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Road America Saturday Notebook

John Dagys’ Saturday WeatherTech Championship notebook from Road America paddock…

Photo: IMSA

***Aaron Telitz’s GT Daytona class pole-winning lap time 2:07.195 in the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 ended up the quickest overall of qualifying due to the arrival of rain that resulted in wet sessions for the remainder of qualifying.

***Per IMSA rules, however, the grids will be set in order of DPi, LMP2, LMP3, GT Le Mans and GT Daytona cars.

***Action Express Racing was one of several teams that sat out Friday’s rain-soaked practice session, which led to Felipe Nasr turning his first wet laps of the weekend in qualifying and stormed to pole.

“So for me it was like I’ll try to understand the grip level,” Nasr explained. “And as you go out there as a driver, you never know what to expect. You’re just driving to the grip, and with the forecast, everybody was saying you didn’t know what was going to happen.”

***LMP2 class pole sitter Ben Keating said there was “no question” of running wet tires during the DPi/LMP2 qualifying session and admitted that he expected the session to be red flagged due to track conditions.

***No fewer than five of the ten cars in the DPi/LMP2 qualifying session had spins at various stages of the 15-minute session. Sportscar365 understands all teams were on Michelin wets.

***Issues stemming from its Bosch rear-view camera caused the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R to encounter electrical gremlins in Saturday morning’s practice, resulting in the car completing only ten laps in the session.

***The No. 76 Compass Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo also encountered issues in Practice 2, with a broken transponder.

***Ross Gunn is one of a number of drivers fresh off last weekend’s TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa, although is the only driver at Road America on the heels of a podium finish in the Belgian endurance classic. Gunn teamed with fellow Aston Martin factory aces Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen for a third place overall finish in Garage 59’s Aston Martin Vantage GT3.

***Gunn and The Heart of Racing co-driver Roman De Angelis took over the lead of the season-long GTD drivers’ championship last time out at Lime Rock Park with their class win.

***Wright Motorsports is pulling triple duty this weekend at Road America with Porsches entered in WeatherTech Championship, Michelin Pilot Challenge and Porsche Carrera Cup North America presented by The Cayman Islands. The Ohio-based team is also fielding a Porsche 911 GT3 R in SRO’s GT America powered by AWS series race on the streets of Nashville.

“The expansion we’ve seen at Wright Motorsports this year has really shown the strength of our program and the quality of the individuals we have to make it happen,” said team owner John Wright. “We’ve taken great care to get everyone in place and ready for our multi-city race weekend, and we’re ready to get racing.”

***Meyer Shank Racing, another team split between Road America and Nashville, sees team co-owner Mike Shank in the Music City to oversee his two-car NTT IndyCar Series effort. Vasser Sullivan co-owners Jimmy Vasser and James “Sulli” Sullivan have been split up this weekend with Vasser at Road America and Sullivan in Nashville.

***Vasser Sullivan driver Frankie Montecalvo arrived at Road America on Saturday morning following his wife’s birth of a baby boy on Thursday. 

***IMSA has adjusted its COVID-19 protocol this weekend, mandating the use of face masks when indoors, per the CDC’s new guidelines. Several entrants, including numerous Corvette Racing mechanics, have been wearing masks at all times, as a precautionary measure ahead of the team’s trip to France for the 24 Hours of Le Mans next week.

***WeatherTech Racing is utilizing the same Porsche 911 RSR-19 chassis it debuted last time out at Lime Rock Park. The Proton Competition-run squad switched to its second car following the WeatherTech 240 at Watkins Glen International.

***Gottfried Grasser told Sportscar365 that he’s already received “a lot of interest” from drivers on his team’s planned two-car full-season Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo effort next year. “I’m really happy with the American market. There is a lot of driver interest from that side. Let’s see. It looks very well for a lot of things at the moment.”

***As previously reported by Sportscar365, Grasser Racing Team’s effort will be either in the new-for-2022 GTD Pro class or GTD.

***Audi’s involvement in GTD Pro next year would be a “matter of discussion” with interested customer teams according to its head of customer racing Chris Reinke. “We’re customer racing so we’re not keen on going factory racing with GT3 cars. We moved DTM into a similar approach of customer racing. If that model could be attacked from a similar angle, we’re ready to discuss.”

***Reinke said that he hopes additional customers will commit to the new Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II next year in IMSA, potentially to serve as an “additional angle” to the German manufacturer’s upcoming LMDh program in 2023.

***Live coverage of the two-hour and 40-minute race is set for 2 p.m. ET on NBC Sports’ digital platforms, including Trackpass on NBC Sports Gold. NBCSN will broadcast tape-delayed coverage beginning at 8 p.m. with the commentary team led by Brian Till and Calvin Fish in the booth and Chris Wilner in pit lane.

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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