by John Dagys @ sportscar365
Lawson Aschenbach held off Gabriele Piana for victory in Saturday’s Pirelli World Challenge GTS Sprint season-opener in St. Pete for Blackdog Speed Shop.
The defending class champion took his No. 1 Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R to a 0.547-second win over PWC debutant Piana, who started his Muehlner Motorsport Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR from pole.
Aschenbach got around Piana for the lead on Lap 2 and held the Italian driver at bay, despite heavy pressure at times throughout the 50-minute race, which saw sprinkles of rain.
by John Dagys @ sportscar365
Gabriele Piana will start this afternoon’s Pirelli World Challenge GTS season-opener from the pole, taking Muehlner Motorsports to the top spot in an incident-filled qualifying in St. Pete.
Piana pedaled his No. 21 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR to a pole-winning lap of 1:18.454 narrowly edging out the No. 14 Audi R8 LMS GT4 of James Sofronas by 0.099 seconds.
The No. 55 PF Racing Ford Mustang GT4 of Jade Buford was third quickest.
It marked Piana’s first career pole in both the Swiss driver and team’s PWC debuts.
John Dagys @ sportscar365 wrote:
„Gabriele Piana put the No. 21 Muehlner Motorsports Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR on the top of the GTS time charts Friday in St. Pete, following the opening day of practice for this weekend’s Pirelli World Challenge season-opener.
The Swiss driver reeled off a best time of 1:19.099 in the second practice session, improving on his pace-setting time from the morning session by more than one-tenth.
Piana was 0.263 seconds quicker than the No. 55 PF Racing Ford Mustang GT4 of Jade Buford in second, with defending GTS class champion Lawson Aschenbach third quickest in his No. 1 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R.
GTS qualifying is on tap for 9:40 a.m. ET on Saturday, followed by Race 1 in the afternoon.“
For Muehlner Motorsport and Muehlner Motorsports America the 2017 season was one of the most successful seasons in the very long team history. The team was able to secure 15 wins, 6 second places and 1 third place while competing on both sides of the Atlantic in VLN, ADAC 6h and 24h Nuerburgring, IMSA and PCA with its Porsche Cayman GT4 and 911 GT3 fleet.
M-Service America will be again involved in the PCA series in 2018, providing services to customers but also offering seats in Porsche 911s. A 997 GT3 Grand-Am with RSR gear box and a 991 GT-America with 4,0l engine are available.
Beside this, Muehlner Motorsports America is also offering their professional services for the Porsche Cayman GT4 Trophy East operated by PCA.
Two Porsche Cayman GT4MRs will be run 2018 in the Pirelli World Challenge GTS (GT4) Series, in Sprint and SprintX. If requested a Driver Coach, who could be also the 2nd driver in the SprintX races, could be available.
The high professional Muehlner Motorsports America Team will also be available as service and operation team for the GT3 class of PWC.
Of course the Team is also monitoring the IMSA programs (Championship, Challenge and Cup Challenge) beside the PCA and PWC efforts.
Daytona Beach: As already in 2016 Muehlner Motorsports America participated also this year in the season finale of the Porsche Cayman GT4 Trophy East. As a support event to the PCA Octoberfast at Daytona the format of the Porsche Cayman GT4 Trophy East has two Sprint Races on Saturday and a 70 minute Enduro Race on Sunday. Moritz Kranz, one of the three drivers who won the German Porsche Cayman GT4 Trophy for Mühlner Motorsport in Europe, raced his first time at Daytona, but he was able to win both Sprints and the Enduro as well.
“We participated again in the season finale of the Porsche Cayman GT4 Trophy East to offer our professional services to interested customers. On the other hand we gave Moritz the chance to get experience with the banking at the Daytona International Speedway, so that he is well prepared for races at Daytona in the future,” explained Bernie Muehlner the sense behind the participation in this Porsche mono make Trophy, which is very similar organized as the other Porsche mono make Challenges and Cups up to the Porsche Supercup.