***The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship kicks off its West Coast swing this weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, with a 26-car entry featuring DPi, LMP2, GT Le Mans and GT Daytona entries. It will be followed up by a DPi, GTLM and GTD-only contest on the streets of Long Beach on Sept. 24-25.
***This weekend’s race sees only a single Balance of Performance adjustment since Road America, with the BMW M6 GT3 getting a 1-liter reduction in fuel capacity.
***Grasser Racing Team is absent from this weekend’s GTD grid due to a date clash with the ADAC GT Masters round at Lausitzring according to team principal Gottfried Grasser. “This was planned because of the clash,” he told Sportscar365. “VIR clashes with [GTWC Europe] but it’s easy to do because we only have one car in Barcelona. We’re doing Long Beach, VIR and Petit Le Mans.”
***GRT has been trying to get a small number of mechanics over to the U.S to service its Detroit-based Lamborghini for Long Beach, but they have been blocked by border protection. Grasser said the crew need to retrieve letters in order to validate their American entry status, and that he has been “on the phone” to get his people over.
***Ian James, who makes his first WeatherTech Sprint Cup start of the season in the newly-expanded The Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 effort, told Sportscar365: “I keep trying to step back and these opportunities keep coming up!”
***James serves as the team principal for the overall program and confirmed he’ll be back in the No. 23 car alongside Ross Gunn and Roman De Angelis for the season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans. James and Alex Riberas are slated to complete all other races in the new No. 27 entry, which had served as the team’s spare chassis.
***Laguna Seca marks Corvette Racing’s 23rd consecutive year of racing at the famed California circuit, which is one of three tracks with that distinction (Sebring and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta).
***Patrick Long arrived at Laguna Seca on Friday afternoon after helping prepare Luftgekühlt 7 in Indianapolis. The outdoor auto-art gallery and social affair for air-cooled Porsches was held Friday in the Bottleworks District of the city, which is playing host to the first-ever Porsche Sportscar Together Fest at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
***With the NTT IndyCar Series at Portland International Raceway this weekend, Meyer Shank Racing team co-owner Mike Shank is on-site at Laguna through Saturday evening before making the trip to Oregon.
***The recent sale of Pfaff Automotive to Lithia Motors Inc., the second-largest dealer group in the U.S., is not expected to have any impact on Pfaff Motorsports’ GT Daytona class effort according to team manager Steve Bortolotti, who told Sportscar365 they are still working on a step up to GTD Pro for 2022.
***Team Hardpoint’s plan of having a Porsche 911 GT3 R in both GTD Pro and GTD next year is “still being developed” according to team principal Rob Ferriol. “There’s nothing confirmed or we’re prepared to confirm but it still looks positive,” he told Sportscar365.
***IMSA has updated its sporting regulations to reflect the definition of a manufacturer, which now states that the OEM must not only be recognized as an “IMSA Official Automotive Partner” but also have an “annual production of 2,500 or more vehicles for public consumption and public road use” in order to be eligible in the WeatherTech Championship.
***This change is in reference to ongoing claims between the sanctioning body and Glickenhaus, which has allegedly threatened legal action should its Le Mans Hypercar not be able to race beginning in 2023.
***IMSA has also banned the use of motorcycles, drones, bicycles, skateboards, and motorized scooters in the paddock and garage areas with the exception of authorized mobility devices and vehicles used by accredited media personnel. This comes in response to the arrival of motorized scooters in European paddocks, which has resulted in several accidents, most notably Laurens Vanthoor’s mishap during the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa last month.
***Both the Proton Competition-run WeatherTech Racing squad and Pfaff Motorsports will be working out of Porsche Motorsport North America’s headquarters in Carson, Calif. between Sunday’s race and the next round at Long Beach in two weeks’ time.
***IMSA has opened up the garage area at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. for IMSA competitors to also set up shop in between the two West Coast events.
***The BMW M4 GT3 is understood to be scheduled to take part in November’s 24 Hours of Sebring Creventic race ahead of its customer rollout in 2022.
***BMW factory driver Connor De Phillippi will defend his Indianapolis 8 Hour victory in Turner Motorsport’s BMW M6 GT3 entry next month, teaming up with full-season Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS drivers Robby Foley and Michael Dinan. De Phillippi tested with the team last week at the Brickyard.
***Performance Tech Motorsports LMP3 driver Rasmus Lindh has been signed by Juncos Hollinger Racing to contest the final six races of the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires season, beginning this weekend at Portland. The Indy Lights season wraps up before the next and lone-remaining LMP3 round at Road Atlanta in November.
***Eurasia Motorsport is “aiming” to return to the LMP2 grid in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona according to team director Mark Goddard. The Philippines-based team entered a Ligier JS P217 Gibson under the RWR Eurasia banner for Austin Dillon, Sven Mueller, Cody Ware and Salih Yoluc in the season-opener.
“We now look forward programs in both LMP2 and LMP3 with new equipment with the aim of racing again at the Rolex 24 Hours and then straight on to the Asian Le Mans Series with the new Ligier LMP3,” Goddard said.
***ACO technical director Thierry Bouvet is on-site this weekend for meetings as the French organization continues it collaborative efforts with IMSA heading into the new LMDh era in 2023.
Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report