Connect with us

WeatherTech Championship

COTA TUSC Pre-Race Notebook

Tony DiZinno’s pre-race TUSC notebook from Circuit of the Americas…


Photo: Brian Cleary/

***The polesitting No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Ford led an incident-free 20-minute morning warmup session at Circuit of the Americas. Times are linked here.

***Alex Job Racing’s No. 22 Porsche 911 GT America has been moved to the rear of the grid for today’s race, following a tire change.

***Todd Slusher, driver of the No. 16 car, has been suspended for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Lone Star Le Mans at Circuit of The Americas. The decision was reportedly made before the BAR1 Motorsports car was withdrawn from the weekend.

***Slusher was determined to have violated Rule 48.4 (unjustifiable risk) of the 2015 IMSA Sporting Regulations and Series Supplementary Regulations, Slusher was penalized for an incident with another car during practice on Friday morning at Circuit of The Americas. He’s the first driver suspended in IMSA since Alex Tagliani at Watkins Glen in 2014, for a similar re-entry violation.

***Saturday’s pre-race activities at Circuit of the Americas will include a tribute to the late Justin Wilson, who died August 24 from head injuries sustained in an accident at Pocono Raceway. Aboard a tribute livery No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier JS P2 Honda, Ozz Negri will lead the field around during pace laps before falling into his grid position of second.

***Additionally, Wilson’s younger brother Stefan Wilson is on site this weekend, supporting the Shank team.

***Three GT Le Mans drivers – polesitter Patrick Pilet, fellow Porsche factory ace Earl Bamber and Pierre Kaffer – will run in today’s TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race before shifting to the FIA World Endurance Championship Six Hours of Circuit of the Americas later Saturday afternoon. 

***This weekend, Matt McMurry will make his 100th career race start, at just 17 years old. He steps back in the No. 85 JDC/Miller Motorsports Oreca FLM09 PC class car this week, driving alongside Mikhail Goikhberg, and qualified second.

***This is Compass360 Racing’s final TUDOR Championship start of the season with its No. 76 Audi R8 LMS, which will be returned to Flying Lizard Motorsports following today’s race. The team will not race at Petit Le Mans and has not made any determination regarding its 2016 participation in what will be the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

***James Davison, Mike Skeen and Daniel Burkett are among the notable free agents who’ve made TUDOR Championship starts this year pounding the COTA pavement this weekend, exploring their options for 2016.

***In the sole remaining BAR1 Motorsports entry, Ryan Lewis is set to make his first TUDOR Championship start since the 2014 Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen (RSR Racing) and has done only six total laps all week prior to today’s race. The past Petit Le Mans winner joins series debutante Don Yount in the No. 61 Oreca FLM09.

***BAR1 team principal Brian Alder told Sportscar365 he is still planning to have both cars ready for Petit Le Mans, even despite Friday’s accident of the No. 16 car. While not confirmed, Alder is hopeful to have Lewis and Yount return at Petit Le Mans.

***In related PC class news, Starworks Motorsport team principal Peter Baron confirmed Zylon anti-intrusion panels were installed on team’s sole remaining No. 8 Oreca FLM09 entry for today’s race. Renger van der Zande was again fastest in PC during this morning’s warmup.

***SONIC Tools today announced its multi-year agreement with Wayne Taylor Racing. WTR and its subsidiary teams, including Prestige Performance Team, will be completely outfitted with SONIC Tools hand tools and storage solutions in the paddock as well as the team’s race shop in Brownsburg, Indiana. SONIC Tools will also be featured on the championship-winning No. 10 Corvette Daytona Prototype.

***Be sure to check out Andy Blackmore’s official Spotter Guide for today’s Lone Star Le Mans, featuring all 36 starters and a handful of new drivers and liveries for today’s two-hour and 40-minute race.

***Catch live coverage of the race on FOX Sports 2, beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET. The Race will also air live on IMSA Radio and via the IMSA app. An encore airs Sunday at 1:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1.

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

Click to comment

More in WeatherTech Championship