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GT World Challenge America

Road America Thursday Notebook

John Dagys’ Thursday PWC notebook from Road America…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

***Pirelli World Challenge GT/GTA/GT Cup competitors took to Road America Thursday for two 30-minute test sessions, as part of the Promoter Test Day. James Davison was unofficially quickest in the afternoon session, laying down a 2:05.861 in his No. 33 Always Evolving Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3. Michael Schein (GTA) and Alec Udell (GT Cup) led their respective classes.

***Dion von Moltke turned laps in the afternoon test session in the No. 23 M1 GT Racing Audi R8 LMS and told Sportscar365 that he could take part in one of the two races this weekend. Von Moltke, an Audi Sportscar Brand Ambassador, is here coaching Walt Bowlin, who would drive the other race.

***Von Moltke effectively replaces Guy Cosmo this weekend. Cosmo had been Bowlin’s coach over the last two seasons and also co-drove with Bowlin in last month’s SprintX season-opener at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

***Colin Braun, who also took part in the SprintX race at CTMP, is here this weekend, coaching PWC debutant George Kurtz in the No. 04 TRG-AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT4 in the GTS class. The GTS class sees a solid 21-car entry for Road America, including the expanded three-car TRG entry.

***Thursday morning’s GT/GTA/GT Cup session had a scary moment, when a tow truck was reported on track traveling from the Kink to Canada Corner in green flag conditions. Patrick Long told Sportscar365 that he did not see any local yellow flags waved during the occurrence and voiced his concern during the driver’s meeting.

***It marked the third different incident where a safety truck was reported on-track in green flag conditions in the last two PWC weekends. Two separate incidents occurred at Lime Rock Park, including one in the closing moments of the GTS Race 2, where Jack Roush Jr. took evasive action to avoid a truck. Roush was later re-instated with his second place finish in the race.

***PWC Chief Steward Peter Roberts said today’s incident in the test day was not in their control because of a promoter test, but stressed that any incident requiring a tow truck will result in a red flag for practice or qualifying sessions, or a full-course caution in races.

***Series President and CEO Greg Gill revealed during Thursday’s driver’s meeting that Andrew Palmer’s car did not go airborne, as initially reported by corner workers, in his accident with Jorge De La Torre last month at Lime Rock Park. Palmer’s family, via his manager Mike Perry, issued an update on his condition on Thursday.

***A full investigation into the accident is ongoing, with the series consulting with renowned motorsports safety expert and surgeon Dr. Terry Trammell, in an effort to improve safety for competitors. Gill said they are also working with Bentley and Aston Martin, the manufacturers of the GT3 cars involved.

***Roberts said PWC has already helped diagnose an issue and institute changes to the rollcage of the SIN R1 GT4 car following a full investigation from an accident earlier this year in the GTS class.

***DIME Racing is expecting to get a new chassis for its Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 by the next round at Mid-Ohio. The team had hoped to re-tub its car for Road America but faced a delay in receiving the chassis. The Frankie Montecalvo-driven entry, however, has underwent a full rebuild since Lime Rock Park.

***Two PWC drivers are fresh off last weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. Wright Motorsports’ Patrick Long scored a podium finish in GTE-Am in his No. 88 Abu Dhabi Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR, while Cadillac’s Johnny O’Connell piloted a Corvette C7.R to a 9th place finish in class.

***No major changes are expected to be made to the SprintX regulations for the final two rounds, according to Gill. He told Sportscar365 that minor adjustments may be made for the Utah and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca rounds, ahead of a planned 2017 return.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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