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Sonoma a “Pilot Weekend” for Cosmo, Byrne in TR3 Debut

Guy Cosmo, Patrick Byrne treating Blancpain GT America Sonoma as “pilot weekend”…

Photo: Robert Lyon

Guy Cosmo and Patrick Byrne are testing the waters in Blancpain GT World Challenge America with TR3 Racing at Sonoma Raceway this weekend with the possibility of expanding the program as the duo continues to assess their options for the future.

The American pairing just wrapped up their first season in LMP2 machinery in the Asian Le Mans Series and claimed the LMP3 class championship in the series the year prior.

With no firm racing plans for the remainder of the 2019 calendar year, Cosmo said the chance to hop behind the wheel of TR3’s Ferrari 488 GT3 was the perfect opportunity to assess the championship in a car they know can contend.

“Part of my responsibilities in being with Patrick is to find interesting, effective, affordable ways to go racing,” Cosmo told Sportscar365.

“We’re given the freedom to pick and choose when and how we want to race, and that’s a luxury that a lot of people don’t focus on enough when they decide to go racing.

“We want to make sure that when we race, we’re racing with people, partners, manufacturers, and series that share the vested interest we have in it.

“I’ve known [TR3 team owner] Greg [Romanelli] for a long time, we’ve wanted to race a Ferrari for a long time, Patrick’s done a lot with Ferrari Challenge in the past, and I’ve raced with Ferrari in the past.

“We’re passionate about the brand and have a history there.

“We needed to find the right opportunity where the team has a car available, we know they do a great job, and we know that very car has raced and won in the series before. It’s a great opportunity for us and it just fell together.”

This weekend offers Byrne his first chance to drive Ferrari’s GT3 offering, and while the team has not done any testing, the extensive amount of track time on offer has him confident he can quickly build up to speed.

With the combination of a proven team and a rapid co-driver, Byrne believes the pair of races at Sonoma will give him the perfect opportunity to assess Blancpain GT America as a possible destination for his racing career.

“It kind of just happened naturally,” Byrne told Sportscar365. “We were looking for a really good car in a good series for the cost and this met all the parameters.

“Speaking with Greg, he runs a good team and he’s a good guy so it just all came together.

“You want some good, close, competitive racing. It’s really a competition thing. Our class looks stacked so that doesn’t look like it’s going to be an issue.

“There’s a lot of cars, they’re all going pretty fast, so that’s what first comes to mind. But we have that end goal of connecting all the dots and having fun while we’re doing it. That’s a big part of this whole thing.”

TR3 has not run this chassis since the season opener at Circuit of The Americas when Wei Lu and Jeff Segal shared driving duties, and there are no firm plans beyond this weekend for the car.

Cosmo indicated that while they are not looking too far beyond the next few days, the opportunity exists to see the program expand if all of the right boxes are checked.

“This is like a pilot weekend,” he said. “We know the car is available for more races, if not the rest of the year.

“We want to see how this weekend goes, how we all gel and work together, and look at it with an eye towards the future. But let’s take it one step at a time, focus on this weekend, and have a great result.”

Ryan Myrehn is an Indianapolis-based journalist and sportscaster, covering IMSA and Pirelli World Challenge. Myrehn, a graduate of DePauw University, is also the host of Sportscar365's “Double Stint” Podcast.

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