World Challenge Season Opener To Have Strong BMW Presence

The Blancpain GT World Challenge season opener at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, on the first weekend in March will feature a host of BMWs in all classes.

The 47-car TC America group includes fourteen BMWs in the Touring Car class; the grid will have ten M235i Racing and four M240i Racing competitors, the latter being the upgraded unit of the M235iR with the newer B58 engine. Among the highlights are a newly-announced two-car BimmerWorld team with Cameron Evans and Chandler Hull at the controls, the returning Rooster Hall Racing team, with Johan Schwartz back for another season, Steve Streimer, moving over from a Nissan 370Z in 2018, in a second car, Richard Zulman in a third, and 2016 champion Toby Grahovec in a Classic BMW M240iR. The JCW Mini team makes its debut in the Touring Car A class, with Mark Pombo and Nate Norenberg driving. TC America will run 40-minute sprint races at COTA including two for the Touring Car class and two for TCR/TCA (there are no BMWs or Minis in TCR). Find the complete entry list by following this link.

There are ten M4 GT4s in the 32-car GT4 America field. Racers are divided into either Pro-Am or Am classes. At COTA, three GT4 series are running together in a pair of 60-minute SprintX races. These include the national GT4 series and both the east and west regional GT4 series. The M4 GT4 teams include the following: in GT4 America, Stephen Cameron Racing with a car for Greg Liefooghe and Sean Quinlan, and Auto Technic Racing with a car for John Allen and Kris Wilson; in GT4 East, Precision Driving Tech with a car for Marco Radisic and Karl Wittmer, Rearden Racing with a car for Aurora Strauss and Connor Bloum, Classic BMW with cars for Justin Raphael/Stevan McAleer, Toby Grahovec/Chris Ohmacht, and Jeff Sexton/Ray Mason; and Epic Motorsports with a car for Randy Mueller and James Clay; and in GT4 West, ST Racing with cars for Samantha Tan/Jason Wolfe and Harry Gottsacker/Jon Miller. The entry list can be viewed here.

The Blancpain GT World Challenge America series for GT3 cars will run two 90-minute races at COTA. There is one M6 GT3 in the 23-car field entered by Stephen Cameron Racing for Henry Schmitt and Greg Liefooghe. The entry list appears here.

More information on the series, the COTA event, live streaming and TV coverage are available at the world challenge website.—Brian Morgan

[Photo courtesy Brian Morgan.]

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