Mantella Autosport is set to return to Pirelli World Challenge with a two-car KTM X-Bow GT4 effort in GTS, in a similar program to last year’s effort, according to team principal Anthony Mantella.
The Toronto-based team enjoyed a promising first season in PWC competition, with both Mantella and teammate Martin Barkey collecting a win each, as well as multiple podium finishes in the new-look GT4-based category.
“Martin and I are going to try and chase the championship,” Mantella told Sportscar365.
“We’re a two-car team. Martin is confirmed for this year. He had a blast last year and is so excited to come back with us.”
Mantella said they initially had shown interest in making a return to the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, but with the car not eligible for series competition, as a low-volume manufacturer, the team’s focus will remain exclusively in PWC.
“IMSA unfortunately won’t let us bring the car [to Continental Tire Challenge] because they don’t think it looks like a street car. That’s fine,” Mantella said.
“I haven’t been racing all my life, like most of the people in this environment, but I’ve raced elsewhere and I have to say PWC is such a family environment.
“If you have a question [PWC President/CEO] Greg Gill comes to answer that question. There’s no hierarchy to go through. If you need an answer, you can go right to the top.
“There’s no replacement for that. Being in a series like that, you really feel like you’re part of something that’s growing and is going to be spectacular.
“In the future, I think it’s going to be the series to be a part of in North America.”
Mantella said he hasn’t ruled out running a third X-Bow GT4, should there be an interested customer.
“We’ve been pounding the pavement trying to get some drivers into our third car,.” he said. “I’ve bought a third KTM; it’s traveled with us [all last season], it’s in the shop and ready to go.
“But we haven’t had the interest we really thought we’d have with the GT4 car, especially with Brett [Sandberg’s] success and Martin and I learning some of the things about the car.
“But if somebody steps up right away, we can make [a third car] happen.”