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Charlotte Saturday Notebook

John Dagys’ pre-race notebook for Motul 100% Synthetic Grand Prix at Charlotte Roval…

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

***IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship teams have battled mixed track conditions for the majority of the sessions, with rain in the forecast for tonight’s Motul 100% Synthetic Grand Prix at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

***Aaron Telitz said it was his ‘toughest qualifying session” he’s had in a while. The Wisconsin native ended up putting some “love stripes” on the right-side of his No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 as he took the checkered flag en route to his second consecutive class pole and third of the season.

***Telitz wasn’t the only driver to find the wall in qualifying as the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR-19 of Laurens Vanthoor sustained right-rear suspension and bodywork damage after hitting the concrete barriers in the infield. Misha Goihkberg also had damage to his No. 57 Heinricher Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo during the GTD session. Both incidents brought out red flags.

***Telitz believes a wet race would create a “wide open” race, particularly if the track dries up throughout the 100-minute race. “It’s going to be tough to tell when to go to slicks just because of the coloring of the asphalt here. The damp parts and the dry parts look very similar here,” he explained.

***GTLM pole-sitter Jordan Taylor added: “As a driver I rather have it be rain or be dry just to minimize the risk of running on slicks in mixed conditions. But thankfully we had a little bit of that running in it this morning to understand what it would be like. I think it should be an interesting race whatever we see.”

***BMW’s Jesse Krohn praised Charlotte Motor Speedway for adding temporary lighting to the infield portion of the circuit after initially not having any artificial lighting during the Michelin tire test last month. “That really made a difference and I think it made the session safer and more comfortable for everyone,” he said.

***Ryan Hardwick served a five-minute stop-and-hold penalty during qualifying for running two laps while under the red flag during the session. The No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R will roll off fifth in the GT Daytona class.

***Frankie Montecalvo is missing his first WeatherTech Championship race of the season due to the event falling on his rescheduled wedding date. “We decided in April to postpone our original June wedding due to the pandemic,” the AIM Vasser Sullivan driver explained. “Unfortunately, when the updated schedule came out, the Charlotte event fell on our new wedding day. We could not postpone our wedding for a second time.”

***Michael De Quesada, who is filling in for Montecalvo in the No. 12 Lexus RC F GT3 this weekend, will move back to the team’s No. 14 entry for next weekend’s Motul Petit Le Mans and season-ending Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in November.

***While absent for the second consecutive weekends, the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 will return to action for Petit Le Mans, with Alessandro Balzan replacing Toni Vilander alongside Cooper MacNeil Jeff Westphal. Balzan told Sportscar365 that the drive is currently confirmed for the ten-hour enduro at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta only. 

***Porsche factory drivers Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber are planning to stay for Sunday’s Bank of America Roval 400 and watch the NASCAR Cup Series playoff round from the grandstands and be “NASCAR fans” for the day. Charlotte Motor Speedway has been permitted a limited number of spectators this weekend, believed to be in the range of 7,000 fans per day.

***It will mark Tandy’s first in-person NASCAR race since taking the Coca-Cola-liveried Porsche 911 RSR for demo laps around Talladega Superspeedway the day after last year’s Motul Petit Le Mans. 

***Newly crowned GT World Challenge America powered by AWS champions Racers Edge Motorsports could run an Endurance Cup program next year according to team principal Jon Mirachi. “I have an interest in IMSA,” Mirachi said. “As I told HPD, I’m interested in any program that’s properly funded that’s a doable program. I could see an Endurance Cup program and would be interested in that.”

***It’s understood that Racers Edge and RealTime Racing could potentially fill the void in GTD left by Meyer Shank Racing, which will not continue its Acura NSX GT3 Evo program once it steps up to DPi competition with the Acura ARX-05 next year.

***Wright Motorsports looks set to take part in the newly launched Porsche Carrera Cup North America, with team owner John Wright confirming a two-car reservation for next year. The Ohio-based team has been a stalwart entrant in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama. Porsche Motorsport North America President and CEO Dr. Daniel Armbruster confirmed that all 15 type 992-based Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars have been pre-sold.

***The Lexus LC500 will serve as the pace and safety car for tonight’s race.

***NBCSN will carry live coverage of the Motul 100% Synthetic Grand Prix at 8 p.m. EDT, with Kevin Lee, Calvin Fish and AJ Allmendinger in the booth and Parker Klingerman and Dillon Welch reporting from the pit lane.

***Allmendinger, who was confirmed Friday as part of MSR’s lineup for January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, will be pulling double duty as he will driving in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race earlier in the day before jumping into the booth.

***IMSA Radio will also carry coverage with its usual lineup of John Hindhaugh, Jeremy Shaw and Shea Adam.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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