GMG Racing, the multi-series professional racing team and premier performance tuning facility for European vehicles in Southern California, wrapped up an event filled week at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with a podium visit for a second place finish in the six hour long American Le Mans Series race on Saturday. The team also earned a visit to the podium in the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge and ran several cars in the Pirelli World Challenge events as part of the Monterey Grand Prix on the 11-turn, 2.358-mile circuit.
GMG Racing president, co-founder, and lead driver James Sofronas once again teamed up with co-drivers Alex Welch and Rene Villeneuve in the GTC class for Round 3 of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) for a second place finish. GMG Racing had logged a seventh place finish in the first round after recovering from a failed alternator and managed a fourth place Round 2 finish after suffering front splitter damage in the two prior races.
“Welch, Villeneuve, myself, and the rest of the GMG Racing team came to Laguna Seca with a pledge to keep building up on our momentum,” stated Sofronas. “We finished a tough Sebring race and just missed the podium in Long Beach despite damage the car, so we knew if we ran a tight race we could get ourselves on the podium.”
The trio had their work cut out for them after qualifying in position 7 out of 7 for the GTC class on Friday. They came back to deliver a podium-worthy performance on Saturday after James, Alex and Rene drove strong, consistent stints to start the race. James got back into the car for the final stint and worked his way from 4th into 2nd, finishing just 12 seconds behind the winning car.
Bryce Miller represented GMG Racing for rounds 5 and 6 of the 2012 Yokohama IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge in the No. 35 GMG Racing 2012 Porsche GT3 Cup car. The 2011 Pirelli Driver’s Cup National Champion rolled into Monterey following third place podium visits in his two prior races. Miller turned in a 10th place finish for the first race on Friday in a car that suffered contact on the track. The 21-year-old roared back for another visit to the podium by finishing third on Saturday after starting eighth. A hard charge and a brilliant pass near the end of the race sealed the strong finish for Miller.
“We were not even sure if we could get the car ready to race after how banged up the car got yesterday,” admitted Miller. “I can’t thank the guys at GMG Racing enough for the hard work.” The momentum has carried Miller into fourth place in Platinum class point standings.
In Pirelli World Challenge racing, it was Bret Curtis who led the pack for GMG Racing in the race on Saturday. Curtis gained three spots from his GT class start in the No. 32 Spectra Resources/United Steel/GMG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car to finish 10th in his first World Challenge race in 2012 for GMG.
GMG Racing and 2006 Grand-Am Champion Anders Hainer continued to shake down the world’s first World Challenge spec Audi R8 LMS. The No. 40 APS, Inc / Under Armour / GMG Audi R8 LMS placed 13th on Saturday. This follows up 11th and 10th place finishes at the vehicle’s other two races so far during this debut season.
Sofronas piloted the No. 14 GMG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup in hopes of defending or improving his third place standings in the World Challenge GT class Drivers Championship. A third best time during a practice session earlier in the week and a qualifying run that earned him a fourth place start could not overcome the rare mechanical issue during Saturday’s race that took the car out by the 11th lap. Sofronas now rides fifth in Championship points.
Dino Crescentini also found himself on the sidelines early. Crescentini had rolled out a third best time in the No. 4 StopTech/GMG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car during the first practice session and scored a fifth place start for the race during the qualifying event. However Crescentini retired from the race early after 8 laps when he made contact with a lapped GTS car that caused some suspension damage.
In GTS class racing, Bill Ziegler qualified 13th for the race in the No. 95 Swisher / GMG Mitsubishi EVO. After an incredible launch off the line, the AWD EVO was too much for the clutch and Bill had to pull over on the first lap with mechanical problems.
“It was another competitive run of racing events for GMG Racing supported by our great sponsors including StopTech, Mobil 1, Pirelli Tires, APS, Under Armour and Swisher,” concluded Sofronas. “GMG Racing once again emerged with successes that we look to build on as we move into mid-season across the several racing series the team participates in.”
GMG Racing’s 2012 multi-series racing season continues when the 2012 Pirelli World Challenge series hits Detroit on June 1-3 followed by IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge racing from June 8-10 in Montreal. The next ALMS race is slated for July 6-7 at Lime Rock.
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