VIR welcomed Pirelli World Challenge racing back to the hills of Virginia for the first time since 2010. Heavy rains early in the week gave way to perfect warm and sunny weather for race weekend. The format for this weekend’s PWI races is unique. The 60-minute sprint races scheduled for Saturday and Sunday come with 2-drivers per car and a rule change in the name of driver safety:
- Pro-Pro classes require a mandatory 30-second pit stop to change drivers and check tire temps, nothing else is to be done to the racecar.
- Pro/Am and Am/Am classes remain unchanged with 60-second required stops.
Saturday’s race started with both Wright Motorsport GT3R’s settling into the top 10. As teams started to pit for the mandatory driver change, Porsche executed their stops quickly and efficiently. Spirits were lifted as the #58 Porsche of Long/Bergmeister moved up the board and settled into second behind the #31 Ferrari 488 GT3.
Unfortunately, that's where their good luck ran out. According to a race announcement, the #58 Porsche or Bergmeister and Long, along with 6 other teams, violated the new 60-second pit stop minimum during the stop to change drivers. As the penalties shuffled the top of the field, and top teams scratched their collective heads trying to figure out how they miscalculated, the racing continued.
When the dust settled, the #16 Porsche driven by Michael Schein and Jan Heylen captured 3rd overall and 1st in the Pro/Am class! Unfortunately, Long and Bergmeister had to settle for a 6th place finish in what could only be described as a confusing race.
It was great to see Cory Friedman and Autometrics Racing back on track after a long hiatus. Cory Friedman and Joe Toussaint piloted the Autometrics Porsche GT3 Cup to a win in the Am/Am division of the GT Cup class.
Adam Merzon and Trent Hindman piloted their 017 Case-It Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport to victory in the GTS Pro/Am class.
Sunday’s Race started with each Pro team having a better understanding of the required 60-second mandatory stop to change drivers. Penalties from Saturday still left a mark and those teams set out to prove a point. The race was dominated by the Mercedes AMG GT3 driven by Ryan Dalziel and Daniel Morad, leading every lap for the victory.
It was a tough day for Wright Motorsports and their 2 Porsche 911 GT3R entries. Jorg Bergmeister started the race behind the wheel of the #58 Porsche 911;, the day was a struggle as his Porsche was hit with a penalty and suffered damage, eventually becoming a DNF in 30th place.
The #14 GMG Motorsports Porsche piloted by GMG owner James Sofronas and Porsche factory driver Laurens Vanthoor battled its way to a runner-up finish in the GT Pro-Am class.
Finishing 3rd in the GT Pro/Am class was Michael Schein and Jan Haylen in the #16 Wright Motorsports 911.
Autometrics Racing scored their second victory of the weekend by winning the GT Cup Am/Am class.
Adam Merzon and Trent Hindman also defended their Saturday victory in the GTS Pro/Am class driving their 017 Case-It Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport.
For complete race results, please visit the Pirelli World Challenge site.