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GT World Challenge America

Sonoma Friday Notebook

Ryan Myrehn’s Friday PWC notebook from Sonoma Raceway…

Photo: Brian Cleary/BCPix.com

***After setting the fastest lap in Practice 1, Cadillac Racing’s Johnny O’Connell found trouble at the end of the second practice session of the day when the No. 3 Cadillac ATS-V.R made contact with the Turn 6 wall. The team has elected to prepare its backup car, a show car that is on site at Sonoma Raceway, and hope to be on track for qualifying at 10 a.m. PT Saturday.

***After the session, O’Connell shouldered the blame for the crash. “It doesn’t happen often but everyone falls off and I’m disappointed in myself,” he said. “I just understeered into Turn 6 and hit a bump. The next thing I know I was in the air and face first into the wall.”

***The 2018 Pirelli World Challenge schedule is expected to be unveiled on Sunday. The series was close to announcing it at the last round at Circuit of The Americas but the final details could not be ironed out in time.

***Even in Sonoma, Hurricane Irma’s impact can be felt. Several PWC GTS teams and drivers were unable to make the trip west due to the hurricane, resulting in a smaller than expected field this weekend. Miami-based ANSA Motorsports was forced to withdraw its pair of KTM X-BOW GT4s, and Tampa Bay driver Jason Bell and Puerto Rico resident Keith Jensen are also not on the grounds this weekend.

***Despite both of its Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR machines appearing on the entry list, Case-it Racing is also not at Sonoma this weekend due to pre-existing business conflicts.

***Ian James was the fastest in both Pirelli World Challenge GTS practice sessions on Friday in the No. 50 Panoz Avezzano GT. James’ best lap of 1:42.244 from Practice 1 was the fastest of the day across the pair of 30-minute practices

***Series champion-elect Lawson Aschenbach set the second fastest lap of the day in GTS for Blackdog Speed Shop, also in the first session. Rodrigo Baptista was third fastest for Flying Lizard Motorsports. Derek DeBoer was the fastest of the GTSA competitors in the No. 007 TRG-AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT4.

***Alex Lloyd, who is making his return to professional racing this weekend in CRP Racing’s GTS class Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport, said he is enjoying his time back in a race car but is still coming to grips with track limits regulations.

***Lloyd now works as the Director of Content for San Francisco-based Navdy, which produces an advanced, next-generation heads-up display for cars.

***Race 1 for GT, GTA, and GT Cup is scheduled for 2:15 p.m. PT, while GTS Race 1 will be at 5 p.m. Live coverage for both races will be available 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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