Thursday, July 5, 2012
US GT Championship to Give Fans a Glimpse of What ALMS will be Like at VIR
Action packed July 6-8 event features Whelen USTTC, SRT Viper Cup and USPDE.
Porsche versus Corvette and Viper, multi-class racing, a transporter lined paddock, celebrities, pro teams and big names. No, it's not the American Le Mans Series, but in many ways next weekend's North American Road Racing Association event (July 6-8) won't be far off. In fact, apart from the absence of prototypes, NARRA's US GT Championship might give fans a better insight than the recent tests into what to expect come September.
Three days of action packed racing will feature top amateur, semi-professional and pro drivers. Fielding exotic GT cars in four simple power-to-weight based classes, including a no-holds-barred Unlimited class allowing the nation's fastest cars to compete, drivers will be battling for contingencies from Sunoco, Moton and Hoosier. And that's just the US GT Championship.
The event will also feature top time-attack cars- a mix of fast-fours, European exotics and American muscle- in the Whelen US TimeTrial Championship. Thrills and spills will also be provided by the televised SRT Viper Cup pro spec-series, and anyone with a high-performance road car can join in on the on-track action by participating in the US Performance Driver Education program.
Well known drivers will include former Trans-Am star and television personality Tommy Kendall and Grand-Am and ALMS star Shane Lewis, both piloting cars in the SRT Viper Cup series.
The Whelen Engineering Marsh Racing Team (Grand-Am and World Challenge) will be in full force, fielding two cars in the US GT Championship for Sonny and George Whelen. George will looking for his second win of the season- both he and Sonny won class at VIR last year.
Trying to stop the Corvette duo in the GT-Unlimited class will be a number of Dodge Vipers, including current points leader Jim Stout (Arrow Racing Coastal Pet Motorsports), race winner Jim Booth (McDonald's Archer Racing), and A.J. Morgan (Morgan Engineering).
Former ALMS driver Chris Hall will be coaching Harry Blazer (Competition Source / Drive for Success) in a pair of Porsche GT3 Cup cars. With Hall's guidance Blazer might be a challenger to Frank Lussier's fast paced GT-1 Viper Competition Coupe (HSM Works NFS Racing).
2012 points leader Kathy Stout (Oakley Coastal Pet Motorsports) and 2011 champion Steve Loudin (Tricel Honeycomb Racing) will go head to head in GT-2, while round winner Ron Farmer (US LED Racing) will have his hands full with fellow Vette driver David Greenman (Zim-Arch / Dolce Terra / Parrabellum Racing).
Former NFL wide-receiver Dez White and his silver Porsche Turbo will be one to watch in the Whelen US TimeTrial Championship- he won both days in his last outing at Road Atlanta. Hot on his heels, however, will be the Viper GTS of TT-1 points leader Richard Startare (Dezigns Construction) and Corvettes of Troy Messer (Troy's Transmissions) and Troy Dixon (Houston Performance Driving).
The Mitsubishi Evolution of Michael Oromaner (JMR Garage, TT-2), Subaru WRX STi of Daniel Raver (TT-3) and Corvette of Mark Nunnally should also provide plenty of action.
Testing for both time-trial and racing competition commences Friday, July 6, with the US Performance Driver Education program and competition rounds of the USGTC, Whelen USTTC and SRT Viper Cup taking place on both Saturday and Sunday, July 7-8.
Spectators can purchase tickets (from $10) at the gate, or in advance at www.virnow.com.
For those looking to take to the track, entries all categories are still open. Visit NARRAonline.com for information, rules and registration.
Get up to date with all the action from the US GT and Whelen US TT championships by watching the highlight videos on www.GoRacingTV.com (Inde Arizona, Road Atlanta and Road America).