Porsche Motorsport-built racers will proliferate the Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) grid at Sonoma Raceway this weekend. 14 total cars designed, developed and built in the Weissach, Germany workshops and imported and sold by Porsche Motorsport North America (PMNA) are entered for the two GT-class Sprint races and two GTS/GT4 rounds. In math terms, 33 percent of the entire PWC entry list are Porsche racecars.
The headline event will be the twin, 50-minute GT races where the Porsche 911 GT3 R has four entries in the Pro category (GT) and three in the Amateur class (GTA). Porsche factory driver Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California) leads the Sprint and Overall Championships for GT Drivers with the Wright Motorsports-entered No. 58 Porsche Consulting 911 GT3 R. Alec Udell (The Woodlands, Texas) has two GTA class victories to open the season and one GT class podium in the most recent Sprint round in the No. 17 Euroworld Motorsports by GMG.
The No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing 911 GT3 R driven by Jon Fogarty (Bend, Oregon) earned the team’s first GT podium at COTA two weeks ago as the “Red Dragon” closes its first season of PWC GT competition with Porsche.
One of the most exciting entries for Sonoma is the little-known No. 101 Porsche 911 GT3 R of TKO Motorsports. The team is making its debut in the class with Porsche but the true news of the entry comes in its driver selection. Local driver Memo Gidley (Sausalito, California) will pilot the No. 101 in his return to professional motorsports. Gidley suffered serious injuries in the early stages of the 2014 Rolex 24 At Daytona in a prototype racecar. The popular racer went through extensive recovery and rehabilitation. He first tested karts but earlier this summer began an extensive testing program with TKO and then made his public debut during a PWC promoter test day at Utah Motorsport Campus. His entry in the Sprint Championship final rounds was announced on August 17 by the team.
The GTA class has three Porsche 911 GT3 Rs for drivers who do not make their primary living racing cars. Included is recently crowned SprintX GTA Driver Champion James Sofronas (Villa Park, California) in the No. 14 GMG Racing 911 GT3 R. Sofronas holds a substantial lead in the Sprint and Overall GTA title chase as well. Michael Schein (Glen Cove, New York) challenged Sofronas early in the season driving the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche and looks to close out his 2017 season on a high-note at Sonoma. Dr. Preston Calvert (Potomac, Maryland) is looking for his first GTA podium – after early season GT Cup class wins – in the No. 77 Calvert Dynamics car.
Porsche entries are not limited to the rear-engine, 500 HP 911 GT3 R. An equal number of Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MRs are also entered in the GTS/GT4 class races. The mid-engine Porsche will give seven drivers a chance to conclude the season on a high note. Flying Lizard Motorsports brings two of the Cayman GT4 Clubsport MRs from its on-site shop with Rodrigo Baptista (Brazil) piloting the No. 3 and Nate Stacy (Tulsa Oklahoma) in the No. 14.
Five amateur drivers have entered Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MRs in the GTSA class. Carter Yeung (Los Angeles, California) will drive the No. 7 GMG Racing car while CRP Racing makes its class debut with Alex Lloyd (Livermore, California) in the No. 22. The No. 47 NOLAsport Porsche of Keith Jensen (Dorado, Puerto Rico) has been showing increasing speed while Case-It Racing’s pair of Adam Merzon (Greenwich, Connecticut) and Cameron Cassels (Canada) have been constant challengers in the class with the Nos. 017 and 018 respectively.
Patrick Long Looks for Second World Challenge GT Title
As the 2011 GT Drivers’ Champion and 2016 runner-up, Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California) knows what it takes to win the Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) title. Last season, Long was looking at a second title until the last half of the last lap of the last lap of the year when his No. 58 Porsche Consulting Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R was pushed off course by a driver not in contention for the championship. When he recovered he was unable to catch Alvaro Parente into the final turn. North America’s only Porsche factory driver immediately began planning his 2017 campaign. Now he enters the final two rounds of the GT season at Sonoma Raceway, leading both the Sprint and the Overall Driver Points Standings.
Entering the final two, 50-minute, single-driver races, Long is again going head-to-head in the PWC Overall Championship against Parente. The American leads the Portuguese driver 320 to 292 points. SprintX Champion Michael Cooper is third with 288 markers. Long also leads Parente in the Sprint Championship for Professional Drivers but by a much more narrow margin. The two friendly rivals are separated by a mere five points as they head to “Wine Country”. They are the only two in contention for the title.
James Sofronas (Villa Park, California) clinched the Overall Championship title for GT Amateur (GTA) drivers at the most recent round in Austin, Texas. He leads the GTA Drivers’ Sprint Championship by 30-points in the No. 14 GMG Porsche 911 GT3 R.
Porsche leads the Manufacturer’s Standings by six-points over Cadillac and seven over McLaren. The Porsche 911 GT3 R has won nine Sprint races to-date in 2017.
Pirelli World Challenge
Total Car Count: 14 Porsche Motorsport racecars will be competing in the Pirelli World Challenge of Sonoma at the Sonoma Raceway. In the Sprint series (Rounds 9 and 10), seven Porsche 911 GT3 Rs will challenge in the GT races. Seven Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MRs will contend for the GT4/GTS honors of the Sprint Championship (Rounds 17 and 18).
GT Class – Four (4) Porsche 911 GT3 R.
No. 17 Euroworld Motorsports by GMG Alec Udell (The Woodlands, Texas)
No. 58 Wright Motorsports Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California)
No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Jon Fogarty (Bend, Oregon)
No. 101 TKO Motorsports Memo Gidley (Sausalito, California)
GTA Class – Three (3) Porsche 911 GT3 R.
No. 14 GMG Racing James Sofronas (Villa Park, California)
No. 16 Wright Motorsports Michael Schein (Glen Cove, New York)
No. 77 Calvert Dynamics Preston Calvert (Potomac, Maryland)
GTS Class – Two (2) Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR.
No. 3 Flying Lizard Motorsports Rodrigo Baptista (Brazil)
No. 14 Flying Lizard Motorsports Nate Stacy (Tulsa, Oklahoma)
GTSA Class – Five (5) Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR.
No. 7 GMG Racing Carter Yeung (Los Angeles, California)
No. 22 CRP Racing Alex Lloyd (Livermore, California)
No. 47 NOLAsport Keith Jensen (Dorado, Puerto Rico)
No. 017 Case-It Racing Adam Merzon (Greenwich, Connecticut)
No. 018 Case-It Racing Cameron Cassels (Canada)