GT Celebration series wraps up successful inaugural season

GT Celebration series wraps up successful inaugural season

The GT Celebration Race Series featured outstanding wheel-to-wheel racing at legendary permanent road circuits in its inaugural 2020 season despite facing the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Manufacturers Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, Mercedes and Porsche all were represented in the five-weekend, 10-race debut season, featuring a mix of GT3 and GT4 sports cars and popular racetracks – Utah Motorsports Campus, Road America, Sonoma Raceway and WeatherTech Laguna Seca Raceway.

The new series was designed for competitors either rated equivalent to or with FIA Bronze-rating, and featured a variety of GT3 and GT4 machinery entered by top professional teams such as Flying Lizard Motorsports, TruSpeed Autosport, Vail Motorsports, Harward Media/Zelus Motorsports, GMG Racing, Compass Racing, Cameron Racing, Rearden Racing, Derhaag Racing, Daskalos Racing and NOLAsport.

Seven different marques took victories in the initial GT Celebration Race Series with six separate drivers capturing wins in the YELLOW class and four separate drivers stepping to the top of the Victory Lane podium in the RED category.

All GT Celebration racing weekends include a 45-minute and two 30-minute practice sessions on Friday (the only day driver coaches are permitted to drive to assist with setup). The Saturday and Sunday schedule consists of a 30-minute practice, 20-minute qualifying, and 40-minute race.

“We want to thank our drivers, teams, driver coaches, manufacturers, race facilities, sponsors and our staff for their outstanding efforts in the inaugural season of the GT Celebration Race Series,” said CEO and Founder Rob Morgan. “We knew we would have some challenges with the restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but everyone involved did a great job to produce a professional and exciting sports car series in our initial year. The racing was tremendous, and we are excited to get started again in 2021. We will be announcing a Winter Testing event as well as our complete 2021 race schedule in the near future. Another popular aspect in 2020 was our special series hospitality area as an important meeting place for the series officials, competitors and sponsors with potential to facilitate opportunities for ‘business to business’ relationships.”

Andy Wilzoch of Denver, Colo., drove the No. 46 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R to the RED class driver point championship in a dominating performance with 322 points including seven wins and six pole positions. Wilzoch scored race triumphs at Utah (one), Road America (two), Sonoma (two) and Laguna Seca 2 (two). For Wilzoch’s title, he was awarded full season entry fees paid by GT Celebration for the entire 2021 season.

Second went to young entrepreneur Jason Harward of American Fork, Utah in No. 88 Harward Media/Zelus Motorsports Lamborghini Huracán GT3 followed by Brent Martini of Laguna Beach, Calif., in the No. 81 Flying Lizard Motorsports McLaren 650S GT3.

In addition to Wilzoch’s RED class race victories, other race winners were Martini (two wins), Harward (one win) and Simon Gregg in the No. 59 Derhaag Racing Mercedes AMG GT3 at Laguna Seca 1.

Rounding out the top-five in the RED class point standings were Jim Slavik of Newport Beach, Calif., in the No. 8 TruSpeed Autosports Audi R8 LMS GT3 and Kevin Westcott also of Newport Beach in the No. 15 TruSpeed Autosports Audi R8 LMS GT3.

Taking top honors in the YELLOW class was Alexander Marmureanu of Los Angeles, Calif., in the No. 114 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R with 141 points over Ari Balogh in the No. 19 Cameron Racing BMW Z4 GT3, Jason Daskalos in the No. 7 Daskalos Racing Audi R8 LMS Ultra and Bruce Leeson in the No. 26 SoCal Autosport Audi R8 GTM at 84.

Other YELLOW division race winners in 2020 for GT Celebration were Balogh (two at Sonoma), Daskalos (two at Utah), James Sofronas (one at Laguna Seca 1), Ken Thwaits (one at Road America) and Bruce Leeson (two at Laguna Seca 2).

“In the first year of GT Celebration, we were very impressed with level of professionalism exhibited by the drivers and the teams,” said Kelly Collins, GT Celebration Sporting Director and Driver Advisor. “We experienced only a few incidents throughout the season and the on-track racing was outstanding with the “Bronze-level” competitors. Our mission is to produce solid racing for the drivers and the teams as well as making the weekend experience a fun one. We believe we achieved this goal, and we are excited to move into the 2021 season with both GT3 and GT4 classes.”