Summer like temperatures and hot on-track competition under blue skies highlighted Round 6 of the International GT championship season. Up front, the Porsche-Ferrari battle for overall honors went down to the last lap with split victories of less than a second over two races. Positions 3-8 ran lap times within a second of each other over a number of classes. Sprint race 1 saw Mission Foods GT3 Cup Trophy’s THOMAS PANK take overall victory in his Ultra Performance prepared Porsche 3.8 GT3 Cup car by less than a half of a second over Maranello Cup driver STEVE HILL in his Norwood Auto Italia Ferrari 458. The 90 minute enduro would be a repeat of the fierce competition between Hill and Pank, with STEVE HILL and co-driver JASON HART coming out the victors in this second race of the weekend. Pank would go on to win the second sprint race Sunday afternoon, with Hill sidelined with a transmission failure.
Series newcomer, MIKE DUNN debuted in the Stuttgart Cup Cayman category with his beautiful BrandComply sponsored Club Sport 3.8 liter Porsche. Dunn will also race with International GT in the series finale at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX November 1-5. Dunn is looking forward to joining the Series for the entire 2018 season.
In the Mission Foods GT3 Cup Trophy, there was some close and exciting battles going on behind Pank. The two West Coast entrants, SCOTT DAIGER and JEFFREY FREEMAN, both from Seattle, dueled it out with Freeman taking a pair of seconds in the sprint races and Daiger right behind in third. In just his second race in his new GT3 Cup car, BILL RIDDELL was still learning the secrets of car set up, but he teamed with SHANE LEWIS to take a second place finish in the enduro and share the podium with Pank and Daiger. In this third start with International GT, LUKAS PANK continues to improve. The 19 year old son of Thomas just missed the podium, finishing 4th in the enduro and second sprint race. JOHN MAURO in the GT 3.6 finished first in class in sprint race 1 and the enduro. He still leads the Mission Foods GT3 Cup Trophy Championship, but Pank and Freeman gained considerable championship points at VIR to close the gap.
The Norwood Auto Italia team worked hard to gain Maranello Cup podium positions all weekend. STEVE HILL battled for an overall victory in sprint race one and the enduro but gearbox trouble kept him out of sprint race 2. BARRY FROMBERG finished strong with a second in sprint race one and the enduro and a first in sprint race 2 after struggling with a very challenging VIR track. There is no other way to describe COLIN COHEN’S weekend except “tough”. After his Ferrari 458 was the victim of an incident early in the weekend, his crew worked tirelessly to finish a strong third in both the first sprint and the enduro race.
Friday night everyone got together for the traditional International GT reception with chips, salsa and queso provided by Mission Foods. We were honored to be joined by several of our partners from Pirelli and B.R.M. Chronographs.
The 2016 Mission Foods GT3 Cup Trophy champion JOHN MAURO continues to lead the 2017 championship going into the season finale at COTA. At VIR Mauro joined forces with series partner B.R.M. Chronographs to display a great new livery including the B.R.M. watch and logo.
International GT Season Finale at Circuit of the Americas November 1-5, 2017
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