This weekend, all of Pirelli World Challenge’s classes return to action at Portland International Raceway for the first time in more than a decade. It is the fourth SprintX weekend of the season. 82 teams have filed entries for the weekend.
In the GT SprintX races, there are 15 entries, six of which are in the GT Pro-Pro division. The main change here is that K-PAX Racing’s No. 3 Bentley for Rodrigo Baptista and Maxime Soulet is now a Pro-Pro car. That is as a result of Pirelli World Challenge officials upgrading Baptista to Pro status after Lime Rock.
CRP Racing announced Thursday that Matthew Brabham will drive the No. 2 DeVilBiss-sponsored Mercedes alongside Daniel Morad. Brabham will replace Raffaele Marciello, who drove at Lime Rock and was originally entered for this weekend. Brabham primarily races in the SPEED Energy Stadium Super Trucks, but has made two Verizon IndyCar Series starts. His best finish is a 16th in the 2016 Grand Prix of Indianapolis.
GT Pro-Am sees the inaugural appearance of Precision Performance Motorsports (PPM) in GT equipment. For NASCAR fans, this is the Rick Gdovic-owned team that ran part-time in the XFINITY Series as recently as last year. In addition to their NASCAR experience, the team has competed for years in Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America. Guy Cosmo and Patrick Byrne will drive the team’s Lamborghini Huracan GT3.
GT Am will not be a complete walkover. Squadra Corse Garage Italia will not be racing alone. They have two other teams competing against them. One is DXDT Racing’s Mercedes for David Askew, while the other is a new team, Vital Speed Motorsports. Vital Speed Motorsports will field a Ferrari 488 GT3 for Rich and Trevor Baek.
The GTS SprintX races have a total of 36 cars entered. 16 of those are Pro-Am teams, while the remaining 20 are Am entries.
In the Pro-Am division, there are only a couple of changes. In PF Racing’s No. 40 Ford Mustang GT4, Shelby Blackstock is out of the car. He’s been replaced by Patrick Gallagher, co-driver of the winning Mustang for Multimatic Motorsports in the Continental Tire 240 at the Glen back on June 30. Gallagher previously raced a Mazda MX-5 in the TC class. Gallagher raced the No. 55 at Lime Rock in place of Scott Maxwell, who was dealing with the death of his father. Maxwell is back in the No. 55 for Portland.
At Compass Racing, Ray Mason is out of the No. 78 McLaren 570S GT4. This is something that Holton told Frontstretch was possible when we interviewed him back in May. He’s been replaced by Al Carter.
In the Am division, Epic Motorsports has made a change in their BMW M4 GT4. Michael Camus is out of the No. 3 for this week. He’s been replaced by BimmerWorld Racing principal James Clay, who ran his own M4 GT4 in the sprint races at Road America back in June.
Motorsport USA has entered the fray with their Maserati GT4. Cavan O’Keefe and Mike McAleenan will drive. This team participated in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race at now-WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca last year with Memo Gidley as part of the team.
Mühlner Motorsports America is back with two cars, each with single drivers. The No. 21 will have Moritz Kranz driving solo, while the No. 32 (formerly a NOLASport entry) will have Keith Jensen driving.
The TC class has only 11 cars entered, down from 16 at Lime Rock. Three Nissan 370Zs will take on eight BMW M235iRs.
The combined TCR/TCA races have 20 entries (12 TCR and eight TCA), a drop from 25 combined at Lime Rock. TCR will likely once again be a battle between the factory-supported Hyundai i30 N TCR entries from Bryan Herta Autosport driven by Michael Lewis and Mark Wilkins and RealTime Racing’s Honda Civic Type R TCR of Ryan Eversley.
TCA is dominated by Tech Sport Racing. The team’s Subaru BRZ tS cars represent five of the eight starters. A notable absentee is Murillo Racing’s Kenny Murillo after a big crash at Lime Rock.
The eight races will be held Saturday and Sunday on the 1.967-mile road course. They will be streamed live at World-Challenge.com.
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