The Pirelli World Challenge’s annual visit to Utah Motorsports Campus promises to bring a heightened sense of drama with it this time around.
The Grand Prix of Utah marks the final weekend of the Pirelli World Challenge season, and the season championships in the GT SprintX and GTS SprintX classes have yet to be decided. With races in both classes on Saturday and Sunday, those championship battles will come to an exciting conclusion.
Finnish driver Toni Vilander and his Spanish co-driver, Miguel Molina, lead the GT SprintX class by 14 points in their Ferrari 488 GT3. Scott Hargrove and Wolf Henzler are second in their Porsche 911 GT3 R. In the GTS Sprint X division, James Sofronas and Alex Welch lead by 25 points in their Audi R8 LMS, with 19-year-old Harry Gottsacker second in his SIN R1.
Both classes will have two races this weekend to settle their respective championship battles. Racing action begins Saturday at 11:30 a.m. with a 40-minute Touring Car class race, followed by an hour-long GTS SprintX race at 1:10 p.m. The TCR and TCA classes will race for 40 minutes beginning at 2:30 p.m., and the GT SprintX cars will take to the track for an hour beginning at 4:45 p.m.
On Sunday, the Touring Car class will hit the track for 40 minutes at 9 a.m. GTS SprintX’s season finale will begin at 11 a.m., with the TCR and TCA race at 1 p.m. and the GT SprintX race at 3 p.m.
Twenty manufacturers will be represented by 24 different models in eight classifications during the weekend, according to a UMC press release.
“Clearly, if you love sports cars, or just cars in general, this is your weekend,” said UMC General Manager Willem Geyer. “There are few places on Earth where you can see this variety and quality of racing cars, running the complete gamut from Mazda MX-5s and Volkswagen GTIs to Ferrari 488s and Lamborghini Huracans. It is a literal ‘something-for-everyone’ event, and we hope all our great fans will come out and enjoy it with us.”
There will be a bit of a local flavor during this weekend’s festivities. Ian Lacy Racing, which is based at UMC, will field a trio of Ginetta G55s in the GTS SprintX class — one each for Salt Lake City-based driver Drew Staveley, Steve Burns and Frank Gannett, as well as a Mazda MX-5 for Jenny Gannett in the TCA class. UMC-based DXDT Racing will have a Mercedes-AMG GT3 piloted for Salt Lake City driver David Askew in the GT SprintX class. Rearden Racing of Salt Lake City will have Salt Lake City driver Jeff Burton behind the wheel of an Audi R8 in the GTS Sprint X class, and Vesko Kosarov of Salt Lake City and Paul Terry of Fillmore will drive a Nissan 370Zs.
Admission is free for Friday’s qualifying and practice sessions. Tickets for the races on Saturday and Sunday are available at the UMC box office. The paddock will be open throughout the weekend, with autograph sessions on Saturday from 1-1:45 p.m. (TC and GT drivers) and 3-3:45 p.m. (GTS drivers). For more information, visit UMC’s website at www.utahmotorsportscampus.com or call (435) 277-8000.