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GT Academy champ Heitkotter to drive Nissan in first Pirelli World Challenge race at Sonoma

2011 GT Academy USA champion Bryan Heitkotter will make his first start in the Pirelli World Challenge Series in Sonoma, California this weekend.


The 31-year old Fresno native has been impressive in the rival Grand Am Continental Challenge GS class for Nissan Motorsports and Doran Racing; winning two pole positions, a second qualifying spot and three top ten finishes in four starts.


“I am really excited to have a chance to race in the Pirelli World Challenge Series in a new car, a race format utilizing a standing start, at a track so close to my roots. Every new challenge is a chance to grow as a professional and demonstrate what I can do behind the wheel,” said Heitkotter.


Last summer, Heitkotter won the inaugural season of the GT Academy North America TV competition by qualifying in the top 16 video racers, then outlasting the other finalists in various driving and fitness tests in the popular TV series. He went on to race in Europe, earning his international racing license and finishing on the podium for the Dubai 24 Hours, teaming with GT Academy Europe winners in a race prepared Nissan 370Z.


Ron Stukenberg, Senior Manager of Motorsports, Nissan North America, is impressed with Heitkotter’s progress. “No question, Bryan has been fast in the Nissan Motorsports Doran Racing 370Z, and he’s really come along as a racer. I look forward to seeing him get experience in another professional series for Nissan.”


The final weekend of the 2012 Pirelli World Challenge GT and GTS classes concludes with round 12 of the 2012 season at noon pacific/3:00 p.m. eastern on Saturday, August 25. NBC Sports network will air the race on Sunday, September 9 at 3:30 p.m. eastern/ 12:30 p.m. pacific.


The Sonoma Grand Prix Weekend concludes at the challenging road course with IndyCar Series racing.