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Long Beach SRO Weekend Notebook

John Dagys’ weekend notebook from SRO America paddock at Long Beach…

Photo: Jonathan Grace

***This weekend marks the first time SRO America has been part of the Long Beach event since 2019 when the Pirelli GT4 America Sprint series contested a single race on the streets, won by Spencer Pumpelly in a TRG Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport.

***Despite the five-year absence, SRO America, then known as World Challenge, holds a storied past at Long Beach, having been part of the event as early as 2006.

***GT America competitors have the unique paddock location inside the Long Beach convention center (pictured above), in the midst of a large vendor village that attracts tens of thousands of fans daily.

***Long Beach marks the only standalone GT America event of the season, with the series linked up with Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS, Pirelli GT4 America and TC America powered by Skip Barber Racing School at all other rounds this year.

***The No. 32 GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R of Kyle Washington has been moved to the rear of the starting grid due to having incorrect FIA-homologated gear ratios during qualifying. Washington had initially qualified fourth overall and in the SRO3 class.

***Additionally, Washington’s car and the sister No. 14 GMG Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II of James Sofronas were both fined $5,000, with $2,500 suspended provided no further infractions, for having a live video streaming devices installed in their cars during qualifying.

***The No. 04 CrowdStrike by Riley Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo of George Kurtz has been withdrawn due to a family emergency, reducing the overall grid to 22 cars for the pair of 40-minute races.

***The No. 099 Rotek Racing Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport of Robb Holland has received a one-event technical waiver for not having the series’ required data system lambda sensors, with the team citing “supply chain logistic issues” for the system.

***Several teams and one driver are set to pull double duty between GT America and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition this weekend as part of the sports car racing double-header.

***Turner Motorsport is fielding BMW M4 GT3s in both series, while Elias Sabo is set to drive his Aston Martin Vantage GT4 in the GT America races alongside he and Andy Lee’s Vantage GT3 Evo in WeatherTech Championship competition.

***In addition to the two Sabo-driven Aston Martins, Flying Lizard Motorsports is also running Aston Martins for full-season GT America drivers Jason Bell (SRO3) and Todd Parriott (GT4).

***GMG Racing, meanwhile, is fielding four cars this weekend, including the return of CJ Moses’ Audi R8 LMS GT2 that will do battle with Brent Holden’s Mercedes-AMG GT2, along with SRO3 class entries for Kyle Washington and team owner/driver Sofronas in Porsche 911 GT3 R and Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II machinery, respectively.

***Sofronas said: “It’s always special racing at Long Beach as it is a home race for us. Our shop is 30 minutes away, and we always bring in a lot of fans, clients and family, so it will be great to have myself, Brent, Kyle and CJ all there. It is the ideal showcase of our team and what we do in front of a loyal, local customer base. We just always enjoy that event, and being able to sleep in my own bed is awesome too!”

***Sofronas revealed plans to re-locate all of its motorsports programs to its soon-to-be-opened outpost at The Thermal Club, in Palm Springs, Calif., with a grand opening set for this fall. Work on the state-of-the-art 30,000 square-foot facility is nearly complete.

***Holden is set to contest next month’s round at Circuit of The Americas in his Mercedes-AMG GT2 before deciding on potential additional races this year.

***Long Beach GT2 pole-sitter Dan Knox revealed that he has plans to contest several other GT America rounds later this year in his Lone Star Racing Mercedes-AMG GT2, although would not be drawn on the exact events. Knox made his GT2 debut in last year’s pair of season-ending rounds at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

***Mirco Schultis has ruled out purchasing a new Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3.R amid his Callaway Corvette C7 GT3-R program that is likely to come to an end following this weekend.

***Schultis told Sportscar365 that he’s likely to focus on IMSA VP Racing SportsCar Challenge competition for the remainder of the year but brought the Callaway Corvette out for action in the opening two events of this season because of the allure to race at Long Beach.

***He revealed that his tight-knit team sourced a machine shop to fabricate several parts that were damaged on the car at Sonoma, including the exhauster and sideboards, in order to make the grid this weekend.

***Samantha Tan, who is making her GT America debut, and the ST Racing team made visits to local schools on Wednesday to raise awareness of SRO America and the pair of races at Long Beach. Tan was joined by her Fanatec GT America powered by AWS co-driver Neil Verhagen, who is not racing this weekend.

***Race 1 gets underway this afternoon at 4:45 p.m. PST (7:45 p.m. EST), with the series wrapping up on-track action at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday at 4:20 p.m. PST (7:20 p.m. EST). Live coverage will be available on SRO’s GT World YouTube page and on Twitch.

Jonathan Grace contributed to this report

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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