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Daytona Thursday CTSC Notebook

Tony DiZinno’s news and notes from the Daytona CTSC paddock…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

***Stevenson Motorsports team manager Mike Johnson confirmed to Sportscar365 that the team’s two new GS class Camaros, despite being listed as GS.Rs on the entry list, are brand new Z/28s built by Pratt & Miller with a 7.0L LS7 V8 engine. Of the four built, three are on site. The Camaros were not at the Roar, but tested earlier this week at Sebring.

***BMW of North America, LLC announced a contingency program for BMW teams competing in the CTSC, as well as the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Both the CTSC GS and ST classes are eligible for per-event payments for first, second and third finishing positions, as well as a year-end payout for team or driver titles.

***Bryan Heitkotter, the 2011 Nissan GT Academy champion, has joined the lineup of the No. 33 Skullcandy Team Nissan Nissan Altima in the ST class. He’ll co-drive with Vesko Kozarov, and start fourth for Friday’s BMW Performance 200. Heitkotter has three CTSC pole positions in the GS class for Doran Racing, driving a Nissan 370Z.

***The youngest driver competing here this week is Kaz Grala, all of 15 years old. Grala will roll off 13th in GS and overall, co-driving with Hugh Plumb in the No. 03 Rum Bum Racing BMW M3.

***Fall-Line Motorsports missed out on a sweep of all three practice sessions held Wednesday and Thursday when its No. 46 BMW M3, co-driven by John Edwards and Trent Hindman, was eclipsed by the aforementioned No. 03 BMW on the final lap of Practice 3. Fall-Line’s sister No. 47 (Practice 1) and No. 48 (Practice 2) M3s led Wednesday’s two sessions.

***Steven Bertheau, part of TRG’s 2011 GT-class winning lineup at the Rolex 24, returns to action this weekend in Fall-Line’s No. 47 BMW with co-driver Spencer Pumpelly. The car is only confirmed for this race; meanwhile Bertheau has not raced at all since a serious accident at the Kink at Road America in 2012, driving one of TRG’s Porsche GT3 Cup cars.

***Shelby Blackstock is expected to run eight of the CTSC races for Fall-Line Motorsports in the team’s No. 48 BMW M3, starting this weekend with co-driver Ashley Freiberg. Blackstock, who is also competing in the Pro Mazda Championship for Andretti Autosport, will have several conflicts with his open-wheel schedule.

***Freiberg, who makes her CTSC debut at Daytona, is competing in her first endurance race of any kind. She is only confirmed for Daytona but the Fall-Line team is working for her to compete in further races. She and Blackstock raced against each other in Skip Barber.

***All three of Compass360 Racing’s 2013 full season Touring Car drivers in Pirelli World Challenge are in action in the CTSC race this weekend. Ryan Winchester races in C360R’s new GS-class Subaru WRX-STI, which is down on straight line speed but quick through the infield. Brett Sandberg is part of the No. 7 Rebel Rock Racing Porsche 997 (GS) and Remo Ruscitti races in the No. 04 Autometrics Motorsports Porsche Boxter (ST).

***Compass360’s new Subaru WRX-STI, driven by Winchester and Ray Mason, will start 21st in GS and overall for its CTSC race debut. The team’s four ST class Honda Civic Sis will roll off seventh, 11th, 21st and 33rd in class.

***Mark Wilkins was surprised, but impressed, by the No. 8 Mantella Autosport Aston Martin Vantage’s pace in its first practice sessions. The new team finished fourth in Practice 1, setting an identical lap to the No. 7 Rebel Rock Racing Porsche 997. Unfortunately due to the shortened GS session, the Wilkins/Anthony Mantella pairing will start only 26th in the GS class.

***Shane Lewis is among the double-duty drivers this weekend; his call to race in the Rolex 24 came only when he left for the Dubai 24 Hour race earlier this month. He’ll co-drive the No. 12 Bodymotion Porsche 997 in GS with Andrew Baxter and Mike Bavaro.

***There are 25 drivers racing in both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and CTSC BMW Performance 200. Of the 25, 21 are in the CTSC’s GS class: Eric Curran, Robin Liddell, Andrew Davis, Al Carter, Mark Wilkins, Kyle Marcelli, Andy Lally, James Davison, Shane Lewis, Dane Cameron, John Farano, David Empringham, John Edwards, Spencer Pumpelly, Bill Auberlen, Paul Dalla Lana, Tom Kimber-Smith, Michael Marsal, Charles Espenlaub, Ian James and Max Riddle. The 4 in ST are Terry Borcheller, Mike LaMarra, Randy Pobst and Michael Valiante.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno) is Sportscar365's North American Editor, focusing on coverage of the IMSA-sanctioned championships as well as Pirelli World Challenge. DiZinno also contributes to and other motorsports outlets. Contact Tony

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