Connect with us

GT World Challenge America

COTA Saturday Notebook

Tony DiZinno’s notebook following PWC race one of two at COTA…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

***Mike Skeen, the 2014 series runner-up in the No. 2 CRP Racing Audi R8 LMS ultra, was moved to the rear of the GT/GTA field before the race as his car was found underweight in post-qualifying technical inspection. Skeen, who was resigned to 38th on the grid, made it up to 16th place by the finish, ahead of Andy Pilgrim, Chris Dyson and Robert Thorne.

***Pilgrim’s race was compromised by first lap electrical gremlins, which knocked him from ninth on the grid to the rear of the 38-car field. He made it back to 17th overall in the No. 8 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R.

***Michael Lewis finished fifth overall in Saturday’s race, but his result may have inadvertently compromised his GTA status for the rest of the year. Per the Pirelli World Challenge rulebook, a driver who achieves an overall first, second, third position, or two overall fourth or fifth place positions will automatically be moved to the GT class. With one more fourth or fifth, Lewis will be promoted to GT as Andrew Palmer and Nick Mancuso were in 2014. Lewis also has joined Twitter, at @MJLRacing_.

***Eight of the 12 manufacturers entered in GT and GTA finished in the top 10 in Saturday’s race one, including Ferrari, Porsche, Cadillac, McLaren, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Lamborghini.

***Neither of the Bentley Team Dyson Racing Bentley Continental GT3s factored into race one, with Butch Leitzinger and Chris Dyson starting outside the top 10 and finishing outside the top 15. Dyson ended 18th, with Leitzinger in 31st following a left front puncture that led to an unscheduled pit stop and cost him multiple laps.

***Both RealTime Racing Acura TLX-GTs retired due to suspension damage from contact. The day wasn’t a total loss though, as Ryan Eversley took home the best standing start award for gaining 10 positions from 28th to 18th by the end of the first lap.

***Former Rolex Series GT class champion Alessandro Balzan is here at Circuit of the Americas this weekend, coaching Henrique Cisneros in the No. 30 MOMO NGT Motorsport Ferrari 458 Italia GT3. Cisneros ended fifth in GTA and 12th overall in Saturday’s race. Balzan continues to search for an opportunity to race in either North America or Europe this season.

***Duncan Ende and Guy Cosmo’s respective races essentially ended before they had a chance to begin. Maximilian Voelker’s No. 37 Blancpain Racing Lamborghini Gallardo FL2 contacted Ende’s No. 64 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 as Voelker was returning to the track after a spin. Ende attributed the incident to a poor start that left him further back in the GTA field to begin with. Cosmo, in the No. 23 M1 Racing LLC Audi R8 LMS ultra, retired on the second lap with an unspecified mechanical failure after starting 10th.

***Contact took GTA drivers Jeff Courtney and Christina Nielsen out in both of their races. Courtney alleged he was hit on the left rear of his No. 99 JCR Motorsports Audi R8 LMS ultra prior to his right rear wheel coming off past Turn 1 on Lap 4. Meanwhile Nielsen’s race ended when Mitch Landry’s No. 97 Landry Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup contacted her No. 7 TRG-AMR Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 in the left rear at the Esses.

***Dan Knox returned to the track for qualifying in the No. 80 Lone Star Racing Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R following his practice crash on Friday. Knox ended 20th overall and seventh in GTA on the day.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno) is Sportscar365's North American Editor, focusing on coverage of the IMSA-sanctioned championships as well as Pirelli World Challenge. DiZinno also contributes to and other motorsports outlets. Contact Tony

Click to comment

More in GT World Challenge America