GMG Racing, the multi-series professional racing team and premier performance tuning facility for European vehicles in Southern California, will debut the world’s first World Challenge Audi R8 LMS at the Grand Prix of Long Beach for Round 3 of the 2012 Pirelli World Challenge series. The vehicle is just one of five being fielded by GMG for the race, the most of any team, which is fitting for an event practically taking place in the team’s back yard in Southern California.
“GMG Racing got our hands on this vehicle from Phoenix Racing in Germany less than two weeks before race day,” acknowledges James Sofronas, GMG Racing president, co-founder, and lead driver. “We worked closely with SCCA officials to determine how to get the car into World Challenge spec and our crew has been implementing the modifications around the clock in preparation.”
The modified Audi R8 LMS GT3 will debut in the GT Class for the April 15 World Challenge race in Long Beach. The car will be driven by the newest addition to the GMG Racing team, 2006 Grand-Am Champion Anders Hainer from Hidden Hills, California.
“GMG Racing is excited to have a quick and experienced driver such as Anders Hainer piloting the World Challenge Audi R8 LMS,” noted Sofronas. “The Audi R8 LMS represents an amazing racing platform that I predict will have a big impact on motorsports in North America.”
“It’s a real challenge to return to motorsports for an event like this in a car that has yet to be put through its paces in America,” acknowledged Hainer. “I look forward to getting to know the car and how it handles in race traffic as the season progresses. It’s a great opportunity.”
“Racing the R8 LMS starts a new chapter in GMG’s racing history and we are very excited to add the Audi brand to the racing department,” stated GMG vice president and co-owner Fabryce Kutyba. “GMG has a long standing history tuning Audi road cars over the last ten years and now racing the R8 will help with the development of motorsport-proven performance parts.”
The rest of the GMG Racing World Challenge team will be on hand in Long Beach. Sofronas will once again be behind the wheel of the No. 14 GMG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car in the GT class, following up a second place podium finish during the opening weekend of the 2012 World Challenge series in St. Petersburg. Sofronas won the Long Beach event in 2009 and scored a runner up finish there last year.
“St Pete. was a bit of a disappointment as we had a strong car for the first race but couldn’t capitalize with all the yellows,” admitted Sofronas. “For the 2nd race, I had contact with a Volvo on the 4 lap that knocked the toe out so we didn’t have a car that could run up front.”
Dino Crescentini returns to Long Beach to drive the StopTech / GMG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Car in the GT class. The Grand Prix of Long Beach is the site of what he called “the best race of my life” when he fought his way from the back of the pack to a runner-up podium finish in 2010.
Bill Ziegler will be on hand as well to continue his 2012 World Challenge season in the GTS class. He will once again pilot the No. 95 Swisher/GMG Mitsubishi EVO. Ziegler will be looking to build on the momentum from St. Petersburg where at one point was running as high as 3rd place.
Brent Holden will make his 2012 GMG Racing debut in Long Beach behind the wheel of the No. 44 GMG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Car in the GT class.
“GMG Racing is coming to the table in Long Beach with a deep lineup of drivers and vehicles that includes our usual staples plus some great debuts that promises an exciting race for us and the fans,” concluded Sofronas. “We couldn’t do it without the support of the great companies behind us like StopTech brakes, Mobil 1, Pirelli Tires and Endless.”
“Needless to say, we want to win Long Beach,” summarizes Sofronas. “Both Dino and I have either won or finished 2nd there multiple times and this race is the biggest one for GMG. We will have over 250 GMG clients in the stands and we want to give them a show!”
The Pirelli World Challenge at the Grand Prix of Long Beach kicks off with practice sessions on April 13 and 14 then a qualifying session on the morning of Sunday, April 15 followed by the race at 4:15pm Pacific that same day. The race will be streamed live online at http://www.world-challengeTV.com
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