Road America CTSC Weekend Notebook

Photo: IMSA/Jake Galstad

***Muehlner Motorsports, which topped the combined time sheets on Friday, features an all-new lineup this weekend in Moritz Kranz and Gabriele Piana. Kranz drives for the team in VLN competition, while Piana is a driver ambassador for the Race Navigators data logging system that the team employs, with both drivers having extensive European experience with the Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport. It marks Piana’s U.S. racing debut.

***According to team owner Bernhard Meuhlner, the change in lineup for this weekend stems from Balance of Performance concerns broached by the team’s full-season drivers Cameron Lawrence and Chuck Quinton. “Since our drivers complained about Balance of Performance and that our car would not be competitive, I said okay, at Road America we want to see how competitive our car is and then we will decide for the three remaining races,” he told Sportscar365.

***Colin Thompson is filling in for Devin Jones in the No. 31 Bodymotion Racing Porsche Cayman, as Jones is set to make his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut this weekend at Watkins Glen in a Chevrolet Camaro SS entered by SS Green Light Racing.

***C360R is back to full strength, with its No. 77 McLaren 570S GT4 returning to action after the team borrowed Motorsport In Action’s No. 68 McLaren for the last two races due to chronic overheating issues for its car. Matt Keegan and Nico Rondet scored driver points at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Lime Rock Park but the team points went to MIA.

***Team owner Karl Thomson said a new engine and radiator has been installed and completed a successful test at Shannonville Motorsport Park prior to arriving at Road America. Its ST class No. 75 Audi S3 also tested at the circuit, located two hours east of Toronto.

***While confirming plans to enter a pair of Audi RS 3 LMS cars in the new-for-2018 TCR class, Thomson admitted IMSA will likely have to restrict the category’s performance. A side-by-side test at Circuit of The Americas earlier this year saw the Audi TCR car lap only 1.3 seconds slower than C360R’s McLaren GT4, both driven by Paul Holton.

***CJ Wilson Racing has yet to determine its 2018 program, with the Texas-based squad reportedly evaluating a move up to the WeatherTech Championship for a potential Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup program. A return to Continental Tire Challenge is also possible, although the team is likely to put its two Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsports up for sale.

***The 2018 schedule, released on Friday, sees the four-hour race, to be held this year at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, get moved to Watkins Glen. Besides the previously announced change of venue from Circuit of The Americas to Mid-Ohio, it is the only change in the calendar for next year.

***Included in the series’ presentation was a timeline of the class structure for Continental Tire Challenge, which indicated a plan to phase out the current ST machinery at the end of 2018, which was confirmed by IMSA President Scott Atherton. “Based on what we’ve seen with the developments in TCR, the development of GT4, [the end of 2018 is] the right time to bring the current ST specification to a close,” he told Sporstscar365, while leaving the door open to revisiting the topic if there was significant demand.

***Customer delivers of the new BMW M4 GT4 are expected to begin by the end of the year, according to BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt, who said they have limited production to an initial batch of 80 cars. “I’m quite sure that they will be sold out at a pretty early stage,” Marquardt told Sportscar365.

***Turner Motorsport has been the first U.S.-based team to confirm orders, with the longtime BMW squad committing to at least two cars for next year, with plans to return to Continental Tire Challenge competition.

***Check out Andy Blackmore’s event Spotter Guide with updated lineups and liveries for the WeatherTech Championship and Continental Tire Challenge here.

***The two-hour Road America 120 is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. CT with live coverage and commentary from IMSA Radio available here.

John Dagys contributed to this report.

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