March 3rd 2016, Austin, Texas

Race 1 start

Race 1 start, in the mix you’ll find: KTM XBow GT4, Lotus Evora, Aston Martin Vantage, Ginetta G50, Camaro Z28.R, Mustang Boss 302R, Sin R1, Maserati GT4

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.

Teammates

Teammates

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.

Martin Barkey on line

Martin Barkey on line

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.

Anthony Mantella using every inch of track

Anthony Mantella using every inch of track

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.

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The Xbow's drew large crowds all weekend.

The Xbow’s drew large crowds all weekend.

Be sure to follow along on Facebook and Instagram for the latest team updates @mantella autosport

Photography by Sawmill Creative