2019 was the thirtieth consecutive year for the World Challenge series. In the offseason, the Grand Touring category was renamed the Blancpain GT World Challenge America. With the new title came some additional changes:

The SprintX Championship has three classes:

  • The sixty-minute races in 2018 would be replaced by ninety-minute contests – two each weekend. There would be a mandatory pit-stop scheduled to take place between the 45 and 55-minutes. At this time the driver change would be completed. It will also provide teams with an opportunity to refuel and change tires.
  • Race weekends would offer six-hours of total track time to competitors.
  • Drivers compete in Professional (Pro), Professional and Amateur (Pro/Am), Silver or Amateur (Am) categories.

There are a total of seven rounds with the championship kicking off in March at Circuit of the Americas. This event is followed by races at Virginia International Raceway and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Then the teams travel to the west coast to compete at Sonoma Raceway. On the Labour Day weekend, competitors participate at Watkins Glen International. The penultimate rounds are at Road America with the season concluding at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in October.

The Blancpain GT World Challenge America category is the series quickest class with cars prepared to FIA GT3 rules. These are two-wheel drive vehicles that may use normally aspirated or turbocharged engines which produce approximately 500 horsepower. Examples of cars competing in this category include: Porsche 911 GT3 R, Lamborghini Huracan GT3, Mercedes AMG GT3, McLaren 650S GT3, Callaway Corvette C7 GT3-R, Bentley Continental GT3, Audi R8 LMS and Ferrari 488 GT3.

Rounds seven and eight of the 2019 Blancpain GT World Challenge America season were contested at Sonoma Raceway. Nineteen teams competed in the two ninety-minute races around the twelve-turn, 2.52-mile road course.

The first lap of Saturday’s Blancpain GT World Challenge America Race at Sonoma Raceway. Leading the field into corner two is the pole-winning Ferrari 488 GT3 driven by Miguel Molina. Falling in behind Molina is the K-Pax Racing Bentley Continental GT3 of third place starter, Rodrigo Baptista. Fighting for the third spot is the Porsche 911 GT3 R of the second fastest qualifier, Scott Hargrove and Baptista’s teammate, Andy Soucek.
At Sonoma Raceway, the driver pairing of Toni Vilander and Miguel Molina were victorious for the third time this season. Molina performed the qualifying duties for round seven and grabbed to pole. In his qualifying session, Vilander was second fastest. At the start of the weekend’s first race, Molina shot into first place and the pair only lost the top spot during the driver change. On Sunday, they finished second and retained the points lead.
Sonoma Raceway is the home track for K-Pax Racing. As a result, they were expected to perform well on this circuit. Sharing the No. 9 Bentley Continental were Andy Soucek and Alvaro Parente. They were tied for second in the title chase based on victories at Virginia International Raceway and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. In qualifying, the duo was third and seventh fastest but were able to capture a pair of third place finishes.
World Challenge/SRO veteran James Sofronas made his 2019 series debut a Sonoma Raceway. Joining Sofronas this weekend was Dirk Werner. The pair would compete in the PRO/AM division sharing the No. 14 GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R. In qualifying one, Sofronas was fourth fastest in his class and in the second session, Werner was fourth. The duo earned two podium finishes – third in the first race and a victory on Sunday.
The starting grid for round eight of the 2019 Blancpain GT World Challenge America championship. On the pole is the No. 91 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R – thanks to Australian, Matt Campbell. Campbell and his co-driver, Anthony Imperato competed in the PRO/AM group. On the outside of the front row is the Remo Ferri Ferrari 488 GT3 piloted by Saturday’s overall and professional category winners, Miguel Molina and Toni Vilander.
Wright Motorsports teammates, Scott Hargrove and Patrick Long, entered rounds seven and eight with three podium finishes but were yet to score a victory. Hargrove qualified the No. 58 Porsche 911 GT3 R for race one and was second quickest. During his session, Long qualified third. In the weekend’s first race, they dropped out of contention and finished sixth. On Sunday, the pair redeemed themselves when they grabbed their first win of 2019.
Another race weekend and another driving pairing for the No. 43 ReatTime Racing Acura NSX. At Sonoma Raceway the team’s regular driver, Dane Cameron would be joined by amateur competitor, Mike Hedlund. Hedlund was fastest in his category during the first qualifying session – Cameron was eleventh quickest. In round seven, they led their division flag-to-flag for the PRO/AM victory. On Sunday, the pair was second.
Wright Motorsports second Porsche 911 GT3 R was driven by Anthony Imperato and Matt Campbell. Campbell shared the winning Porsche earlier this year in the prestigious Bathurst 12 Hour event. The two drivers were competing in the PRO/AM category. They both had good qualifying efforts - Imperato was second quickest in his group and Campbell put the Porsche on the pole for race two. The pair earned second and third place finishes.
K-Pax Racing’s second entry was piloted by Rodrigo Baptista and Maxime Soulet. Competing in the professional division and driving the No. 3 Bentley Continental GT3, the pair had two victories to their credit – one of which was the opening round at Circuit of the Americas. Baptista was third quickest in the first qualifying session but Soulet didn’t fare as well. They delivered similar race results – third in Saturday’s contest and tenth on Sunday.
Sunday’s Blancpain GT World Challenge America podium at Sonoma Raceway for the PRO/AM category. In the center are the winners from GMG Racing, James Sofronas and Dirk Werner. To the right are the runner-ups, Mike Hedlund and Dane Cameron from RealTime Racing. Completing the rostrum are Anthony Imperato and absent is Patrick Long. Several of the drivers left immediately after the race to catch a flight to Le Mans.

FINISHCLASSDRIVERENTRANT / CARLAPS
1SprintX - GT Pro/ProMolina / VilanderR. Ferri Motorsport / Ferrari 488 GT353
2SprintX - GT Pro/ProBaptista / SouletK-PAX Racing / Bentley Continental GT353
3SprintX - GT Pro/ProParente / SourekK-PAX Racing / Bentley Continental GT353
4SprintX - GT Pro/ProHenzler / HolzerAlegra Motorsports / Porsche 911 GT3 R53
5SprintX - GT Pro/AmCameron / HedlundRealTime Racing / Acura NSX53
6SprintX - GT Pro/ProHargrove / LongWright Motorsports / Porsche 911 GT3 R53
7SprintX - GT Pro/AmImperato / CampbellWright Motorsports / Porsche 911 GT3 R53
8SprintX - GT Pro/AmSofronas / WernerGMG Racing / Porsche 911 GT3 R53
9SprintX - GT Pro/ProMorad / De QuesadaAlegra Motorsports / Porsche 911 GT3 R53
10SprintX - GT Pro/AmMiller / BechtolsheimerGradient Racing / Acura NSX53
11SprintX - GT Pro/AmBraun / KurtzDXDT Racing / Mercedes-AMG GT353
12SprintX - GT Pro/AmCagnazzi / LallyOne11 Competition / Ferrari 488 GT352
13SprintX - GT Am/AmFuentes / BacarellaSquadra Corse Garage Italia / Ferrari 488 GT352
14SprintX - GT Pro/AmSchmitt / LiefoogheStephen Cameron Racing / BMW M6 GT352
15SprintX - GT Pro/AmCaiola / PlumbOne11 Competition / Ferrari 488 GT351
NCSprintX - GT Pro/AmMillstein / BarronK2R Motorsports / Porsche 911 GT3 R32
NCSprintX - GT Pro/AmCosmo / ByrneTR3 Racing / Ferrari 488 GT331
NCSprintX - GT Pro/AmAskew / SkeenDXDT Racing / Mercedes-AMG GT39
NCSprintX - GT Pro/AmBarkey / MarcelliRacers Edge Motorsports / Acura NSX3

FINISHCLASSDRIVERENTRANT / CARLAPS
1SprintX - GT Pro/ProHargrove / LongWright Motorsports / Porsche 911 GT3 R48
2SprintX - GT Pro/ProMolina / VilanderR. Ferri Motorsport / Ferrari 488 GT348
3SprintX - GT Pro/ProParente / SourekK-PAX Racing / Bentley Continental GT348
4SprintX - GT Pro/ProHenzler / HolzerAlegra Motorsports / Porsche 911 GT3 R48
5SprintX - GT Pro/ProMorad / De QuesadaAlegra Motorsports / Porsche 911 GT3 R48
6SprintX - GT Pro/AmSofronas / WernerGMG Racing / Porsche 911 GT3 R48
7SprintX - GT Pro/AmCameron / HedlundRealTime Racing / Acura NSX48
8SprintX - GT Pro/AmImperato / CampbellWright Motorsports / Porsche 911 GT3 R48
9SprintX - GT Pro/AmBarkey / MarcelliRacers Edge Motorsports / Acura NSX48
10SprintX - GT Pro/AmMiller / BechtolsheimerGradient Racing / Acura NSX48
11SprintX - GT Pro/ProBaptista / SouletK-PAX Racing / Bentley Continental GT347
12SprintX - GT Pro/AmBraun / KurtzDXDT Racing / Mercedes-AMG GT347
13SprintX - GT Pro/AmCaiola / PlumbOne11 Competition / Ferrari 488 GT346
14SprintX - GT Pro/AmMillstein / BarronK2R Motorsports / Porsche 911 GT3 R46
15SprintX - GT Pro/AmSchmitt / LiefoogheStephen Cameron Racing / BMW M6 GT344
16SprintX - GT Pro/AmAskew / SkeenDXDT Racing / Mercedes-AMG GT342
17SprintX - GT Am/AmFuentes / BacarellaSquadra Corse Garage Italia / Ferrari 488 GT336
NCSprintX - GT Pro/AmCosmo / ByrneTR3 Racing / Ferrari 488 GT32
NCSprintX - GT Pro/AmCagnazzi / LallyOne11 Competition / Ferrari 488 GT30

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