GTLM – First to First
GTLM – First to First
There are few things that race drivers like more than winning their class, so the top drivers in the featured GTLM class of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship are virtually licking their chops at the rare opportunity to race for the overall win here at VIR.
One of the most competitive classes on the international motorsports scene, the GTLM class features ultra-high performance production based cars in the GT or Grand Touring tradition. Drivers are all proven winners and champions.
The top factory teams; BMW Team RLL, Corvette Racing, Dodge Viper SRT, Porsche North America and top independents, including Falken Porsche and the Road America winning Risi Competizione Ferrari are ready to take full advantage of the unique race format at VIR.
“No prototypes! It’s going to be a fun race,” said Dodge Viper’s Jonathan Bomarito, who has teamed with co-driver Kuno Wittmer to claim podiums in the last four consecutive events, including a win at Indianapolis.
“Now we can just focus on going ahead,” said Bomarito. “We are not going to be checking our mirrors (for prototypes and PC cars) on the exit of every corner. We can just really put our heads down and focus on the task at hand. It’d be nice to get an overall win.”
Corvette Racing and Dodge Viper both have overall victories at the Rolex 24 At Daytona in earlier days. A number of the current GTLM drivers, including Corvette’s Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia, BMW’s Bill Auberlen and Porsche’s Patrick Long have all scored overall wins in prototypes in either the former GRAND AM or American Le Mans Series.
The two series were merged to create the new TUDOR Championship for 2014, making this the first opportunity for a GT overall race win.
Here at VIR, Corvette Racing took GT honors in the first ALMS race in 2012 as Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner claimed the win and clinched their 2012 ALMS Manufacturer, team and drivers titles.
In 2013, it was the Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 Italia driven by Olivier Beretta and Matteo Malucelli claiming the GT class honors.
“I’m really looking forward to just having the GT classes. That’ll really be a tight battle between us without anything else potentially affecting the race,” said Road America GTLM pole winner John Edwards of BMW Team RLL.
“VIR is a fun track, but I’m curious to go there with the new changes that they’ve made. We’ve been quick there in the past so it should be good,” said Bomarito.
And it seems clear that every GTLM driver agrees. They just all foresee themselves as the likely winners.