Michelin GT Challenge at VIR Entry List Notebook

August 14, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – For the second and final time in the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona (GTD) classes step into the spotlight for two hours and 40 minutes of action on the 3.27-mile VIRginia International Raceway circuit.

The entry list for the Michelin GT Challenge at VIR on Sunday, Aug. 25 was revealed today, with a total of 22 cars spread across the two classes. The GTLM entry includes eight cars, with 14 slated to compete in the GTD class.

The race will be televised live on NBCSN at 1:30 p.m. ET, with live IMSA Radio coverage throughout the weekend airing on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com. The IMSA Radio race broadcast also will be carried live on SiriusXM Radio.
Tickets for the weekend are available now at VIRNOW.com. 

Here’s a closer look at the field and the drivers, teams and manufacturers who have enjoyed past success at the picturesque road course near the Virginia-North Carolina border:

Bill Auberlen and Jan Magnussen are the two drivers in the field with the most previous victories at VIR with three wins each – and both also are members of the 50 Great IMSA Drivers list. 

Auberlen, who will share the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 with Robby Foley, won GRAND-AM GT races at VIR in 2002, 2004 and 2005. Auberlen owns 59 career IMSA victories and his next one will tie him with Scott Pruett for most wins all time (60).

All three of Magnussen’s victories were overall wins at VIR. He won the GRAND-AM race in 2007 in a Daytona Prototype and scored back-to-back GTLM/overall wins in 2016 and 2017. Magnussen is sharing the No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R with Antonio Garcia. That 2017 victory is the most recent one for the two-time and defending WeatherTech Championship GTLM champions.

Magnussen also is the active leader in pole positions at VIR. He won the GT-class pole for the GRAND-AM race in 2011 and took the GTLM/overall pole in 2016.

Corvette Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing are the two winningest active teams at VIR with three victories each.

Two of the Corvette team’s wins were the aforementioned triumphs by Magnussen and Garcia in 2016 and 2017. The team’s first win came at the hands of Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin in 2012. Milner and Gavin continue to co-drive the No. 4 Corvette C7.R.

All three of the Ganassi team’s previous victories at VIR came in GRAND-AM Daytona Prototype competition, winning in 2005, 2008 and 2009. Ford Chip Ganassi Racing is looking for its first GTLM win at the track and will have two chances to do it with the No. 66 Ford GT co-driven by Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller and the No. 67 of Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe. Westbrook and Briscoe head to VIR riding a two-race GTLM win streak, scoring back-to-back victories at Lime Rock Park and Road America.

Chevrolet is the winningest active manufacturer at VIR with seven wins at the track. Porsche is currently second with six VIR wins.

Previous VIR Winning Drivers in 2019 Field (16)
Bill Auberlen (3) – GRAND-AM GT – 2002, 2004, 2005 
Jan Magnussen (3) – GRAND-AM DP/Overall – 2007; GTLM/Overall – 2016, 2017
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
Patrick Long (1) – GRAND-AM DP/Overall – 2006 
Oliver Gavin (1) – ALMS GT – 2012
Cooper MacNeil (1) – ALMS GTC – 2012 
Ryan Briscoe (1) – ALMS P2 – 2013
Ben Keating (1) – ALMS GTC – 2013 
Patrick Pilet (1) – GTLM/Overall – 2015 
Nick Tandy (1) – GTLM/Overall – 2015 
Townsend Bell (1) – GTD – 2015 
Bryan Sellers (1) – GTD – 2016 
Corey Lewis (1) – GTD – 2017 
Connor De Phillippi (1) – GTLM/Overall – 2018

Previous VIR Pole-Winning Drivers in 2019 Field (7)
Jan Magnussen (2) – GRAND-AM GT – 2011; GTLM/Overall – 2016 
Tommy Milner (1) – GRAND-AM GT – 2004
Ryan Briscoe (1) – ALMS P2 – 2013 
Nick Tandy (1) – GTLM/Overall – 2015 
Joey Hand (1) – GTLM/Overall – 2017
Richard Westbrook (1) – GTLM/Overall – 2018  
Jack Hawksworth (1) – GTD – 2018 

Previous VIR Winning Teams in 2019 Field (6)
Chip Ganassi Racing (3) – GRAND-AM DP/Overall – 2005, 2008, 2009 
Corvette Racing (3) – ALMS GT – 2012; GTLM/Overall – 2016, 2017
CORE autosport/Porsche GT Team (2) – ALMS PC – 2012; GTLM/Overall – 2015
Turner Motorsport (1) – GTD – 2014
Paul Miller Racing (1) – GTD – 2016 
BMW Team RLL (1) – GTLM/Overall – 2018

Previous VIR Winning Manufacturers in 2019 Field (6)Chevrolet – 7
Porsche – 6
BMW – 5
Ferrari – 5
Lexus – 3
Lamborghini – 2 

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