Mar 13

Sebring to host 40 IMSA GT3 Cup competitors in season opener

Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin series will be represented at Sebring with six drivers including Martin Harvey of Quebec

2012-07-07_0280IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by MichelinSebring International Raceway will play host to multiple professional racing series at the 61st Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida, March 13-16.

The legendary event marks the opener of the ninth season of competition for the powerful and polished Porsche 911’s of the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama Series.

Sebring also marks the beginning of an exciting 2013 journey ahead. A mixture of seasoned veterans and young faces comprise 40 IMSA GT3 Cup entries, one of the largest GT3 Cup Challenge fields in series history. Entries are spread over the Platinum Cup and Gold Cup classes of competition and include new teams and drivers alongside returning veterans.

Adding to the growing entry list is Thompson Racing in its rookie season in the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge Series. Nineteen-year-old Colin Thompson, who raced in the open-wheel ranks with USF2000 in 2012, will drive for Thompson Racing in the Platinum Cup division. The college student got his first taste of sports car competition in 2010 in the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup at the age of 16.

2012 Gold Cup Champion Angel Benitez Jr. continues with NGT Motorsport, stepping up to the Platinum Cup class this year. The Venezuelan won 11 of 15 rounds in Gold Cup last season. NGT Motorsport will also field five other drivers in Platinum, including a newcomer in former Marine Mark Llano, under the SERKET Racing banner, and returning competitors Daniel Duerson, Carlos Gomez, Amadeo Quiros and former Gold Class vice champion Eduardo Cisneros.

Effort Racing will return with Michael Mills taking the veteran role, and will be joined by young gun Sloan Urry, and newcomer Ashley Freiberg.

Freiberg is a former open-wheel competitor in the Star Mazda Series, recently renamed Pro Mazda. Since the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge’s inception, the 21-year-old Freiberg is only the second woman to enter the series full-time.

Rejoining the young field is 2012 standout Miles Maroney of TruSpeed Motorsports who will be joined by 23-year-old teammate Brett Sandberg.

2012 Platinum Cup Championship winning team Wright Motorsports will hit the asphalt with their return headliners in Kasey Kuhlman, John Ellis, and John Baker, as well as the series’ youngest competitor, and former Gold Class Champion, 17-year-old Madison Snow.

Also fielding a large Platinum field is Kelly-Moss Motorsports, who will run four cars for Paul Barnhart, Frank Selldorff, Wayne Ducote and Seth Davidow.

New to the GT3 Cup Challenge Series, but not new to the IMSA Development division, CORE Autosport will be fielding a full-season entry for former Prototype Lites Champion Jon Bennett.

The Gold cup division will see four new faces in Ary Krau running for NGT Motorsport, RJ Lopez with Ansa Motorsports, Danny Gianfrancesco of Venezuela with Formula Motorsport and John Goetz with MGM Racing.

Michael Levitas with David Williams will create an interesting mix for TPC Racing, with both Maryland residents competing for the Masters Championship.

The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin series will be represented at Sebring with six drivers, including Marco Cirone of 6th Gear Racing and teammates Anthony Mantella and Jim Hoddinott of SpeedMerchants running Platinum and Gold respectively.

Martin Harvey of Quebec will field his McDonald’s sponsored entry to compete in the Masters Championship with Wingho Racing.

A new face to the Canadian series this year is entrant Martin Barkey of Fiorano/Garage Racing who will compete in the Gold class with guidance from teammate and Gold Cup veteran Shaun McKaigue.

Competition gets underway at Sebring’s legendary 3.74-mile circuit on with GT3 Cup Challenge competitors taking the track Thursday, March 14 for Qualifying and Race #1. A second 45-minute race is scheduled on Friday, March 15.

For all of the latest results, news and updates visit imsachallenge.com, or follow us on Twitter at @GT3Challenge and Facebook at www.facebook.com/gt3cupchallenge.