With Global Motorsports Group (GMG) announcing three different programs in the Pirelli World Challenge over the past two weeks, the team’s 2017 effort begins in full force during this weekend’s season opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Featuring two Porsche 911 GT3 R entries in the series’ GTA category, as well as the all-new McLaren 570S GT4 in GTS, the team’s depth and diversity will be on showcase as the cars hit the track for the first official practice on Thursday.
“We’re as prepared as we can be for this weekend,” stated GMG team owner James Sofronas. “The truth is all of these programs have been works in progress going all the way back to last year. Between the funding, car delivery, prep, testing, it’s a huge effort, but we have some amazing partners and an incredible crew, and it finally comes together this weekend. It’s a big weekend for Alec Udell, who after two great years in GT-Cup will make his sprint debut in GTA, and I think he’ll really impress. This has been a long time coming, and we couldn’t be more thankful to everyone at Euroworld Motorsports for making the whole program happen for him. Similarly, this will be a new era for George Kurtz in GTS, and with the CrowdStrike program we really look forward to a successful campaign both on and off the track. Of course I’m always looking forward to getting back to the track myself. The GTA category is really shaping up to be an incredibly competitive class, it should provide some great racing.”
Beginning an all-new challenge in the GTA category, Alec Udell will take to the city street course with the expectation of being immediately competitive in the No. 17 Euroworld Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R. After a landmark 2016 season in which he took 12 victories en route to a GT-Cup category championship, the logical step up to the GTA ranks was largely made possible thanks to the role of Euroworld Motorsports and owner Frank Lee, who will take on the role of car owner in Alec’s program, with GMG handling the management and preparation of the campaign. Udell and Euroworld are now entering their third year of partnership together, with Euroworld holding the unique distinction of being the country’s only certified automotive carbon fiber repair facility. Based in Houston, they are one of Texas’s leading European auto repair and performance facility.
“I’m extremely excited to start the Pirelli World Challenge GTA championship off strong at the streets of St. Petersburg,” stated Udell. “I have to be honest, this course and I have had our odds with each other in the past, so this year I’m going in extra prepared and ready for the new challenges at hand. After my run in the GMG Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport for the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race at Daytona earlier this year, I’ve been itching to get back in a racecar. ”
Not to be outdone, James Sofronas will also be entered in the series’ GTA category, now in his second year behind the wheel of the No. 14 Mobil 1 / Thermal Club Porsche 911 GT3 R. A veteran of Pirelli World Challenge competition, the Villa Park, California resident has been in the series since 1994, largely in Porsche machinery. Using the program as a testing ground for many of the performance tuning and development technologies that they apply to their customer’s street cars, Sofronas will use the weekend as a new opportunity to further the product line.
Finally, in the No. 04 CrowdStrike McLaren 570S GT4, George Kurtz will begin his first full-season of Pirelli World Challenge competition. Competing in the surging GTS category, now adopting the worldwide GT4-spec of racing cars, Kurtz and GMG will be making their McLaren debut together, a vehicle which has shown tremendous promise in other series. A veteran of numerous grassroots series, Kurtz made his Pirelli World Challenge debut last year in select SprintX events, but 2017 will mark his first full season entry. Equally notable, mixing his business acumen with driving talent, Kurtz’s cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike will take advantage of the series and team’s off-track offerings, utilizing the paddock as a hub for experiential entertainment for a number of their clients, partners, associates and vendors.
“I couldn’t be happier to join GMG for the 2017 Pirelli World Challenge season,” stated Kurtz. “The team’s reputation for running a competitive program is well known, and to take the wheel of the McLaren is an experience that every driver wishes for. Hopes are definitely high for a competitive run, and I’m sure we’ll only get stronger as the year goes on. At CrowdStrike we really look forward to a central program to build our experiential marketing base, and the platform that the series and team provide is unparalleled. It should be a great season and we couldn’t be more excited to get this going at St. Petersburg.”
Official practice begins tomorrow, with the GTS category featuring a double-header of races on Friday, March 10 and Saturday, March 11, and the GTA category competing with the GT and GT-Cup categories on Saturday, March 11 and Sunday, March 12. The team will provide continuous updates through their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds.