A total of 22 cars are set for next weekend’s California 8 Hours at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, in the inaugural U.S. round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge.
The event will mark the longest professional race ever held at the famed Northern California circuit, which opened in 1957.
ENTRY LIST: California 8H
No fewer than eight manufacturers are represented, including nearly a dozen GT3 entries that are set to do battle for overall honors in the third round of the IGTC season, following events at Bathurst and Spa.
“This year’s edition being a stepping stone in building up the GT-only endurance race America deserves, it was important to start it from the right foot, with a solid grid bringing diversity and a high level of competition,” said SRO Motorsports Group boss Stephane Ratel.
“We are thankful to the manufacturers, teams and drivers who are supporting this inaugural event.”
Among the cars entered are two of the race-winning Acura NSX GT3 cars, entered by RealTime Racing.
One of their drivers is French youngster Jules Gounon, winner of the Total 24 Hours of Spa, who currently sits second in the IGTC drivers’ championship.
Gounon will team with Utah Pirelli World Challenge SprintX race winners Peter Kox and Mark Wilkins in the No. 93 RealTime Racing Acura, with his fellow Spa victors, Markus Winkelhock and Christopher Haase, remain in the Audi camp, although they no longer share the same car.
Winkelhock is one of the drivers of the Audi Sport Team Magnus, while Haase will be sharing the Audi R8 LMS of Audi Sport Team Land.
Audi, leading the IGTC manufacturer standings, have two more representatives with Belgian Audi Club Team WRT and M1GT Racing.
Other manufacturers with a GT3 entrant include McLaren (K-PAX Racing), Nissan (Nissan Motorsport USA) and Porsche (Black Swan Racing, Calvert Dynamics, GMG and Wright Motorsport).
With Spa not counting towards the GT4 title, Laguna Seca will mark the second round season for GT4 manufacturers.
Porsche (GMG and Rearden Racing) and Ginetta (Ian Lacy Racing) will try to repeat its excellent season-opening results at Bathurst, but they will have fierce competition from Aston Martin squads Automatic Racing and TRG.
MARC Cars Australia has two MARC Mazda 3 V8 cars competing in the invitational class, adding more color to an already varied starting grid.
“We are very pleased to see the growth in the inaugural Intercontinental GT Challenge California 8 Hour race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca,” said Greg Gill, WC Vision President and CEO.
“With over 20 cars and a balanced amount of U.S. and global teams, this event is going to be excellent. In addition, we have great field of Pirelli World Challenge Touring Cars set for the 2017 season finale on the same weekend.”
Action begins Friday, Oct. 13 with practice rounds with the PWC Touring Car Series also in action during the weekend.
The race s is scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m. PDT on Sun., Oct. 15.