***There are a handful of changes on the Circuit of The Americas entry list following the last Pirelli World Challenge round at Utah Motorsports Campus. Of note, De La Torre Racing’s Aston Martin Vantage GT3 makes its SprintX season debut with the team’s owner and namesake Jorge De La Torre paired with Ate De Jong in an GT Am-Am class entry.
***Also on the entry list is a second car from M1GT Racing. Their Audi R8 LMS ultra is slated to be driven by the Am-Am pairing of Walt Bowlin and Lars Viljoen who are making their season debuts in SprintX. Absent this weekend is the No. 78 Absolute Racing Bentley Continental GT3 that was piloted in Utah by Will Stevens and Andrew Kim.
***Friday’s SprintX race is the makeup date for the rain-canceled second race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park from earlier this season. The grid has been set by fastest race lap from Race 1 at CTMP, but several cars feature altered driving lineups and have been moved to the back of the grid as a result.
***The No. 6 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3 has Michael Lewis slotted in alongside Bryan Sellers, replacing Jonny Kane who was with the team in Canada. In the same boat is the the No. 14 GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R, which has Mathieu Jaminet listed alongside James Sofronas, standing in for Laurens Vanthoor. They will start 18th and 19th, respectively.
***For the complete starting grid, click here.
***The No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Porsche of Wolf Henzler and Jon Fogarty, which was not entered at CTMP but is on site this weekend at COTA, will only be participating in the two originally scheduled SprintX rounds this weekend and not the makeup race on Friday evening.
***In another twist, the green flag for the 50-minute race on Friday is scheduled for around 7:30 p.m. CT, with sunset forecasted for 7:53 p.m. CT, setting up a rare day-to-night event for the series.
***Wholesale changes have been made to the Balance of Performance for the GTS class this weekend. The Camaro GT4.R has been given a 35kg weight break, 2mm reduction in air restrictor and 300 RPM reduction since the last Category C track at Mid-Ohio. Compared to Utah Motorsports Campus, which utilized a new high-altitude specific BoP, the Camaro has a 1mm increase and less weight.
***Other notable GTS cars to get BoP changes for COTA include the Ford Mustang GT4 (-30kg, -3mm air restrictor, -400 RPM), 2017-spec Ginetta G55 and Maserati GT4 (+10kg), Aston Martin Vantage GT4 (-10kg), KTM X-Bow GT4 (+100 RPM), McLaren 570S GT4 (-1100 RPM) and Panoz Avezzano GT (+15kg, -3mm air restrictor, -300 RPM).
***Only a few power-related BoP changes have been made to GT class machinery. The Acura NSX GT3 has been handed a slight increase in turbo boost, across all power levels, with the Ferrari 488 GT3 slightly losing boost at the mid-range.
***Although the weather forecast for Austin this weekend is largely clear of rain, the track is mere hours by car from some of the areas of Texas most heavily affected by Hurricane Harvey. WC Vision has established a GoFundMe link at the www.world-challenge.com website as well as on the Pirelli World Challenge social media outlets to help aid those in need.
***GTS championship leader Lawson Aschenbach and Blackdog Speedshop enter the weekend with a healthy 70-point margin over Team Panoz Racing’s Ian James with four races left to be run this season and could leave COTA as the season champion. Aschenbach needs to score 31 points this weekend to clinch the title in the first year for the Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R.
***PWC has opened the final Touring Car event of the season at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to additional entrants by allowing open-top Global MX-5 entries and other non-PWC regulars without the series-mandated Motec Data Logging systems. The races will be run in support of the SRO California 8-Hour International Challenge in October.
***No major issues were reported during the on track sessions in today’s Promoter Test Day. The No. 2 CRP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Ryan Dalziel and Daniel Morad did bring out a red flag in the middle of the final SprintX session when it stopped on course, but the team reported only a minor issue that will not impede the team’s progress when official practice begins on Friday morning.
***Among full-season drivers who are in the SprintX title hunt, striking the correct balance between gunning for a championship in that format while still playing the long game for the overall title has been a major talking point around the paddock.
***This marks a big weekend for Porsche, as it is the first race with Dr. Daniel Armbruster as President and CEO of Porsche Motorsport North America. Armbruster replaces Jens Walther, who had held that role since 2010.
***Eighteen Porsche Motorsport-built racecars are entered at COTA. Eleven will race in the SprintX rounds while seven will run in the GTS races.
***All four Cadillac Racing drivers on SprintX duty this weekend have posted wins at COTA circuit in their careers. Johnny O’Connell won Race 2 in the season-opening event last year, while Michael Cooper won Race 2 of the 2015 GTS season at the track. Brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor have two wins apiece at COTA including this year’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship event.
John Dagys contributed to this report