Wednesday, November 19, 2014

HSR: GMG takes victory at historic first HSR Daytona Classic 24 Hour

GMG Racing Press Release

Taking part in the first-ever Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) “Classic 24 Hour” at Daytona International Speedway, Global Motorsports Group (GMG) drivers Alex Welch and James Sofronas took a strong victory in the modern E-4 and Group 9 classes.

“What an excellent way for us to return to Daytona,” stated GMG team owner and co-driver James Sofronas. “The organization at HSR has done an excellent job for a premiere event, and it was truly an honor to be part of such a great paddock of vehicles. They had just about everything you could imagine at the event, and I’m sure it will only get bigger over the years. Alex and I both wanted to really show strong after our last visit in January, and I’d say we did. The guys put in some long nights to get the car in race form, and it showed. Our Audi was absolutely flawless during our runs, and it’s nice to add a victory at Daytona to GMG’s trophy case.”

With the Classic 24 running for 24-hours straight, the event was split between several different run groups, all staggering their sessions for this twice-around-the-clock event. Driving the No. 76 Audi R8 LMS ultra, GMG was part of the modern “Group E” category, intended for all modern sportscars from 2003 to present. Taking to the track with such legendary vehicles as the Champion Audi R8 LMP, Maserati MC12 GTA, and Pescarolo Judd among others, GMG’s specific E-4 category would pit them against a variety of Porsche machinery, as well as marques including Camaro, Corvette, and even another Audi.

Running four sessions over the course of 24 hours, Sofronas and Welch proved strong throughout the day. At the end of the first run, the team found themselves in second, followed by a strong lead once the second run concluded. Never looking back, the team took convincing victories in both the third and fourth runs, providing them a class victory when the final checkered flag fell, as well as giving them valuable data for their Audi should the team run at this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona. Not only did they win their category, but the team finished sixth overall in their run group, just three laps down from the overall prototype victors.

Additionally running in Group 9, a class dedicated to GT1 and GT2-style vehicles, GMG entered a Porsche 911 GT2 for the sprint sessions. Holding a particular significance to the team, the chassis was built from the ground up by GMG technicians, one of the group’s highly touted project cars. Running a 3.6L turbo-charged engine, driver James Sofronas not only took victory on the back of a pole position time of 1:45.2, but the car was clocked at over 212mph!

For Alex Welch, a long-time member of the GMG family, a strong run at Daytona has left him looking for more.

“To win at Daytona is definitely something I’ve been striving for,” stated Welch. “We walked away from this year’s Rolex 24 a little disappointed, but I think our victory this weekend showed the strength of the team, not to mention gave us even more valuable mileage, and we’re definitely eager to do more.”

Acting as the team’s final official race of the 2014 season, GMG is busy as ever with their 2015 plans. Full details on the team’s plans and driver lineups will be announced in the weeks to come..

“Overall it was a great weekend,” stated Welch. “I don’t know that there was much I could do for the cars in front of us, so we just focused on our own race and it worked well. GMG has been great to work with over the years, and I thank them for a great opportunity and a great experience.”

With the 2014 Pirelli World Challenge Championship at a close, the team remains busy as ever as they continue to work on a full roster of additional projects throughout the year. Stay tuned for further announcements on plans for the remainder of the year, as well as the 2015 season.

Photo credit: GMG Racing