Teen Harry Gottsacker Set to Battle for GTS title in SIN R1 GT4
Young Harry Gottsacker may only be 18 years old, but the talented racing teenager could be in the mix for the highly-competitive GTS division championship of the Pirelli World Challenge road racing series, when the season kicks off in the streets of St. Petersburg March 9-11.
Gottsacker, a world champion in karting at age 14 at Daytona International Speedway, has already represented the U.S.A. karting team in Italy at the World Championships Finals, competed in Red Bull Global Rallycross and driven in the British GT sports car series.
Now, that racing experience at a young age could pay off as Gottsacker also proved his worth last year in the Pirelli World Challenge by winning a race in the GTS class and a pole position over a strong field at the famed Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Harry’s strong showings in GTS last year caught the eye of Racer’s Edge team owner Jon Mirachi, who was impressed by his speed and maturity on the track. And Gottsacker continued his karting where he won the Grand National Champion title for 2017.
Concentrating on one series and one championship run has the teenager set for 2018 with the PWC race-winning team of Racer’s Edge Motorsports from Florida. The Racer’s Edge contingent has won seven GTS races in the past two years in the potent SIN R1 GT4 car.
“Settling down and focusing on one series will be important to me,” said Gottsacker, who also is an Eagle Scout. “I have been bouncing around with world karting races, Global Rallycross and then the British GT series. I came back into PWC late last year and I ran well. I just graduated from high school and will take some college classes in between my racing campaign. With this new program, I believe I can concentrate solely on working with a top-notch professional organization and a fast race car.”
Gottsacker knows it will not be an easy trek in his search for the coveted 2018 GTS point title with the likes of talented drivers such as five-time PWC series champion Lawson Aschenbach (Blackdog Speed Shop Chevy Camaro), Ian James (Team Panoz Racing Panoz Avezzano GT), James Sofronas (GMG Racing Audi R8 LMS GT4), Jade Buford (PF Motorsports Ford Mustang GT4), Nate Stacy (KohR Motorsports Ford Mustang GT4), Drew Staveley (Lacy Racing Ginetta G55), Jeff Courtney (Kenda/JCR Maserati) and 2018 GTSA champion George Kurtz (CrowdStrike/GMG Audi R8 LMS GT4).
“The SIN R1 is a very aggressive race car and it should continue to do well against all the different makes in GTS, he said. “You have the Camaro, Mustang, Porsche, Panoz, Mercedes, Ginetta, Maserati, BMW, KTM, Audi and Aston Martin. That is a lot of competition and the GTS class has a lot of talented drivers like Lawson (Aschenbach), Ian James, Jade Buford and others. I expect some great wheel-to-wheel action in 2018.
I’m excited to return to the Pirelli World Challenge this year with the SIN R1 GT4. The car has won races the past two years in GTS and it has proven to be fast at almost all of the tracks on the PWC circuit. This will mark the first full year I’ll get to run for the championship and I have a top team in the Racer’s Edge Motorsports group. So, I feel like I can continue the team’s winning trend in 2018 with more victories. I think the potential is really there to challenge for the GTS title.”
With the strong competition in the GTS class for 2018, Gottsacker has been working hard in the off-season to be ready to go in the SIN R1 GT4 when the green flag drops on Saturday’s 50-minute sprint feature at St. Petersburg.
“I have been training hard for the 2018 season and racing against top guys in karting, even some former F-1 and IndyCar guys in Florida,” said Harry. “So, those events have raised my potential for the future. You learn such great race craft competing against those guys like Rubens Barrichello and Nelson Piquet Jr.”
The 2018 Pirelli World Challenge GTS road racing schedule begins in the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., March 9-11 followed by COTA March 23-25, VIRginia International Raceway April 27-29, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park May 18-20, Lime Rock Park May 25-28, Road America June 22-24, Portland International Raceway July 13-15, Utah Motorsports Campus August 10-12 and Watkins Glen International Aug. 31-Sept. 2.