St. Petersburg Florida, March 21 2017
The 2017 Pirelli World Challenge GTS championship kicked off March 10-12 in the streets of St. Petersburg Florida. It was exciting to see the new hardware in the class now made up of the KTM XBow GT4, Mclaren 570 GT4, Camaro GT4, SIN R1 GT4, Mustang GT4, Cayman Clubsport MR GT4 and the Panoz Avezzano currently awaiting it’s GT4 Homologation. The GT4 category is really looking like the place to be for great competition without the costs of GT3 category racing.
PWC maintained the double header sprint race format for 2017 and once again it didn’t disappoint with two action packed 50 minute races. Martin Barkey ran a clean race #1 earning P5 and won the first ever GTS-A race while Anthony Mantella finished P10.
Day 2 saw Martin Barkey challenging the lead pack, holding P4 while Anthony Mantella was looking for opportunities to get by the Camaro of Tony Gaples while defending the Panoz of Ian James. It all went wrong on the restart when Martin Barkey made contact with Lawson Aschenbach going for the inside pass, and Anthony mantella made contact with Ian James, defending on the inside. Martin was able to continue, serve a drive through penalty and work his way back to P11.
While St.Pete didn’t bring the results we’d hoped for, the cars ran flawlessly and there is much to build on going to the second round of the season at VIR. Following the race the team went straight to VIR for 2 days of official testing with Pirelli World Challenge. It was great seeing both Anthony and Martin challenge each other to improve and learn from each others strengths on track. Bring on the second round of the championship!
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