***Spencer Pumpelly’s run to the overall pole with a lap of 1:55.136 in the No. 28 RS1 Porsche Cayman GT4 MR bested the previous IMSA Continental TireSportsCar Challenge GS class track record by 0.618 seconds. The record had been set most recently last year by Dean Martin in a Ford Mustang GT4.
***This year marks Pumpelly’s fourth season with RS1, which coincidentally won its first race of Continental Tire Challenge competition at Daytona in 2015 with Pumpelly and Luis Diaz behind the wheel in an ST-class Porsche Cayman.
***Carbahn Motorsports made an impressive debut into series competition with Tyler McQuarrie qualifying a remarkable second in the GS class. McQuarrie is set to share driving duties with co-drivers Jeff Westphal and Mark Siegel in their Audi R8 LMS GT4 for the Steve Dinan-led operation.
***VOLT Racing is honoring longtime IMSA participant Johnny Stevenson with a memorial sticker on its Ford Mustang GT4. VOLT’s team manager is former Stevenson Motorsports team manager Mike Johnson.
***Roush Performance/KohR Motorsports team owner Dean Martin told Sportscar365 that the team’s success last year led to increased interest from customers in the offseason. The team is committed to two Ford Mustang GT4s throughout the season and is exploring options for a third car that they have in their possession already.
***Seven of the Multimatic-built Mustangs are set to take the grid at Daytona for the BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona after two took the green flag in the car’s debut last season.
***Murillo Racing will expand to a two-car Mercedes-AMG GT4 effort beginning at Sebring. The team announced plans to campaign a pair of the cars for the full season but delays prevented the second car from arriving in time for Daytona. In the absence of the planned GS class car, the team elected to roll out its ST class Porsche Cayman for the weekend with drivers Tim Probert, Brent Mosing, and Justin Piscitell set to drive.
***It is the only planned outing for the team’s ST entry this year, further reducing the car count for the class in its final year of Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge competition.
***In addition to the ST entry and the GS-class Mercedes GT4 for Jeff Mosing and Eric Fos
s, the team also has an Audi RS3 LMS TCR entry at Daytona for reigning Pirelli World Challenge TCA champion Matthew Fassnacht. The Madison, N.J. native is planning a full season of Pirelli World Challenge TCR racing with the team in this car and is using this weekend as a tuneup. Fassnacht indicated he could make a few more appearances in Continental Tire Challenge this season as well.
***BMW has allocated around 20 of the new M4 GT4s for the North American market, according to BMW North America Motorsport Manager Victor Leleu, who told Sportscar365 that all have been sold, and half already delivered to customers.
***Leleu indicated that additional BMW GT4 cars could join Continental Tire Challenge later this year, as a handful of customers are currently weighing options between IMSA and PWC, amid the series’ move to a SprintX format.
***BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt says interest in the new BMW M4 GT4 has been high, with nearly 50 of the cars already sold out of its initial allotment of 80 for this year. “So far, we’ve had really good feedback,” he told Sportscar365. “The cars are running well and people like them.”
***Two of the BMW GT4 cars make their North American competition debuts this weekend, fielded by BimmerWorld and Classic BMW.
***Quest Racing could debut a second Mercedes GT4 as early as the next round at Sebring. The newly formed team, run by Eric Bachelart and Alexandre Premat, is run under the Ramsey Racing banner this weekend, for car owner Mark Ramsey.
***Defending PWC GTSA champion George Kurtz has a big presence at Daytona this weekend both as a driver and as a sponsor. Kurtz is set to drive a GMG Racing-prepared Audi GT4 in Continental Tire Challenge, and the company he co-founded, Crowdstrike, is a sponsor on both of the United Autosports Ligier JS P217 machines that will compete in the Rolex 24.
***Kurtz and Crowdstrike have supported a Zak Brown-led initiative before, serving as an associate sponsor on Fernando Alonso’s McLaren-backed Dallara-Honda at the Indianapolis 500 last May.
***Compass Racing team owner Karl Thomson said interest in the TCR platform has been huge. The team swept the top three spots in qualifying with its three Audis, with Thomson crediting their experience with the car in PWC last year, which saw Paul Holton claim the TC class championship.
***Thomson expects to have a solid presence in PWC again this year and indicated that the team is evaluating a SprintX program to go alongside its efforts in the touring car ranks.
***LAP Motorsports team owner Luis Perocarpi recently returned from a trip to the Dakar Rally as a guest of the famous rally raid’s organizers. A longtime enthusiast for the event, Perocarpi got an all access experience of the classic rally with an eye on competing in the race himself in the future.
***When asked how soon that program might come together, Perocarpi said, “Why not next year?”
John Dagys contributed to this report.