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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Laguna Seca Thursday Notebook

John Dagys’ Thursday notebook from Intercontinental GT Challenge paddock…

Photo: John Dagys

***Expanding on its partnership this weekend, personnel from Wright Motorsports and Park Place Motorsports have created a “Wright Place Motorsports” team decal (pictured above) that has been applied to both of the Porsche 911 GT3 Rs competing in this weekend’s California 8 Hours. 

***The pair of factory-backed Porsches ended the day second and third quickest on the time sheets.

***An engine misfire for the No. 107 Bentley Continental GT3 has resulted in Bentley Team M-Sport taking the engine out of the car following Pre Qualifying, with the British team evaluating its next steps, according to Bentley Motorsport director Brian Gush.

***Should the team be forced to change engines, it would result in the car starting from the pit lane. 

***While Gary Paffett is among the numerous drivers making their debuts at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, it also marks the DTM ace’s first race in the U.S. altogether. The 37-year-old is confirmed for the remainder of the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli season.

***Peter Baron has returned to Land Motorsport this weekend serving as team manager and race strategist for the German squad’s Audi R8 LMS Evo. The Starworks Motorsport team owner, who focused on his own Audi entry in the first two IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races this year, was largely credited for helping take Land to victory in last year’s California 8 Hours.

***The 11-turn, 2.238-mile circuit has undergone safety-related upgrades in anticipation for the NTT IndyCar Series race here in September. It includes the installation of additional catch-fencing in Turns 1 and 5, as well as the Corkscrew. 

***Park Place has been through one of the most diverse last month of racing, having entered Porsches in Pirelli GT4 America SprintX, Sprint, Michelin Pilot Challenge and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition. “It’s difficult because in the last four weeks, we’ve had four different rulebooks,” the team’s director of operations Mike Johnson told Sportscar365.

***Johnson confirmed that Alan Brynjolfsson will take part in next month’s GT4 Sprint race in Long Beach, which comes in addition to he and Trent Hindman’s full-season commitment to GT4 East in the VOLT Lightning-sponsored Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport.

***In a change to this year’s race, teams are permitted to use up to 12 sets of Pirelli P Zero DHD2 tires for the official sessions, plus one additional set for those cars that advance to Super Pole. A limitation of ten sets of tires (+1 for Super Pole) was in place for the race in October. The change is understood to have come per teams’ requests.

***Both TRG and RHC Jorgensen/Strom are pulling double duty between the California 8 Hours and pair of Pirelli GT4 America West races this weekend. The No. 67 TRG Porsche is slated to take part in all three races, with Spencer Pumpelly and Jason Alexandridis joining Chris Bellomo for the 8 Hour.

***RHC Jorgensen, meanwhile, has been utilizing two different BMW M4 GT4 chassis for the events, which has seen Daren Jorgensen and Brett Strom split time in both cars and Jonathan Miller joining them for the enduro.

***The GT4 West grid has been reduced to nine cars following the withdrawal of the No. 43 Rearaden Racing Audi R8 LMS GT4 of Owen Trinkler and Sarah Cattaneo due to family obligations for Cattaneo.

***The world’s largest Lexus RC F GT3 made its debut on the Laguna Seca hillside today. The 12-foot tall sign, which stretches 26 feet bumper-to-bumper, was designed, painted and constructed in less than four weeks by artist John Cerney. The IMSA GT Daytona-badged car carries a factory Lexus livery designed by Andy Blackmore.

***Lexus serves a the official luxury car of WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

***Bob Varsha has joined the full-season SRO Motorsports America broadcast team of Greg Creamer, Calvin Fish and Ryan Myrehn for coverage of this weekend’s race. CBS Sports Network will carry both the start and finish of the race live on Saturday, with coverage from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. ET and 6-8 p.m. ET.

***Full streaming coverage of the race, as well as Friday’s qualifying and Super Pole, will be available on the official IGTC web site.

Ryan Myrehn contributed to this report

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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