A season-low entry of 26 cars is set for this weekend’s IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
Saturday’s two-hour race, the penultimate round of the season, will see the lowest grid numbers of the year in both the GS and TCR classes, with several teams electing not to make the trip to the west coast amid an increased surge of COVID-19 cases nationwide.
Eighteen GT4-spec cars are entered, down from the 22 that took part in the most recent round at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta while the TCR class will have an eight-car entry after 13 cars last time out.
Among notable teams that will not travel to California include Automatic Racing (Aston Martin Vantage GT4), M1 Racing (McLaren 570S GT4), Atlanta Speedwerks (Honda Civic Type-R TCR), while LA Honda World Racing will field only a single entry.
Ford Performance development driver Hailie Deegan has replaced Scott Maxwell in the No. 22 Multimatic Ford Mustang GT4 alongside full-season driver Seb Priaulx.
Deegan will be making her second Pilot Challenge start of the season following the season-opener at Daytona in January.
Another driver change has been made in the No. 82 BimmerWorld BMW M4 GT4, which sees Mike Skeen in for Greg Liefooghe, who has been subbing for the injured Devin Jones.
Sameer Gandhi, meanwhile, takes the place of Mark Siegel in the No. 93 CarBahn Motorsports Audi R8 LMS GT4.
Jeff Westphal and Tyler McQuarrie, in CarBahn’s sister No. 39 Audi, is the only driver pairing with a realistic chance of denying KohR Motorsports’ Kyle Marcelli and Nate Stacy the drivers’ championship in GS.
The Aston Martin Vantage GT4 duo hold a 20-point lead heading into the weekend, with a maximum of 70 points still up for grabs in the final two races.
TCR sees a closer-fought championship battle, although between three driver pairings from Bryan Herta Autosport.
Mason Filippi and Michael Lewis have an eight-point lead over Gabby Chaves and Ryan Norman, with Harry Gottsacker and Mark Wilkins a further two points behind.
Road Shagger Racing’s Gavin Ernstone and Jon Morley hold an outside chance of the title, with pairing 18 points behind the No. 98 BHA Hyundai Veloster N TCR duo.
No changes have been made to the TCR compensation weight for Saturday’s two-hour race, with both the Hyundai and Audi RS 3 LMS TCR both remaining on 50 kg of additional weight.
IMSA has also not published any Balance of Performance adjustments for the GS class.
Track action kicks off with a pair of practice sessions on Friday, with qualifying set for Saturday morning and the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca 120 getting the green flag at 3:35 p.m. PDT, with live coverage on Trackpass on NBC Sports Gold and IMSA Radio.