Ponce Grand Prix Up Next, AGT Series Heads To The Islands
Ponce, Puerto Rico- The American GT Challenge series will visit the islands of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic during its inaugural season. Next up is a visit to Ponce, Puerto Rico. Ponce is referred to as the "La Perla del Sur" (Pearl of the South). The AGT will compete at the Ponce International Speedway October 24th in the Ponce Grand Prix. The event will showcase an entry list of over twenty cars from four different countries including teams from the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
Charlie Webster [#95 C.J. Webster of Canada Chevy Corvette] is currently placed second in the AGT Drivers Championship and poised to take over the points lead. With series points leader Jack Busch not making the trip to Ponce, Webster holds a narrow two point margin over third place points holder Edison Lluch of Ponce who also happens to operate the Ponce International Speedway.
"This is by far the most adventurous and farthest race away from our home in Canada that we have ever taken part in," said Webster. "We come complete with our own cheering section, as ten of us are going to Ponce."
Webster acknowledges that while the on track competition is fierce, there is always a flow of information and help from his fellow drivers in AGT. "Our friend and fellow competitor Edison has supplied us with preliminary set-up information for the Ponce International Speedway, which will be a great starting point," commented Charlie. "We expect to fine tune these parameters in practice on Thursday and Friday. I want to bring the first ever AGT title back home to Canada."
"We are both proud and honored to be one of the Canadian teams invited to challenge for the AGT Series Championship. We salute all those involved in making this great event happen and offer the challenge to have the local participants compete at our home track in May, 2005 at Mosport International Raceway," offered Webster.
While Edsion Lluch [number 72 Don Q Cristal/Eltuque Corvette] is third in points, Lluch feels competing at his home track should provide favorable results. "I am very happy to be able to bring the American GT Challenge to Ponce International Speedway," stated Lluch. "This event will be the biggest auto race on the island all year. I am looking forward to racing against my fellow competitors as we pursue the AGT championship. I just hope Charlie doesn't mind following me around my own track all weekend."
As a team representing the Dominican Republic, RJ Lopez [number 6 Optica Lopez Camaro] is anxious to showcase the high energy that island racing offers. "I know for a fact that the fan turnout for both events will battle some of the better attended road races in the states," said Lopez. "I also believe that the Caribbean rounds will probably be two of the most competitive of the season."
The opportunity to compete on his home soil is not lost on Lopez. "As a Dominican/American driver I am extremely proud to be able to race in a professional American series on my home soil," commented RJ. "On behalf of myself and my team we are really excited to participate in the final two AGT rounds in the Caribbean."
Series owner Woodson Duncan realizes the trip to the islands is no small feat for such a young series. "To think we are only a five race old series and what we have accomplished in this short time is amazing," said Duncan. "Our ability to succeed in producing these events proves we are a series who intends to follow through with our plans."
The Ponce Grand Prix and following Dominican Republic event at Autodromo Las Americas will be events of national pride for the competitors involved as well as crown the 2004 American GT Challenge Inter Americas Champion. The AGT will compete at Ponce on October 24th and the Autodromo Las Americas on October 31st.
Other AGT series notes of interest:
* Jerry Lustig will bring his Autosport Racing team to the American GT Challenge series. Lusting will compete in the newly developed International GT category. Autosport Racing will debut a recently built Huffaker Engineering Acura RSX in the Ponce Grand Prix and Dominican Republic event, as well as a more complete schedule in 2005. The number two Acura will carry sponsorship from Acura of Denville, NJ.
* Trans-Am series regular Jorge Diaz, Jr. will compete at the Ponce Grand Prix. Diaz will bring his number 8 Jaguar XKR to Ponce. Also competing in both island events will be Trans-Am GT1 class entrant Kenny Bupp in the number 17 Hamilton Safe and Security Camaro.
* The entry list for each of the two final events will display a diverse field of cars. Ford currently leads the Manufacturers Championship over Chevrolet and Oldsmobile. Ford will be represented by five Mustangs as it looks to maintain the lead. Chevy will have a solid field of no less seven Corvettes and eight Camaros. Panoz and Jaguar will each field cars as well.