There will be a new addition to the Pirelli World Challenge grid beginning next weekend in Toronto, as M1 Racing has announced plans to enter an Audi R8 LMS ultra in the GT-A class.
Former Star Mazda Expert class champion Walt Bowlin will drive the mid-engined sports car, recently purchased from DragonSpeed, in the Toronto doubleheader on July 18-20.
“I chose to race in World Challenge because it has the top sports car drivers in the world, representing the world’s finest sports car manufacturers,” Bowlin said. “I feel that sponsors in World Challenge obtain great exposure via their excellent TV package.
“My goal for this season is very simple — get faster every weekend,” he added. “Another reason that I chose World Challenge is it’s a sprint race. It’s an all-out scramble to the finish, and very much like what I’m used to in the Formula Mazda championship.”
The Dallas-based team, which has fielded entries in Mazda’s Road to Indy development series, takes on sports car racing for the first time, with plans to enter the 2015 Rolex 24 at Daytona and potentially some end-of-season TUDOR United SportsCar Championship rounds with the car as well.
“We’ve always enjoyed working with Walt,” said M1 Racing owner Paul Mata. “I’m very interested in seeing what he can do in a car that is a better fit for him physically than a Pro Mazda car.”
The 51-year-old, who is 6 feet 3 inches tall, is a practicing oral and maxillofacial surgeon. Bowlin drove a M1-prepared Pro Mazda car to Expert class victories at Toronto last year.