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World Challenge GT - Baldwin On Pole At Sonoma

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SONOMA, Aug. 25, 2012: Jack Baldwin and Team Hot Wheels™ won their first career Pirelli World Challenge pole in the No. 68 Hot Wheels®/GTSport Racing Porsche Cayman S Friday in qualifying for today’s season-ending Grand Prix of Sonoma.

Baldwin clocked in at 1:43.127 (83.257 mph) on the hilly Sonoma Raceway circuit to take the top qualifying spot in the GTS class, another milestone in what has been a competitive first-year of competition for the new GTSport Racing team and its partners Hot Wheels®, InvoicePrep, Voodoo Ride, StopTech and Goldcrest Motorsports.

Baldwin and Team Hot Wheels™ scored their first victory on the streets of Long Beach this past April – the first major race victory for a Porsche Cayman S – and have challenged for the GTS championship all season with a run of success that has seen at least one podium finish in four of the last six Pirelli World Challenge events.

“All of us at Team Hot Wheels™ and GTSport Racing showed up ready to compete at each and every race this season and we are going to see it through right to the end, right to last lap and checkered flag,” Baldwin said. “Getting a pole in the last qualifying session of the year was just fantastic and I know we can convert that into our second race win too. I am just proud of everybody involved with this great Hot Wheels® Cayman team.”

As it has all year, team work paid off for Baldwin and GTSport in the first two days of on-track activity at Sonoma.

“We’ve got a really good race car,” Baldwin said. “That’s what we did Thursday we worked on the car that way. I’m not surprised, I knew we were going to go a little faster but I didn’t know what everyone else was going to do. But I don’t really look at everyone else, I look at us and say we’re going to do the best we can do today, and that’s what we can do. I’ve got a great crew, I’ve got a really good engineer, Steve Ruiz, that I communicate really well with. That’s what it’s all about.”

Baldwin and Team Hot Wheels™ have seen success before at Sonoma but it has been a long time.

“It’s interesting, the last time I was here was 20 years ago, almost to the month,” Baldwin said. “I clinched my Trans-Am Championship here in 1992 driving the Hot Wheels® Camaro. Now here we are and I’ve got my first Pirelli World Challenge pole. I’ve been on the front row a lot but I’ve never gotten the pole. It’s great. Your windshield stays cleaner longer!”

The GT/GTS race at the Grand Prix of Sonoma will go off from a standing start at 12:00 Noon PDT/3 p.m. EDT today, Saturday, August 25. The scheduled distance is 27 laps (64.395 miles) around the 2.385-mile circuit, but the race is subject to a 50-minute time limit.