Fresh from its recent front-running performances in the Prototype Challenge class of the American Le Mans Series, the Florida-based DragonSpeed team returns to GT competition at this weekend’s penultimate round of the SCCA Pirelli World Challenge at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California.
Hard on the heels of the SCCA’s decision last week to admit FIA GT3 cars to the series, DragonSpeed will roll out its Audi R8 LMS ultra to support the title bid of James Sofronas’ similar GMG-entered Audi R8 LMS. Team principal Elton Julian will make another of his occasional comebacks to take the wheel for Sunday’s one-hour sprint.
DragonSpeed’s entry will be noteworthy in several respects, marking the first outing for a current FIA GT3-specification machine in North America, and the third event on as many continents for the team’s silver and red Audi, which finished both the 24 Hour Dubai and Bathurst 12 Hour international GT enduros earlier this year.
“This weekend is the opportunity we’ve been waiting for since we acquired the Audi over a year ago, to go proper GT3 racing in America,” said Julian. “As soon as we heard about the SCCA’s move, we committed to running the full World Challenge in 2014. The next thing I knew, James Sofronas and Brad Kettler of Audi Sport customer racing USA were on the phone to me about going to Sonoma. As we weren’t scheduled to run the LMPC at Baltimore, we were only too glad to help them out and get some experience of the series at the same time.”
In addition to assistance from Audi Sport customer racing USA and Prestige Audi of Miami, DragonSpeed will enjoy continued support from RaceWatches.com and Edmond Fine Swiss Watches, who have joined forces to produce a DragonSpeed-branded limited edition chronograph due out this fall. This distinctive timepiece commemorates the team’s participation in GT endurance races around the world, with plans including the Gulf 12 Hours in Abu Dhabi this December and a return to Bathurst next February.