ championship, with Tristan Vautier and Raffaele Marciello atop the drivers’ standings by 18 points to the nearest Audi driver, reigning series champion Markus Winkelhock.
Vautier and Marciello will be split up in separate Mercedes entries next weekend, in an effort to strengthen the manufacturer’s title bid.
Bentley will have three points-scoring cars, including K-PAX Racing’s previous-generation Continental GT3, with both Wright and Black Swan eligible to score points for Porsche.