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GT World Challenge America

Utah Friday Notebook

John Dagys’ Friday PWC notebook from Utah…

Photo: Brian Cleary/

***Track limits has been a major talking point, with 114 violations reported in SprintX Practice 1 alone, and an additional 45 in the second practice session. The majority of the violations have occurred in Turns 9 and 11, with the lap times from each violation disallowed in practice. Drivers were told in the drivers’ meeting that one wheel must remain on the track and that drive-through penalties could be issued for repeated offenses.

***TruSpeed Autosport has confirmed its last minute entry for Sloan Urry and Tom Haacker, who will drive the No. 45 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car in the GT Cup class. It brings the expected SprintX entry to 32 cars.

***Haacker, along with Preston Calvert are pulling double duty between PWC and the Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA, which is serving as a support series race at Utah Motorsports Campus this weekend. Calvert was a late addition to the GT3 Cup Trophy grid, in a Competition Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car.

***TRG has been a late addition to the GTS Sprint grid this weekend, with its No. 09 Aston Martin Vantage GT4 with driver Jason Alexandridis set to gain extra track time during the pair of 50-minute races. Alexandridis will team with Derek DeBoer for the SprintX races, also in the same car.

***Team owner Kevin Buckler told Sportscar365 they originally intended to use the Aston Martin that it ran in last weekend’s Continental Tire SportsCar Challenger race at Road America, but elected to prep a different chassis instead, which resulted in a few long nights for the crew.

***The addition brings the GTS field up to 17 cars, with the No. 018 Case-It Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR of Cameron Cassels dropping out after the car sustained an engine failure.

***Lime Rock SprintX winner Dane Cameron is on-site this weekend, serving as a driver coach for George Kurtz in the No. 04 GMG Racing McLaren 570S GT4. Cameron is filling in for regular coach Colin Braun, who is on Global Rallycross duty in Atlantic City.

***GTS team owners are set to meet with PWC officials this evening for a stakeholder’s meeting, which could help decide the category’s future. While expected to remain with standalone races, the topic of a SprintX-style concept has again come up for discussion for the class.

***PWC President and CEO Greg Gill told Sportscar365 that he expects the 2018 PWC schedule to be released during the next round at Circuit of The Americas, most likely on Aug. 31. A handful of changes are under consideration, although likely remaining with the core group of circuits, according to Gill.

***As was the case last year, efforts are being made to avoid date clashes with the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, which released its schedule last week at Road America. Gill said his healthy dialogue and communication with IMSA President Scott Atherton has alleviated one clash for 2018 already.

“Because of getting the access, I was able to move one of our dates,” Gill told Sportscar365. “By getting the early communication, I was able to tell Scott, ‘I think when you make your announcement, you’ll be fine.”

***The future of Cadillac’s ATS-V.R program remains unclear, with a decision not yet having been made for 2018. It’s understood the Pratt & Miller squad was given a one-year contract extension for this year, on top of its initial two-year deal with the GT3-based car, which debuted in 2015. It’s unclear if Cadillac’s DPi program could play an impact on the future of its PWC effort.

***There have been five different driver combinations, teams and manufacturers that have won the first five SprintX races: TR3 Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 (Mancinelli/Montermini), CRP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 (Dalziel/Morad), Cadillac ATS-V.R (Cooper/J. Taylor), Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R (Long/Lieb) and Magnus Racing Audi R8 LMS (Pumpelly/Cameron).

***Saturday’s TC race is poised to break a world record for the most BMW M235s in a single race, with 22 cars having taken part in practice on Friday. The previous record in PWC competition was 19 at the season-opener at Virginia International Raceway in April.

***The 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport has been announced as the Official Touring Car Pace car for the remainder of the season. Shea Holbrook, fresh off her Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America debut last weekend at Road America, meanwhile, has switched to the TCA class this weekend with a new Honda Civic Si.

***Watch the first SprintX race of the weekend live on Motor Trend OnDemand, Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET, with the GTS race set for 5 p.m. CBS Sports Network will air delayed coverage of the SprintX races on Aug. 20 at 2:30 p.m. ET, and GTS on Aug. 23 at 9 p.m. ET.

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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