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Pirelli World Challenge at Long Beach preview

Apr 11, 2014, 2:30 PM EST

WC

WEEKEND SCHEDULE

Qualifying: Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET
Green Flag: Sunday, 7:30 p.m. ET

BROADCAST SCHEDULE

Live Broadcast on World-ChallengeTV.com: Sunday, 7 p.m. ET
NBCSN Broadcast: Sunday, April 20 – 5:30 p.m. ET

CLASS BREAKDOWN: GT: 11 cars, GTA: 9 cars, GTS: 20 cars.

FULL ENTRY LIST

DEFENDING LONG BEACH CHAMPIONS: GT: James Sofronas, GTS: Lawson Aschenbach.

TOURING CAR/TCA/TCB SEASON OPENER: April 25-27, Barber Motorsports Park, Birmingham, Ala.

KEY STORYLINES

Triple threat match in GTS

Jack Baldwin (No. 73 GTSport Racing/Goldcrest Porsche) won the pole, Andy Lee (No. 20 Crown7.com / BestIT Racing Chevy) dominated the race, but it was defending GTS class champ Lawson Aschenbach (No. 1 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevy) who ultimately took the St. Pete checkered flag when Lee was held up late by lapped traffic. Aschenbach is your defending race winner at Long Beach and is dead-set on keeping Lee and Baldwin behind him as he looks to open his title defense with back-to-back wins.

Home ground for Sofronas

A native of Villa Park, California, GMG Racing’s James Sofronas (No. 14 Spyder/The Thermal Club Audi) will look to earn his second straight GT win on his home track. Meanwhile, Cadillac Racing’s Andy Pilgrim (No. 8 Cadillac CTS-V.R) has the early championship lead after finishing runner-up in St. Pete to Tomas Enge, who is not competing this weekend. Also, watch for Sofronas’ teammate, Andrew Palmer (No. 21 GMG Racing Audi), who finished third overall and won in the GT-A subcategory last time out; he’s been re-categorized after that run and will now compete in the all-pro class.

Mancuso, Curtis, Pappas lead GT-A

Nick Mancuso (No. 16 Ferrari Lake Forest Ferrari 458 Italia) was impressive in St. Pete with a Top-5 overall finish and a runner-up result in GT-A behind Palmer, so he’ll be out to keep the momentum going. But look for a pair of experienced Long Beach hands to challenge him: Bret Curtis (No. 32 GMG Racing Audi) finished fifth last year at the Beach, while Pappas (No. 54 Black River Caviar Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG) won in GTC in the American Le Mans Series’ 2011 stop at the famous street course.

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