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Jul 02, 2013 - 03:55 PM
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GMG Returns to "Second Home" at Lime Rock
Posted by: newsla on Jul 02, 2013 - 03:51 PM
Sports Cars
GMG Returns to "Second Home" at Lime Rock


Following a four-week break from action in the Pirelli World Championship, Global Motorsports Group (GMG) returns to their “second home” during next weekend’s Northeastern Grand Prix at the famed Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Connecticut. While previous rounds have seen the team running multiple cars in both the series’ GT and GTS categories, Lime Rock will see the team consolidating to GT only, with team regular Bill Ziegler making the move to the Audi R8 LMS. Despite Ziegler’s lack of testing in the car, GMG’s philosophy of complete data sharing among all cars, as well as driver coaching, should serve the Floridian well.

 

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“We’re very happy to see Bill make the move to our Audi R8 LMS program,” stated team owner James Sofronas. “He has so much experience in this series that his input into the Audi program will be extremely valuable, and similarly we look forward to sharing our data with him to get him up to speed as quickly as possible. We were enjoying the development program in GTS with the No. 95, but I think ultimately everyone here realized what a better opportunity existed with our Audi program.”

For Sofronas, racing the No. 14 Mobil 1 / Children’s Tumor Foundation Audi R8 LMS at Lime Rock is somewhat of a homecoming for the driver and team owner. Originally from nearby Pound Ridge, New York, many of James’ early career highlights came from the circuit. From running some of his first ever races at Lime Rock, to taking his first professional podium there, heading to his “original home track” as the Pirelli World Challenge GT point leader is a special feeling. Having gone to school just two hours away in Babson College, many of James’ fellow alumni will be cheering him on.

“Lime Rock has so many special memories for me,” stated Sofronas. “From being the place that really gave me the racing bug, to taking my first big podium, it’s great to return home. I still have many friends and family there who come out for this one, so it’s always a special event where we want to show well.”

Also in search of showing well, Duncan Ende heads to Lime Rock in strong contention for his first podium. During his last visit to a permanent road course in Austin, Duncan’s No. 24 STANDD / Merchant Services, Ltd. Audi R8 LMS showed particularly well. In both Austin rounds, the Los Angeles native was within the top three before running into bad luck. Pulling double duty this weekend with both the Pirelli World Challenge and the American Le Mans Series, Ende hopes to finally come home with some hardware.

“It would be really nice to break through to the podium,” stated the Californian. “We’ve been so close in every round, it’s just a matter of everything finally coming together. Lime Rock has a lot of great memories for me and it’s a track I have a lot of experience at, so I’m hoping all this will translate into good results.”

Heading to Lime Rock for his GT debut in 2013, Bill Ziegler looks forward to debuting the No. 95 Swisher Racing Audi R8 LMS. Having moved on from the GTS Pontiac program after Detroit, the Florida native hopes that his years of experience at Lime Rock will overcome his limited time with the Audi.

“It should be an interesting experience for sure,” stated Ziegler. “The success of GMG’s Audi program speaks for itself, so there’s no doubt I’ll have a great car with a great team. Admittedly, I haven’t had much time in the car so it’s hard to say just what to expect, but luckily Lime Rock is a track I know very well. I really appreciate the team getting everything ready for me and hopefully it will be a great debut.”

Rounding out the lineup will be Alex Welch, returning to the team after skipping the Detroit race due to prior commitments. Welch, who also ran impressively in the No. 08 Spyder / Lasso Audi R8 LMS during the team’s last visit to a permanent road course, is aiming for a podium spot on a track he is very familiar with.

“It will be nice to finally get back on track in the Audi,” stated Welch. “It’s been a long break for me, and I definitely think this is a track where we can all show well. In Austin, we were threatening the top five for much of the event, and this track should be a great place for everything to really break through for us.”

As a homecoming, a debut event, and return to action for the team, Lime Rock will play a crucial role in the team’s championship pursuit. Race one will take place on Friday, July 5, with round two taking place on Saturday, July 6. Live coverage can be seen at www.world-challengetv.com, or you can see television highlights on NBC Sports on Saturday, July 20, at 4PM ET.

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