PWC preview: All eight categories set for action at Lime Rock

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PWC preview: All eight categories set for action at Lime Rock

Blancpain GT World Challenge

PWC preview: All eight categories set for action at Lime Rock

GT and GTS SprintX Rounds 5 and 6 will headline the famed Lime Rock Park road circuit this weekend when all eight Pirelli World Challenge categories compete in the annual Memorial Weekend sports car classic, the PWC Grand Prix of Lime Rock powered by M.

The tight 1.5-mile, seven-turn permanent track in northwest Connecticut has attracted a strong field of PWC racers in a doubleheader race weekend on Saturday (May 26) and Monday (May 28). The Monday action marks the first time since 2011 that racing has taken place on Memorial Day at Lime Rock Park. The eight divisions — GT/GTA/GT Cup SprintX, GTS/GTSA SprintX, TCR, TC and TCA – bring some of the most competitive sports car racing in North America, including the exotic machines in GT and GTS action.

Racing action begins Friday with all PWC classes taking to the Lime Rock Park road course including practice and qualifying rounds in the TCR, TC and TCA classes and practice for the GT and GTS SprintX categories.

All Pirelli World Challenge races this weekend will be live streamed on www.world-challenge.com, and eight feature races will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network; the GT SprintX weekend will be televised on CBS Sports Network on June 3 at 2:00 p.m. ET.

GT SprintX fight includes Ferrari, Bentley, Mercedes, Porsche — GT SprintX Preview
The GT SprintX competition in Rounds 1-4 has already seen the likes of Ferrari, Bentley and Mercedes-AMG in victory lane and the Porsche teams just a step away from the victory lane celebration in the Pirelli World Challenge races at Circuit of The America (COTA, March 23-25) and VIRginia International Raceway (VIR, April 27-29).

At COTA, Toni Vilander of Finland and Miguel Molina of Spain were impressive with the double-win weekend in the opening GT SprintX 60-minute events in the No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari 488 GT3.

At VIR, it was the No. 3 K-PAX Racing Bentley Continental GT3 pairing of GTA racer Rodrigo Baptista and Maxime Soulet with the Round 3 overall victory followed by the No. 80 Lone Star Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 duo of Mike Skeen and Scott Heckert with the triumph in Round 4.

Canadian Scott Hargrove, the current GT Overall point leader, must be listed as a contender at Lime Rock Park with his teammate Wolf Henzler in the No. 96 Pfaff Motorsports/Castrol Porsche 911 GT3 R. Hargrove and Henzler trail the Vilander/Molina combo by just two points in the current GT SprintX points.

Also a challenging team at Lime Rock Park is the Porsche Pro-Pro pair of  Michael Christensen and Spencer Pumpelly in the No. 24 Alegra Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R. Christensen is a worldwide endurance star and Pumpelly was a GT SprintX winner last year at Lime Rock Park.

Recent CTMP GT Sprint race winner Daniel Morad is third in the overall GT standings in the No. 2 CRP Racing/DeVilbiss Mercedes-AMG GT3, teaming with Germany’s Fabian Schiller this weekend.

The 2016 GT Sprint champion Alvaro Parente returns to Lime Rock Park after a superb winning drive last week at CTMP in the No. 9 K-PAX Racing Bentley Continental GT3. Parente is a two-time GT Sprint winner at Lime Rock Park (2016) and survived a spectacular incident in the streets of St. Petersburg last month when his race car lost its brakes on the back straightaway. This weekend, Parente with co-drive with factory Bentley driver Andy Soucek in the Pro-Pro class.

With GT SprintX Pro-Am champion James Sofronas moving to the GTS division in 2018, a strong lineup of professional and amateur drivers come to Lime Rock Park with GTA star Baptista and Soulet as the Pro-Am favorites at Lime Rock Park.

Veteran GT racer Ryan Dalziel of Scotland has proven to be a strong GT SprintX racer with two wins last year and now teams with 17-year-old driver Parker Chase in the No. 19 TruSpeed Audi R8 LMS. Chase recently scored his first PWC win at CTMP, taking the GTA Sprint event.

The No. 31 TR3 Racing/Ferrari of Vancouver Ferrari 488 GT3, a three-time 2017 GT SprintX winning machine, competes in the Pro-Am class this weekend with drivers Jeff Segal and Wei Lu. Segal took the overall pole at COTA in March.

Veteran Tim Pappas and Jeroen Bleekemolen return to Lime Rock Park in the fast No. 54 Black Swan Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R in the Pro-Am division after the Black Swan team was third overall in the 12 Hours of Bathurst in Australia earlier this year.

Long Beach GTA class winner, Yuki Harata of Japan, is a contender in the No. 55 Dream Racing Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 to VIR, with pro driver Alessandro Bressan of Italy. The 2016 GTA champion Martin Fuentes, a double Am-Am race winner at COTA, will be the leading contender in the Am-Am division this week as he co-drives with Caesar Bacarella of Miami, Fla., in the No. 07 Squadra Corse Garage Italia Ferrari 488 GT3.

Ryan Hardwick will drive solo in GT Cup SprintX this weekend in the No. 27 Dream Racing Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo.

The GT SprintX field will compete this weekend with two 60-minute races on Saturday (May 26) at 11:45 a.m. ET and Monday (May 28) at 11:25 a.m. ET in the GT Pro/Pro, Pro/Am and Am/Am categories as well as GT Cup.

Point leaders Sofronas/Welch top 35-car field Lime Rock Park field – GTS SprintX Preview
The solid 35-car GTS SprintX lineup is set and, as usual, the wild wheel-to-wheel, bumper-to-bumper action should thrill racing fans on Saturday and Monday.

Leading the field will be the two-time race winning pair of GTS overall point leader James Sofronas teaming again with Am racer Alex Welch in the No. 14 GMG Racing Audi R8 LMS machine after an impressive 60-minute victories at COTA and VIR.

Another duo to look for is defending and three-time GTS champion Lawson Aschenbach in the No. 1 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R as Aschenbach, a GTS four-time sprint race winner in 2018, co-drives with former PWC GT champion Andy Pilgrim. Aschenbach and Pilgrim have six PWC series titles between them.

The second Blackdog Speed Shop team car features 2017 GT SprintX Pro-Pro champion Michael Cooper pairing with veteran Tony Gaples in the No. 11 Camaro GT4.R.

Other challengers at Lime Rock will include the No. 13 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR with former SprintX race winner Kyle Marcelli and Orey Fidani. defending GTS Sprint champion George Kurtz and endurance racing star Colin Braun will co-drive the No. 04 CrowdStrike/GMG Audi R8 LMS. Also watch the duo of Mark Klenin and former SprintX race winner Max Riddle in the No. 62 KPR/Premiere Copier McLaren 570S, and Vinnie Allegretta and J.R. Pesek in the No. 10 PF Racing Ford Mustang GT4 in the Pro-Am division.

The other PF Racing team cars at Lime Rock Park are the team of Jade Buford, who won COTA in March, and Patrick Gallagher in the No. 55 Ford Mustang GT4 and the No. 40 Ford Mustang GT4 of James Pesek and Indy Lights driver Shelby Blackstock.

Teenager Harry Gottsacker won a pole and finished second in the Pro-Am class at COTA and could be a contender at Lime Rock Park GTS SprintX 60-minute races with the No. 69 Racers Edge SIN R1 GT4.

Six-time 2017 GTS race winner Ian James and Matt Keegan in the No. 50 Panoz Avezzano GT are in the challenger role this weekend in the Pro-Am division as well as the Classic BMW squad of Pro-Am entrants Justin Raphael/Steven McAleer in the No. 17 Raphael & Associates BMW M4 GT4. Raphael and McAleer finished second at COTA.

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