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Pirelli GT4 America

Long Beach Weekend Notebook

John Dagys’ weekend notebook from Pirelli GT4 America Sprint paddock at Long Beach…

Photo: Brian Cleary/SRO

***Gar Robinson has gone to a backup chassis following his crash in practice on Friday. The No. 74 Robinson Racing Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R was replaced with the team’s third car, which was initially tabbed for Pirelli GT4 SprintX competition this year prior to its decision to focus exclusively on Sprint.

***Robinson qualified 11th overall and eighth in the GT4 Pro class for Sunday’s 50-minute race.

***Matt Keegan, in his Long Beach debut, credited pre-event sim work and his teammate Ian James for helping him get up to speed on the street circuit. Keegan qualified the No. 51 Panoz Avezzano GT4 on the GT4 Am class pole.

***Overall pole-sitter Spencer Pumpelly said his TRG team put significant effort into qualifying, knowing the challenges of overtaking on the street circuit. “Pole here is important,” he said. “That was our goal coming here, knowing it was probably going to be our only shot at a win, was to start in front. Now it’s just about making sure we get our car to last over the stint.”

***Four-time Long Beach Grand Prix winner Paul Tracy is helping coach Nicolai Elghanayan this weekend, in a deal put together by MarcoPolo Motorsports chief engineer/race strategist John Mueller.

***The team is looking to bounce back after a mechanical issue-induced accident at St. Pete resulted in rolling out a spare KTM X-Bow GT4 chassis for Race 2. The backup car now exists as a ‘Frankenstein’ combination of the two cars.

***Prior to the start of track action, Elghanayan made a trip to the Long Beach Miller Children’s & Women’s hospital and will also visit the Children’s Hospital of Orange County later this month. The 25-year-old raised $21,000 for for the Children’s Hospital of Orange County by auctioning off a VIP race experience.

***Blackdog Speed Shop returns to Long Beach for the first time since 2014, the last time GTS/GT4-spec cars were part of a points-paying round at the 1.968-mile, 11-turn street circuit, which has played host to SRO Motorsports America’s top GT/GT3 series until this year.

***The Audi R8 LMS GT4 chassis that James Sofronas is campaigning this weekend is the same that Elias Sabo and Andy Lee drove in Pirelli World Challenge GTS competition last year. Sofronas said that when sponsorship from Amazon Web Services materialized for him to drive in his home race, “There was no way I could say no.”

***CRP Racing, which is making its return to SRO America competition this weekend, is utilizing a previous-generation Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR that took part in last year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

***The Porsche GT4, operated by the Nick Short-led team, finished third in class at Pikes Peak last year with Mike Skeen at the wheel. Matthew Brabham is driving the car this weekend in a one-off appearance after making starts in the team’s Mercedes-AMG GT3 last year.

***Brabham will be competing in the Stadium Super Trucks races this weekend. The son of sports car racing veteran Geoff won Race 2 for the Stadium Super Trucks at Long Beach last year.

***CrowdStrike has come on board as an associate sponsor for Colton Herta’s IndyCar this weekend. Herta and father Bryan joined CrowdStrike CEO and co-founder George Kurtz at the wheel of a Hyundai i30 N TCR in last year’s California 8 Hours. 

***Jarett Andretti will make his Indianapolis Motor Speedway debut next month, having been confirmed in an Andretti Autosport-run entry for the Freedom 100 on May 24. It will mark Andretti’s Indy Lights debut.

***Porsche factory driver Patrick Long will join Greg Creamer and Calvin Fish in the commentary booth for Sunday’s 50-minute race, which gets underway at 10 a.m. PT (1 p.m. ET), with live coverage on the SRO’s GTWorld YouTube page, at Sunday at 10 a.m. PT (1 p.m. ET).

***Highlights of the third round of the GT4 Sprint season will air on CBS Sports Network at 7 p.m. ET on April 21.

Ryan Myrhen contributed to this report

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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