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GT World Challenge America

Sonoma Thursday Notebook

Ryan Myrehn’s Thursday notebook from Sonoma…

Photo: Brian Cleary/BCPix.com

***The Pirelli World Challenge GT and GTS season finales will decide several important point championships this weekend at Sonoma Raceway with GT Overall, GT Sprint, GTA and GTS-Am divisions still up for grabs.

***The two most notable title runs are staged with 2011 GT champion Patrick Long and 2016 GT champion Alvaro Parente fighting for the GT Sprint crown as well as the Overall GT championship with recently-crowned GT SprintX champion Michael Cooper still in the mix for both GT categories.

***Long leads both GT points with a five-point margin over the factory McLaren driver Parente (157-152) in the Sprint series and by 28 points in the Overall standings (320-292). Cooper holds down third place in both GT Sprint and GT Overall standings for Cadillac Racing.

***This marks the third time in three seasons of PWC competition that Long has taken the Drivers’ Championship into its closing rounds. He won the title in 2011 and finished second in 2016, narrowly missing his second title in the last half of the last lap of the last round.

***The GTS class has again undergone wholesale Balance of Performance adjustments since the last Category D track, at Lime Rock Park, in May. Changes have been made to the majority of cars, including the Camaro GT4.R, Panoz Avezzano, KTM X-BOW GT4 and more. Click Here to view the full rundown of changes.

***Weight adjustments, meanwhile, have been made to three GT3 cars for this weekend. The Acura NSX GT3 gets a 5kg weight break since Lime Rock, with the Audi R8 LMS shedding 15kg and the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 also 5kg less.

***Memo Gidley, from nearby Sausalito, California, returns to professional motorsports this weekend in the No. 101 TKO Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R. after suffering serious injuries in the early stages of the 2014 Rolex 24 at Daytona. This summer he began an extensive testing program with TKO and then made his public debut during a PWC promoter test day at Utah Motorsports Campus. This is the first PWC race for the team.

***James Sofronas has produced a dream season in the GTA Sprint and GT SprintX Pro-Am division this year in his No. 14 GMG Racing Porsche. Sofronas has scored ten victories in 2017 with five each in GTA and SprintX competition. He clinched the SprintX Pro-Am championship at the COTA Labor Day weekend and currently holds a 30-point margin in the GTA Sprint class entering this weekend.

***Cybersecurity entrepreneur George Kurtz comes to Sonoma with his No. 04 CrowdStrike/GMG McLaren 570S close to clinching the GTS-Am division after a spectacular nine-win season, including eight consecutive victories in the last eight races. He holds a nearly-insurmountable 51-point edge over Tony Gaples with two races remaining.

***A native of the Bay Area and former resident of Marin County, Jon Fogarty returns to California for the final race of the season this weekend with GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing. Fogarty is no stranger to Sonoma Raceway; he’s completed more laps there than any other track during his championship-winning career.

***GAINSCO Auto Insurance and Bob Stallings Racing head into their 13th year of competition in 2018. Sunday’s race will be the 144th together, marking it one of the longest active partnerships in motorsports. The team is coming off its best race weekend of the season at Circuit of The Americas two weeks ago, where Fogarty and Wolf Henzler finished on the podium in the first SprintX race.

***Since May, K-PAX Racing and Family House San Francisco have teamed up to raise awareness of pediatric illness. Through the season, K-PAX has introduced children’s artwork on its three McLaren 650S GT3 cars. The children and their families will have the opportunity to see their artwork on the team cars as guests of the team this weekend.

***On Wednesday, Family House welcomed the team to its site in Mission Bay, which serves 80 families per night and runs at almost 100 percent occupancy. Family House serves as a home away from home and a pediatric guesthouse for families of children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses by providing physical comfort and emotional support, free from financial concerns.

John Dagys contributed to this report.

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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