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Winward, Turner Listed in Pro Class for Sonoma Opener

Four Pro cars among Sonoma grid; full set of entries issued for SRO America opener …

Image: Winward Racing

Winward Racing and Turner Motorsport have been named alongside K-PAX Racing in the Pro category for next weekend’s Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS season-opener at Sonoma Raceway.

The two teams with Silver-Silver driving crews are listed as Pro runners on the full 14-car entry list issed on Friday, in addition to K-PAX which was already established as an entrant in the top class.

Winward Racing’s No. 33 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo is being driven by Phillip Ellis and Russell Ward, who recently contributed to the team’s GTD class triumph in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

The Turner BMW M6 GT3 will be shared by last year’s Pirelli GT4 America Pro-Am champions Robby Foley and Michael Dinan, while the K-PAX Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo pairings are Andrea Caldarelli/Jordan Pepper and Giovanni Venturini/Corey Lewis.

The latest entry list confirms Lamborghini factory driver Giacomo Altoe in the TR3 Racing Huracan alongside Ziad Ghandour, who drove the team’s Ferrari last season.

Altoe, 20, is set for his GTWC America debut. He previously raced in the U.S driving for Italian team Ebimotors in the 2019 Rolex 24.

The TR3 pairing will compete in Pro-Am, which at nine participants is the largest of the three categories.

ST Racing Porsche Joins GT America Grid

The addition of an ST Racing Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport has boosted the field for the inaugural GT America powered by AWS round at Sonoma to 22 entries.

Dan Miller has been named as the driver for the Samanta Tan Racing operation, which is one of several teams competing in both GT America and the Pirelli GT4 America series.

GT America is the only single-driver sports car series on the SRO America bill and permits a mixed grid of GT3, GT2 and GT4 machinery, although no GT2s are racing at Sonoma.

A total of eight GT3 cars are entered, with five signed up for the Overall classification. The rest are in the Masters bracket for drivers aged 55 and older.

The grid includes George Kurtz, who is also racing in GTWC America, and Jeff Burton who finished third in last year’s GT4 America Sprint series which acted as the precursor to GT America.

In GT4, Black Swan Racing team boss Tim Pappas is set to drive a Porsche, while ex-British Touring Car Championship driver Robb Holland lines up in a Ford Mustang GT4.

Gray Newell is set to drive an Aston Martin Vantage GT4 for The Heart of Racing, which has notably competed in the IMSA GT Daytona class since the start of last year.

Driver Pairings Set for GT4 America 

In addition to the GTWC America field, a 32-car entry list was issued Pirelli GT4 America, with all but one of the driver pairings completed ahead of the season-opening round.

The field for the two-driver championship will involve 15 cars with Pro-Am lineups, seven with Silver Cup pairings and 10 with drivers competing in the Am category.

The only unconfirmed driver on the entry is Russell Walker’s teammate in the No. 46 NolaSport Porsche.

Walker’s fellow NolaSport driver Sean Gibbons is the only driver returning to defend a GT4 America title from last year – in Am – and has a new race partner in Sam Owens.

Matt Travis and Jason Hart, who finished second to Dinan and Foley in the 2020 Pro-Am standings, are back for another term together. Other contenders from last year including Bill Auberlen/James Walker Jr and Andrew Davis/Jason Bell have also returned.

Seven GT4 America drivers are also piloting GT4 cars in the new GT America series: Newell, Pappas, Matt Dalton, Jason Bell, Elias Sabo, Ross Chouest and Sean Quinlan.

Pappas is sharing a Black Swan Porsche in GT4 America with 24 Hours of Le Mans class winner Jeroen Bleekemolen.

This year GT4 America is running as a single championship under the two-driver format previously known as SprintX, while the single-driver Sprint competition has been assimilated into the new GT America series.

Official track action at Sonoma takes place from March 5-7.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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