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GT World Challenge America

St. Pete Saturday Notebook

John Dagys’ Saturday PWC notebook from St. Pete…

Photo: Brian Cleary/

Photo: Brian Cleary/

***It was a banner day for Michael Lewis, who scored a dominant, flag-to-flag victory in Saturday’s GT/GTA/GT Cup race. He was the 9th driver in 14 Pirelli World Challenge races at St. Pete to have translated a pole into the win on the street circuit.

***Having set fastest lap in Race 1, Lewis will start from the pole in Race 2 on Sunday, alongside Alvaro Parente in the No. 9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3. Patrick Long, who charged from 19th on the grid to finish 7th, will line up 7th on the grid tomorrow.

***EFFORT Racing put in a total of 200 man hours, between its six crew members, to repair Long’s No. 31 Porsche 911 GT3 R following last weekend’s accident. The Porsche factory driver received only one hardship lap yesterday evening prior to taking part in today’s race.

***Frankie Montecalvo’s bid for GTA class honors on Saturday was thwarted early in the race when he was forced to manhandle his No. 66 DIME Racing Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 into a run-off area. The reigning GTA champion told Sportscar365 that he fought handling issues, in the rear of the car, all race, but managed to finish 18th overall.

***Montecalvo said there’s a chance he could switch to the new Mercedes-AMG GT3 for the Long Beach round, although a final decision has yet to be made. It’s understood the team in discussions with multiple drivers for the planned two-car effort with the new-generation Mercs.

***The No. 33 Always Evolving Racing Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 of James Davison was a retirement on Saturday after suffering rear wing damage. The wing got hooked on a catchfence and and collapsed just prior to the halfway mark. Davison ran a handful of laps without the wing but was severely off-pace.

***Colin Thompson had a brush with the wall in the closing stages of the race, which led to a right-rear puncture on the No. 13 K-PAX McLaren and a 17th place finish. The 2015 GT Cup champion had been running inside the top-10 at the time.

***Absolute Team Bentley team director Ingo Matter told Sportscar365 they could expand to a three-car PWC operation later this year. The Chinese team has received a third Bentley Continental GT3 that’s now being used as a backup car but could be put in action. Matter said they’ve begun preliminary talks with prospective drivers but is focused on first delivering solid results for its two season-long entries first.

***The second and final GT/GTA/GT Cup race of the weekend is set for Sunday at 3:15 p.m. ET, following the Verizon IndyCar Series race.

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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