SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT Championship SPEED GT Round Three Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Long Beach, Calif. Event/Circuit: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach 11-turn, 1.968-mile temporary ...
SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT Championship
SPEED GT Round Three
Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
Long Beach, Calif.
Event/Circuit: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
11-turn, 1.968-mile temporary circuit
Qualifying: Sunday, April 9, 8:00 a.m. (PDT)
Green Light: Sunday, April 9, 4:00 p.m. (PDT) (standing start)
Race Length: To Be Determined. 50 minutes maximum from start to checkered flag.
Television: Sunday, April 16 at 2 p.m. (EDT), 11 a.m. (PDT) on SPEED Channel
Track Records: First appearance at Long Beach for any World Challenge series.
THE MOST RELEVANT ROAD RACING IN THE WORLD
Entering its 17th consecutive year, SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge has built its legacy around providing fans the most competitive road racing in the world, and the series has earned well-deserved praise the past few years from publications such as Car & Driver and RACER Magazine for doing just that. But what really sets SPEED World Challenge GT apart from all other series is the "everyday" element it brings each event. World-class drivers piloting production-based cars that come from more than more than a half dozen auto manufacturers -- it's a formula that has and will continue to serve the interests of manufacturers, drivers and, most importantly, automotive enthusiasts and race fans.
TO THE STREETS!
SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT takes to the streets for the first time ever in Long Beach, coming off a spectacular race on the other side of the country last week in St. Petersburg. The teams had a challenge to trek from Florida to California in four days, completing any necessary repairs along the way.
SET THE STAGE
Sensational rookie "Awesome" Lawson Aschenbach leads the series into Long Beach coming off his first-ever series victory on the streets of St. Petersburg Saturday, April 1. The 22-year-old from Maryland overcame a mistake mid-race to battle back and capture victory in his #66 AXA Financial Porsche 911 GT3. Defending series Champion and Team Cadillac leader Andy Pilgrim enters the weekend second in points, coming off a stinging defeat in St. Petersburg, when an electrical glitch shut his car off momentarily with three laps remaining, allowing Aschenbach by his No. 1 XM/Mobil 1/Motorola/On Star Cadillac CTS-V for the win.
Bob Woodhouse sits third in points and leads the Dodge Viper contingent off the strength of back-to-back top five finishes. Opening-round winner Michael McCann had a rough outing in St. Pete, but still sits fourth in points with his #82 Dodge Viper, and Aschenbach's teammate, Venezuelan Ricardo Imery, sits fifth.
A number of drivers look to get their season on track after problems in one, or both, of the opening rounds.
Former Long Beach winner in the SCCA Trans-Am series Lou Gigliotti has led more laps than any other driver this year in his #28 LG Pro Long Tube Headers Chevrolet Corvette C6, but a blown engine in Sebring and a spin in St. Pete have cost him a podium finish. Tommy Archer, also a Trans-Am veteran at Long Beach, has had a miserable start to his season after winning the 2004 Championship and finishing second in 2005. Archer also lost a motor in his #5 c3controls/Autohaus Dodge Viper at Sebring and early contact at St. Pete while battling for third has him with no points thus far in 2006.
Two other Former Long Beach Trans-Am winners will run this weekend's SCCA SPEED GT race in cameo appearances, including Ron Fellows (#16 XM/Mobil 1/Motorola/On Star Cadillac CTS-V) and Hollywood's Tomy Drissi (#87 LG Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette C6).
One driver hoping to score his first series win at Long Beach will be Newport Beach resident James Sofronas. Sofronas looked to be on his way to a second-straight top-four finish at St. Pete when contact with Imery on the penultimate lap dropped him to sixth, where he sits in the Championship. Sofronas owns Global Motorsports Group, a sports car and sports sedan performance tuning and race shop in Southern California.
Many SPEED World Challenge drivers call Southern California home, including:
Mike Davis (Huntington Beach), James Sofronas (Newport Beach), Eric Olberz (La Canada Flintridge), Greg Weirick (Malibu), Tomy Drissi (Hollywood), Gary Sheehan (Martinez) and Igor Sushko (Los Angeles).
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