March 3rd 2016, Austin, Texas
The Circuit of the Americas hosted the opening round of the 2016 Pirelli World Challenge championship and marked Mantella Autosport’s shift from IMSA endurance racing to the sprint race format followed in PWC. The team took delivery of a trio of fresh XBow GT4’s from Reiter Engineering prior to the first event and worked diligently to have them up to PWC spec and ready for round 1.
Drivers Anthony Mantella of the #8 Gulf car and Martin Barkey of the #80 MBRP car took advantage of the testing/practice time available and found speed through every session. This showed when it came time to qualify, culminating in a personal best in professional competition for both drivers, P4/P6 respectively. Very impressive for a series debut with new cars.
Saturday morning’s race had moments of brilliance including some close racing and competitive pace, but ultimately did not amount to the race either driver was hoping for. An aggressive pass against the 8 car resulted in contact and a spin forcing Anthony Mantella to chase the pack down, ultimately recovering to a respectable P10 position. While the series acted swiftly and assigned an appropriate penalty, it is little consolation when you know you had so much more that day. Martin Barkey struggled with gearbox issues, unable to consistently downshift to 2nd gear when needed.
Now with 4 weeks leading up to round #3 at Barber Motorsport Park, the team will use this precious time to refine the cars, test and be ready to execute.
Be sure to follow along on Facebook and Instagram for the latest team updates @mantella autosport
Photography by Sawmill Creative