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Monterey Thursday Notebook

John Dagys’ Thursday notebook from Monterey…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

***A total of 42 cars are set for this weekend’s Continental Monterey Grand Prix, which returns to a split-race format after running as a four-class combined two-hour and 40-minute event last year. Prototype/GT Le Mans cars and Prototype Challenge/GT Daytona teams will battle in a pair of two-hour races on Sunday.

***Unlike the dual-race event in 2014, all practice sessions will be split to P/GTLM and PC/GTD teams as well, with each class getting 2 hours of track time on Friday and 45 minutes prior to qualifying on Saturday.

***Despite initially being listed as TBAs on the entry list, both Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell are back for their second consecutive race in the No. 11 Change Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3. While GTD cars were not in action at Long Beach, Sweedler is coming off a one-off outing in the Pirelli World Challenge race two weeks ago.

***The No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 of Jens Klingmann and Bret Curtis is sporting a new livery, thanks to a partnership from aFE Power, which specializes in aftermarket intake systems and other performance-related parts for BMWs and other production cars.

***Matt McMurry returns to the wheel of a prototype for the first time since October’s season-ending Petit Le Mans, as part of a five-race Prototype Challenge race program with BAR1 Motorsports. The 18-year-old joins BAR1 season-long driver Johnny Mowlem after starting the season in Park Place Motorsports’ Porsche 911 GT3 R as a third driver.

***McMurry is running to a similar schedule as Ashley Freiberg, who makes her second PC start in the No. 88 Starworks Motorsport entry. Both drivers are taking part in the sprint races in PC, but the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup events with GTD teams. Freiberg started her season in Turner Motorsport’s BMW.

***A handful of drivers are set to again pull double duty, and one even triple duty over the weekend. Robin Liddell, Spencer Pumpelly and Stephen Simpson will take part in both WeatherTech Championship and Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge events, with Corey Lewis set to also add his Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America driving duties to the schedule.

***Expanding on a partnership that began at Daytona, Utah-based solar energy specialists Auric Solar will be featured prominently on Magnus Racing’s Audi R8 LMS this weekend.

***Continental Tire has brought a total of 2,444 tires to Monterey for both the WeatherTech Championship and Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge races this weekend. P class teams will be allowed 10 sets of tires, while PC and GTD teams limited to 7 sets over the weekend.

***The 2016 Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup kicks off this weekend with the debut of the all-new fourth-generation Mazda MX-5. Mazda Motorsports Prototype factory driver Tom Long served as the lead development driver for the car. A total of 40 entries are set to take part in races on Friday and Saturday.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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