This weekend marks the start of the 2017 season for the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama as it travels to Sebring International Raceway.
Making his series debut this week is former Major League Baseball pitcher, C.J. Wilson who recently tested the new 2017 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car at the Texas World Speedway.
“The only odd thing about the test is that nobody else was here,” Wilson said. “It was the first time I have ever been on a track completely alone, so when we did a race simulation I had to use my imagination. Texas World Speedway is a really fast and bumpy track. I expected Rick from The Walking Dead to lead a pack of people to come over-run our trailer.”
Joining Wilson for the start of the season on Thursday is another 29 competitors, the Platinum Class will feature 19 entries, including Wilson, while the Gold Class sees another 11 races in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars from 2014-2016. Within the Platinum class there will also be a Masters championship running parallel.
The Platinum class sees the return of 2014 Platinum Cup championship winner Scott Hargrove as he looks to compete a full season.
One to watch this year will be Jake Eidson, who won the inaugural Hurley Haywood GT3 Cup Scholarship and will be backed by IMSA, with support from Porsche and Yokohama Tire Corporation. Eidson will be racing the #24 Kelly-Moss entry and will be joined by Tom Haacker in the Platinum class, with Gold Class drivers Greg Palmer, Kurt Fazekas and Alan Metni also running under the Kelly-Moss banner.
2016 Platinum Masters champion Jeff Mosing returns as he is joined by David Baker and two Gold Class team-mates, Franklin Raso and Bill Smith.
Corey Fergus heads in to 2017 as a series favorite, the third-generation racer has tasted success in World Challenge and was also the winner of the Sports 2000 class in the SCCA Runoffs in 2012. He will be joined by Will Hardeman who will be looking to build on his three podium finishes at Moorespeed.
2017 Rolex 24 At Daytona’s GT Daytona class winner Michael de Quesada will definitely be one to watch this year. At just 17-years-old he teamed up with his father and 2016 GT3 Cup Challenge USA champion Jesse Lazare to take victory at the famous endurance race earlier this year.
Platinum driver Trenton Estep heads up the JDX Racing entry as he is joined by off-road racer Mark Kvamme.
Wright Motorsports field five cars with Platinum drivers Phil Bloom, Andrew Longe, Anthony Imperato and McKay Snow, who is the younger brother of WeatherTech Championship driver Madison Snow. Charles Luck IV will be the team’s only Gold Class entry.
Veteran Michael Levitas is back in the Gold class in the #36 TPC Racing/Merkle car, while NGT Motorsport return with Platinum entry Victor Gomez IV and Gold driver Fred Kaimer.
Alex Job Racing is back in the GT3 Cup Challenge after a six-year hiatus with Sebastian Landy. Facundo Chahwan is a new face to the series along with the new Powersport Racing team.
Joining the GT3 Cup Challenge USA entrants is the GT3 Canadian field, headed up by Platinum driver Shaun McKaigue and Scott Hargrove while in Gold entrants include Marco Cirone and Orey Fidani.
Follow IMSA on Facebook and @IMSA on Twitter with the hashtag #GT3USA for updates on the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama. Live timing for every race is available at IMSA.com, with live streaming video of all races at IMSA.tv.