***Audi unveiled its stars and stripes liveries for the three factory-supported Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evos on Wednesday ahead of the start of on-track action for the Indianapolis 8 Hour powered by AWS, which doubles as the second round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli and season finale of Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS.
***This weekend’s race marks the largest-ever GT3 grid for a North American endurance race, with 28 cars due to take part out of the 41 overall starters. It surpasses the 27-car GT Daytona class entry for the 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona, which had been the previous record.
***All but two GTWC America teams are planning to run the full eight-hour race distance. The No. 91 Rearden Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 and No. 88 Zelus Motorsport Lamborghini are only entered for the double points-paying portion of the race, which is completed at the three-hour mark.
***A total of 16 cars are entered for the GTWC America portion of the race. Click Here for the entry list. Only the team’s two season-long nominated drivers will be permitted to drive during the three-hour portion, with no restrictions afterwards.
***The No. 20 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R, No. 77 Compass Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo and No. 93 Racers Edge Motorsports Acura are all entered in the Silver Cup for the full eight-hour race but will score GTWC America points as Pro-Am entrants in the first three hours.
***HPD GT3 Academy driver Ashton Harrison is making her GT3 race debut in the Compass entry alongside full-season GTWC America driver Matt McMurry. Mario Farnbacher will join the duo on driving duties starting in Hour 4 when the entry shifts to the Silver Cup.
***IGTC points are only awarded at the conclusion of the race and are applicable to nominated entries from the five registered GT3 manufacturers: Audi, Ferrari, Porsche, Mercedes-AMG and Lamborghini.
***Additionally, there are two Pro-Am Challenge cars, the No. 70 Inception Racing McLaren 720S GT3 and No. 16 EBM Giga Racing, which are entered for the full IGTC season that will score points towards its own season-long championship.
***EBM’s Wolfgang Triller, Carlos Rivas, Reid Harker and Will Bamber currently lead the IGTC Pro-Am standings although none of the drivers are competing this weekend. Adrian D’Silva was slated to contest the season-opening TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa but was ruled out on race day morning due to a positive COVID-19 test.
***The EBM entry — which features D’Silva, Jeff Kingsley and Nick Boulle — is unrelated to Team Hardpoint, which broke ties with the Will and Earl Bamber-owned organization earlier this month on Will Bamber’s charges of domestic battery, which were later dropped.
***Competitors are using a revised version of the infield layout this weekend following curb damage from NASCAR’s appearance at the road course this summer. The layout mirrors that run by Formula 1 in the first sector and was also utilized in the SCCA Runoffs earlier this month.
***Sainteloc Racing is aiming to start a “junior program” initiative with its Silver Cup Audi entry this weekend. “If we can develop a young driver to join the Audi crew, it would be nice,” said Sainteloc technical manager Sebastien Breuil, who wants to find “a Charles Weerts” for the future.
***Breuil added that the No. 26 Sainteloc Audi crew for Kyalami is “not finalized yet.” The Indianapolis lineup includes a GT3 debutant in Nicolas Baert, who competes full-time in TCR Europe aboard an Audi.
***Sainteloc initially committed to a pair of Pro Audis for its full-season IGTC program, with one being driven by Finlay Hutchison. However, the team has adjusted its approach and re-committed with a Silver entry. “For a couple of reasons [the second Pro entry] is not happening anymore, which is an arrangement between Finlay and the team,” said Breuil.
***Mercedes-AMG Team Craft Bamboo Racing’s Jules Gounon became the first driver to win three Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup races with three different manufacturers at Barcelona last weekend. Eight drivers have won with two brands. Gounon has taken victories with Bentley, Audi and Mercedes-AMG teams.
***Lone Star Racing, which has fielded Mercedes-AMG GT3s in both IMSA and SRO America competition, is providing logistical assistance for Craft-Bamboo’s effort this weekend. AF Corse’s two-car Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 program, meanwhile, is being supported by Risi Competizione.
***CMR Construction and Roofing is again sponsoring McMurry in the Compass Acura this weekend, in a relationship that began at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach last month. CMR has partnered with drivers from multiple racing disciplines across North America to raise funds to support Hurricane Ida victims in Louisiana.
***Guests of Pippa Mann’s sponsors are set to experience an element of endurance racing first-hand this weekend: “We have something scheduled for the guests on Saturday evening, a little driver change competition for those who want to take part in it and get them doing what we’re going to be doing the next day,” Mann told Sportscar365.
***Riley Motorsports is assisting sister outfit Smooge Racing this weekend with both pit crew and chief strategist Bill Riley on the box. Smooge, which recently locked up the Pirelli GT4 America Am class championship with Kevin Conway and John Geesbreght, is run by Ave Motorsport and sees the addition of Lexus factory driver Jack Hawksworth for the eight-hour.
***Tom Dyer is filling in for Gregory Liefooghe in the No. 119 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M4 GT4 after Liefooghe broke his collarbone last week. He is scheduled to go into surgery on Monday, marking the first pro race the 40-year-old has missed in his career. Liefooghe and co-driver Sean Quinlan currently sit second in the GT4 America Pro-Am points standings.
***Aston Martin-affiliated driver Valentin Hasse-Clot is making his GT4 America debut this weekend, co-driving the No. 59 WR Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT4 with team owner Paul Terry. Terry was joined by Owen Trinkler in the last two events at Watkins Glen International and Sebring International Raceway.
***The No. 50 3R Poveledo Racing Aston Martin has been withdrawn from the event due to an accident for the car at Sebring. It came in the team’s second-ever event after debuting at Watkins Glen last month.
***The first SRO America race of the weekend is scheduled for Thursday, with GT4 America Race 1 getting the green flag at 5 p.m. ET. Live coverage will be available on the GT World YouTube page. A 85-minute paid test session for IGTC/GTWC America competitors is also on tap for tomorrow.
Daniel Lloyd & Ryan Myrehn contributed to this report