***Michael Schein missed today’s track activities and is expected to not return to the track until Sunday, in time for Race 2, due to a family commitment for the GTA championship leader. No replacement driver is expected to be in the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R for Race 1.
***Schein holds only a slim six-point advantage over GMG Racing’s James Sofronas in the Sprint GTA title race, likely meaning he’ll lose the lead of the championship by Sunday’s Race 2.
***Marko Radisic is set to pull double duty this weekend, in the No. 36 Zima Motorsports BMW M235iR and also his GT Cup class No. 11 Precision Driving Ferrari 458 Challenge Evo, which did not turn laps on Thursday.
***GTS points leader Lawson Aschenbach believes the recent debut of Stevenson Motorsports’ Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R, albeit in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and running on different tires, has played a benefit to their program at Blackdog Speed Shop. “From a setup-wise, it’s a little hard to use their information,” he told Sportscar365. “But it always helps to have more cars, so you’re always learning.”
***Despite having a commanding 46-point lead over Mantella Autosport’s Martin Barkey, Aschenbach has yet to win a race this year, with the Pratt & Miller-built car also still seeking its maiden victory in North American competition.
***HPD Race Team Leader Allen Miller revealed to Sportscar365 that all drivers of its factory supported Acura NSX GT3s are contracted to their respective teams. Miller said the manufacturer does not currently have any “factory” drivers, as its works support for both Michael Shank Racing and RealTime Racing winds down at the end of the season for expected customer entries.
***The Ford Mustang is close to receiving final GT4 homologation, according to SRO Motorsports Group technical director Claude Surmont. “We’re awaiting the final stamped file from the RACB (Royal Automobile Club Belgium, SRO’s Sanctioning Body). This should be done by the earliest next week,” Surmont told Sportscar365.
***The No. 40 PF Racing Mustang, shared this weekend by Ernie Francis Jr. and James Pesek, is running this weekend to what the team believes is the final GT4 specification. Francis and Pesek will each complete one GTS race this weekend, in a split effort.
***Ford Performance Global Director Dave Pericak told Sportscar365 they had to make modifications from the initial car, including relocating the oil tank, to meet the final GT4 specifications. Pericak said he expects to open up customer sales shortly beyond the initial two cars sold to Dean Martin of KohR Motorsports.
***RealTime Racing team owner Peter Cunningham is missing his home race at Road America to take part in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in a modified Acura TLX GT, which competed in PWC last year. In the absence of garage facilities at Pikes Peak, the team has been working on their car in a hotel parking lot.
***Cunningham qualified second overall on Thursday, behind Romain Dumas in a Norma MXX RD Limited prototype. The effort is being supported by selected RealTime and Acura team members that are typically not present on PWC weekends.
***Bentley Team Absolute will have a new driver in its No. 88 Bentley Continental GT3 for the next round at Mid-Ohio, with team veteran Adderly Fong set to miss the race due to a clash with the China GT Championship in Zhuhai that weekend. Yufeng Luo is not here this weekend, with the possibility of the team needing to find two replacement drivers for the Mid-Ohio event.
***James Sofronas said he’s still working through on determining his co-driver for the remaining SprintX races, with Matt Hallyday potentially having conflicts on the Utah and COTA weekends. Porsche GT factory driver Laurens Vanthoor joined Sofronas for VIR and CTMP, although the Belgian is also unavailable those weekends. “We have a little time so we’re still sorting through it,” Sofronas told Sportscar365.
***PWC management met with team owners on Friday to discuss further details on the California 8 Hours Intercontinental GT Challenge race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in October. A number of U.S.-based teams have already laid out plans to compete, including GMG Racing and ANSA Motorsports. It’s understood SRO is expecting to have up to a dozen entries from Europe for the race.
***Porsche Motorsport North America has announced a strategic partnership with Gunnar Racing, which will see the Florida-based Porsche specialist act as a customer liaison for the restoration of historic race cars. The two companies, which had been working together on individual projects, will now offer a full array of services, from consultation to full car restorations.
Ryan Myrehn contributed to this report