GMG Audi R8 During Qualifying For Detroit Grand Prix/Pirelli World Challenge Image: SCCA
Pirelli World Challenge Championships
GT/GTS Rounds Six and Seven
Pirelli World Challenge Cadillac V-Series Challenge at Belle Isle
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Belle Isle Street Circuit
13-turn, 2.3-mile Temporary Street Course
Round Six: Friday, May 31, 12:45 p.m. (EDT)
Round Seven: Sunday, June 2, 8:30 a.m. (EDT)
Round Six: Saturday, May 31, 10:15 a.m. (EDT)
Round Seven: Sunday, June 2, 12:00 p.m. (EDT)
50 minutes or a to-be-determined lap count (whichever comes first)
Television (on NBC Sports Network):
June 16, 5:00 p.m. (EDT)
Media Notes: Results are available on the AP SportsWire, via e-mail and on the Internet (www.world-challenge.com).
The Most Relevant Road Racing In the World
Celebrating its 24th season in 2013, the Pirelli World Challenge Championships have built a legacy around providing fans the most competitive road racing in the world, and the series has earned well-deserved praise the past few years from publications such as AutoWeek, Car & Driver and RACER Magazine for doing just that. But what really sets Pirelli World Challenge GT, GTS, Touring Car and Touring Car B-Spec apart from all other series is the “everyday” element it brings each event. World-class drivers piloting production-based cars that come from more than 15 auto manufacturers – it’s a formula that has and will continue to serve the interests of manufacturers, drivers and, most importantly, automotive enthusiasts and race fans.
Changes for 2013
The 2013 Pirelli World Challenge Championships features combined class sprint races for GT, GTS and Touring Car and B-Spec. The schedule for 2013 has expanded to include nine different venues. The recently-opened Circuit of the Americas was added to the schedule this year. A 14-race schedule is planned for all classes, with the final round being run in Houston, Oct. 4-6.
This weekend, Pirelli World Challenge has 40 cars on the entry list set to race on the streets of Belle Isle. The GT entry list includes the Cadillac CTS-V, Porsche 911, Volvo S60, Chevrolet Corvette, Audi R8, Mercedes-Benz AMG SLS, and Nissan GT-R. GTS features the Ford Mustang Boss 302, along with the Chevrolet Camaro, Nissan 370Z, Porsche Cayman S, Lotus Exige, Scion FR-S, Pontiac Solstice, KIA Optima and the Acura TSX.
Rookies, Local and International Talent
There will be three true rookies in the GTS field: Jim Taggart, Eric Davis, and Roger Rodas.
Four drivers will represent the state of Michigan in their home race in the GTS classes. Those drivers include Dane Moxlow, of Grosse Ile; Todd Napieralski, of Chelsea; Dean Martin, of Westland; and Craig Capaldi, of Richmond.
Aside from the international flavor provided by the vehicle manufacturers represented in the Pirelli World Challenge, drivers representing three countries outside the United States compete in the series. Canadian Mark Wilkins, Roger Rodas, of El Salvador, and Swede Nic Jonsson are all scheduled to compete in Detroit.
The Battle of Detroit – General Motors vs. Ford
Two Detroit-based auto manufacturers are represented in World Challenge this weekend. General Motors, with its corporate headquarters mere miles from the circuit, will be represented by eight entrants, including five Chevrolet Camaros, two Cadillac CTS-Vs, one Chevrolet Corvette and one Pontiac Solstice.
The Ford Motor Company, based in nearby Dearborn, is represented by a platoon of 10 Mustang Boss 302s.
Last year, GM dominated the podium, will this year be different?
Something for the Fans
The Pirelli World Challenge offers great access to the drivers and machinery of the series. According to venue policies, the Pirelli World Challenge allows spectators of all ages to walk through the paddock to meet their favorite drivers and see the sleek race cars moments before they take to the track for competition.
Pirelli World Challenge Takes to the Streets of Detroit’s Belle Isle
The Pirelli World Challenge GT and GTS competitors head to Detroit’s iconic Belle Isle street course for the Cadillac V-Series Challenge doubleheader event and Rounds Six and Seven of 2013. Forty cars representing 14 marques are entered for the race.
Last year Johnny O’Connell, of Flowery Branch, Ga., was able to sweep the doubleheader event for Cadillac. O’Connell scored the GT victory in Race One after polesitter Randy Pobst was involved in a first-lap crash. In Race Two, O’Connell scored his second win from pole.
Andy Lee, of Colorado Springs, Colo., was able to also sweep the weekend with two wins, after winning the pole for both races. The four wins for General Motors, of which Cadillac and Chevrolet are both part of, was extremely significant with the company’s headquarters located just miles from the race track.
While many of the 40 drivers entered for this year’s races were on the course last year, there have been significant changes made to the track since the 2012 event, in an effort to facilitate more passing. A portion of switchback turns at the east end of the circuit has been replaced with three nearly-90-degree turns, separated by sizable straightaways. Aside from the desired goal of more passing zones, the changes are expected to yield faster speeds.
Pirelli World Challenge GT: Sofronas Carries a Commanding Lead into Detroit
James Sofronas, of Villa Park, Calif., has been undeniable in 2013. Driving the No. 14 Mobil 1/GMG Audi R8, Sofronas scored at least one win during each of the three race weekends in 2013, totaling three wins in five races. Coupled with a pair of runner-up finishes, Sofronas’ success has him atop the point standings, amassing 661 points.
Sofronas, the principal at Global Motorsports Group, will again have the largest contingent of cars in the paddock, fielding two additional GT contenders and a GTS machine. The No. 24 STANDD.org/Merchant Services Audi R8 will be driven by Duncan Ende, of Los Angeles, while Bret Curtis, of Westlake Village, Calif., pilots the No. 32 United Steel Supply/Spectra Resources Audi R8.
Andy Pilgrim, of Boca Raton, Fla., sits second in the drivers’ standings, 180 markers behind Sofronas. The driver of the No. 8 Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V.R heads to Detroit following three-straight podium finishes, including a hard-fought second in Sunday’s race at Circuit of The Americas.
His teammate, O’Connell, sits third in the driver’s standings, with 461 points. O’Connell, in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V.R, has had a very up and down season, so far. Following the disappointment of retiring on the final lap while leading at Long Beach, O’Connell was the class of the field at COTA’s Saturday race, notching his first win of the year. A day later, he would feel much the same sting from Long Beach, dropping out of the race from the lead, with a broken steering component on lap three.
The K-PAX Racing teammates of Randy Post, of Gainesville, Ga., and Alex Figge, of Denver, sit third and fifth in the drivers’ points, respectively. Pobst, in the No. 6 K-PAX Racing Volvo S60, scored his second podium of the season in Round Five at COTA, finishing second. He trails O’Connell by 40 points.
Figge, in the No. 9 K-PAX Racing Volvo S60, has been another of the tough-luck drivers this season. He has been quick early in races, but has run into trouble while in the lead. After winning the opening race at St. Petersburg, in Round Two, Figge’s tire was punctured by debris from a late-race collision, forcing him to pit from the lead. In Round Three at Long Beach, Figge’s car suffered a mechanical failure while in the lead, that sent the car spinning out of control, hitting the retaining wall in Turn One. Following two top-10 finishes at COTA that leave him with 407 drivers’ points, Figge should be near the front in Detroit.
Mike Skeen, of Charlotte, N.C., sits between the K-PAX duo, fourth in the drivers’ standings with 417 points. Skeen, in the No. 2 Hawk Performance Chevrolet Corvette, is usually toward the top of the time sheets early in the weekend and will look to convert that speed to success in qualifying and the race. His teammate, Tim Bell, of Los Altos, Calif., will try to follow suit in the No. 12 Hawk Performance Nissan GT-R.
Tomy Drissi, of Los Angeles, is again slated to drive the No. 46 The Heat Porsche 911 GT3 Cup for the second time. Bostonian Tim Pappas, in the silver No. 54 Mercedes-Benz SLS comes to Detroit having scored a top-five finish at COTA in the gullwing machine. Craig Stanton, of Long Beach, Calif., completes the 12-car GT field in the No. 85 Racing For our Heroes Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
Pirelli World Challenge GTS: Baldwin Holds Down the Point in GTS
Jack Baldwin, of Marietta, Ga., maintains the GTS Championship lead heading into the Detroit race weekend, with 579 points. Baldwin amassed his point lead by finishing all five races on the podium thus far, including a St. Petersburg sweep in his No. 73 Motul/StopTech/Foametix Porsche Cayman. Baldwin’s teammate and long-time Trans-Am Series car owner Buz McCall, of Boca Raton, Fla., will make his first Belle Isle start in the No. 72 Motul/StopTech/Foametix Porsche Cayman.
Peter Cunningham, of Milwaukee, Wis., sits second in the drivers’ standings, 125 markers behind Baldwin. Driving the No. 42 Acura/HPD/RealTime Acura TSX, Cunningham comes off a weekend at COTA where he was unable to finish on the podium, something he had done in the previous three races. He and his teammate, Nick Esayian, of San Diego, in the No. 34 Acura/HPD/RealTime/Red Line Oil Acura TSX, will look to get back on the right path in Detroit.
Mark Wilkins, of Toronto, scored a third-place finish in Round Five behind the wheel of the No. 38 Kia Motors America Kia Optima, which was the first podium for the marque in 2013. As a result, Wilkins occupies third in the drivers’ championship, with 422 points. His teammate Nic Jonsson, of Sweden, also showed strong pace at COTA, but was unable to finish Round Five in the No. 36 Kia Motors America Kia Optima due to contact. Both drivers are hungry to drive their Kia to victory lane and will attempt to do just that this weekend.
The No. 20 Best IT Chevrolet Camaro, driven by Lee has also been in the championship hunt as we approach the mid-way point of the season. Lee found his way to the front in each of the five races this year, scoring three podiums, including one win at the most recent round at Circuit of the Americas. Currently, Lee sits fourth in the drivers’ championship with 408 points and swept the Detroit doubleheader in 2012.
Lee’s teammate, Harry Curtin, of Buffalo, N.Y., continues to improve behind the wheel of the No. 29 Best IT Chevrolet Camaro. In only his second year of Pirelli World Challenge competition, Curtin will try to continue his development at the new-layout Belle Isle circuit.
Alec Udell, of The Woodlands, Texas, sits fifth in drivers’ points. Udell has accumulated 372 points after Round Five in the No. 17 Motorsports Development Ford Mustang Boss 302, which is impressive considering the 17-year-old driver was unable to compete at Long Beach due to his age. As a result, he scored double points for his sixth-place finish in Round Four.
Lawson Aschenbach, of Jupiter, Fla., and Tony Gaples, of Libertyville, Ill., have proven to be quick in their Black Dog Speed Shop machines thus far in 2013. Aschenbach, driving the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro, sits sixth in points despite having scored two wins (Long Beach and COTA Race One). Gaples, in the No. 11 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro, has been consistently strong, scoring four top-10 in five races.
Bill Ziegler, of Pointe Verde Beach, Fla., will be the fourth GMG car in the combined field driving the No. 95 Swisher Racing/GMG Pontiac Solstice.
To add to the mix, four GTS drivers will be making their first start at the circuit just outside downtown Detroit. That list includes Dean Martin, of Westland, Mich., in the No. 50 Rehagen Racing Ford Mustang Boss 302; Roger Rodas, of El Salvador, in the No. 52 Always Evolving Ford Mustang Boss 302S; Jim Taggart, of Raleigh, N.C., driving the No. 61 Lotus USA/Taggart Autosport/LRR Lotus Exige; and Eric Davis, of Burbank, Calif., driving the No. 75 Always Evolving Autotopia Ford Mustang Boss 302.
Four Michigan drivers will also be fighting to finish well in their “home” race. Dane Moxlow, of Groose Ile, Mich., returns to the streets of Belle Isle in the No. 7 Trenton Forging/Eaton Steel/Huntington Bank Ford Mustang Boss 302S. Todd Napieralski (No. 39 Total Performance Racing Chevrolet Camaro), of Chelsea, Mich.; Craig Capaldi, of Richmond, Mich., in the No. 69 Wolverine Bronze Company Ford Mustang Boss 302, and newcomer Martin will battle with Moxlow to bring the hometown fans to their feet.
Ardee Toppe, of The Woodlands, Texas, in the No. 21 Ford Mustang Boss 302; Roger Miller, of Salt Lake City, Utah, driving the No. 23 Ford Mustang Boss 302S; Ric Bushey, of Virginia Beach, Va., in the No. 51 Nissan/Motul/OSGiken/SPL/Sparco Nissan 370Z; Rich Golinello, of Tampa, Fla., driving the No. 55 Ford Mustang Boss 302S; Tom Long, of Raleigh, N.C., in the No. 60 Lotus USA/Taggart Autosport/LRR Lotus Exige; Robert Stout, of Brownsburg, Ind., in the No. 86 Scion/TRD/Lucas Oil/E3 Park Plug Scion FR-S; Brad Adams, of New Orleans, driving the Voodoo/DatDog/Yo MTV Raps! Ford Mustang Boss 302S; and Brian Kleeman, of Towson, Md., in the DXD Clutches/DWW Motorsports Nissan 370Z, complete the 27-car Pirelli World Challenge GTS field.
GT: Qualifying Lap: N/A, New Course Configuration
Race Lap: N/A
Closest Margin of Victory: N/A
GTS: Qualifying Lap: N/A
Race Lap: N/A
Closest Margin of Victory: N/A
GT:2012:Race One – Johnny O’Connell, Cadillac CTS-V.R
Race Two – Johnny O’Connell, Cadillac CTS-V.R
2008:Randy Pobst, Porsche 911 GT3
2001:Peter Cunningham, Acura NSX
GTS:2012:Race One – Andy Lee, Chevrolet Camaro
Race Two – Andy Lee, Chevrolet Camaro
2008:Randy Pobst, Porsche 911 GT3
2001:Peter Cunningham, Acura NSX
Event Entry List
Pirelli World Challenge Championships
No., Class, Driver / Hometown, Sponsors Car
2, GT, Mike Skeen/Charlotte, NC, Hawk Performance Chevrolet Corvette
3, GT, Johnny O’Connell/Flowery Branch, GA, Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V.R
6, GT, Randy Pobst/Gainesville, GA, K-PAX Racing Volvo S60
7, GTS, Dane Moxlow/Grosse Ile, MI, Trenton Forging/Eaton Steel/Huntington Bank Ford Mustang Boss 302S
8, GT, Andy Pilgrim/Boca Raton, FL, Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V.R
9, GT, Alex Figge, Denver, CO, K-PAX Racing Volvo S60
10, GTS, Lawson Aschenbach/Jupiter, FL, Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro
11, GTS, Tony Gaples/Libertyville, IL, Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro
12, GT, Tim Bell/Los Altos, CA, Hawk Performance Nissan GT-R
14, GT, James Sofronas/Villa Park, CA, GMG/Mobil 1 Audi R8 LMS
17, GTS, Alec Udell/The Woodlands, TX, Motorsports Development Mustang Boss 302R
20, GTS, Andy Lee/Colorado Springs, CO, Best IT Chevrolet Camaro
21, GTS, Ardee Toppe/The Woodlands, TX, Ford Mustang Boss
23, GTS, Roger Miller/Salt Lake City, UT, Ford Mustang Boss 302S
24, GT, Duncan Ende/Los Angeles, CA, STANDD.org/Merchant Services Audi R8 LMS
29, GTS, Harry Curtin/Buffalo, NY, Best IT Chevrolet Camaro
32, GT, Bret Curtis/Westlake Village, CA, United Steel Supply/Spectra Resources Audi R8 LMS
34, GTS, Nick Esayian/San Diego, CA, HPD/Acura/RealTime/Red Line Oil Acura TSX
36, GTS, Nic Jonsson/Sweden, Kia Motors America Kia Optima
38, GTS, Mark Wilkins/Toronto, ON, Kia Motors America Kia Optima
39, GTS, Todd Napieralski/Chelsea, MI, Chevrolet Camaro
42, GTS, Peter Cunningham/Milwaukee, WI, Acura/HPD/RealTime Racing Acura TSX
46, GT, Tomy Drissi/Los Angeles, CA, The Heat Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
50, GTS, Dean Martin/Westland, MI, Ford Mustang Boss 302S
51, GTS, Ric Bushey/Virginia Beach, VA, Nissan/Motul/OSGiken/SPL/Sparco Nissan 370Z
52, GTS, Roger Rodas/El Salvador, Always Evolving Performance Ford Boss 302S
54, GT, Tim Pappas/Boston, MA, Mercedes-Benz AMG SLS GT3
55, GTS, Rich Golinello, Tampa, FL/Ford Mustang Boss 302S
60, GTS, Tom Long/Raleigh, NC, LotusUSA/Taggart Autosport/LRR Lotus Exige
61, GTS, Jim Taggart/Raleigh, NC, LotusUSA/Taggart Autosport/LRR Lotus Exige
69, GTS, Craig Capaldi/Richmond, MI, Wolverine Bronze Co Ford Mustang
72, GTS, Buz McCall/Boca Raton, FL, Motul/StopTech/Foametix Porsche Cayman S
73, GTS, Jack Baldwin/Marietta, GA, Motul/StopTech/Foametix Porsche Cayman S
75, GTS, Erik Davis/Burbank, CA, Always Evolving Autotopia Ford Mustang Boss 302S
85, GT, Craig Stanton/Long Beach, CA, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
86, GTS, Robert Stout/Brownsburg, IN, Scion/TRD/Lucas Oil/E3 Spark Plug Scion FR-S
95, GTS, Bill Ziegler/Ponte Verde Beach, FL, Swisher Racing/GMG Pontiac Solstice
96, GTS, Brad Adams/New Orleans, LA, Voodoo/DatDog/Yo MTV Raps! Ford Mustang Boss 302S
07, GTS, Brian Kleeman/Towson, MD, DXD Clutches/DWW Motorsports Nissan 370Z
Andy Lee of Colorado Springs, CO, pilots his Best IT Chevrolet Camaro during a Pirelli World Challenge event – Image: Weber