The Blancpain GT World Challenge America – previously known as the Pirelli World Challenge – will open its 2019 season at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas with a pair of 90-minute races on March 2 and 3. The newly lengthened SprintX races – up from 60-minutes in 2018 – will see one of the largest GT3-class fields in recent memory of the series with Porsche customer teams entering seven Porsche 911 GT3 R race cars.
The first full season under direct SRO management has seen the GT3 class make a significant jump in total number of entries and the seven new 911 GT3 Rs account for one of the largest group of customer Porsche race cars in class history.
The entry list for the GT races is packed with names familiar to Porsche fans including the return of Wright Motorsports with Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California) and Scott Hargrove (Canada) in the No. 58 Porsche Consulting 911 GT3 R. The team has multiple World Challenge America championships with Porsche factory driver Long holding two overall titles (2013 and 2017) and Hargrove, a Porsche Selected Driver, earning the Sprint Championship in 2018. The Ohio-based operation also brings Anthony Imperato (Brooklyn, New York) up from its Porsche feeder programs for the SprintX season. Porsche Young Professional Dennis Olsen (Norway) will join Imperato in the No. 91 Henry Repeating Arms 911 GT3 R in the Pro/Am class.
Alegra Motorsports doubles its entries in 2019 with a fresh driver line-up. The Tampa, Florida-based operation fields two Pro-class 911 GT3 Rs with the No. 22 shared by fellow 2017 Rolex 24 At Daytona class winners Michael De Quesada (Tampa, Florida) and Daniel Morad (Canada). Both are Porsche Young Driver Academy graduates. Piloting the No. 24 are veterans of the Porsche works program, Germans Wolf Henzler and Marco Holzer.
GMG Racing is back in the GT3 fold with Porsche entering 2019. Past champion and team principal/driver James Sofronas (Villa Park, California) will split driving duties in the Am class No. 14 Porsche 911 GT3 R with Newport Beach, California’s Brent Holden. K2R Motorsports brings its 911 GT3 R, No. 38, to COTA with former Indy car driver Alex Barron (San Diego, California) and Kevin Millstein behind the wheel of the first-year Porsche entry. Long-time Porsche customers Autometrics Motorsports have Joe Toussaint (Worcester, Massachusetts) co-driving the No. 991 with Austin-native and IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama regular Alan Metni.
The Blancpain GT World Challenge America season will open Saturday, March 2 with Round 1 taking the green flag at 4:40 p.m. ET/3:40 p.m. Local Central Time. Round 2 will get underway at 3:00 p.m./2:00 p.m., Sunday.
Patrick Long , Driver, No. 58 Porsche Consulting Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“I’m excited to kick off the season and to be back in SRO America. The objective for us remains the same; to go out and try to win the championship as we did in 2017. It’s great to see a full, stacked grid with a mix of drivers I’ve race hard against and drivers who I haven’t shared the track with before. COTA is a track that has evolved a lot over the last couple of years, so the challenge of bumps and varied grip on the surface is something all of the team’s will share.”