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PWC Long Beach Weekend Notebook

John Dagys’ Pirelli World Challenge weekend notebook from Long Beach…

Photo: Brian Cleary/PWC

***Rodrigo Baptista returned to action following an overnight rebuild of his No. 3 K-PAX Racing Bentley Continental GT3 after an accident in Friday’s practice that also involved the No. 7 Black Swan Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR of Jeff Ward.

***The Bentley sustained considerable bodywork damage but was otherwise OK.

***The entry list has grown to 21 cars, thanks to the late additions of the No. 71 TruSpeed Autosport Audi R8 LMS of Rocky Moran Jr. and Competition Motorsports’ Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR for Mike Sullivan. It brings the GTS invitational class entry to seven cars, split between three GTS and four GTSA entries.

***TruSpeed’s second Audi missed Friday’s practice session due to engine issues, with the team having replaced the V10 powerplant overnight. Moran Jr. qualified 11th overall.

***Tomy Drissi was due to drive the No. 71 Audi this weekend but the veteran driver’s entry was not accepted by the series. “It is our understanding that Tomy Drissi’s pro license is in good standing therefore he would be eligible. However, our Stewards and management team reviewed Drissi’s two most recent racing suspensions and decided that his entry were it to be made would not be accepted,” WC Vision President and CEO Greg Gill told Sportscar365.

***Tadevic said the decision by PWC came 12 days prior to the event, which forced him to scramble to find an alternative plan. A deal with Moran was only inked on Tuesday afternoon, followed by a shakedown at Buttonwillow on Wednesday for the ex-open-wheel ace, who makes his first professional start since 2015.

***In the only Balance of Performance change this weekend, the Bentley has been given a slight turbo boost increase at the 5500-7000 RPM ranges. As was the case in St. Pete, there is still a 20 kg weight increase for the Ferrari 488 GT3 in Evo specification, when compared to the 2016-spec car.

***The TR3 Racing Ferrari has remained in Evo specification this weekend, as well as maintaining its white livery that debuted in SprintX competition at Circuit of The Americas last month with Jeff Segal and Wei Lu, who claimed Pro-Am class honors in Race 2.

***Team principal Gregory Romanelli told Sportscar365 they now intend to complete the remainder of the Sprint season with Daniel Mancinelli, despite its withdrawal from St. Pete over the BoP dispute.

***K-PAX team manager Darren Law has not ruled out the team’s third Bentley from making an appearance later this year in a customer effort. The team’s original third chassis, an ex-Absolute Racing Bentley, has been put into action following Alvaro Parente’s massive accident at St. Pete, although Parente’s original car is expected to be eventually repaired.

***Law said the team has yet to finalize potential plans for the California 8 Hours at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca although indicated they could potentially debut the new-generation Bentley Continental GT3 at that event. The factory M-Sport squad has entered two 2018-spec Bentleys for the IGTC finale in October.

***Flying Lizard Motorsports is set to return to GT competition later this year, with Andy Wilzoch confirmed for a three-round program in GTA with his Porsche 911 GT3 R, according to Law. The car, which has been upgraded to Evo specification, is expected to begin its limited-season campaign at Road America in June.

***The team’s plans for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, meanwhile, are progressing, with the ex-K-PAX McLaren MP4-12C set to take part in three official pre-event tests in June. Clint Vasholtz will pilot the car, which will run in the team’s iconic Lizard livery with support from Toyo Tires.

***It will mark a busy weekend for the California-based team, which will also be in action at Road America with three of its own cars (Wilzoch’s Porsche GT3 and two Audi R8 LMS GT4 cars) plus supporting the two-car K-PAX Bentley effort.

***DXDT Racing is set to debut its Lamborghini Huracan GT3 in the SprintX round at Virginia International Raceway later this month, with Larry De George and Cedric Sbirrazzuoli slated to drive. The car was listed for the season-opener at Circuit of The Americas but was withdrawn.

***Sbirrazzuoli, meanwhile, is taking part in this weekend’s Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia season-opener in Sepang and is set for a full season in the single-make series, which debuts the Italian manufacturer’s new Super Trofeo Evo.

***TCR manufacturers have expressed interest in taking part in next year’s Long Beach event. The initiative, which is understood to being backed by Hyundai, Honda and Audi, could see an additional PWC class in action on the streets, although dialogue still appears to be in the early stages.

***Daren Jorgensen has parted ways with Cameron Lawrence and Morgan Roush, principals in the newly formed RHC Lawrence-Strom GTS/GT4 operation. Jorgensen, who is attendance at Long Beach this weekend, told Sportscar365 they plan complete the majority of the GTS SprintX season with a revised lineup that will see Brett Strom replace Lawrence at the wheel of its BMW M4 GT4.

***Jorgensen said he plans to purchase a third BMW GT4 car, which could debut in the California 8 Hours later this year. With Lawrence no longer part of the team, Kuno Wittmer is set to rejoin Jorgensen and Strom in one car for the Intercontinental GT Challenge season finale, in pursuit of GT4 Cup title honors.

***Watch the PWC Sprint round live on World-Challenge.com at 1 p.m. ET, with the tape-delayed CBS Sports Network broadcast airing April 22 at 3 p.m. ET.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Binky

    April 14, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    Good call by the series regarding Drissi.

  2. Ryan Lindsay

    April 14, 2018 at 8:20 pm

    I agree, what he did to Amy Ruman in Trans-Am at Mid-Ohio was the most despicable thing I have ever seen in my 36 years of spectating on sports car racing.

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