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Blancpain GT America

VIR Thursday Notebook

John Dagys’ Thursday SRO America notebook from Virginia International Raceway…

Photo: John Dagys

***SRO Motorsports America teams loaded into Virginia International Raceway on Thursday, in the first event under a new compacted weekend schedule. Previously, teams would arrive on Wednesday ahead of testing on Thursday.

***Only three weekends (Circuit of The Americas, Sonoma Raceway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway) will feature Thursday test days this year, in an effort to reduce costs for teams.

***This weekend’s Pirelli GT4 America Sprint race has expanded to 24 cars, following the addition of the No. 53 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 of Matt Fassnacht and Michael McCann in a McCann Racing-entered Audi R8 LMS GT4.

***Fassnacht is now set to pull double-duty between the GT4 Sprint and SprintX races while McCann is entered in the TCR Cup class in an Audi RS 3 LMS TCR entry.

***Practice sessions will be combined between GT4 SprintX and Sprint competitors this weekend. VIR marks the first of six events this season that will see both championships in action on the same weekend but feature seperate 60-minute two-driver (SprintX) and 50-minute single-driver (Sprint) races.

***In addition to Murillo and Fassnacht, no fewer than eight other teams and drivers are set to take part in all four races: Flying Lizard Motorsports (Michael Dinan), Park Place Motorsports (Alan Brynjolfsson), Andretti Autosport (Jarett Andretti), Stephen Cameron Racing (Sean Quinlan), Precision Driving Tech (Marko Radisic), Kelly-Moss/Photon Motorsports (Greg Palmer), Rearden Racing (Jeff Burton), Classic BMW (Chris Ohmacht) and BGB Motorsports (Thomas Collingwood).

***The majority of teams have opted to utilize second cars for the GT4 Sprint and SprintX races, including Park Place, Flying Lizard and Andretti Autosport.

***RealTime Racing completed a shakedown of its brand-new Acura NSX GT3 Evo during a track day event at Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Ill. last week. The chassis, initially set to be an inventory car for Honda Performance Development, arrived in the country less than three weeks ago according to NSX GT3 program manager Lee Niffenegger.

***Niffenegger told Sportscar365 that the car is utilizing Honda Team Motul’s spare set of Evo bodywork that the Italian outfit had on hand at last month’s California 8 Hours, owing to increased demand for the car globally.

***Dane Cameron will be sporting a special helmet design in tribute to his uncle Steve, who was a driver in Comptech Racing’s Acura-Spice GTP Lights effort in the 1990s. Cameron’s Acura carries the same orange-and-white livery that was seen on the Comptech entries, RealTime’s touring cars from the 2000s, and more recently, Team Penske’s Acura ARX-05 DPis.

***Stephen Cameron Racing is fielding four cars this weekend across three series, including a BMW M6 GT3 in Blancpain GT America competition.

***K-PAX Racing, Wright Motorsports and Flying Lizard Motorsports took part in a two-day test at VIR last week, which was impacted by snow showers on the opening day and a sizable accident by Anthony Imperato in the No. 91 Wright Porsche 911 GT3 R.

***The No. 63 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 has been rebuilt around a new tub following David Askew’s weekend-ending accident at COTA last month. The Utah-based team is understood to have up to four Mercedes chassis now in its possession, having recently taken delivery of third fully-built car.

***P1 Motorsports has liquidated the majority of its GT3 equipment following its decision to withdraw from both Blancpain GT America and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition. Sportscar365 understands that Wayne Taylor Racing purchased the team’s pit equipment with at least one of its three Mercedes-AMG GT3s already sold.

***James Walker has returned to TCR competition this weekend with a brand-new Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR after a heavy crash in Race 2 at St. Pete that resulted in a fractured collarbone for Walker. The chassis was initially set to be part of Risi’s stable of cars but has been reallocated to Walker.

“I’m happy to report the doctor signed off on my ability to compete on Wednesday, and all of the miscellaneous aches, pains, and bruises cleared up weeks ago. And I finally got some cool pictures of the new titanium hardware installed in my body!” he said.

***The TCR class features a season-low grid of eight cars, although sees the the return of a Honda Civic Type-R TCR for Victor Gonzalez. LAP Motorsports fielded a Honda TCR at the season-opener at COTA although this weekend marks the first start for Gonzalez and VGMC Racing.

***TCR cars are running to a new Balance of Performance calculation following WSC’s recent BoP test, including the introduction of compensation weight.

***Operation Motorsport and SRO America have announced a “collaborative cooperation” to help place recovering military veterans with teams. Alegra Motorsports, Wright Motorsports, KohR Motorsports and JCW Mini are among the first teams to be accepting veterans this weekend at VIR, as part of Operation Motorsports’ ‘Excite, Engage and Empower’ programs.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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