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Pirelli GT4 America

Portland Weekend Notebook

Ryan Myrehn’s weekend notebook for GT4 SprintX at Portland International Raceway…

Photo: Brian Cleary/SRO America

***A total of 19 cars are taking part in this weekend’s pair of two-driver Pirelli GT4 America races on the 1.97-mile Portland circuit in northern Oregon.

***The field includes entries from both the nationwide SprintX series and the SprintX West championship. Each championship is also separated into Pro-Am and Am brackets.

***After sweeping the GT4 America West races at Sonoma Raceway, the duo of Kenny Murillo and Christian Szymczak are back this weekend in the Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4. Murillo told Sportscar365 it would likely be the final outing for that pairing this season.

***Despite some concerns over the Mercedes’ suitability to the Portland International Raceway circuit, Murillo set the pace in Practice 1 and followed that up with the second fastest lap in Practice 2 on Friday.

***The Dexter Racing pairing of brothers Ryan and Warren Dexter are making their SRO America debuts this weekend with a Ginetta G55 GT4. Both young drivers are veterans of club level racing, while Warren is the reigning Trans-Am Trigon Trophy TA4 champion.

***The Nebraska-based team has three Ginetta chassis in its possession and is using this weekend as a chance to explore the SRO America Paddock with an eye on a customer program in the series next year.

***The No. 24 Ian Lacy Racing Ford Mustang GT4 of Frank Gannett and Drew Staveley suffered a halfshaft failure during Practice 1, causing the team to miss some time on track. The issue was fixed in time for Practice 2 during which Gannett posted the 11th fastest overall time.

***This weekend marks the return of Flying Lizard Motorsports driver Michael Dinan who sustained shoulder injuries in a heavy crash at VIR. Dinan shares his Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport with Robby Foley who is coming off of his first career IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Daytona class win at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park last week.

***Preston Calvert is among the drivers for whom the return to Portland brings back fond memories. The veteran driver scored his first career win in the series at Portland a year ago in his Panoz Avezzano GT4, which he told Sportscar365 “opened the floodgates” with several return trips to Victory Lane since.

***Ramsey Racing/EXR Team by Premat is making its debut in GT4 America competition with a Mercedes-AMG GT4 for drivers Mark Ramsey and Alexandre Premat. Ramsey is a veteran of the EXR exotic car racing series, which is based in Las Vegas and run by the team, and contested the full IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge schedule a year ago alongside former Audi DTM and LMP1 racer Premat.

***It is understood that the Ramsey Racing/EXR Team by Premat operation will enter the remaining rounds of the GT4 America season this year.

***GT4 America Sprint competitor Nicolai Elghanayan is racing in the GT4 European Series races at Zandvoort this weekend, driving a KTM Xbow GT4 for Reiter Engineering. Also in the field is frequent SRO America competitor Alec Udell who is contesting the full season of the championship.

***Jarett Andretti says this has been his busiest season yet between GT4 Sprint, SprintX, driving in the Indy Lights series Freedom 100, and his dirt track commitments. Andretti will next head back to Indiana where he is set to contest USAC’s Indiana Sprint Week, which will see him race eight times in 10 nights from July 18 to July 27.

***Pirelli released a technical bulletin prior to the Portland event specifying the minimum starting tire pressure and target hot tire pressure, as well as maximum front and rear camber settings. The tire manufacturer warned competitors that exceeding their stated limits “will expose the product to excessive levels of mechanical stress that could affect the integrity of the product.” Pirelli also warned drivers about aggressive curb usage on cold tires.

***As has become customary, information on the upcoming SRO America season – including schedule details – is expected to be released at the Total 24 Hours of Spa later this month.

***The Saleen Cup Race has canceled its first scheduled race this weekend after delays in getting the one-make, arrive-and-drive championship’s field of six Saleen S1 Cup cars to the track.

***A single car was on site Friday, which was driven by the series’ official test and development driver Eric Curran during the scheduled practice sessions.

***It achieved a best time of 1:17.079, while the best GT4 time from Friday’s two practices was Kenny Murillo’s 1:17.577 in Practice 1.

***According to Steve Saleen, there were additional delays in preparing the cars which were compounded by a problem with the truck that was scheduled to transport the cars to Portland from Saleen’s Southern California shop.

***The additional cars are scheduled to arrive early on Saturday with a practice session bookmarked for the same morning, while Race 1 has been converted into a practice and qualifying session for the series’ inaugural race on Sunday.

***A full timetable for this weekend’s Rose Cup Races meeting can be found here.

John Dagys and Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report.

Ryan Myrehn is an Indianapolis-based broadcaster and reporter. In addition to his work covering primarily domestic sports car racing for Sportscar365, he is the lead announcer for SRO America's TV coverage as well as a pit reporter for IndyCar Radio. Myrehn, a graduate of DePauw University, is also the host of Sportscar365's “Double Stint” Podcast.

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