While open-wheel racing will take up the majority of time on the streets of Toronto this weekend, the Pirelli World Challenge is also in action with a doubleheader for the GT, GT-A and GTS classes. Rounds 9 and 10 of the season occur Saturday and Sunday; they’ll air Sunday, August 10 on NBCSN at 1:30 p.m. ET.
In GT, Johnny O’Connell has won three of four street races this season in his No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V.R. The defending class champion is also the defending race winner in Toronto.
Others who’ve podiumed on the street courses this year include Johnny O’s Cadillac Racing teammate Andy Pilgrim, Anthony Lazzaro in the No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 and Andrew Palmer in the No. 21 GMG Racing Audi R8 Ultra. Lazzaro’s teammate, Nick Mancuso in the No. 16 R. Ferri Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italia GT3, also has a GT-A podium on street courses but hasn’t achieved one in GT yet this year.
Those five, plus Butch Leitzinger (Bentley), Road America double winner Mike Skeen (CRP Audi), and guest drivers Nick Tandy (EFFORT Porsche) and Kuno Wittmer (Dodge Viper SRT) will also be some to watch.
The GT-A battle is wide open with five drivers having won a race this year and only Brazilian Marcelo Hahn bagging more than one victory. There are 12 cars entered this weekend.
GTS is also wide open with Kia Racing/Kinetic Motorsports teammates Nic Jonsson (No. 36 DonorsChoose.org Kia Optima) and Mark Wilkins (No. 38 PutOnTheBrakes.org Kia Optima) are separated by only a single point in the championship entering the weekend. Others who should figure into the equation are the other two street course winners this year, Lawson Aschenbach (St. Petersburg) and Dean Martin (Detroit), and veteran Jack Baldwin in the No. 73 RESET-MD Porsche Cayman S.
Juncos Racing continued to bolster its entries in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires by signing Carlos Cunha to pilot a third Juncos Pro Mazda entry for 2018. Cunha, who finished third in the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season on the back of seven podium finishes, joins Rinus VeeKay and Robert Megennis in Juncos’ Pro Mazda lineup for 2018.
Cunha previously tested with the team at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in October and joined Juncos for the Chris Griffis Memorial test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in November, testing cars for both the Pro Mazda and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires teams.
“It’s great to become a part of Juncos Racing,” said the 18-year-old Cunha. “I am really excited to start the 2018 season with Juncos Racing. This fall we did some testing together and from there I was able to see how focused everyone on the team is and I even felt like I became a part of their family in no time. I am confident we will get great results together next year and I look forward to learning and growing more with the team. It will be a huge pleasure and also a great responsibility to carry the number one on my car, thanks to (2017 Pro Mazda champion Victor Franzoni) and I hope to deliver it back to the team at the end of the year!”
Team owner Ricardo Juncos added, “We are excited to add Carlos to our Pro Mazda lineup. From the moment we started testing with him in early October, we knew he would be a great fit for our team. Carlos has been very quick in testing and even had an impressive showing in the Indy Lights car at the Chris Griffis test back in October. He had a great run this past season in the Pro Mazda series and we are confident he will carry that momentum into the 2018 season.”