Amid all the justifiable hype surrounding the Pirelli World Challenge at present, the Grand Touring Sport (GTS) field can sometimes be overlooked. And that’s a shame, because GTS can boast a 19-car entry of its own for the season opener at the Circuit of the Americas this weekend, with an array of KTM XBow GT4s, Ford Mustangs, Chevrolet Camaros, Lotus Evoras, Aston Martin Vantage GT4s, Maserati GranTurismos, the SIN R1 GT4, and now the Ginetta G55 GT4.
The Yorkshire manufacturer has made steady inroads into the American market in recent years through Florida-based Ginetta importer Adolpho Rossi, but this will be their first foray into World Challenge, with a successful Balance of Performance test conducted at CoTA in February.
Stuart Robinson’s Performance Motorsports Group will run the two cars, one for Nick Esayian and the other for 15 year-old Parker Chase, one of the youngest license holders in in SCCA Pro Racing. Texas native Chase, who has previous experience in the open-wheel F1600 racing and Spec Miatas, so impressed Ginetta factory driver Mike Simpson at the BoP test that he was invited back to make his PWC debut with Ginetta.
With prior commitments in the GRC Lites series and IMSA GT3 Cup, it’s set to be a one-off for the time being, but Chase is hoping to make a good impression nonetheless.
“This is my first race in World Challenge and my first race with the Ginetta, so I want to do well and hopefully get on the podium,” he told Racing.GT. “It handles like a big go kart, it’s very responsive. I’ve been driving the Porsche a bit so the power isn’t such a big factor, it’s definitely a lot lighter than the Porsche.”
“I’d like to stay with Ginetta and I know we might do St. Pete, we’ll just have to see as time goes.”
Parker’s father Eric Chase is the CEO of Enertech, a cellular phone infrastructure company operating across Texas, and has been very impressed with what he’s seen so far.
“Ginetta has done a fantastic job of trying to put this together in such a short time,” he said. “We have two cars this weekend running under the Ginetta brand, they have sent help in the form of parts, pieces and staff to help get this done. They’re really committed, you can tell that they want this to be successful.
“In the US you essentially have two choices. If you set your goals on NASCAR you typically come up through all the ranks, including dirt racing and Saturday night racing – it’s a long process before you are running at a national level. We’ve really enjoyed the level of professionalism that surrounds sportscars and road racing, it’s great for Parker to be at a national level event this early in his career.
“It will be very nice if we figure out a way to extend this and do a few more races with these guys. We’re still finding our way with the car, but from the standpoint of finding a group of people to work with, I don’t think we could be happier.”