PWC: 2015 driver/team rundown, GTS


Here’s quick look through the field in GTS, which breaks off to become its own race for Pirelli World Challenge this year after previously being part of the GT races:

  • Blackdog Speed Shop: Michael Cooper (No. 10) replaces four-time series champion Lawson Aschenbach, who has won the last two GTS titles. Cooper should win races and the former TC champion is a great example of advancing within PWC’s classes. Teammate Tony Gaples (No. 11) should be consistent as ever in banking top-10 finishes. Team upgrades to new Camaro Z/28.R from the previous spec.
  • BestIT Racing: Older Camaros here but like Blackdog there’s a title contender in the lineup. Andy Lee (No. 20) seeks return to winning after challenging 2014, and must be considered one of the favorites. Teammate Geoff Reeves (No. 40) returns for a second season and looks to continue gaining experience.
  • Skullcandy Team Nissan: A sleeper entry in Vesko Kozarov (No. 23) in the Nissan 370Z. Might not be the outright fastest but could sneak a podium or two along the way.
  • LG Motorsports: Lou Gigliotti (No. 28) may fare better in the GTS ranks than in GT in his Aston Martin Vantage GT4. Series veteran returns after a brief hiatus.
  • Phoenix American Motorsports: One of two multicar operations running Ford Mustang Boss 302s, and new to PWC, this is a team that should win races, with Andrew Aquilante (No. 32) the most likely win and title contender. Teammates are Preston Calvert (No. 35), who will also run GT Cup presented by MOMO, and Kurt Rezzetano (No. 37).
  • Capaldi Racing: A solid lineup of Ford Mustang Boss 302s. Series veteran Nick Esayian (No. 34) moves teams and cars after winning at Miller last year in a TRG-AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT4. Jack Roush Jr. (No. 60) runs under this banner this year and should bank his first win. Rookie Dan Martinson (No. 33) in his Gear Tie Racing Ford has one of the best liveries in the field, and will look to bank laps and top-10 results, at least initially.
  • Kinetic Motorsports/Kia Racing: Mark Wilkins (No. 38) was desperately unlucky to have not won last year’s title and the popular Canadian would be a popular champ this year. Ben Clucas (No. 36) replaces Nic Jonsson and while relatively unknown in North America, could impress. Kia looks to defend its Manufacturer’s Championship with the pair of venerable Kia Optima turbos.
  • Rehagen Racing/Picture Cars East: Dean Martin (No. 50) was a multiple race winner last year, but needed three different cars to survive a roller-coaster year. He’s back again as a likely race winner and possible title contender in his Ford Mustang Boss 302.
  • Klenin Performance Racing: Veteran Mark Klenin (No. 62) branches out on his own in an Aston Martin Vantage GT4. Generally exciting to watch on starts, Klenin will seek a top-10 points finish this year.
  • GTSport Racing: The Goldcrest Motorsports-run team is expected to be a title contender. Ageless Jack Baldwin (No. 73) remains one of the series’ fastest drivers with Buz McCall (No. 72) adding support as usual. Along with Wilkins, Baldwin is one of GTS’ two preseason title favorites.
  • TRG-AMR North America: Neither Max Riddle (No. 07) nor Derek DeBoer (No. 09) is high on PWC experience, but they should improve over the course of the year.
  • GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing: Jon Fogarty (No. 99) and the team will miss the season-opening races and will develop the Hyundai Genesis coupe for later in the year. When they race, they will play spoiler.
  • A.N. Other Motorsports: GTS is a home to a number of part-time entries who will appear sporadically throughout the year. Look out for more Mustangs, Camaros, Astons and the occasional Porsche or BMW along the way to add to the depth of the field.