Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Pirelli World Challenge: Sofronas gains 14 positions en route to season-best finish at Long Beach

GMG Racing Press Release

Despite an incident packed event that only saw a limited number of laps under green flag conditions, James Sofronas and the entire Global Motorsports Group (GMG) organization took a season-best finish of seventh during yesterday’s 41st Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Gaining fourteen positions in only a handful of laps, not only was it Sofronas’ best finish of the year, but he would also receive the VP Racing Fuels "Hard Charger" award for passing more cars than anyone else. Adding to the success of the weekend, both David Welch and Brent Holden would also enjoy strong showings, with all three cars seeing the checkered flag and incurring virtually no damage.

“It was a chaotic race for sure, and one that we all hate to see for the fans,” stated Sofronas. “Despite all the yellows, however, all three of our cars came through it cleanly, and that is exactly what we need headed to Barber this weekend. The guys made a setup call for the race that was absolutely the right move, it was a good feeling to be able to make so many passes. We had a strong car and this provides excellent momentum as we head to one of our best tracks. It was also great to see David and Brent survive through all the carnage. They drove with incredible patience and that’s how we’re able to load three cars on our trailer in race-ready form. It’s very unfortunate just how many teams have extensive damage to repair before this coming event and in that sense we’re very fortunate.”

Following a disappointing qualifying effort that left the No. 14 Spyder / The Thermal Club / Mobil 1 Audi R8 LMS ultra mired in the 11th row, the team knew than an emphasis on passing would be key for their Sunday chances. Getting a great jump during Sunday’s standing start, the Villa Park, California resident was up several positions when the first of several caution flags flew before he’d even made Turn One. Pulling another great move during the race’s second restart, the No. 14 machine would find itself within sight of the top-10 before the race’s midway point, having only run three laps of green. With incident after incident continuing to slow the race, James knew that maximizing his restarts would be critical with the recurring theme of caution periods, and he did so brilliantly, eventually moving to seventh and never looking back as the race came to an end.

After a three-year absence from Pirelli World Challenge competition, David Welch in the No. 21 numerix Audi R8 LMS ultra would also enjoy a banner event, gaining sixteen spots en route to a 5th place finish in the GTA category. Welch, who last took to the series in Detroit 2012, drove a tactical event, knowing full well the potential for incidents. Finding himself in the chaotic middle of the pack, David kept remarkably patient, utilizing the restarts to full advantage and gaining with every green flag lap.

“I’m really happy we were able to keep the car clean,” stated Welch. “I couldn’t believe how long we were under yellow and with all the chaos around it just seemed to be endless. Knowing how this was going, I put a premium on just running clean, and it worked out exactly as I’d hoped. A fifth place finish is not a bad way to mark my return, and I look forward to my next race.”

Finally, also enjoying a top-10 in the GTA category would be local driver Brent Holden. Driving the No. 44 machine, Brent also took advantage of the attrition to gain ten spots on the day, ultimately finishing 10th. In addition, Holden also set some of the best lap times he’s ever run at the circuit, a testament to the team’s recent practice runs performed at The Thermal Club, near Palm Springs, as well as extensive data analysis.

“You hate to see this kind of race for the fans, but I’m happy that our car had a minimal amount of damage,” stated Holden. “It seemed like every time we went green there was another incident right around me and I’m thankful we were able to get through all of it. Everyone at GMG did their usual superb job of running through the data and getting me up to speed and all-in-all I was very happy with how we performed.”

In addition to the on-track action, GMG once again enjoyed their place front and center in the Long Beach Convention Center, with several cars and accessories on display. With the event welcoming tens of thousands of race fans, the Santa Ana-based team was happy to host local fans and enthusiasts, introducing the team’s many partners and tuning products to the public.

With no time to reflect, GMG and the rest of the Pirelli World Challenge is already en route to their next event, taking place at the scenic Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama, where they will take to the track on Thursday. Race One will take place on Saturday, April 25, followed by a second round on Sunday, April 26. The team will provide updates and coverage throughout the weekend.

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 1,200 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.

Learn more at www.gmgracing.com

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.

Learn more at www.spyder.com

About The Thermal Club
The Thermal Club is the premier private motorsports facility in the world. In addition to 4.5 miles of members-only racetrack, the Club facilities include a fully amenitized Clubhouse and Village unrivaled in the motorsports world. All 4.5 miles of our exquisite racetrack are designed to push both amateurs and professionals to their limit, giving members the thrill of driving at peak performance amidst the endless desert skies. Featuring three different private circuit configurations, trackside villas, a motorsport village with a state-of-the-art clubhouse, tuning shop, a fuel island, as well as member storage garages, The Thermal Club will bring the country club lifestyle to Southern California’s diverse car culture.

Learn more at www.thethermalclub.com

About Mobil 1
Conventional oil is simply refined crude oil. Mobil 1 synthetic oil, however, is not only refined, but it is also distilled, purified, and broken down into its basic molecules. It is then rebuilt and added to, so that it can better protect against wear, high heat, cold weather and sludge buildup. Ultimately, this process helps your car’s engine run better for longer. You can explore more about these benefits below.

Learn more at www.mobiloil.com.

Photo credit: GMG Racing