GT3 Cup: Road Atlanta round nine preview

CHAMPIONSHIP COMING DOWN TO WIRE IMSA GT3 CUP BY MICHELIN The chase for the 2007 IMSA GT3 Cup by Michelin championship will resume at Petit Le Mans and Road Atlanta, where the all-Porsche series debuted in the spring of 2005. Thirty-eight...

CHAMPIONSHIP COMING DOWN TO WIRE IMSA GT3 CUP BY MICHELIN

The chase for the 2007 IMSA GT3 Cup by Michelin championship will resume at Petit Le Mans and Road Atlanta, where the all-Porsche series debuted in the spring of 2005. Thirty-eight Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars are entered for Round 9, a 45-minute race scheduled for 12:30 p.m. ET on Friday, October 5.

The battle for the third GT3 Cup championship has come down to three drivers - Charles Scardina, Bob Faieta and Wade Carter. Scardina, a rookie from Delray Beach, Fla., has led the points battle since winning both rounds at Sebring. A four-time winner this year, he currently enjoys a 2- point lead over Faieta. But what had been as much as a 28-point lead over the Tujunga, Calif., driver has been whittled down due to five podiums for Faieta in his last six starts. That is compared to a third, a seventh and a DNF in the last three rounds for Scardina.

"I ran a conservative race at Mosport to protect my championship lead but it was a tough weekend," Scardina said. "We've had some bad luck lately. I really look forward to racing at Road Atlanta. I've heard a lot about it but I have never raced there. I know they just repaved the surface and I have raced it on video games. It should be a challenge but like most of the tracks I have raced this year we will just have to get up to speed quick. I just have to stay focused and run my race."

Faieta offers similar thoughts. He has competed only once at Road Atlanta during a Porsche Club of America event last year. Nevertheless, he liked what he saw and says that bodes well for him in the championship.

"It's fast and technical, and I tend to like technical track," he said. "I was at Petit last year just as a spectator and was talking about maybe getting in the series. The circuit is unbelievable. The elevation changes are incredible. Getting out of there with a decent amount of points is more important to me winning the race."

The last five rounds have proven extremely competitive with four different winners: Scardina, Faieta, Dino Steiner and Tom Papadopolous. Of the four, Steiner is the lone driver with Road Atlanta race experience in the Series with a fourth-place finish last year.

The entry list is full of drivers who have found success racing at Road Atlanta and other well-known road courses. Among them are the husband-wife duo of Martin and Melanie Snow, who teamed to win the GTS class at the first race in the American Le Mans Series at Sebring in 1999.

Snow also went on to record the class pole position at that April's Grand Prix of Atlanta. Coincidentally, the GTS race was by Larry Schumacher, who also is entered in this year's GT3 Cup race. Schumacher still is the oldest driver to record a race win in the American Le Mans Series at the age of 63 years and 54 days.

The ninth round of the IMSA GT3 Cup by Michelin is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. ET Friday, October 5 from Road Atlanta as part of the 10th annual Petit Le Mans weekend. Qualifying is scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to noon on Thursday, October 5. IMSA's Live Timing and Scoring will be available at imsaracing.net.

-credit: imsa

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Series IMSA Others
Drivers Dino Steiner , Melanie Snow , Bob Faieta