The 2023 Fanatec GT World Challenge powered by AWS season goes green at Sonoma Raceway Friday, March 31, with two 90-minute feature races on tap with the latest GT3 machinery. The 18-car entry list reads as a who’s who list of drivers and manufacturers. Bill Auberlen and BMW, Alessandro Balzan and Ferrari and Colin Braun with Mercedes-AMG are just a few on the list.
The 2.505-mile, 12-turn Sonoma Raceway has long been a staple of SRO Motorsports America calendar, making the season opener a level playing field for competitors. With multiple 2022 class champions and seven manufacturers returning, the racing will be exhilarating.
PRO class pass
The PRO class lineup is not for the faint of heart. Each of the five entries can win and is wheeled by drivers with championship titles. The new Ferrari 296 GT3 will make its series debut in the hands of Conquest Racing’s Alessandro Balzan and Manny Franco, going toe to toe against Mario Farnbacher and Ashton Harrison in the Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX GT3 EVO22.
The 2022 PRO-AM champions take on Bill Auberlen comfortably at home in the BimmerWorld BMW M4 GT3 with Chandler Hull. Porsche ace Trenton Estep pairs with Seth Lucas in the MDK Motorsports Porsche GT3 R. They’ll prove themselves against the successful duo of Eric Filqueiras and Steven McAleer in the RS1 Porsche GT3 R who make the step up after winning the Pirelli GT4 America Silver Cup a season ago. The PRO Class battles will keep fans on the edge of their seats.
A GT3 car sounds just as sweet regardless of driver pairing. The AM status may have some wondering, but these driver pairings are fiery and competitive. Five Mercedes-AMG GT3 entries enter the chat, with four different teams championing the entries.
Two pairings represent DXDT Racing. The No. 08 Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Scott Smith and Bryan Sellers, also Jeff Burton and Corey Lewis in the No. 91. CrowdStrike by Riley has George Kurtz back with Colin Braun. TR3 Racing elected Ziad Ghandour and Daniel Morad for the 2023 campaign. Announced earlier this year, Esses Racing with Mercedes-Benz of Austin is running Will Hardeman with Adam Carroll. Andy Pilgrim and Anthony Bartone will run the Mercedes-AMG in the AM Class with RealTime Racing.
The Porsche 911 GT3 R is the selected instrument for three entries. Wright Motorsports has two, with Adam Adelson racing alongside Elliot Skeer and Charlie Luck back with Jan Heylen. Pedro Torres and Spencer Pumpelly run ACI Motorsport’s banner.
The lone PRO-AM BMW M4 GT3 entry is that of ST Racing with Samantha Tan herself paired with BMW factory driver John Edwards. The Ferrari 296 GT3 of Triarsi Competizione enters the duo of Justin Wetherill and Ryan Dalziel.
James Sofronas and GMG Racing bring in the aid of Tom Dyer to run the Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVOII. Finally, the Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 is run by the legendary Aston Martin Racing-TRG with Derek DeBoer and factory ace Ross Gunn.
Practice begins the weekend for the Fanatec GT World Challenge America on Friday, March 31. Race 1 goes green Saturday, April 1, at 3:05pm PT and the weekend comes to a close with Race 2, which begins at 2:15pm.
Fans can enjoy the sights and sounds at Sonoma Raceway and our open paddock to get up close with the stars and cars across the five SRO America championships competing. Don’t miss the popular autograph sessions or Sunday’s Grid Walk. Kids 12 and under are free with paying adult tickets. Grab your ticket today at https://am.ticketmaster.com/sonoma/gt.
If you can’t make it to Sonoma, be sure to tune in to SRO’s free live streams all weekend long on YouTube (GTWorld) and Twitch (SROMotorsports). Of course, follow all the action through our social media channels and the event hashtag #GTSonoma.