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GT World Challenge America

COTA Friday Notebook

Ryan Myrehn’s Friday notebook from Circuit of The Americas…

Photo: Brian Cleary/BCPix.com

***Pirelli World Challenge officials are not planning on releasing the 2018 schedule this weekend at Circuit of The Americas as initially planned. The announcement is expected to come at the GT and GTS season finale at Sonoma Raceway on Sept. 15-17.

***According to a series spokesman, the holdup stems from other sanctioning bodies that PWC frequently partners with on race weekends, such as IndyCar, not being ready to release their schedules at this time.

***Friday’s SprintX CTMP Make-Up Race was moved up to start at 7 p.m. CT after originally being scheduled for 7:30 p.m. After taking feedback from stakeholders, the series made the adjustment to prevent racing in full night conditions. Sunset in Austin on Friday came at 7:54 p.m., mere minutes before the conclusion of the race.

***SprintX GT overall co-race winner Joerg Bergmeister said the series-mandated pit window opened early in the race and caught the Wright Motorsports team by surprise. The team reacted quickly, and for his part Bergmeister didn’t seem concerned about losing track time on a weekend featuring three races. “When it opened early I thought: Oh well, I’ll come in anyway. Less work!” he said.

***Defending PWC GT Sprint champion Alvaro Parente’s overall championship hopes took a hit when radiator damage sidelined his No. 9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3 early in Friday’s race with Ben Barnicoat at the wheel. The pairing was credited with a 21st-place overall finish but, quick repairs by the K-PAX crew salvaged something from the race. The team got the car back on track in time to turn 17 laps, more than enough to surpass 50 percent of the race-winner’s total, which necessary to be credited with points.

***GMG Racing’s Pro-Am win from last on the grid on Friday looked even more unlikely earlier on Thursday when the team found an issue with the new engine in their Porsche 911 GT3 R in testing. Porsche diagnosed the problem after an overnight FedEx delivery of the engine to Porsche Motorsport North America headquarters in California, and ultimately gave the team a spare engine to run for the weekend.

***In addition to his driving duties, Sofronas is overseeing his GMG Racing operation which has no less than six Porsches in action this weekend at COTA across multiple series and classes.

***His co-driver, Porsche Young Professional Driver Mathieu Jaminet, has taken a quick liking to COTA. The young Frenchman has recorded two Porsche Super Cup wins, a class pole position in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, and now a SprintX Pro-Am victory in his brief career at the circuit.

***Cadillac Racing drivers Ricky and Jordan Taylor both said that they have enjoyed their SprintX experience to this point and would be interested in participating again if the opportunity should arise. “It’s always nice to get some extra races,” SprintX points co-leader Jordan Taylor told Sportscar365.

***SprintX GT Pro-Am competitor Preston Calvert finished 16th on Friday in the No. 77 Calvert Dynamics Porsche and still has four more races to go before the weekend is done. In addition to the three SprintX races, he is scheduled to take part in the double-header of Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA races at COTA as well.

***Drew Stavely set the fastest lap in GTS practice on Friday with a 2:19.431 in Practice 1 in the No. 12 Ian Lacy Racing Ginetta G55. Rodrigo Baptista set the second fastest lap from the combined sessions in Practice 2 in the No. 3 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR, just 0.004 seconds off of Stavely’s fast lap.

***GTS points leader Lawson Aschenbach and the Blackdog Speed Shop crew struggled for pace in the No. 10 Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R, posting just the 9th fastest lap in Practice 1 and 18th fastest lap in Practice 2. Aschenbach holds a 70-point advantage with four races remaining and can clinch the GTS title with a strong outing this weekend.

***The first GTS race of the weekend will take place Saturday at 1:45 p.m. CT, followed by the second SprintX race at 4 p.m. CT. Coverage is available via the live stream at World-Challenge.com.

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

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