Intercontinental GT Challenge California 8 Hours Competition Heats Up at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca
32 teams are competing for international acclaim at GT endurance event
Friday action at the Intercontinental GT Challenge California 8 Hours featured some of the best drivers from around the globe adjusting their GT machinery to the 11-turn, 2.238-mile road course at Monterey County’s WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
32 cars, each with three co-drivers, took a crack at the legendary asphalt during the Free Practice and Pre Qualifying sessions. It was all Porsche during Free Practice with France’s Frédéric Makowiecki turning the quickest lap time at 1:24.327 in the Wright Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R, a different ride than the Manthey Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R that the factory driver had competed with all season. Fellow Porsche factory driver Patrick Long put the Black Swan Racing 911 GT3 R second on the time sheet with a 1:24.256 clocking.
The Audi factory drivers that dominated last year’s inaugural event showed their form during Pre Qualifying. German Christopher Mies recorded a 1:24.347 in the Audi R8 LMS that he is co-driving with countryman Christopher Haase and South Africa’s Kelvin van der Linde. The positioning is a good sign for Haase, who is one of four competitors vying for the drivers’ championship. The manufacturers’ championship is a neck-and-neck battle between Audi and Mercedes-AMG.
“We finished our Pre Qualifying as a P1 result, which is a good result for our car of the Audi Sport Team Land,” said Haase. “This is a really good place. Now we are looking forward to tomorrow, which is Qualifying and Superpole. The sun is shining, and it looks good!”
Qualifying will take place tomorrow with the order being determined by the combined best laps of each driver. Qualifying will conclude with a thrilling Pole Shootout in which the 15 top qualifiers will elect one driver to represent the team, and the fastest flying lap during the 15-minute time period from 2:40 to 2:55 p.m. will determine the grid positions for Sunday’s eight hour endurance event.
Saturday action will determine the season championship in Blue Marble Cocktails Radical Cup North America. The single-marque series running in support this weekend completed its first of three races at their season finale. Victories were earned by Jimmy Casey (Masters), Ethan Stone (1500), Gustavo Rafols (1340) and Enzo Prevost (SR1). Their 40-minute races take place tomorrow from 9:30 to 10:10 a.m. and 1:10 to 1:50 p.m.
There are two days left to see top drivers and manufacturers compete at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca at this year’s Intercontinental GT Challenge California 8 Hours. Visit www.WeatherTechRaceway.com for ticket information. Children 15 and younger are admitted free with a paying adult.
Official event hashtags are #Cal8H and #IntGTC