When the rain finally stopped, the question was who would prevail in the sprint races on Saturday. Series newcomer SHANNON HERFORD #201 (above) from Autometrics Motorsports showed lots of speed in his Gulf liveried Porsche GT3 R, as did JIM MATTHEWS #39 (right top) in his Orbit Racing Porsche GT3 4.0. Also expected to be at the top end of the time sheet was ERICH JOINER #10 (right bottom) in his Porsche GT3 R Tool Racing entry. However an off track miscue on the wet and slippery surface and grass during test day made for a herculean effort for to get him ready for Sprint Race #1 Saturday morning.
Virginia Tech senior, LUKAS PANK #41 (above) finished up his educational requirements on Friday to concentrate on racing for the weekend. The move up to his father’s Mission Foods GT3 Cup 3.8 back-up car from his regular 3.6 liter ride set the stage for a very successful weekend for the young driver. The Ultra Performance crew worked their magic to get Tom’s back-up car ready to go for Lukas prior to Sprint Race #1. With only a handful of cars risking the rain on Friday for qualifying, the gird was set by a combination of times from Thursday and Friday.
An entertaining battle ensued at the start of Race #1 with Herford and Matthews challenging for the lead at every corner. The usual front runners were mixed in the grid of more twenty cars. TOM PANK #42 Mission Foods GT3 4.0 started from the back of the grid (having posted no official test/qualifying times). Meanwhile there was little notice of the younger Pank who was quietly and methodically working his way up the field from his mid pack eleventh place start. Then on the final lap, Herford and Matthews would tangle going into Turn 1 opening up a gap for Lukas, who shot through to the lead, where he finished and set the fastest lap for the race. He was followed by his father who won the 4 liter category with Matthews second in the 4 liter class and third overall. Matthews would back that up with another second in Sprint Race #2.
Lukas Pank proved his race one win was no fluke, as he led green to checkered for his second overall win in Sprint Race #2. Tom would finish behind his son…again…but winning the 4 liter class. In Sunday’s enduro, Tom finished second overall (making it three in a row) and sweeping the 4 liter category winning all three races on the weekend. Lukas finished third overall in the enduro and second in class. Herford swept the 4R category on the weekend (left top) – a great introduction to IGT racing. In the 4 liter category of Mission Foods GT3 Cup competition, MARK GREENBERG #421 (right top) from Extreme Velocity Motorsports finished a very strong second place in Sunday’s endurance race, while CHUCK SMITHEE #55 GT3 4.0 of ZOTZ Racing took up residency on the #3 podium spot for all three races.
The Mission Foods GT3 Cup 3.8 category was the largest field of the weekend, which is often the case in IGT competition. TED GIOVANIS #64 from Team TGM (above – top left) had an impressive weekend finishing just off the podium in the first sprint, second in the category in Sprint Race #2 and teaming up with HUGH PLUMB to take the overall win in Sunday’s enduro. MICHAEL CHIARAMONTE #110 (above – top right) joined IGT for the first time this season and finished second in Sprint Race #1. Rounding out the Sprint Race #1 podium was MICHAEL WILLIAMS #730 (above – right) in the Quirt Racing entry who debuted in IGT at our Road America round. BOB WISEN #27 (above), also from the Ultra Performance camp, had a strong points weekend and jumped up in the season long standings, finishing on the podium in Sprint Race #2.
BILL RIDDELL #00 (above-left) RaceLink in the Mission Foods GT3 Cup 3.8 class returned to IGT competition at VIR after last seeing him at Sebring. The Series Founder showed endurance racing strategy and consistency finishing a close third on Sunday. Rounding out the 3.8 category were DANNY MARSHALL #181 (top-right) from Danville, VA a regular at VIR and JOHN BLEAZARD #330 (top-right) from Quirt Racing who struggled with some mechanical issues but was ever present at the finish of each race. BRIAN HICKS #22 (above) debuted a new Porsche GT3.8 at VIR and experienced the “new car learning curve”.
Maranello Cup was led by COLIN COHEN #15 (above left) Ferrari 458 with the Texas based Norwood Auto Italia. He made a huge move in the championship points standings with Benoit Bergeron missing this event. It’s the series closest contested points battle with only half of a point separating Cohen and Bergeron after the VIR event. SEB COPPOLA #288 (above right) RM Motorsports Ferrari F458 had a great run in the Sprint races, finishing second to Cohen in both.
IGT welcomed two new entries into the Stuttgart Cup category, supported by the Texas based Quirt Racing. The family affair had father JAMES BROWNE #88 (top right) Cayman 3.8 making his IGT debut winning the 3.8 liter class along side his son JONATHAN BROWNE #94 (top right) Cayman 3.4 class in all three races. After an impressive wet qualifying, TIM HORRELL #45 (above) from Breathless Racing would have certainly challenged for the top podium position in the Stuttgart Cayman 3.8 class but scheduling and mechanical issues in Trans Am put him out of the running.
For a full gallery of race images from VIR and other IGT races click here.
Next up for International GT is the rescheduled event at Road Atlanta, November 19-22. See below on registration for Road Atlanta and the season finale at Daytona International Speedway, December 11-13.
Road Atlanta Nov 19-22
Daytona Dec 11-13
Registration is open for the upcoming events at both Road Atlanta and Daytona! These are two of our most popular circuits and will have full fields. Join us for the final two races of the 2020 schedule! Click on the photo above to enter.
If you are planning to compete in our season finale event at Daytona International Raceway, December 11-13, the yellow garages are available for reservations. Garage rentals are $500 each. Contact Julie@InternationalGT.net or (770) 380-7770 to reserve your Daytona garage.
IGT Marketplace is available for our customers to list any race cars or equipment for sale. This sales space is complimentary to IGT competitors, partners, teams and crews. Contact Julie@InternationalGT.net with your ad.
Updated September 22, 2020