Images: SRO Motorsports Group
Following February’s stunning season opener Down Under at Bathurst, round two of the world tour Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli 2019 heads to California this weekend.
WeatherTech Raceway’s famed Laguna Seca plays host to a record eight full-season manufacturers contesting the California 8 Hours Saturday, March 30.
Mercedes-AMG has an early lead in the Manufacturers’ standings. after a classy double podium in the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12H around Mount Panorama – Australia’s legendary 6.213km race circuit. And Merc’s four GT3s are poised to end Audi’s recent dominance around Laguna Seca.
Laguna Seca’s rollercoaster 11-turn, 3.602km layout provides a formidable test. Its recognised crown jewel is the Corkscrew, a blind downhill chicane featuring a 16% gradient that drops away just as cars approach its first left-hand apex.
Audi are the reigning champs and join the Mercs on the 20-car grid with still competition from international class marques including Bentley, BMW, Ferrari, Honda, Nissan, and Porsche.
The California 8H marks the first Intercontinental GT Challenge outing for the new Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo and Porsche 911 GT3 R.
The SRO Motorsports Group’s caravan next heads to Europe for the Total 24 Hours of Spa July 27, Asia for Japan’s Suzuka 10 Hours August 25, and Africa for the revived Kyalami 9 Hour and the grand finale November 23.
*Laguna Seca literally translates as ‘dry lagoon’ thanks to its position at the bottom of a desert-like bowl flanked on all sides by mountains. This stunning backdrop, located on the Monterey Peninsula some 200 kilometres south of San Francisco, hosted its first California 8H in 2017. It was the venue for SRO’s FIA GT World Championship in ’97 and ’98.
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