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COTA TUSC Pre-Race Notebook

Tony DiZinno’s pre-race TUSC notebook before COTA…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

***Turner Motorsport celebrates its 300th professional start this weekend with its start in today’s TUDOR Championship race, and switches to No. 300 for its BMW Z4 GT3. The team has not decided whether it will run two drivers or three for Petit Le Mans, but Paul Dalla Lana is an option for the third.

***Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing looks for its 50th podium with the BMW program dating to the premiere of its M3 in 2009. Dirk Mueller shared the M3 with Tommy Milner at St. Petersburg in 2009, and Mueller was part of the team’s most recent with John Edwards in the team’s Z4 GTE last time out at Virginia. Mueller and Andy Priaulx tested for BMW at COTA last week.

***Honda has had discussions with multiple teams regarding the possibility of the new HPD ARX-04b coupe to run in the TUDOR Championship in 2015. There has been renewed interest in the car this weekend. An initial run of six cars will be produced for 2015.

***Gustavo Yacaman had his first turn at the top of the timesheets during morning warmup, with a best time of 1:58.808 in the No. 42 OAK Racing Ligier JS P2 Honda. Sean Rayhall led PC at 2:02.742 for 8Star Motorsports, with Marc Goossens (No. 91 SRT Motorsports) leading GTLM at 2:05.252 and Jan Heylen (No. 58 Snow Racing/Dempsey Racing) on top in GTD at 2:09.842.

***The Performance Tech Motorsports team spent til 11:30 p.m. Friday night rebuilding the rear of the No. 38 Oreca FLM09 following David Ostella’s qualifying accident. Ostella shares the car with James French.

***Other drivers returning to the TUDOR Championship after missing VIR: John Martin and Alex Popow in the No. 7 Starworks Motorsport Oreca FLM09 (PC), Jeroen Bleekemolen in the No. 33 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R and Seth Neiman in the No. 35 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8 LMS (GTD). Bleekemolen was at Slovakia for Blancpain Sprint Series during VIR, Popow is back for the first time since Road America, while Martin and Neiman are back after missing multiple rounds.

***Despite a trip to the hospital in-between VIR and COTA that required X-rays on his right arm, Park Place Motorsports’ Patrick Lindsey has been cleared to drive the team’s No. 73 Porsche 911 GT America. He’ll share with Norbert Siedler.

***Sixth on the GTD grid marks the best start of the season for GB Autosport’s No. 81 Porsche 911 GT America, driven by Damien Faulkner and the returning Ben Barker.

***Continental Tire has approximately 3,000 tires on site this weekend, split between the TUDOR Championship and Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, roughly 2,200 dry and 800 wet. Given this weekend’s weather conditions, both dry and wet tires have got a workout.

***Two young women from Northern Italy are enjoying a special experience this weekend as winners of the Michelin France-Dempsey Racing Experience social media contest. They’ll get special tours, meet Patrick Dempsey, Joe Foster and Andrew Davis, and experience a Porsche garage tour, track lap and team store shopping experience. Saturday, they’ll be Michelin guests in the WEC Spirit Le Mans hospitality club.

***Young writers Madison Hamilton, Brooks Kubena, Joe McMahon and Stefan Scrafield, all from the University of Texas-Austin, are attending the weekend on behalf of Risi Competizione as part of a “Journalists in the Fast Lane” program. More information can be found via the team website.

***Those drivers pulling double duty this weekend between the TUDOR Championship and Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge races include: Ian James, Eric Curran, Andrew Davis, Andy Lally, Henrique Cisneros, John Edwards, Dane Cameron, Tom Papadopoulos and Jeff Westphal.

***Today’s Lone Star Le Mans airs live on FOX Sports 2, at 12:30 p.m. ET. It will also be on national FOX affiliates on Sunday; check local listings for specific times.

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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