The IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship GT-only round at Virginia International Raceway which features the GTLM and GTD classes as the final round of the Sprint Cup aspect of the Championship on 9 October will see an 18 car grid.
The three car GTM grid sees the pair of factory Corvette C8.Rs joined again by the #79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR.
The #79 will see Cooper MacNeil joined by Kevin Estre, the rapid French Porsche factory driver returning to the car for the first time since the season opening Rolex 24 Hours, one of five Porsche factory drivers to have supported the effort so far in 2021.
Mike Skeen Joins Gilbert Korthoff AMG Effort
Gilbert Korthoff Motorsports makes its return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with a new addition to its driver lineup for the Michelin GT Challenge, on 9 October at Virginia International Raceway.
2020 Trans Am TA2 champion Mike Skeen will join Guy Cosmo behind the wheel of the #32 Mercedes-AMG GT3 for his first GTD appearance with the team, but a return to a team he has raced with previously in LMP3:
“I’ve known Gilbert Korthoff through running with them several years ago in LMP3,” said Skeen, who had one victory at Petit Le Mans, second place at VIR and pole position at Mid-Ohio in three races with the team in 2019.
“Their program has been coming together all year. I had some conflicts earlier this season, which is why I haven’t raced with them yet, but I tested with them once before Road America. VIR and Petit Le Mans are the two rounds I was able to do. We’re going to do some testing and then do the race program, and see where we go from there.”
“I’m really excited to have Mike Skeen join us,” Cosmo said. “He’s absolutely at the top of his game, winning everywhere he goes lately. Although we’ve never driven together before, it’s going to be exciting opportunity for that to finally happen, and to work together to continue to develop this Gilbert Korthoff program in WeatherTech competition.”
“I’ve never directly worked with Guy, other than that one test, but we’ve been friends over the years,” Skeen said. “We’ve done only one test together. It’s cool that the opportunity has come up that we can get to work together.”
“I love running in IMSA,” Skeen said. “Obviously, IMSA is a high level of competition, and the AMG is a good all-around car. It’s not the fastest car in a straight line, but it’s a good package and a lot of fun to drive. GTD is as strong as ever, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Mario Farnbacher In For Injured Marc Miller For Gradient At VIR
Till Bechtolsheimer will be partnered by Mario Farnbacher for the IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup at Virginia International Raceway next week.
Farnbacher will make a one-off substitute appearance in the Gradient Racing #66 Unit Nutrition NSX GT3 Evo replacing the British driver’s regular co-driver, Marc Miller, who is recovering from a training accident suffered earlier this week which left him with a ruptured achilles tendon.
“We have made continual improvements this season and I have worked hard to be physically and mentally strong in the car so this injury is beyond frustrating,” Miller explained. “I will continue to help the team prepare for VIR. Till and I will do our usual pre-event track analysis and simulator work ahead of next week’s race.”
29 year-old Farnbacher, will be reunited with the chassis in which he clinched last season’s IMSA WeatherTech Series Championship in GTD alongside co-driver, Matt McMurray. Running under the Meyer Shank Racing banner, Farnbacher finished on the podium six times with two Class victories in 2020.
“First of all I am glad and thankful that Andris thought about me and I hope that Marc gets well quickly,” the Bavarian driver explained. “I hope we can put on a really good performance at VIR and close out the Sprint cup season with a great result.”
Farnbacher has in-depth knowledge of the the former #86 chassis and Gradient Team Manager, Andris Laivins expects the German to keep the team on its steady upward trend.
“Marc has put a ton of effort into making our whole program more competitive this year, and I’m positive with Mario getting back into his championship chassis we can pick right up where we left off last week in Long Beach. Marc is a core part of the team, so I’m really sad he won’t be in the car, but we couldn’t ask for a better sub in these circumstances.”