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40 Entries for St. Pete in GT, GTS Sprint Openers

40 cars across GT, GTS classes set for weekend’s Pirelli World Challenge season-opener…

Photo: PWC

A total of 40 entries across the GT and GTS classes are set for next weekend’s Pirelli World Challenge season-opener on the streets of St. Pete.

It features a 12-car grid between GT and GTA class competitors and 28 GT4-spec cars set to do battle in GTS, including a sizable 18-car field of GTSA entries.


The GT class sees eight GT3-spec cars for the first Sprint round of the year, down from last year’s 14 cars at St. Pete, following the withdrawals of Cadillac Racing, Wright Motorsports, Absolute Racing, among others.

However, the class has seen the arrival of Alegra Motorsports and Pfaff Motorsports, which will field Porsche 911 GT3 Rs for Michael Christensen and Scott Hargrove, respectively.

TruSpeed Autosport also rejoins the grid with an Audi R8 LMS for Parker Chase in GTA, with Squadra Corse Garage Italia debuting a Ferrari 488 GT3 for former GTA class champion Martin Fuentes.

K-PAX Racing switches to Bentley Continental GT3s for Alvaro Parente and Rodrigo Baptista, while the Callaway Corvette C7 GT3-R makes it U.S. debut as a single entry for Daniel Keilwitz.

Among other star power in the class includes Toni Vilander (R. Ferri Motorsport) and Spencer Pumpelly (TRG), with Daniel Mancinelli returning in the No. 31 TR3 Racing Ferrari.

Reigning GT Cup champion Yuki Harata moves up to GTA this year with a Lamborghini Huracan GT3 entered by Dream Racing.

CRP Racing, meanwhile, has yet to announce the driver for its Mercedes-AMG GT3.

Increased GTS Entry for St. Pete

The GTS class has seen significant growth, with 28 cars entered for next weekend, compared to 20 entries at St. Pete last year.

A total of nine GT4 manufacturers are represented on the grid, including a pair of Camaro GT4.Rs entered by defending series champions Blackdog Speed Shop.

Panoz has expanded into a two-car operation this year with the addition of a second Avezzano GT4 for Preston Calvert, who will compete for GTSA class honors.

The Mercedes-AMG GT4, BMW M4 GT4 and Audi R8 LMS GT4 will all make its PWC debuts, alongside returning entries from Ford, Porsche, Ginetta and Maserati.

Track action gets underway on Friday, March 9, with the pair of 50-minute races for both GT and GTS set for Saturday and Sunday.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John



  1. daedalus

    March 2, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    Seems to me that the cost issues with running GT3 cars are starting to hit home. At first I thought it was just a British GT issue, but with reduced car counts in IMSA GTD and now a reduced GT3 grid in PWC it seems like only factory supported teams can afford to keep going with everyone else quitting or moving to GT4. At least the pro GT3 grid has a star studded line up with good quality drivers.

    Only last year it was GTS that was struggling and GT3 that was booming now the GTS field has doubled and the GT3 field has halved in the space of one off season!

    • jason

      March 2, 2018 at 2:42 pm

      The top end of GT3 remains strong world wide. But you are certainly correct. I think for the grass roots privateer efforts GT4, LMP3, and even LMP2 are becoming more appealing.

      Essentially GT3 as a whole as some outsider competition now.

    • Sestom

      March 2, 2018 at 4:20 pm

      The GT3 is very strong in Europe (Blancpain GT Series, ADAC GT, VLN, Open GT, etc.), in Asia (Japan GT, Blancpain GT Asia) and in Australia. In America, the top GT is poor (9 GTLM and 20 GT3 in IMSA and PWC).

    • JohnnyWalkerred

      March 5, 2018 at 4:07 pm

      This is why GT3 and GTE needs to be merged into one class, although then that would most certainly cause hardships for other series (SRO and ADAC). Because then everyone would want to be at LeMans. I think the numbers will bounce back.

      • thomas

        March 7, 2018 at 4:57 am

        Merge the two and you lose all of the GT3 privateers

  2. Sir Skidsalot

    March 2, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    I wonder why no one has picked up Ernie Francis, Jr? The guys is almost unbeatable in his Trans Am Mustang.

    • Blaneysellstrashbags@Ring24

      March 2, 2018 at 4:20 pm

      I was just looking at the entry list trying to find his name…This young man drove a great race at CoTA last year and I had started to follow his career. Cannot imagine why he is not in a ride

      • Q

        March 2, 2018 at 6:03 pm

        they have an unlimited budget, they choose to do whatever they want to do.

      • thomas

        March 2, 2018 at 7:48 pm

        He;s contracted to Ford. He’s scheduled to do some NASCAR stuff for them alongside his TransAm title defence. I think he’s in for some CTSC races too in the same programme as Austin Cindric and Chase Briscoe.

        • Blaneysellstrashbags@Ring24

          March 2, 2018 at 8:32 pm

          Good info. I do recall the Ford Nascar thing. Sure would have liked to see him at Le Mans one day

        • Sol Shine

          March 3, 2018 at 11:20 am

          Where’d you get that? Talented kid, but I’ve seen nothing to indicate he’s under contract to Ford. He ran a “Mustang” in TransAm, but that was not a Ford entry rather it was from his long standing family team.

        • Northstar

          March 3, 2018 at 5:58 pm

          He’s driving a Toyota in his NASCAR races so I don’t think there is any deal with Ford.

          • thomas

            March 7, 2018 at 5:05 am

            Yeah I think I got my wires crossed. Merged his Ford GT test in with the Chase Briscoe/Austin Cindric/Ty Majeski Roush/Ford/Multimatic things. I’d delete my comment if I could out of shame about how messed up I got it!

  3. Andy Flinn

    March 2, 2018 at 5:05 pm

    Parker Chase – is that not the perfect name for a racecar driver?

  4. Eric Rosenberg

    March 2, 2018 at 5:51 pm

    I don’t see the Acuras and Realtime Racing… waiting on their announcement for 2018.

    • John Dagys

      March 2, 2018 at 6:43 pm

      They’ll most likely be in TCR this year.

      • Pierre

        March 3, 2018 at 8:15 am

        Where is the TCR entry list?

        • Northstar

          March 3, 2018 at 9:58 am

          They don’t race until CoTA

  5. Squeaky nut

    March 2, 2018 at 7:27 pm

    Every time I read the name Pfaff I pause and try to figure out how to pronounce it without sounding like I have a stutter.

    • Helmut

      March 3, 2018 at 5:58 am

      Pronounce it Ffaff. In German means Priest

  6. Kyle

    March 2, 2018 at 9:07 pm

    This might be even lower than what I thought there would be just after all of the withdrawals. Any chance the second TruSpeed and K-PAX Bentley entries come through, along with AIM or Black Swan – or are those confirmed out at least for St. Pete?

    • Northstar

      March 3, 2018 at 12:49 am

      Black Swan is doing the whole IGT series so he may be focusing on that entirely.

      • Harry Manback

        March 3, 2018 at 2:16 pm

        They spent too much of their budget on Moncado Mondays.

        • Geriatric Smacker

          March 5, 2018 at 7:23 am

          I mean, who hasn’t?

  7. Gaucherie

    March 2, 2018 at 10:30 pm

    Hugely disappointing GT grid. Gonna have to run combined GT and GTS races if this keeps up as a 12 car field is dismal.

  8. Dat Rickstar

    March 3, 2018 at 6:18 am

    Very excited about the GTS list. But GT leaves a lot to be desired. Hoping CRP picks up someone and at least another three cars show. See you at St. Pete.

  9. Sol Shine

    March 3, 2018 at 11:23 am

    Truly a series in free fall. Sad because it used to be very good, now, just a circus what with the silly “SprintX” (whatever the hell that means) that is designed to just bring in pay drivers to keep the ship afloat. Too bad.

  10. JeffB

    March 3, 2018 at 12:18 pm

    It seems like the obvious marriage of convenience should be CRP and Michael Cooper. Someone make a call.

    It’s disappointing to see the GT class down in numbers to what it is now. The PWC really hit a home run back about 3-4 years ago when they had adopted the GT3 rules and car counts went way up. It’s hard to believe it has shrunk to less than 10 in the top GT class.

  11. Edgar Sanchez

    March 3, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    I sure hope the GT/GTA entries go up for the sprintX rounds.

  12. Chris Wetz

    March 3, 2018 at 7:33 pm

    The Series overall is very healthy. GTS, TCR, TC, and TCA are all appearing to have incredible fields this year. Something needs to be done about GT though because thats the headline series that people pay most attention to.

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