***A heavy accident in opening practice forced the No. 50 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 out for the remainder of the day’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship on-track action at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Contact between the No. 26 BAR1 Motorsports Oreca FLM09 sent Gunnar Jeannette into the barriers with damage to the nose, splitter and rear axle. The Riley Motorsports-run team expects to get the car back on track in time for final practice tomorrow afternoon.
“I went down into Turn 8 and a PC car was coming up the inside of me and one of the other GTD cars,” Jeannette said. “I don’t know what happened. He was really close to us, closer than he needed to be. We were all the way over on the left hand side of the track. I think he hit the brakes before we did and, when he hit the brakes, the car came over a little bit and collected my front. That just sent me into the wall. It sucks.”
***The No. 26 BAR1 Motorsport Oreca FLM09 features an all-Canadian driver lineup in James Vance and Garett Grist. Ryan Lewis, meanwhile, fills in for Buddy Rice for the second time this year in the team’s No. 20 entry alongside full-season driver Don Yount. Rice is again occupied as team manager for Dryer and Reinbold Racing’s Global Rallycross effort, which running this weekend in Indianapolis.
***Of note, CORE autosport’s Jon Bennett and Colin Braun are missing their first GRC Lites event of the year, in order to fully focus on their GT Daytona class commitments in the No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 R. The pairing flew directly from Detroit to Thompson Speedway in Connecticut to make it in time for the last-chance-qualifier in June.
***Change Racing spent the Fourth of July holiday rebuilding its Lamborghini Huracan GT3 following Jeroen Mul’s race-ending accident at Watkins Glen. The Robby Benton-led team was able to unload at CTMP early, via permission from IMSA, to finish up repairs on-site on Thursday.
***Joerg Bergmeister has returned to the wheel of the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche, after missing Watkins Glen due to a family emergency, related to health issues surrounding his newborn son. Bergmeister tweeted earlier this week that his son’s condition has improved, which has allowed him to travel to Canada this weekend. Matt McMurry and team owner/driver Patrick Lindsey drove the Porsche to an 8th place class finish at The Glen.
***After driving the No. 2 Nissan Onroak DPi last weekend, Pipo Derani has moved into his new season-long seat in Tequila Patron ESM’s No. 22 Nissan, alongside Johannes van Overbeek. The Brazilian takes over from Ed Brown, who announced his retirement from prototype racing last month. No word has been given on Derani’s replacement in the No. 2 car for the season-ending Petit Le Mans.
***Michael de Quesada is set for his third start of the year but first as a two-driver pairing alongside Daniel Morad in the No. 28 Alegra Motorsports Porsche, which shares a number of Canadian connections. The second-generation driver is contesting the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada series this year, with the Florida-based team having a marketing and technical partnership with Porsche Centre Oakville, one of Canada’s largest Porsche dealers. Additionally, CTMP is the home track for Toronto native Morad.
***The No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac was moved to the back of the Prototype class in the official results of last weekend’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen due to a drive time violation for Filipe Albuquerque. The Portuguese driver, who was entered in both Action Express entries, missed the 30-minute minimum drive time by three minutes, after the team discovered the issue only in the final hour of the race.
***Albuquerque, who completed the race in the No. 31 car, claimed the overall race win in the team’s No. 5 Cadillac alongside Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi.
***While the majority of European-based drivers remained in North America between races, Laurens Vanthoor, Tristan Vautier, Alexander Sims and Antonio Garcia traveled to Spa immediately after Watkins Glen to take part in the 24 Hours of Spa Test Day on Tuesday. Vanthoor led the way in the single-day test in a Porsche 911 GT3 R entered by Timo Bernhard’s Team75 Bernhard team.
***While the track has been renamed since his last appearance, Gianmaria Bruni has fond memories of the Canadian circuit, having finished second in his two previous starts in 2007 and 2010, at the wheel of Risi Competizione Ferraris. The Italian ace, who made his Porsche debut last weekend, has been to every remaining WeatherTech Championship track remaining on the calendar except for Virginia International Raceway.
***The CORE autosport-run Porsche GT Team was the only team to test at CTMP prior to this weekend, having completed a two-day private test in May.
***Risi Competizione completed a two-day test with its new Ferrari 488 GT3 car at Road America last month, ahead of a potential end-of-year debut in the GT Daytona class. Historic racer Pierre Mulacek turned laps in the brand-new GT3 car, which the Houston-based team took delivery of in May. No word has been given on a possible return for the team’s GT Le Mans class Ferrari.