Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Pirelli World Challenge: Six Audi R8 LMS cars in St. Petersburg opener

By Tarek Ramchani

The 2014 Pirelli World Challenge season will kick off in Florida in four weeks time. St. Petersburg will host the first round with a healthy field expected in GT class.

The Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) has released the entry list. No less than six Audi R8 LMS and ultra cars will take part in the event. The Audis will come from GMG Racing, DragonSpeed Inc and JCR Motorsports.

GMG Racing will enter four cars for team owner James Sofronas, Andrew Palmer, Bret Curtis and Bill Ziegler. James Sofronas has a busy year, as he is driving in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship with a GTD spec Audi R8 LMS. Andrew Palmer won in 2013 the Blanpcain Lamborghini SuperTrofeo world title.

DragonSpeed Inc will have a single Audi R8 LMS ultra for team owner Elton Julian. The team debuted the ultra last year at Sonoma, a first time for a full FIA GT3 car in the SCCA sanctioned series.

The final Audi effort is from JCR Motorsports with Jeff Courtney. 2014 will mark the second year for the team in Pirelli World Challenge. In 2013 Jeff Courtney competed with a slightly modified Audi R8 GRAND-AM from the former Rolex Sports Car Series.

Major change in GT class this year as the series organisers set up a new GT-A category for gentlemen drivers. James Sofronas and Elton Julian will compete in the upper GT class. Andrew Palmer, Bret Curtis and Bill Ziegler and  Jeff Courtney will enter the GT-A class.

In addition to the six Audi R8 LMS cars, an Audi TT RS will enter the GTS class. The car will be driven by team owner Don Istook under RS Werkes Racing banner. The team is planning to add a second Audi TT RS and also an Audi A3 TDI for the TCA class later this year.

Pirelli World Challenge St. Petersburg entry list can be seen here.

Photo credit: Pirelli World Challenge