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GT World Challenge America

Road America Weekend Notebook

Sportscar365’s weekend notebook from SRO America action at Road America…

Photo: SRO

***Heavy rains and thunderstorms impacted Friday’s running at Road America, with several qualifying sessions canceled and the start of the first Pirelli GT4 America Sprint race of the weekend delayed due to weather, resulting in a reshuffled timetable.

***Qualifying for the opening GT4 Sprint race of the weekend was canceled, resulting in the grid being determined by results from Thursday’s second practice session. GT4 SprintX qualifying ended up being split, with Q1 being completed and Q2 abandoned due to weather.

***Road America marks the first SRO America event since the season-opener at Circuit of The Americas where fans have been allowed back to the track. The paddock, however, has remained closed to essential personnel only.

***SRO America was forced to cancel its GT Parade and Kickoff Party, which was again planned at the Siebkens Resort following a successful inaugural event last year.

***The No. 63 DXDT Racing entry is a brand-new Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo this weekend. Ryan Dalziel and David Askew had contested the early season races with an upgraded version of the previous-generation model.

***Teammates George Kurtz and Colin Braun, who have run a brand-new Mercedes Evo since the start of the year, currently hold a 1-point lead in the Pro-Am championship over Squadra Corse’s Rodrigo Baptista and Martin Fuentes.

***Wright Motorsports’ Porsche 911 GT3 R of Max Root and Fred Poordad has been moved to the Pro-Am class following their pair of overall runner-up finishes at Sonoma Raceway. It has resulted in no Am class entries this weekend.

***The No. 33 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, which sees the GT World Challenge America powered by AWS debut of Indy Dontje, meanwhile, has moved into the Silver class as a result of the lineup change alongside Russell Ward.

***Bill Auberlen claimed his third win in seven days, snatching Pirelli GT4 America SprintX Race 1 honors on Friday. It came after the BMW legend put the No. 82 BimmerWorld BMW M4 GT4 into the wall in practice earlier this week, resulting in extensive repairs.

***CJ Wilson played a helping hand in getting the No. 7 Nolasport Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport to Road America this weekend, with backing from his Porsche Fresno dealership. Zac Anderson and Sean Gibbons picked up another GT4 SprintX Am class victory on Friday.

***An accident in testing earlier this week has ruled out the No. 51 Panoz Avezzano GT4 of Preston Calvert and Roman De Angelis from this weekend’s GT4 SprintX races. It has left the Ian James and Matt Keegan-driven No. 50 entry as the sole Panoz in the team’s return to racing.  

***Suspension issues for the No. 50 Panoz took it out of action after a strong opening stint by Keegan in Friday’s Race 1.

***The GT Sports Club America grid is also down a car following the withdrawal of Nolasport’s Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsport of Jason Hall, who also did not take part in Friday’s opening GT4 Sprint race of the weekend either

***It has resulted in a three-car GT2 grid, although joined by a late entry from the No. 31 TR3 Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 of Mark Issa for the pair of 40-minute races that will again run inside the GTWC America rounds this weekend.

***Jarett Andretti missed Friday’s GT4 Sprint round due to a series of issues with Andretti Autosport’s pair of McLaren GT4s. Sportscar365 understands the team will shift its attention to GT4 SprintX competition for the remainder of the year, with the exception of the season finale at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

***Both the primary and backup McLaren GT4s from Compass Racing have crashed out in the span of two days, following Ross Thompson’s accident on Thursday, which was followed up by Ray Mason’s high-speed shunt at Canada Corner in the closing moments of Friday’s GT4 Sprint race.

***The Pro-Am pairing were initially due to compete in GT4 SprintX but was moved to Sprint after Thompson was not cleared to race after sustaining a concussion in his accident on Thursday.

***Mason’s incident, triggered by contact from the No. 91 Rearden Aston Martin Vantage GT4 of Jeff Burton, resulted in Burton receiving a post-race penalty for causing a collision and faces a ten-race grid penalty for Race 2.

***Compass team principal Karl Thomson told Sportscar365 they are now looking for a new chassis although it’s unlikely it would be sourced in time for tomorrow’s race.

***The provisional entry list for the Indianapolis 8 Hour could be released next week. Sportscar365 understands that a number of GTWC America teams are waiting on the final release of the sporting regulations before committing to the full eight-hour race distance.

***The Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli round is slated to serve as the season finale for GTWC America, with the first three hours of the race counting as a double points round for the seres.

***SRO Motorsports Group founder and CEO Stephane Ratel recently said that the grid will be “essentially American” and are only expecting a “few cars” from Europe due to challenging logistics for the month of October, which also sees the rescheduled Total 24 Hours of Spa just three weeks after Indy.

***CrowdStrike has increased its support of Operation Motorsport, with Staff Sgt. Chad Failing (Ret.) and Staff Sgt. William Babineau (Ret.) set to be part of Kevin Boehm’s No. 9 DXDT HondaCivic Si effort for the remainder of the TC America season.

***Operation Motorsport is a veteran-led and operated non-for-profit that serves injured or affected Canadian and American service members and veterans through motorsports activities to aid their recovery and rehabilitation.

***Qualifying for GTWC competitors kicks off Saturday’s activities at 8:45 a.m. CT, followed by GT4 Sprint Race 2 (9:40 a.m.), GTWC Race 1 (1:45 p.m.) and GT4 SprintX Race 2 (3:35 p.m.), with all races streamed on SRO’s GTWorld YouTube page, featuring commentary from Greg Creamer, Calvin Fish and Ryan Myrehn.

Ryan Myrehn contributed to this report

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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