After a hiatus of nearly three months, the Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) Sprint Championship will resume with two 50-minute races apiece for the GT/GTA and GT4/GTS classes at Road America, June 24 and June 25. The majority of the competitors have continued to race in the SprintX Championship, which, unlike the single driver format of Sprint, has two drivers in each car for 60-minute races. This means the single-driver entries of Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California), John Fogarty (Bend, Oregon) and Alec Udell (The Woodlands, Texas) will represent Porsche in the GT class for professional drivers, the highest level of PWC, in their respective 911 GT3 R customer cars.
Long, North America’s only Porsche factory driver, will race the No. 58 Porsche Consulting Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R leads the way for the German marque in the GT class. Veteran road racer and multi-time GRAND AM Prototype championship-winning GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing has been busy testing the “Red Dragon” No. 99 since Long Beach with Fogarty. This is the team’s first season racing the rear-engined machine based on the seventh-generation of the iconic Porsche 911. Veteran by experience but not by years, 21 year-old Udell is back in the No. 17 Euroworld Motorsports prepared by GMG 911 GT3 R. Udell opened the season with twin victories at St. Petersburg in the GTA class. The success moved him into the all-pro category where he showed well at Long Beach.
The GT Amateur (GTA) class races nearly identical GT3-spec machines as the professional class but with drivers who do not make their primary living racing cars. Since 2016, Michael Schein (Glen Cove, New York) has been a force in the class with multiple victories driving the No. 16 Wright Motorsports 911 GT3 R. James Sofronas (Villa Park, California) scored Porsche’s third victory in as many Sprint races in the GTA class at Long Beach driving the No. 14 GMG GT3 R. Two-time 2016 SprintX class winner Preston Calvert (Potomac, Maryland) moves up into the Sprint GTA class this weekend in the No. 77 Calvert Dynamics Porsche 911 GT3 R. He has been contending primarily in the GT Pro-Am class of SprintX with Udell and in the Sprint series in the GT Cup class racing a 911 GT3 Cup car. He will forgo his challenge in the class despite leading the Driver standings entering Road America.
In the stand-alone GT4/GTS class race – Rounds 9 and 10 of 18 – four Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MRs will contend for the race victories. Flying Lizard Motorsports brings the No. 3 entry for Rodrigo Baptista (Spain) and the No. 14 for Nate Stacy (Tulsa, Oklahoma). Baptista is fresh off of back-to-back wins at Lime Rock Park over the Memorial Day weekend. Case-It Racing also enters two of the mid-engine Porsches. The No. 017 will be driven by Adam Merzon (Greenwich, Connecticut) while Cameron Cassels (Canada) races in the No. 018. Cassels is one of the most experienced Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR drivers in the country contending races in the car in nearly every series in which it is eligible.
Porsche holds a narrow lead in the Overall Manufacturers’ Point Championship. The “Overall” championship combines the Sprint and SprintX race results.
Long is currently second in both the Overall Drivers’ Championship – ten points out of the lead – and the Sprint Championship – one point out of the lead. Four Sprint races across two event weekends will remain after Sunday’s Round 5. Porsche drivers are first with Schein and second with Sofronas in the GTA class. Sofronas has one class Sprint win (Long Beach) under his belt already while Schein has three second-place finishes in the first three rounds.