While an entry list that included 44 cars was a record for International GT at Road Atlanta, moreover it was the largest field the Series has seen in its history.
There were so many great battles throughout the field that it’s difficult to know where to start however at Road Atlanta you had to look no further than the front of the field to see some of the most intense racing. ANDY PILGRIM #4 in the SKI Autosport Ferrari 458GT swept the weekend winning overall in all three races but for the sprint races his mirrors were filled with the bright orange 4 liter Autometrics Porsche of CORY FRIEDMAN #014, although second overall, Friedman won the 4 liter category in both sprint races. For the enduro it was another loudly colored (this time lime green) of TOM PANK #42, Ultra Performance who seemed to be glued to Pilgrim’s back bumper throughout the race. Pank struggled with some mechanical issues in the first sprint but came back to win the 4R category in the enduro and finish second in sprint race 2. However, it was far from a two car battle each race, sprint race 1 was a four-way battle in the 4R category with MARK SANDRIDGE in the famous #58 Brumos Porsche livery winning the category followed closely by SHANNON HERFORD #515 another from the Autometrics camp.
Third went to REG WILLIAMS #008 from No Panic Racing and being supported by Goldcrest Motorsports, who would take the 4R win in sprint race 2. The Mission Foods Car Amigo Porsche of JUAN GONZALEZ #81 finished just off the podium in fourth.
Pilgrim was not the only Ferrari though. BENOIT BERGERON #127, Keep Frozen/Etcetera Racing brought out his familiar yellow 458 Challenge car which he used to capture both the 2019 and 2020 Maranello Cup Championships and his 458GT Ferrari intending to race the GT3 car. However mechanical issues had Benoit in his Challenge car and sweeping the category on the weekend – it’s good to have options!
Mission Foods GT3 Cup Trophy 4.0 Liter
There were great battles in 4.0, while Freidman won the two sprint races it was MARK MATHYS #77 who partnered with MIKE SKEEN to take the enduro win. JERONIMO GUZMAN #22 from TLM Racing was second to Friedman in both sprint races and partnered with IGT newcomer LAURA HAYES to win Sunday’s enduro. The Floridian also carried one of the in-car cameras for the live streaming of Saturday’s sprint races and helped provide great coverage. On the 4-liter podium for all three races was Team TGM’s TED GIOVANIS #64 with third place finishes in both sprints and teamed up with HUGH PLUMB to complete the podium in the enduro.
Mission Foods GT3 Cup Trophy 3.8 Liter
The largest entry by far was found in the Mission Foods GT3 Cup 3.8 category. DAVID TUATY #68 owner of TLM Racing won both sprint races on Saturday and the enduro victory was captured by Trans Am regular but newbie in International GT competition, DANNY LOWRY #114 from Hammerdown Motorsports. The runner up positions were split between CHRIS RUPPEL#119, ZOTZ Racing with second and third place finishes in the sprint races and co-driving with ERIC ZITZA for a second in the enduro. Meanwhile, SCOTT PLUNKETT #727, another Goldcrest Motorsports entry grabbed second in sprint race 2 and a pair of third place finishes in sprint race 1 and the enduro.
Series founder BILL RIDDELL #00 from Race Link was just off the podium in fourth for sprint race 1 but then ran into mechanical woes which plagued him the remainder of the weekend. Strong top 10 finishes in the sprints and enduro were also turned in by BEN JOHNSTON #96, BRIAN HICKS #22B, ROBERT WISEN #27 from Georgia based Ultra Performance, JAMES HAMMAN#176 from the TLM Racing group, MICHAEL CHIARAMONTE #18, Sicilian1racing, who teamed with SEAN RAYHALL for the enduro. MICHAEL WILLIAMS #730 from Quirt Racing coming all the way from Texas had a top 10 finish in one of the sprints, while NICHOLAS GROOMBRIDGE #56 pulled out his 3.8 Porsche supported by ZOTZ Racing and ALBERT LUKAZIK #47 from RS1 both posted top 10 finishes.
Mission Foods GT3 Cup Trophy 3.6 Liter
The 3.6 liter cars turned out to create the largest field we’ve seen in IGT competition in a long time. The first sprint race went to locals CARLOS DOMINGUEZ #177 taking the win – he would finish second in sprint race 2, followed by JACK GILSDORF#902, both nearby Gainesville, GA residents.
Third in sprint race 1 was PAT HEPTIG #71, from Quirt Racing. Pat marched his way of the podium and found the top step winning the enduro. IGT welcomed ALEJANDRO PIMENTEL #57A from EuroCars USA who finished second to Heptig in the enduro.
Also making a podium appearance was third in the enduro, NICHOLAS KARANGELEN #76. Sprint race 2 was won by a new face in International GT competition, PAUL MORTIMER #8 with Orbit Racing. NICKLAS PANK #41, Ultra Performance, stood on the podium finishing third in sprint race 1.
Stuttgart Cup 3.4 and 3.8
The Stuttgart Cup category also continued to flourish with 2019 and 2020 Champion WILL WACHS #017, Gator Gang Racing, battling it out with RUSSELL WITTENBERG #133 and splitting the top step of the podium in the 3.4 class as Will and Russell often do. Will won sprint race 1 and the enduro, while Russell took the victory in sprint race 2. Each was runner up to the other’s win. Completing the podium was JOE SULLIVAN #14 who shared during duties with his son JOEY SULLIVAN
In the 3.8 category we saw our Road Atlanta regular, RAPHAEL ASSUNCAO #381 return to IGT competition as he does annually. Assuncao’s day job is as a professional UFC competitor and if his on-track moves, winning both sprint races, are any indicator of his success in the ring, we know why his UFC record is excellent. Runner up to Assuncao in both sprint races was MICHAEL MARTIN #5 from ZOTZ Racing. After a couple of thirds in the sprints, MICHAEL CLARK #33 captured the win in the enduro.
Finish Line For Road Atlanta
It was a great weekend of racing and as we walked the paddock not only was the field impressive, we glimpsed some familiar pro-racers either co-driving or coaching. We see Butch Leitzinger (Juan Gonzalez) and Hugh Plumb (Ted Giovanis) fairly often but also co-driving were Mike Skeen (Mark Mathys), Sean Rayhall (Michael Chiaramonte) and Steve McAleer (Albert Lukazik). Providing a bit of coaching were Tom Long, Dylan Murry and Robby Foley.
Registration Open For Road America, May 13-16
Next up for IGT is one of our favorite stops on the schedule – Road America. Join us at this sweeping 4.08 mile giant of a track in beautiful Elkhart Lake, WI.
Click on the photo right of Michael Williams from Quirt Racing for registration and to see the provisional event schedule. If you have any registration questions please contact Julie@InternationalGT.net or call (770)380-7770.
Excitement Builds For Return To Lime Rock Park, May 28-31 Registration Open
We’re looking forward to Memorial Day and the traditional weekend event at Lime Rock Park. We’ve received our first few entries and in pole position (for entries) is STEVE KATZ who joined us for our inaugural Lime Rock race in 2019.
With our Series sponsor, Interlaken Inn just a few miles from the track, this is a great opportunity to travel to the picturesque area of upstate Connecticut.
Click on the photo of Steve Katz’s Porsche above for registration. If you have any registration questions please contact Julie@InternationalGT.net or call (770)380-7770.
Selling a race car, trailer, equipment, etc? We’ll highlight it in our Marketplace section. This is free to International GT competitors and teams and will run for about 4 email blasts. Just send a photo, description and contact information to Julie@InternationalGT.net.