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COTA TUSC Friday Notebook

Tony DiZinno’s Friday TUSC notebook from Circuit of The Americas…

Photo: Tony DiZinno

Photo: Tony DiZinno

***After their accident in third practice, both the No. 88 Starworks Motorsport and No. 16 BAR1 Motorsports Prototype Challenge cars have been withdrawn from the remainder of the weekend at Circuit of the Americas due to tub damage. It will drop the PC class from nine cars down to seven, and reduce the field from 38 cars to 36 cars.

***Adding insult to injury, the accident between the two cars saw Todd Slusher take out his driving coach, Sean Rayhall. Also coincidentally, Rayhall’s only previous TUDOR Championship starts this year came for BAR1, while he drove for 8Star Motorsports last year and in the Indy Lights championship this season. He was seeking to make his first start for Starworks.

***On an 8Star Motorsports note, both team manager Gary Neal and lead engineer Yves Touron are on site at Circuit of the Americas this weekend, exploring potential options and customers for 2016. While 8Star has not made any sports car starts this season, Neal told Sportscar365 the team hope to run either or both of the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with a car to be determined.

***The new Audi R8 LMS has been on display throughout this weekend in the paddock. A funny moment occurred Friday morning when Magnus Racing, which has not confirmed its 2016 car choice, had its cart take the new Audi into the paddock area and Park Place Motorsports’ Spencer Pumpelly tweet a picture of the occurrence.

***Michael Shank told Sportscar365 the team will run three drivers at Petit Le Mans, unlike last year when both Ozz Negri and John Pew ran the 10-hour race at Road Atlanta without a third. An announcement on the third driver is expected next week.

***Shank also told Sportscar365 the team’s Justin Wilson tribute livery, which will be featured in pre-race activities on Saturday, may also run at Road Atlanta. A number of fans have expressed to Shank via social media their desire to see the car on site at Road Atlanta, beyond here at Circuit of the Americas this weekend.

***Dr. Jim Norman, who drives one of the BAD Lambo Racing Lamborghini Huracán LP 620-2s in the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America championship, run by Park Place Motorsports, is hopeful of driving for Park Place at Petit Le Mans in two weeks. Norman has not started a TUDOR Championship race since the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

***Park Place team principal Patrick Lindsey told Sportscar365 he hopes to have concrete news on at least one of his team’s 2016 programs by the end of next week. Lindsey will head to Porsche Rennsport Reunion V at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca next weekend.

***The No. 07 Mazda SKYACTIV Diesel Prototype did not run in third practice Friday morning, with Joel Miller telling Sportscar365 the team opted to save mileage on the engine and avoid the heat of the morning. Apparent turbo issues also affected one of the Mazdas on Thursday, although the No. 70 Mazda ran 17 laps in Friday morning practice.

***Risi Competizione hosts University of Texas journalism students for a hands-on, full-immersion experience under pressure and to professional standards during the Lone Star Le Mans race week. The students will be given the opportunity to write their own stories and manage the Risi Competizione website and social media outlets for the race weekend, as well as photography support.

***Progress continues in the repave at Watkins Glen International, with the track noting surface changes and new pit boxes being laid out at the historic road course in New York’s Finger Lakes region.

***Mazda Motorsports held two STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) presentations on Tuesday at Anderson High School in Austin, and has been active with all four of its drivers at multiple events this week.

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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