Johnny O’Connell and Butch Leitzinger, two sports car veterans, will be back in action this weekend for the next round of the Pirelli World Challenge season at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park thanks to serious repairing and rebuilding efforts of their cars.
O’Connell’s primary No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R burned to the ground at Barber Motorsports Park, which meant the team needed to press its third built chassis, the manufacturer’s lone backup, into race action.
The team has built up the test car into a race car, which had served as a show car the opening rounds of the season, for O’Connell to compete this weekend.
“The Cadillac Racing guys have put in a lot of hours to get the test car race ready for this weekend,” O’Connell said. “Although it has not been tested to the degree the primary car was, I’m confident that my guys will make the No. 3.1 a great car.”
Meanwhile Leitzinger will return to action in the same No. 20 Bentley Team Dyson Racing Bentley Continental GT3 that incurred serious damage following contact from Bryan Heitkotter in the No. 05 AE Nissan GT Academy Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 at Long Beach.
The team’s damaged No. 20 car was surveyed on site at Barber and while the option of acquiring a new Bentley chassis from technical partner M-Sport was considered, it was not taken.
According to team manager Mike White, the parts of the chassis where the suspension is attached were moved several inches and twisted out of shape as well. Had it been a road car, the insurance company would probably have written the car off.
“We looked into getting a new tub from England,” White said, referring to the basic chassis structure that includes the welded-in roll cage. “But by the time it would have arrived, we’d have basically had a day to install all the components, including wiring harnesses and plumbing. Instead, we decided to see if we could fix the bent one.”
The team needed to find a high-quality collision repair facility with a frame machine to pull the car back into its original shape.
Armed with a FARO Arm, a special portable 3D computer measuring machine, and a technician capable of operating it and set of coordinates supplied by M-Sport, the FARO Arm was able to guide the final elements in the five-day process of repairing the chassis.
The repaired No. 20 car was returned to the Dyson Racing shop on Friday before leaving for Canada on Monday.
Other Pirelli World Challenge entry list notes in GT, GTA and GT Cup presented by MOMO include:
***James Sofronas and GMG Racing will miss this weekend’s races. Sofronas told Sportscar365 he has a personal commitment and his GT Cup driver, Alec Udell, is unable to make it with a conflict of his own.
***James Davison will be arriving in Canada after practicing Dale Coyne Racing’s IndyCar this week for a potential race drive in the Indianapolis 500.
***Mike Hedlund will return to action in the No. 65 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia GT3, but has been reclassified as a GTA driver rather than GT, as he was the opening five races of the year through Long Beach.
***The No. 62 Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 returns to GTA for the first time since Circuit of the Americas. What had been a Risi Competizione-entered car for Ricardo Perez there is now an R. Ferri Motorsport-entered car for Toronto native Marc Muzzo at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
ENTRY LIST: Pirelli World Challenge at CTMP