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CTSC Road Atlanta Weekend Notebook

Ryan Myrehn’s Continental Tire Challenge Weekend Notebook from Road Atlanta…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

***Paul Holton’s pole for this afternoon’s Fox Factory 120 in his Compass Racing McLaren 570S GT4 marked the fourth consecutive IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge pole for McLaren dating back to Road America.

***Since then, Holton has won three poles (Road America, Virginia International Raceway, Road Atlanta) while Jesse Lazare took the top spot for Motorsport In Action last month at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, a race Holton was forced to skip due to his racing commitments in the China GT Championship.

***Thursday’s qualifying saw lengthy pole streaks extended in TCR and ST as well, with and BimmerWorld racing securing their fifth consecutive class poles. Nick Galante’s qualifying effort for BimmerWorld was the ninth pole in ten events for the team.

***BimmerWorld enters the two-hour race in search of its first title in Continental Tire Challenge competition. Galante and co-driver Devin Jones hold a 16 point lead in the drivers’ championship over Mat Pombo and Mike LaMarra in the No. 73 MINI.

***Team TGM drivers Owen Trinkler and Hugh Plumb will secure the GS class teams’ championship by taking the start, while the drivers can win championships of their own by reaching the minimum drive time of 45 minutes.

***The closest championship battle across the three classes is in TCR where Britt Casey Jr. and Tom Long lead their Compass Racing teammates Kuno Wittmer and Rodrigo Sales by just five points.

***VOLT Racing has its race-winning Ford Mustang GT4, the transporter, and all of its equipment up for sale as it expects to take delivery of a new GT4 car and equipment for 2019.

***Team manager Mike Johnson told Sportscar365 that the Alan Brynjolfsson-owned operation is expected to have a full GT4 slate next season in the renamed IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge and possibly the SRO-run GT4 America series. An announcement regarding the team’s plans for 2019 is expected in the next few weeks.

***MIA is looking to return to a two-car operation full time next season. The Canadian squad campaigned two McLarens for most of the 2017 season before scaling down to a single entry for Lazare and Corey Fergus this season.

***The No. 33 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 of Russell Ward and Damien Faulkner has been withdrawn following Ward’s accident in practice on Thursday according to team manager Grant Barclay.

***Barclay told Sportscar365 that the team would be back with two cars next year and confirmed that Ward would pair with Dutch driver Indy Dontje, who has driven for the team in the No. 57 car this year for the majority of the season. Damien Faulkner will not return to the team in 2019.

***Chase Briscoe, along with the rest of Ford’s NASCAR development drivers, return to the Continental Tire Challenge paddock this weekend and does so as a race winner on NASCAR’s newest road course. Briscoe won the first NASCAR race on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval last month to take his first-career XFinity Series win, and credited his time spent racing in IMSA with developing his road racing skills.

***Briscoe has assembled a uniquely diverse resume this season which includes a win in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on the dirt at Eldora Speedway, competing at the famed Chili Bowl Nationals midget race, and starts in sprint cars in addition to his NASCAR and IMSA duties.

***LAP Motorsports owner Luis Perocarpi joins his team’s driving roster this weekend in the No. 52 MINI JCW after the team’s regular driver Colin Mullan got the call to compete at the BRSCC Avon Tires National Formula Ford Championship at Donington Park as part of Jeremy Shaw’s Team USA scholarship program this weekend. Mullan will then take part in the prestigious Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch and the Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone as part of the program.

***For Perocarpi, it marks his first competitive racing start since a club-level race in a MINI following Petit Le Mans in 2016.

***While MINI’s time in IMSA is done with the conclusion of the ST class after this weekend, Perocarpi indicated he hopes to keep his fleet of MINI JCW machines busy next season. Possible destinations are the TC class in WC Vision’s TC America series, formerly Pirelli World Challenge, while options exist in Creventic and rallying as well.

***LAP Motorsports will continue to be involved in IMSA next season with an expected multi-car entry in TCR. It’s understood that the Honda Civic Type R TCR is the leading choice of car for the team.

***Watch the Fox Factory 120 on beginning at 1:25 p.m. EDT. Tape-delayed coverage will air on Oct. 21 at 10 a.m. on FS1.

***Continental Tire Challenge champions, meanwhile, will be crowned this evening at the Chateau Elan Winery and Resort in Braselton, in a night of celebration for the series, which will become the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge next year following a nine-year title sponsorship run from Continental.

John Dagys contributed to this report.

Ryan Myrehn is an Indianapolis-based broadcaster and reporter. In addition to his work covering primarily domestic sports car racing for Sportscar365, he is the lead announcer for SRO America's TV coverage as well as a pit reporter for IndyCar Radio. Myrehn, a graduate of DePauw University, is also the host of Sportscar365's “Double Stint” Podcast.


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