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Utah Thursday Notebook

John Dagys’ Thursday PWC notebook from Utah…

Photo: John Dagys

***Jeroen Bleekemolen set the pace in Thursday’s promoter test day for SprintX competitors, with the Dutchman taking the No. 54 Black Swan Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 to a quick lap of 1:49.003 in the second session. The No. 31 TR3 Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 and No. 2 CRP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 completed the unofficial top-three on the day.

***All three times from the afternoon were quicker than the morning’s pace-setting time from the No. 93 RealTime Racing Acura NSX GT3 of Peter Kox and Mark Wilkins, which was unofficially clocked at a 1:49.337 lap.

***The No. 88 Absolute Bentley Continental GT3 missed the morning session due to a gearbox sensor issue, with Vincent Abril getting his first laps of Utah Motorsports Campus in the afternoon. The Bentley factory driver is fresh off a runner-up finish in last month’s Total 24 Hours of Spa with the M-Sport squad.

***The No. 07 Dream Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3, which was again on the entry list, is a no-show, with the Las Vegas-based team again focusing its efforts on the No. 55 Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo entry for Yuki Harara and Alessandro Bressan, which leads the SprintX GT Cup points.

***Longtime TRG drivers Drew Regitz and Kris Wilson, meanwhile, have teamed up in the No. 013 R. Ferri Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 in GT Am-Am, a class that also sees the return of M1 GT Racing with its Audi R8 LMS for James Dayson and Jason Bell.

***A total of 32 cars are currently on the SprintX entry list, although Truspeed Autosport is working to enter one of its Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars for Tom Haacker and Sloan Urry. Urry told Sportscar365 that he’s hopeful of the last-minute deal materializing, which would mark his first pro start of the year.

***Urry teamed with Haacker and James Slavik to win last weekend’s NASA Utah 6 Hour Western Endurance Racing Championship at Utah Motorsports Campus, also in a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car.

***Memo Gidley made a welcome return to the PWC paddock on Thursday, as the Californian turned laps in TKO Motorsports’ Porsche 911 GT3 R, which was entered for the test day only. It’s understood the Dave Traitel-owned team is eyeing an entry for the season finale at Sonoma Raceway next month.

***RealTime Racing lent a helping hand to fellow Acura squad Michael Shank Racing during last weekend’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at Road America, when its No. 93 Acura was rebuilt following a heavy crash. RTR team manager Nathan Bonneau and crew chief Michael Busalacchi assisted with the efforts.

***The GTS grid has been reduced to an 17-car entry for this weekend, with the sole ANSA Motorsports KTM X-Bow GT4 of Bill Ziegler not turning up. It marks the first time since 2014 that the Florida-based team, which won the drivers’ championship last year with Brett Sandberg, is missing a PWC weekend, and first since moving into the GTS category last year.

***Mantella Autosport again fields only a single X-Bow for Martin Barkey due to Anthony Mantella’s suspension for an off-track altercation at Lime Rock Park in May. Mantella has been suspended until the end of the season, according to a PWC spokesperson.

***Craig Stanton is back in the PWC paddock, in a unique one-off entry from DG-Spec Racing, which is giving the Toyota GT86 Cup car its North American race debut in TCA. The TMG-built car, which was on display at the SEMA Show last year, has recently made appearances at auto shows across North America.

***The former PWC TC championship-winning team, led by Dan Gardner, has salvaged parts from a Scion FRS used in the 2016 Toyota Pro Celebrity race that was driven by Mike Skinner, for spares. A sign reading “Drive Like Earnhardt Would” that came from Skinner’s car is on the shifter of Stanton’s Toyota.

***Stanton is doing double duty, as he is also the series-provided driver coach for Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA, which is staging round 5 of their 2017 championship at UMC this weekend as part of the PWC event.

***Pirelli’s new-for-2017 P-Zero DHD compound is likely to be introduced into PWC in 2018. Multiple team sources have indicated that the tire, which debuted in the Blancpain GT Series this year, would replace the DHC compound currently used on all GT3 cars. PWC Director of Competition Marcus Haselgrove told Sportscar365 that it would be a decision that would come from the tire manufacturer, and that no announcements have been made.

***Having being a marked improvement and step forward in development, the DHD compound has typically excelled on front-engined cars in Blancpain GT, with the Lamborghini Huracan GT3, and to a lesser extent, the Audi R8 LMS and McLaren 650S GT3 occasionally struggling to find the same balance.

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

18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Dave

    August 10, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    What happened with Mantella John?

    • John Dagys

      August 10, 2017 at 9:57 pm

      Like the notebook says, he was involved in an off-the-track altercation and was suspended by the series.

      • Dagys started it.

        August 10, 2017 at 10:44 pm

        Well since John wants to open the can of worms…….

        Greg Gill CEO of PWC suspended me without consulting the Stewards for telling the Case it drivers (under their tent) they were Shitty F@&$:;:G drivers for not obeying race controls order *and also* one of my team members going to their pit box to tell them not to effect the race when the “Green flag flew” after a yellow.
        I was running in third place and Cassels and Merzon wouldn’t get out of the way.
        They were running in Last and Second last.
        I went from third to sixth after picking up marbles trying to get by.
        Finally after a long while Peter Roberts finally handed down a ruling after I asked him to. I really didn’t think Peter would agree with Gill but again it’s his job to agree with the CEO when sponsorships money is at risk.
        Yes. Case IT is a sponsor of the series. (Form your own opinion about sponsors racing and the possibility of manipulating the outcome)

        The series made good money from throwing me out as well. As per the rules they get to keep most of the entry fees pre paid regardless of the reason for leaving.
        Entry fees for the season are 40k +.
        I didn’t lay a finger on anyone…. hurt some feelings and got suspended for the season.
        The longest anyone has been suspended for in NASCAR for ACTUALLY fighting is two races from what I’ve read.
        Politics.
        Oh. And then there is Baptista’s behaviour at Mosport that almost took me out much like he took Fred Roberts out at Mid O two weeks ago.
        But that’s a story for another time.

        • daedalus

          August 10, 2017 at 11:09 pm

          I think the main problem with PWC is that there is no separation of powers between the commercial arm of the series and the rule making portion. F1 has FIA for rules and formula1 limited for the commercial side. Neither side can tell the other what to do with their Rules or sponsorship.

          IMSA and NASCAR also has this problem as well. The decision to award fines or bans should be with USAC the sanctioning body of PWC. Greg gill should not even have any sanction powers, it’s not as if you’r an employee of PWC, your a customer.

          if it were me i’d give you a slap on the wrist and a fine for swearing at another competitor and leave it at that. But in the USA it seems money is worth more than fair play.

        • D.B.

          August 11, 2017 at 1:08 am

          Didn’t you also get suspended for attacking a driver at CotA last year?

          http://johndagys.wpengine.com/world-challenge/pwc-weekend-roundup-cota/

          • Dagys started it

            August 11, 2017 at 3:02 am

            “Attacking” no.
            Again the driver did a stupid thing and tried to pass inside the apex when I was already at the apex and T boned me.
            That driver got a shove on the shoulder and a WTF while sitting in his car.
            So. Physical contact was made. Yes. “Attacking” no.
            One race suspension served.

        • Pete

          August 11, 2017 at 11:30 am

          Wow, there’s a trend there and he doesn’t see it. That behavior doesn’t belong anywhere but UFC. Some horrible entitlement issues Anthony? 😤 I hate reading about drivers complaining about other drivers. Especially when they think it’s everyone else’s fault. You drivers are incredibly lucky to have the means to just be able to do it.

          • jiggin

            August 11, 2017 at 11:50 am

            I thought I remember hearing that an ANSA(?) crew member got pushed or shoved to the floor and there was blood involved…..

  2. Joey

    August 10, 2017 at 9:46 pm

    Anybody know what happened with Marbella

  3. Joey

    August 10, 2017 at 9:47 pm

    Anybody know what happened with Mantella

  4. screwxbow

    August 11, 2017 at 9:01 am

    Sounds like someone is arrogant and has anger issues.

    Also drives a freaking kit car that shouldn’t even be allowed.

    You can’t buy the complete car for the street and the street car has no top.

    Regardless, you have anger issues it seems.

    • Sol Shine

      August 11, 2017 at 9:50 am

      Dude, people get “passionate” about racing, it’s a sport that brings that out. Not saying it’s good, but if you’d ever done it and had your race trashed by an idiot, you’d understand his reaction. What he described happened on track was a legit beef and it was incredibly ignorant of the other drivers involved.

      I do agree with you about the car though, in fact the whole GTS class has just become a sham. What with supercars like $300K McLarens and Maseratis and track day cars like the SIN and XBow and the Cayman GT4 that was never for sale to anyone except legit racing teams racing against low end muscle cars like Mustangs and Camaros. It’s just silly, and it’s so easy for PWC to manipulate the results it’s just pathetic. Is it a popularity contest or a money contest? Fake racing is alive and well.

      • daedalus

        August 11, 2017 at 10:40 am

        If you don’t like diversity go and watch a spec series.
        There seems to be allot of people getting but hurt because the former GTS series which was mostly a muscle car series but now with GT4 they are just one of a mix of cars and they can’t stand that sometimes they are beat by cars that are 100hp down but lighter and more agile.

        The old GTS class was a failure, car counts were falling, people were leaving so they made the decision to adopt GT4. And now the GTS grid is large enough that they have their own race instead of being lumped with GT.

        The racing in GTS is fantastic, better than GT even as they have little aero wash, the BOP is near perfect. The only thing they could do better is encourage more drivers to commit to a full season.

      • Pete

        August 11, 2017 at 11:32 am

        Your argument is that GTS is a sham because ‘low-end muscle cars like Mustangs and Camaros’ have to compete against supercars and track day toys.

        Remind me, what car is currently dominating in the drivers’ championship?

        I want close racing, and the GT4 platform has certainly given us that. I say the more manufacturers the merrier. I love the diversity.

  5. Pete

    August 11, 2017 at 9:22 am

    This is a cool place.

  6. Noel

    August 11, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    In regards to suspending a driver for the rest of the season, seems to me the series decided this was not an isolated incident given the altercation at COTA last year. They certainly seem to think it’s a pattern, hence the harsh suspension. Hard to blame them, really.

  7. Scott F

    August 14, 2017 at 9:33 am

    Can’t block me here Dagys! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  8. Rick Johnson

    August 14, 2017 at 9:50 am

    All of this anger over amateur sportscar racing that no one watches…jeez.

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