Michelin GT Challenge
VIRginia International Raceway – Alton, Virginia
August 21 – 23, 2020
Race Day/Time: Saturday, August 22 – 1:40 p.m. ET
U.S. Television Coverage (All Times ET): Sunday, August 23 at 10 a.m. – NBCSN, NBC Sports App, NBCSports.com
TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold Coverage: LIVE – Flag-to-flag beginning at 1:30 p.m.
IMSA.com/TVLive Live Qualifying Stream: Friday, August 21 – 5:30 p.m.
IMSA Radio: All sessions live on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com; SiriusXM live race coverage begins Saturday at 1:30 p.m. (Sirius channel 217, XM 202, Internet 972)
Circuit Type: 3.27-mile, 17-turn road course
Race Length: Two hours, 40 minutes
Track Social Media: Twitter/Instagram/Facebook: @virnow
Event Hashtags: #IMSA, #MichelinVIR
WeatherTech Championship Track Records
GTLM Joey Hand, Ford GT, 1:40.211 / 117.5 mph, August 2017
GTD Jeroen Mul, Lamborghini Hurácan GT3, 1:43.391 / 113.9 mph, August 2017
2019 IMSA Michelin GT Challenge Race Winners:
GTLM: Nick Tandy/Patrick Pilet, No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR
GTD: Ben Keating/Jeroen Bleekemolen, No. 33 Riley Motorsports-Team AMG Mercedes-AMG GT3
- GTD Stampede: The GTD field boasts its highest number of entries, 14, since IMSA’s return to racing last month at the IMSA WeatherTech 240 At Daytona International Speedway. At both Daytona and the IMSA SportsCar Weekend at Road America earlier this month, the class saw 12 entries. In Round 3 at the Cadillac Grand Prix of Sebring, 10 GTD cars were entered.
- So Who’s Back? The 2020 Rolex 24 At Daytona-winning team, Paul Miller Racing, returns for the first time since that January victory. Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow will be back behind the wheel of the No. 48 Lamborghini Hurácan GT3. Last weekend, the duo paired up to win a Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America race at Road America. Also returning is the No. 23 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 of Roman De Angelis and team owner Ian James after an unexpected fuel cell leak midway through the Road America weekend forced the team to miss the race.
- A Welcome Return for Taylor: VIR has treated Jordan Taylor well over the years, even though it’s been awhile since his last visit. Taylor made his professional racing debut at VIR in 2007 and scored his first professional victory there in 2011 competing in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series. Taylor also made a cameo appearance in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge in 2014 and earned his first pole position in the series running a Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R. Taylor’s return to the circuit comes as a result of his transition from the WeatherTech Championship DPi class to the No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R with co-driver Antonio Garcia. This won’t be the first time Taylor and Garcia have shared a No. 3 Corvette for a race at VIR, though. Taylor was a late addition to the Corvette driver lineup back in 2014, stepping in for Jan Magnussen who was injured in a crash during practice. Garcia and Taylor finished seventh in that race aboard the No. 3 C7.R.
- Winning When It Matters: BMW dominated the IMSA iRacing Pro Series earlier this year, with the exception of Round 5 at virtual VIR. It was the only race that a BMW M8 GTE did not finish on the podium and now heading to the circuit in real life, the two-car GTLM team hopes that won’t be the case next weekend. Eventual iRacing Pro Series champion Bruno Spengler joins 2018 Michelin GT Challenge winner Connor De Phillippi in the No. 25 BMW Team RLL BMW, while John Edwards and Jesse Krohn – half of the GTLM-winning lineup at this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona – return in the No. 24 BMW. De Phillippi’s victory with then-co-driver Alexander Sims was the first anywhere in the world for the BMW M8 GTE.
- Business As Usual for Lexus: It’s been three wins in three races for AIM Vasser Sullivan and the two-car Lexus RC F GT3 squad is looking to make it four. After the No. 14 Lexus of Jack Hawksworth and Aaron Telitz scored victories at Daytona and Sebring, and their teammates Frankie Montecalvo and Townsend Bell won most recently at Road America, both duos will be looking to recreate the Lexus magic from the 2018 Michelin GT Challenge when the manufacturer claimed its second IMSA GTD victory.
- Lexus: The four AVS drivers have a stranglehold on the championship for both the season-long title and the WeatherTech Sprint Cup. Hawksworth leads 87-86 over Montecalvo and Bell, and Telitz is two points away in third place for the 2020 WeatherTech Championship GTD standings. In the battle for the WeatherTech Sprint Cup, Hawksworth and Telitz are tied for first, leading 100-93 over their teammates.
- Corvette Racing: It’s a similar story for Corvette Racing’s two Chevrolet Corvette C8.Rs in the GTLM category. Strong performances and subsequent victories at Daytona and Sebring, followed by an unexpected last-lap, 1-2 sweep at Road America have vaulted the team up the point standings. No. 3 co-drivers Jordan Taylor and Antonio Garcia are sitting pretty in first place with a 10-point lead, 130-120, over the No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR-19 of Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor, the defending GTLM champions. The No. 4 Corvette of Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner rank third with 117 points.
- Cooper MacNeil and Toni Vilander: Race by race, the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa WeatherTech Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 of Cooper MacNeil and Toni Vilander continues to inch towards the top step of the podium. After respective finishes of fifth, second and fourth at the last three races, could a win be in sight? After announcing a move to the 24 Hours of Le Mans GTE Pro class earlier this week, the pair could have a little extra pep in their step at VIR.
- Paul Miller Racing: Technically, the last time Paul Miller Racing competed in a WeatherTech Championship GTD race – the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January – they won. The team is also no stranger to victory lane at VIR having won with Sellers and Snow in 2016. Although the team has shifted its focus towards the Michelin Endurance Cup, a strong performance in Virginia isn’t out of the question.
Who’s Good Here?
- Bill Auberlen: Will the history books be rewritten at VIR? In search of his 61st IMSA victory, Auberlen has a good shot in Virginia to become the winningest driver in IMSA history. The co-driver of the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 has the most wins of drivers in the field with three, the most recent coming in 2005.
- Porsche and Chevrolet: The two manufacturers are in a category of their own as they duel for bragging rights at VIR. Porsche and Corvette lead the manufacturer win list at seven victories apiece, and both corresponding GTLM teams own three wins in their class. However, while Corvette Racing went back-to-back for overall wins in 2016 and 2017, Porsche GT Team returns to VIR as defending winners.
- Andy Lally: Of the five drivers in the field with two wins at VIR, Andy Lally is the only representative from the GTD field. With wins in 2006 and 2010, Lally returns with co-driver John Potter to go for his 35th career IMSA victory in the No. 44 GRT Magnus Lamborghini Hurácan GT3.
Previous IMSA Winning Drivers Since 2000 in 2020 Field (15)
Bill Auberlen (3) – GRAND-AM GT – 2002, 2004, 2005
Tommy Milner (2) – GRAND-AM GT – 2005, ALMS GT – 2012
Andy Lally (2) – GRAND-AM GT – 2006, 2010
Antonio Garcia (2) – GTLM/Overall – 2016, 2017
Nick Tandy (2) – GTLM/Overall – 2015, 2019
Patrick Long (1) – GRAND-AM DP/Overall – 2006
Jordan Taylor (1) – GRAND-AM GT – 2011
Oliver Gavin (1) – ALMS GT – 2012
Cooper MacNeil (1) – ALMS GTC – 2012
Townsend Bell (1) – GTD – 2015
Bryan Sellers (1) – GTD – 2016
Madison Snow (1) – GTD – 2016
Corey Lewis (1) – GTD – 2017
Connor De Phillippi (1) – GTLM/Overall – 2018
Previous IMSA Pole-Winning Drivers Since 2000 in 2020 Field (7)
Spencer Pumpelly (1) – GRAND-AM GT – 2002
Tommy Milner (1) – GRAND-AM GT – 2004
Jordan Taylor (1) – GRAND-AM GT – 2010
Nick Tandy (1) – GTLM/Overall – 2015
Madison Snow (1) – GTD – 2016
Jack Hawksworth (1) – GTD – 2018
Laurens Vanthoor (1) – GTLM/Overall – 2019
Previous IMSA Race-Winning Teams Since 2000 in 2020 Field (6)
Corvette Racing (3) – ALMS GT – 2012; GTLM/Overall – 2016, 2017
CORE autosport/Porsche GT Team (3) – ALMS PC – 2012; GTLM/Overall – 2015, 2019
Turner Motorsport (1) – GTD – 2014
Paul Miller Racing (1) – GTD – 2016
BMW Team RLL (1) – GTLM/Overall – 2018
Riley Motorsports (1) – GTD – 2019
Previous IMSA Winning Manufacturers Since 2000 in 2020 Field (7)
Chevrolet – 7
Porsche – 7
BMW – 5
Ferrari – 5
Lexus – 3
Lamborghini – 2
Mercedes-AMG – 1