***Freedom Autosport’s Chad McCumbee and Stevan McAleer have reverted to a spare Mazda MX-5 for this afternoon’s Continental Tire 120 following a heavy, weekend-ending crash for the No. 25 car in Friday’s second practice session. McAleer escaped injury in the accident, with the team borrowing a car from Alara Motorsports, which was ironically the same chassis McCumbee drove to his first series pole position in 2013 with CJ Wilson Racing.
***Remarkably, McCumbee qualified the No. 43 Mazda 8th in the ST class in the car, which had turned just six laps in final practice prior to the session. Click Here to view the grid.
***Porsche and Chevrolet have been the dominant force at Watkins Glen in Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge competition, having won for the last five years. Porsche 911s won in 2012 and 2013, with Stevenson Motorsports taking victories in 2014-15 with its Camaro and Trent Hindman and Cameron Cassels giving their Bodymotion Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport top honors in the race last year.
***Both the Ford Mustang and McLaren 570S GT4 have received minimum weight adjustments since the last round at Circuit of The Americas in May. The Mustang has been given a 10kg weight break, with the McLaren handed with a 20kg increase. The GS-spec Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport, meanwhile, has a 2-liter increase in fuel capacity.
***The majority of Porsche teams are running to the non-MR GS specifications, with only the No. 4 Team TGM entry and No. 28 RS1 Porsche in full SRO GT4 trim this weekend.
***The Ford Mustang is close to receiving final GT4 homologation, according to SRO Motorsports Group technical director Claude Surmont. “We’re awaiting the final stamped file from the RACB (Royal Automobile Club Belgium, SRO’s Sanctioning Body).” Surmont told Sportscar365 last week.
***Ford Performance Global Director Dave Pericak told Sportscar365 they had to make modifications from the initial car, including relocating the oil tank, to meet the final GT4 specifications. Pericak said he expects to open up customer sales shortly beyond the initial two cars sold to Dean Martin of KohR Motorsports.
***Freedom Autosport and Mazda are hosting Dr. Jonathan Forsberg, the orthopedic oncologist who operated on both of Liam Dwyer’s legs numerous times following an IED explosion in Afghanistan, this weekend. Dwyer credits Forsberg with saving his right leg. “Mazda is kind enough to bring Dr. Forsberg and his family to the race so I can show him what I can do thanks to him saving my legs,” he said.
***Pirelli World Challenge TCA driver Matt Fassnacht is back in the team’s No. 27 Mazda MX-5 this weekend, alongside full-season driver Britt Casey, Jr. The pairing previously drove together at COTA in 2014.
***Turner Motorsport has placed orders for the new BMW M4 GT4 car, which could see the former series champions return to GS competition next year. “We should have the cars toward the end of this season and will begin testing, prep and the driver search for the 2018 season,” said team owner Will Turner. “The testing has proven to show that the M4 GT4 should be a very capable and competitive platform.”
***Check out Andy Blackmore’s spotters guide for this afternoon’s race, featuring all 36 Continental Tire Challenge entries. Click Here to download the guide, which also includes cars competing in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America and Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA and Canada series.
***Watch the Continental Tire 120 live at IMSA.tv starting at 2:15 p.m. ET with commentary from IMSA Radio. FOX Sports 1 will air the race on Sun. July 9 at 10 a.m. ET.