After a two-month break in the schedule, the Blancpain GT World Challenge America teams and drivers return to action Aug. 30-Sept. 1 for Rounds 9 and 10 of the 2019 championships at Watkins Glen International.
The race, presented by CrowdStrike, will feature an 18-car field — drivers from more than 10 countries piloting GT3 machinery from the world’s best marques, all competing at the scenic 11-turn, 3.4-mile road course located in upstate New York.
As they have for much of the season, Bentley team K-PAX Racing enter the weekend leading in both the Pro-division team championship and manufacturer standings. Drivers Andy Soucek and Alvaro Parente will partner once again in the No. 9 Bentley Continental GT3, while Rodrigo Baptista and Maxime Soulet will co-drive the team’s No. 3.
While K-PAX holds the lead in the team standings and Bentley the lead in the manufacturer’s points, Ferrari team R. Ferri Motorsport comes into the weekend with the drivers leading the driver’s championship, Toni Vilander and his usual co-pilot Miguel Molina. Subbing this weekend for Molina in the No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari 488 GT3 (photo above) will be Brazilian Daniel Serra.
After a first half of the season that saw more downs than ups, the Wright Motorsports duo of Patrick Long and Scott Hargrove finally got a positive result, winning at Sonoma in series Round 8. The driver duo once again will pilot the No. 58 Porsche 911 GT3 R (991), Wright third in the team championship standings, while Long and Hargrove are tied for fourth with 101 points in the driver’s championship.
Also hoping to put Porsche on the top step in upstate N.Y. are teammates Daniel Morad and Billy Johnson (No. 22 Alegra Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R ). Regular Michael de Quesada has stepped aside to focus on his studies; Johnson, an accomplished veteran of Le Mans, the FIA World Endurance Championship and NASCAR, will pair with Morad for the remainder of the season.
Alegra Motorsports will also field the No. 24 Porsche 911 GT3 R (991) for the German driver duo, Marco Holzer and Wolf Henzler.
In the Pro/Am division, Martin Barkey and Kyle Marcelli sit atop the driver’s championship standings as they have all season and will co-pilot the No. 80 Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX. The Canadian pair hold a 13-point lead over Gradient Racing’s Till Bechtolsheimer, who cut into the point gap at Sonoma and will look to do so further at Watkins Glen. Bechtolsheimer will pilot the team’s No. 5 Acura NSX alongside co-driver Marc Miller.
Wright Motorsports’ Anthony Imperato, who sits a further 11 points behind Bechtolsheimer in the driver’s standings, will co-drive the No. 91 Porsche 911 GT3 R (991) with Norwegian Dennis Olsen.
Series veterans RealTime Racing bring their No. 43 Acura NSX for experienced US sports car duo Mike Hedlund and Dane Cameron. Hedlund will drive alongside Cameron for the duration of the season after joining the team at Sonoma and helping RealTime to a class victory and runner-up finish.
DXDT Racing will bring two cars to Watkins Glen for George Kurtz and Colin Braun who sit tied for fifth in the driver’s championship standings. The pair will drive the No. 04 Mercedes-AMG GT3, while the team’s No. 63 Mercedes-AMG GT3 will be piloted by David Askew and accomplished sports car driver Ryan Dalziel.
Askew, fresh off a victory on water in the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race, one of the world’s premier ocean racing events, will look to get carry that winning momentum back on land and into victory circle at The Glen.
Rounding out the Pro/Am class are the No. 38 K2R Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R (991) with Americans Kevan Millstein and Alex Barron set to drive; and the No. 87 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW F13 M6 GT3 for Henry Schmitt and Gregory Liefooghe.
Squadra Corse driver Martin Fuentes has dominated the Am divisions thus far and leads the category driver’s championship entering the weekend. He will co-drive the team’s No. 7 Ferrari 488 GT3 with Mark Issa.
Also entered in the Am category are Christopher Cagnazzi and Anthony Lazzaro in the No. 19 One11 Competition Ferrari 488 GT3 and Naoto Takeda and Takuya Shirasaka sharing the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW F13 M6 GT3.
Over 100 cars will be competing over the weekend in SRO’s three series – Blancpain GT World Challenge America, Pirelli GT4 America and TC America. On-track action for the Blancpain GT World Challenge begins Friday, Aug. 30, at 12 noon EDT for the first Blancpain GT World Challenge practice of the weekend. Round 9’s 90-minute contest is scheduled to go green at 3:10 pm on Saturday, Aug. 31, while Round 10 is scheduled to start at 3:15 pm EDT Sunday, Sept. 1.
Races and qualifying will be streamed live on gt-world-challenge-america.com, with Sunday’s contest live on CBS Sports Network, Sept. 1, starting at 3pm EDT.