Patrick Byrne and Guy Cosmo have made the last minute switch to drive for NOLASPORT this weekend at Watkins Glen after a highway accident prevented the RENNtech Motorsports-entered Mercedes-AMG GT4 from arriving at the circuit.
The former Asian Le Mans Series LMP3 championship-winning duo were set to complete the balance of the Pirelli GT4 America SprintX season with RENNTtech after making a single start in Blancpain GT World Challenge America competition with TR3 Racing at Sonoma Raceway.
Those plans were disrupted when the trailer hauling the Mercedes was forced off the road en route to New York, leaving Byrne and Cosmo scrambling to find a way to stay on the grid.
Byrne told Sportscar365 the opportunity came in the form of NOLASPORT’s spare first-generation Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR chassis which was already on site and the deal was helped along by GT4 America class manager Jack Baldwin.
“The truck had to take an evasive maneuver because a trailer in front of it jackknifed or locked up in front of it and it turned off the highway and went through the woods,” he said.
“The trailer itself seems like it’s OK. The truck is in bad shape. It sounds like the driver is a little banged up and a branch missed his head by six inches, so it was a big event.
“It’s good that everyone seems to be OK, from what we hear. It sounds like the car is somewhat scratched up but it’s OK mechanically.
“Slowly people heard what happened to the trailer, Jack Baldwin heard, and he talked to Guy and told him that this was pretty much the only car available, but it’s a good one.
“Guy called him right away and we talked real quick. It was a simple choice. They’re leading the championship [with full-season drivers Matt Travis and Jason Hart], it seems like a good choice, and here we are.”
Byrne said the goal now is to make the most of the weekend with the ramifications of the accident beyond this weekend still unclear.
“Our focus now is just so much on this weekend,” said Byrne. “We came all this way, it was across the country for me, so it’s a big trip. We came all the way here just hoping we could race.
“We’ve heard from multiple teams that the Gen 1 [Cayman] can be more competitive.
“Obviously the drivers in the Gen 2 car are leading the championship, so I don’t know if that’s true, but they’ve had the option all year so they picked this one for some reason.
“We’ll see how it goes. We’re here to race and we’re here to win if we can, but coming into the GT4 category this late in the game is tough.
“I did a lot of homework on the track. Guy knows the track really well. I think we have pretty moderate expectations. This team knows what they’re doing, so the car can be competitive.”