Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sofronas, GMG Audi R8 LMS Takes Podium in Season Opener

GMG Racing Press Release

St. Petersburg, Fla. (March 23, 2013)- Following his fourth place starting position during today’s season-opening round of the Pirelli World Challenge, James Sofronas opened the year with a hard-earned second place finish in the no. 14 GMG / Children’s Tumor Foundation Audi R8 LMS.

Sofronas, from Newport Beach, got off to a steady start as the 42-car field roared in to the first turn of the 1.8 mile, 14-turn St. Petersburg street circuit. Starting strong, the Californian made strong work of the field in front of him as the race began to unfold. Engaging with Randy Pobst’s no. 6 Volvo, James would spend the next several laps studying his opponent before finally making an opportune pass just a few minutes in to the race. With a strong dice among the front-runners throughout the first 30 minutes of the race, an endless series of back and forth passes and daring maneuvers would eventually put the no. 14 in third position. With a late yellow closing up the field, James would have one last chance to make a run at the leading no. 46 Porsche of Ryan Dalziel and no. 9 Volvo of Alex Figge, however discretion would take over as he observered a massive battle between the two leaders, opting to settle for third and take strong points in the process.

As post-race inspections followed, however, the front splitter of Dalziel’s winning TruSpeed Porsche failed to meet series requirements, disqualifying the Scot and removing all points. This would in turn hand victory to Figge, as well as elevate Sofronas to second.

With the race’s fastest laps setting the field for tomorrow morning’s second round of the championship, the no. 14 will actually start on pole for round two, Sofronas having set the fastest lap during today’s race.
“What a great way to start the season,” stated Sofronas. “We’ve been working hard during the off season to get to this point, and I think our preparation showed. The entire team came here ready to race, so to kick it off with a podium and fastest lap puts us is in great shape for tomorrow.”
Also taking a strong top-10 was GMG’s Alex Welch, who would finish eighth in his Spyder / Lasso Audi R8 LMS. Welch, currently residing in Colorado, negotiated traffic masterfully to patiently make his way up the grid. Following a race-long battle with Tim Pappas’s no. 54 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3, Welch would make an aggressive pass to break in to the top-10, eventually finding his way to seventh.

“I’m really happy with today’s finish,” stated Welch. “The car was solid all day, and I was really enjoying the battles I found myself in. I actually have to give credit to Tim who raced very cleanly. The guys put together a great car and it showed, hopefully tomorrow will be even better.”

Unfortunately, for Duncan Ende and Bret Curtis in the no. 24 Merchant Services / STANDD entry and no. 32 Spectra Resources Audi R8LMS, the day was not quite as lucky. Curtis would find himself caught out in GTS-category traffic early on, making contact with slower traffic and retiring as a result of suspension damage. For Duncan Ende, oil pressure issues throughout the race would sideline the no. 24 just past halfway. Ende would be credited with 13th; Curtis 14th.

In GTS, driver Bill Ziegler would also suffer from an unfortunate day. After running a steady race and keeping his nose clean, the Florida-based driver would also retire with an engine issue midway through the race, eventually being credited with 16th.
While unfortunate results would befall on some of today’s five-car fleet, the ultimate strength of GMG’s preparation still shined through.

“Ultimately, I think the team really showed strong today,” stated Sofronas. “Duncan and Bret drove incredibly well, and for much of the race were right behind me. With a little better luck, they would have also have had great finishes. Bill was also having a great race, and had an unfortunate change of fortune, but everyone will get there. Alex and myself obviously started today on a great note, and it’s great that we’re already showing just how strong this Audi program can be. The Audi is such a great car, it’s built like a tank. I slapped the wall at the beginning of the race, and the car was really loose – but then the car came back to me. The car was really strong at the end, and then I went for it to see if these guys were going to drop the ball in front of me. They didn’t, but there was a lead change and I was waiting to jump.”

Round Two of the Pirelli World Championships will take place tomorrow at 9:15AM ET, with live coverage featured on
GMG will continue to provide on-going updates throughout the weekend via their website (, as well as Twitter (@GMGracing) and Facebook (

About GMG
Founded in 2001 by James Sofronas and Fabryce Kutyba, GMG has quickly established itself as North America’s premier performance tuning and racing facility. What began as a small 1200 sq. ft. shop, maintaining two race cars, has grown into a 30,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art performance tuning, racing and service facility located in (Orange County) Santa Ana, California. The staff's experience, attention to detail, and passion are what make GMG the choice of professionals and enthusiasts world wide. Whether you want to maximize the performance of your street car, or race wheel-to-wheel on both amateur and professional racing series across North America, GMG’s reputation for service and quality is unmatched.
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About Lasso
Lasso is a request-based, sharing network predicated on a very simple idea: You have something that I want—and you may not even know it until I ask for it. With so much content cluttering our phones, tablets, PCs and social networks, it can be difficult to seek out and find the specific items of interest to you. Friends or colleagues may not share this content with you directly because they’re drowning in data overload themselves. Often, these friends aren’t sure exactly what you want. Lasso makes it easy for you to round up the digital content you want from friends—simply by asking for it. By putting the onus on the requester, instead of the person holding the content, you’ll be in a much better position to actually receive the digital content you’re interested in.
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About Merchant Services

In 2001 Merchant Services Ltd. was founded with three basic principles in mind: quality, service, and commitment. Inspired by our racing heritage we pride ourself in providing the highest level of customer service and support 24 hours a day 365 days a year. Merchant Services Ltd. develops long term relationships with both our merchants and banking partners allowing us to have the highest customer retention rate in the industry. Founded by a professional race car driver, innovation and efficiency have always been our core competencies, ensuring that our merchants receive the cutting edge solutions their businesses need.
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About Spyder
Spyder was founded by avid skier and outdoor athlete David Jacobs. He rose to world-class rankings as a competitive skier, and stayed connected to the sport he loves by coaching, designing related products, and building one of the most powerful brands in the industry. His dedication to the sport of skiing and the Spyder brand is as inspiring as it is intriguing. Spyder's growth exploded over the turn of the century, and the company is now the largest ski-specialty brand in the world. David has recently discovered the adrenaline rush in racing classic Formula One cars, finding success – not surprisingly – in this new pastime. For a man who's thrived on sports, technology, and professional advancement, the world is sure to see David go a few more times around the track.
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About Spectra Resources
Spectra Resources is a specialized trading company designed for buyers and sellers to purchase and sell steel in any part of the world efficiently and economically. SPECTRA Resources is involved in importing, exporting, domestic and off-shore trading, warehousing, logistics coordination and the processing of multiple steel products. SPECTRA Resources boasts nearly 20 years of experience in physical steel trading and is positioned to bring a strong value proposition to your enterprise.
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Stop Texting And Distracted Driving (STANDD) was founded by Diveeta Thompson, whose son Rodney lost his life while driving. There were numerous factors that played a factor – speed, music, and texting. In an effort to raise awareness about the dangers of texting and driving, Diveeta founded STANDD and has been working diligently throughout her home state of Indiana and nationally through Duncan Ende's motorsports program to spread the message of the dangers of distracted driving. STANDD also promotes the Rodney O. Thompson II Scholarship, which was established to help young people fulfill their goal of attending college after high school.
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About Swisher
The company began in 1861 when David Swisher received a small cigar business in settlement of a debt. Back then, cigars were only a sideline for Swisher and his four sons, just one of many products that they hawked across the Midwest for the “rolling stores” or wagons. Today, Swisher International, Inc. is a leader in the tobacco business, accounting for one-third of the United States' cigar sales and is America’s largest cigar exporter.
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Photo credit: Pirelli World Challenge and GMG Racing