***All four IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship are back in action together for the first time since Road America last month. It’s resulted in a 39-car field, following the withdrawal of CORE autosport’s Oreca FLM09, which reduces the PC field to eight cars.
***Both Jon Bennett and Colin Braun will instead be at the Global Rallycross event at Evergreen Speedway in Seattle this weekend, with Bennett driving and Braun coaching. Scott Anderson makes his debut with the CORE team in the Rallycross Lites class.
***The Ave-Riley AR-2 made its first public appearance on Wednesday (pictured above). The LMP3 car is expected to make its competition debut in the European Le Mans Series later this year, but is on display this weekend as an eligible car for IMSA’s newly restructured Prototype Challenge series, which will feature LMP3 cars in 2017.
***The prospects of a Panoz DPi for next year are increasingly unlikely, according to Panoz DeltaWing team manager Tim Keene. It’s understood an agreement between other DPi manufacturers to allow the low-volume manufacturer in, as well as IMSA’s manufacturer partnership fee, are two of the stumbling blocks.
***The DeltaWing is sporting cooling upgrades this weekend. The nose features new brake ducts, aimed to improve reliability for next month’s Petit Le Mans, which will mark the car’s final race in IMSA competition. Andy Meyrick will rejoin Katherine Legge and Sean Rayhall for the race.
***Keene said they are looking at other places to run the DeltaWing next year, including the possibility of races in Europe.
***Nick Boulle has been a late addition to the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Oreca FLM09, filling in for Kyle Marcelli, who is on Pirelli World Challenge duty this weekend at Sonoma Raceway.
***TRG-AMR has yet to finalize the co-driver for John McCutcheon in the No. 007 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3, as of Wednesday evening. Team owner Kevin Buckler told Sportscar365 that he should have the driver sorted by tonight.
***Mazda is seeking its third consecutive pole, and fourth of the season, while also its elusive first overall victory after several failed attempts this year. The Mazda Prototypes, along with a number of cars in all classes, have received refueling restrictor adjustments.
***The biggest BoP changes are a 10kg weight breaks for the Ligier JS P2 and BMW M6 GTLM, increase in turbo boost pressures for the DeltaWing and both GTE and GT3-spec versions of the Ferrari 488, as well as a 2mm larger air restrictor for the Porsche 911 GT3 R.
***The minimum drive time for Bronze and Silver-rated drivers in GTD, which was reduced from 50 to 45 minutes at VIR, will continue this weekend. The change, according to IMSA, was made after analysis showed a higher fuel consumption than expected for two-hour and 40-minute races. The 60-minute minimum for Bronze/Silver PC drivers remains unchanged.
***Lawson Aschenbach will be attempting to take part in both Saturday’s Lone Star Le Mans race, as well as the PWC GTS round at Sonoma Raceway. The Stevenson Motorsports driver plans to fly directly after the COTA race to California in order to make the 4:50 p.m. PT start time for the race in his Blackdog Racing Camaro.
***The interest level in the Oreca 07 for next year has been high, with the French constructor having been in discussions with between 10-15 teams, although half being current Prototype Challenge entrants. An ORECA spokesperson told Sportscar365 that a number of existing customers, as well as teams currently competing in the IMSA GT categories, IndyCar and Indy Lights, have all shown interest.
***Between two to three Oreca 07 LMP2 cars are expected to be on the grid full-time in the WeatherTech Championship next year.
***Risi Competizione drivers Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander will be appearing tonight at the Pop Austin Champagne Club in downtown Austin for a pre-race event. Fisichella, an internationally acclaimed DJ, will be performing alongside Vilander, as emcee for the evening. The event runs from 8-10 p.m.