Reigning Pirelli World Challenge GTA champion Frankie Montecalvo has withdrawn from the remainder of the 2016 season, in a dispute over not receiving a new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 chassis from Dime Racing for this weekend’s round at Sonoma Raceway.
Jonathan Summerton has been drafted into the No. 66 Dime-entered Mercedes for the penultimate round of the season, competing in the GT class.
Montecalvo’s decision came Friday morning when he discovered that the chassis brought to the track was not the new chassis that he said had been promised to him earlier in the season.
“I have been promised several times that we would receive a new chassis direct form AMG for the past several races,” Montecalvo said.
Montecalvo has raced the same chassis since the start of the 2015 season. It sustained damage in an accident at Long Beach in April, and was set to be replaced by June, but faced multiple delays.
“When we didn’t receive the chassis before Mid-Ohio, I pulled out of the race because the car had not gone through a proper inspection by Mercedes prior to the race,” he said.
“Because Mercedes never received any photos or update on the chassis from Dime Racing, Mercedes was not able to give me approval to continue with the chassis, so I thought it was best not to race.
“We ended up racing again at Utah, and made the best of the situation getting a class win and a top-10 finish.
“During the second race we experienced the same issues we had suffered during many of the previous races which caused another right-rear suspension failure and another DNF.
“When I left Utah, I was told that the new chassis was shipping out the following week and that it would be ready to go for Sonoma, but unfortunately when I arrived here today, I saw the same totaled chassis, another driver entered on the car and received a lot of conflicting information from the team managers.
“It’s very unfortunate to have to end the season this way, but I think it is the best decision for me. I will now be focusing on my 2017 racing plans and hope to announce my 2017 plans within the coming weeks.”
Dime Racing team director Rod Shegem said they’ve learned a lot through its first season of PWC competition.