SANTA ANA, Calif. – Continuing the team’s heritage of developing drivers across a number of categories and experience levels, Global Motorsport Group (GMG) is proud to announce the graduation of newly-crowned Pirelli World Challenge GT-Cup champion Alec Udell to the series’ GT ranks, driving the team’s Porsche 911 GT3 R with co-driver Brent Holden during this weekend’s closing rounds of the SprintX endurance races at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Additionally, long-time team partner Chris Thompson will take over the team’s championship-winning GT-Cup machine for his debut in the series, and team owner James Sofronas, who was originally slated to drive with Holden, will focus solely on debuting the team’s Porsche Cayman Clubsport GT4 in the series’ GTS category. James will drive on his own in the series’ GTS sprint races, and will join forces with veteran driver Matt Halliday,
“GMG prides itself on the diversity of development opportunities for our drivers, and this weekend is a perfect example of this,” stated GMG team owner and driver James Sofronas. “Obviously Alec Udell is the perfect example of our vertically integrated platform. Alec has proven to have not only the speed, but an incredible amount of maturity that’s deserving of an opportunity to elevate to the next level. After he clinched the GT-Cup title at Sonoma, we all realized this would present the perfect opportunity for him to step up to the GT ranks, and it was clear that personally stepping aside would be the right thing for him. I think he’ll instantly adapt to the GT3 R, and partnered with Brent Holden they’ll have a great combination of experience and patience to have a strong showing during the Sprint X races. Additionally, Chris Thompson has done a tremendous job at our club events as well as the Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy Series, so giving him the opportunity to step up to the GT Cup category of The Pirelli World Challenge was an obvious opportunity that we didn’t want to pass up. Chris has improved with every race he’s driven in, and I’m extremely confident in his potential. The Pirelli World Challenge is the next logical step based on his progress, and I’m glad we could provide that opportunity. Of course for me personally, focusing exclusively on the Clubsport GT4 will be a great opportunity to showcase the potential in the car. We’ve been working closely with different versions of the machine over the last year, and it’s been such a joy to drive. The car is a real missing link for the entry level driver, and putting this through its paces with something as competitive as the GTS category sprint races as well as SprintX endurance events will be huge.”
Fresh off of clinching the 2016 GT-Cup title at Sonoma, Alec Udell will elevate to the team’s No. 14 Mobil 1 / The Thermal Club / Spyder Porsche 911 GT3 R for this weekend’s SprintX double-header, partnering with Brent Holden in the GT category. Udell, who in addition to a landmark championship, dominated the year with 12 victories and never failing to finish on the podium, will graduate to the category having never raced the next-iteration of Porsche race machinery. With the GT3 spec machine possessing more power, downforce, and beyond compared to his Porsche Cup machine, the transition to faster machinery presents a welcome challenge for the Texas native.
“Moving up to the GT class is exactly what we were hoping for,” stated Udell. “We chose to join GMG two years ago because of the opportunity to develop and advance, and this weekend’s races is the exact proof of that. Winning the championship already proved to create a banner year for us, so to be able to close the season by testing a possible future category for us makes a lot of sense. I can’t thank the team enough for the opportunity, especially James who removed himself from the car for this, and we all look forward to getting on the track.”
For Chris Thompson, who has been a long-time participant in the team’s grassroots club racing program, as well as a competitor in the highly touted Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy Series, moving up to the Pirelli World Challenge is a daunting, but exciting, opportunity.
“I’m heading in to the weekend in search of a positive experience,” stated Thompson. “Obviously stepping in to the No. 17 Porsche with the year it’s had will make for some big shoes to fill, but I’m looking forward to it. The team at GMG always does an excellent job preparing the car and giving you every development tool out there, so I’m optimistic and feel very well taken care of.”
Finally, as a vehicle designed specifically for those new to the sport, James Sofronas will debut the team’s Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport, the first of this latest version, with a heavy focus on experience and car development. Beyond his role as a Team Owner, the driver has had a remarkable career behind the wheel, including two season-long runner up finishes, countless podiums and wins, and more. In such, the experience of the Californian will prove well as the team runs its machine through through the paces.
The No. 4 machine will be driven by Sofronas in the GTS category sprint races, and additionally entered in Saturday’s SprintX endurance event with co-driver Matt Halliday. Halliday, a veteran of open wheel and multiple sportscar categories, has previously joined the team in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Series, adding to their podium tally in the process.
In 2017, the team plans to support a multitude of Porsche Cayman Clubsport vehicles, with as many as five programs slated for categories across the country.
Official practice begins this Friday, October 7, with the series sprint races, GTS, and SprintX all featuring double-header events on Saturday and Sunday.
Founded in 2001 by James Sofronas, GMG has quickly established itself as North America’s premier performance tuning and racing facility. What began as a small 1,200 sq. ft. shop, maintaining two race cars, has grown into a 30,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art performance tuning, racing and service facility located in (Orange County) Santa Ana, California. The staff’s experience, attention to detail, and passion are what make GMG the choice of professionals and enthusiasts world wide. Whether you want to maximize the performance of your street car, or race wheel-to-wheel on both amateur and professional racing series across North America, GMG’s reputation for service and quality is unmatched.
Learn more at www.gmgracing.com
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