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GT World Challenge America

Indianapolis Friday Notebook

John Dagys’ Friday notebook from Indianapolis Motor Speedway…

Photo: John Dagys

***Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli and GT World Challenge America powered by AWS competitors officially took to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first official time on Friday with a 90-minute Free Practice session. 

***Alessandro Balzan joked that he’s turned Brazilian this weekend, as the Ferrari veteran is wearing Rodrigo Baptista’s firesuit after being a last-minute call-up to the No. 1 Squadra Corse Ferrari 488 GT3.

***Co-driver Martin Fuentes will clinch the GTWC America Pro-Am championship once the car completes the 70 percent race distance of the three-hour race.

***Fuentes and Baptista hold a 49-point lead over the DXDT Racing pairing of Colin Braun and George Kurtz, which missed last month’s rounds at Circuit of The Americas due to a family emergency for Kurtz. A maximum of 50 points is up for grabs in the GTWC America portion of the race.

***Drivers contesting the GTWC America portion of the race will be required to complete the entire opening three hours as a duo, with their third nominated drivers then permitted to join from the fourth hour.

***The third driver in GTWC America entries is also not allowed to qualify the car, with the lower-categorized driver required to complete Sessions 1 and 2 and ‘Driver 2’ to do Session 3. Participation in the Pole Shootout is also not allowed.

***Nicky Catsburg arrived at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday morning on the heels of a single-day test with Corvette Racing at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. The Dutchman will return to the wheel of the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R for the Motul Petit Le Mans later this month.

***The majority of GT4 competitors are using cars that either contested the Pirelli GT4 America Sprint or SprintX races earlier in the week.

***This was made possible thanks to the format of the event schedule, which saw both GT4 America championships conclude by Friday afternoon, prior to Free Practice for the Indy 8H.

***GMG Racing has opted to utilize Jason Bell’s Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport used in GT4 Sprint due to Bell’s “personal preference” with that chassis according to the team’s logistics manager Joe Foster.

***The minimum full fuel stop time is 112 seconds for all cars in the Indy 8H, with the minimum short fuel stop being 73.99 seconds and the prohibited range between 84 and 111.99 seconds.

***Teams are permitted to use up to three ‘joker’ seconds, non cumulatively, during the race, with only one permitted to be used in the first three hours, both for IGTC and GTWC America-entered competitors.

***The No. 80 Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX GT3 Evo, which was withdrawn from the GTWC America race earlier this week, has remained in the team’s garage for spare parts if needed.

***The 2021 GT World Challenge America powered by AWS schedule is expected to be released on Saturday. Sportscar365 understands there will be an expansion from six to seven rounds next year, kicking off at Sonoma Raceway in March.

***It comes amid the confirmed return of all-pro lineups to the series as well as the absorption of Pirelli GT4 America Sprint and GT Sports Club America into the newly named GT America series for Bronze-rated drivers.

***As has been the case in recent SRO America events, CrowdStrike will hold virtual meetings for its popular CXO Summit, sponsored by AWS this weekend. Key points during the series of meetings will center on effectively managing the digital and physical security of workforces in the remote age of working.

***CrowdStrike will also again host an exclusive live stream of the Indy 8H with a dedicated play-by-play commentary team that will include insight from drivers Kevin Boehm and CJ Moses. Users can access the stream at CrowdStrikeRacing.com.

***Staff Sgt. William Babineau (Ret.) joined Boehm’s No. 9 CrowdStrike/AWS/DXDT Honda Civic Si as part of the team’s continued support of Operation Motorsport, a veteran-led and operated non-for-profit that serves American and Canadian service members and veterans.

***Flying Lizard Motorsports, which claimed its 10th combined drivers/teams championship on Friday, is planning a return to GT4 America next year according to program manager Darren Law, who indicated a likely 2-3 car effort spread between its customers.

***Jeff Burton missed all four GT4 America races this weekend due to an engine issue with his Rearden Aston Martin GT4 while Matt Travis elected not to enter Friday’s second GT4 Sprint race after largely focusing the event on his title bid in SprintX Pro-Am, which he and Jason Hart lost to Flying Lizard’s Michael Dinan and Robby Foley.

***The GT4 SprintX Am championship-winning driver pairing of Zac Anderson and Sean Gibbons was forced to miss out on the weekend due to chassis damage sustained to their Porsche GT4 car at Circuit of The Americas.

***This weekend’s event is still being run under Phase 1 of SRO’s COVID-19 operations protocol, despite fans being in attendance and media on-site for the first time since the season restart  at Virginia International Raceway in July.

***All of Saturday’s Indy 8H sessions will be streamed live on SRO’s GT World YouTube page. Pre-qualifying kicks off activities at 8:30 a.m. EDT followed by qualifying at 12:10 p.m. and the Pole Shootout at 5:30 p.m.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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