The pressure is on as Wright Motorsports brings their pair of Porsche 911 GT3 Rs to Circuit of the Americas for the penultimate stop on the Pirelli World Challenge schedule and final three rounds of the SprintX championship. With no shortage of action on the season, both the driver duos of Patrick Long and Jörg Bergmeister, along with Jan Heylen and Michael Schein will enter the week with their eyes set on one thing- the championship.
To make matters more intense, this week’s event will showcase a third race on Friday to make up for Round 4, which was called off at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park due to inclement weather. The Ohio-based team will kick off the week with an extra boost of morale as Bergmeister is already set to start this round from the GT-Pro/Pro pole position and Heylen is pinned to a sixth place starting slot.
With high marks of one victory, two podiums, and three pole positions, the SprintX championship has proven to been a double edged sword for Long and Bergmeister thus far. Being that Bergmeister missed Lime Rock Park due to a conflict, Long is flying solo as fourth in the SprintX standings with a 39-point deficit to the lead. While he still holds an outside shot at the SprintX championship, he’ll head to Austin with the combined overall title in mind as he leads the standings by just 5-points over Cadillac’s Michael Cooper.
It’s been a nearly perfect SprintX run for the always competitive Schein and Heylen who now have four victories and two podiums on the season. Following an uncharacteristic sixth place in Utah, the GT-Pro/Am points are now the tightest they’ve been all season as the duo leads the standings with just a 7-point advantage over James Sofronas. It will be all about clean and consistent racing as they look to latch onto a SprintX title in Austin.
With the event taking place in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the series has made a cautious effort to work with track officials and examine the long-range weather forecast before deciding to precede with the weekend schedule. Keeping the victims affected by this tragedy in mind, WC Vision has announced its participation in Red Cross charity efforts to assist the Hurricane Harvey victims. A link has been established at http://www.world-challenge.com for people to donate any amount of funding to assist those affected.
The Grand Prix of Texas will kick off Friday, September 1 with the CTMP make-up round set for 7:30 p.m. CDT. Saturday’s SprintX race will begin 4:00 p.m. CDT and Sunday’s race will take the green flag at 12:30 p.m. CDT.
Patrick Long // No. 58 Porsche 911 GT3 R – “COTA is a track that suites the Porsche 911 GT3 R really well because there is a lot of high-speed direction change and tire wear. Both of those things are areas that our car excels in. We had a victory there at the beginning of last season, so we’ll go into the triple header weekend confident, but knowing that the fight for this championship is going to go down to the final lap of the final race that we have at Sonoma.”
Jörg Bergmeister // No. 58 Porsche 911 GT3 R – “It’s going to be interesting to go into COTA as a triple header race weekend. We already have a front row start for the makeup race from Canada so that’s definitely good news. Last weekend in Salt Lake was a solid run and Patrick was able to extend the championship lead. That’s obviously the main goal for us, to get good points in all three races at COTA so that I can hopefully help him win the championship. Usually rain is a good thing for us and the Porsche in particular, but regardless of the conditions I hope we are competitive and able to bring in good, consistent results.”
Michael Schein // No. 16 Porsche 911 GT3 R – “I’m excited to have three races on the schedule this week with the CTMP makeup race. Fortunately, Jan and I have slim margin in the championship lead ahead it, so obviously the goal is to walk away with that. I’m very confident that the guys at Wright Motorsports will give us a good car to do battle with, so hopefully we can get in three clean runs and come out on top at the end of the weekend.
Jan Heylen // No. 16 Porsche 911 GT3 R – “We almost had a perfect weekend in Utah, so it was unfortunate that the drive through penalty hurt us in Race 2. Thankfully, we still go into the last SprintX race weekend with a good points lead. We’ll just have to get to COTA and do what we’ve been doing; have clean races and make no mistakes. I’m confident, but there are three races this weekend and knowing the competitiveness of the championship a lot can happen in three races.”
Source. Carlin Sanderson