The Porsche 911 GT3 R showed itself well at Utah Motorsports Campus (UMC) in Rounds 7 and 8 of the Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) SprintX Championship. Five of the official GT3-spec entries built by Porsche Motorsport were campaigned in the twin, 60-minute, two-driver format races on Saturday and Sunday, August 12 – 13, at the Tooele, Utah-area track. Three Porsche factory drivers and one of the German marque’s Young Professionals helped to anchor the customer teams in the Pro/Pro and Pro/Am classes of North America’s premier sprint format GT racing series.
On Saturday, Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California) and Jörg Bergmeister (Germany) captured the highest finish for the flat-six cylinder-powered machines with a third-place sharing the No. 58 Porsche Consulting Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R. The podium helped buoy Long’s position in the PWC’s overall GT class driver standings with two event weekends and five races remaining in the year. The longtime driver pairing followed as the highest finishing Porsche overall on Sunday with a sixth-place result on a track not considered to be favorable to the rear-engine layout of the car. Making their debut in the Pro/Pro class of SprintX was factory driver Wolf Henzler (Germany) with Jon Fogarty (Bend, Oregon) in the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing 911 GT3 R. Both team and drivers were finding their feet in the class and finished in 11th-posiiton on Saturday after early race contact forced a pit stop to replace a cut tire. The “Red Dragon” improved considerably in the overall standings and up to tenth-position in Pro/Pro in Sunday’s feature.
Porsche Young Professional Mathieu Jaminet (France) returned to the No. 14 GMG Racing 911 GT3 R to help longtime Porsche entrant James Sofronas (Villa Park, California) earn two Pro/Am podium finishes in Utah. The blue and white car raced to second-place on Saturday behind fellow Porsche racers Michael Schein (Glen Cover, New York) and Jan Heylen (Tampa, Florida) in the No. 16 Wright Motorsports 911 GT3 R. Jaminet/Sofronas climbed to the top-step on Sunday after the No. 16 was penalized for too little time spent in the pits during the timed pit stop/driver change.
The No. 77 Calvert Dynamics car of Preston Calvert (Potomac, Maryland) and Alec Udell (The Woodlands, Texas) finished in fifth-place (Pro/Am class) on both Saturday and Sunday.
In the GTC-X class, the No. 95 Tool Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car driven by Andy Lee (Colorado Springs, Colorado) and Erich Joiner (Manhattan Beach, California) earned the class victory on Saturday. It was the team’s first win in PWC in 2017. They finished second on Sunday. The No. 90 Autometrics Motorsports 911 GT3 Cup car was just behind the Tool machine on Saturday with drivers Joe Toussaint (Houston, Texas) and Cory Friedman (Charleston, South Carolina) finishing in second-place. Following a 32-second penalty on Sunday, the class regulars finished in third-place.
The Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR had two entries on the GTS-X grid. The No. 47 NOLAsport car shared by Jason Hart (Flower Mound, Texas) and Matt Travis (The Woodlands, Texas) took the victory for the mid-engine Porsche machine on both race days ahead of Case-It Racing’s No. 017 driven by Adam Merzon (Greenwich, Connecticut) and Trent Hindman (Long Branch, New Jersey) in second-place.
Patrick Long, Driver, No. 58 Porsche Consulting Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“That was a tough ending to an otherwise really strong weekend for us. We improved on the car throughout the weekend. Today we were running in a really clear third position. After a couple of full course yellows the two cars in front of me were battling for the lead and got everyone bunched up. On the exit of turn five I was pushed off the track and from there fell back to sixth place. I’m pretty frustrated to have not gotten racing room, but that’s sprint racing. Pirelli World Challenge is intense competition. It is what the fans love and why we, as drivers, love to race here. Sometimes it just bites you.”
Jörg Bergmeister, Driver, No. 58 Porsche Consulting Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“It was a difficult ending after the good result we had in Race 1. I had a pretty good start behind the Cadillac. I didn’t quite have the pace to follow him, but was able to keep all of the other Porsches behind me. Patrick was running a solid third place and unfortunately had contact on the restart by a competitor who didn’t give him racing room. He dropped a couple of positions, but overall I think it was still a very positive weekend. We will go to COTA with what we learned here and try to win all three races there.