The new Gradient Racing team will make its debut next week at Circuit of The Americas with an Acura NSX GT3 entered for Ryan Eversley and Till Bechtolsheimer.
The season opener for the renamed World Challenge GT Americas series in Austin, Texas, will play host to the home state team formed by ex-CJ Wilson Racing team members, who ran the car last year for Bechtolsheimer at IMSA’s Sebring and Watkins Glen rounds. Gradient also confirmed a full-season commitment to the series.
“The Blancpain World Challenge is a return to familiar territory,” said team manager Andris Laivins, who will run the car in the seven GT sprint race events. “I started my racing career in 2003 in what was then the SPEED World Challenge series, and ran there for many years, so it will be fun to come back and see how it has evolved under the SRO.
“Testing this week at COTA went great. There’s still a bit of work to do on the conversion to SRO spec, but we’ll be ready. It was super helpful to get Till and Ryan in the car this week and get acclimated to the EVO kit on Pirellis. It’s going to be a busy five days from here, but I’m excited!”
The factory-affiliated Eversley, who also represents the brand in IMSA, was a late addition to the Gradient program.
“It’s crazy how fast things move in racing,” he said. “I was doing my best to secure a deal with another potential Acura NSX team up to last week but I got the call from Andris and minutes later I was booking my flight to Austin for the test this week.”
For Bechtolsheimer, who worked closely with co-drive Marc Miller while learning the NSX GT3 platform, continuation of the program with Gradient and Eversley is a positive move forward.
“Having been out of a race car since last year’s Six Hours of the Glen, the two days of testing were incredibly helpful and I can’t wait to get back to racing,” he said. “The Blancpain World Challenge America season opener at COTA will be my debut event with the brand-new Gradient Racing, but working with Andris, Ryan, Marc Miller and the rest of the crew will have a familiar feel. Hopefully it will be the same with our Acura NSX GT3, just with an Evo package!”