***An accident for Ryan Eversley in Thursday’s one-and-only GT/GTA/GT Cup practice session has sent the RealTime Racing team into rebuild mode. Eversley lost control of the No. 43 Acura NSX GT3 in Turn 4, making left-side contact. It’s believed the car did not sustain any chassis damage. “It’s a real shame because these cars are brand-new and there’s not a lot of parts here,” he told Sportscar365.
***Eversley said they will likely get parts flown in from fellow Acura team Michael Shank Racing overnight, with the goal of getting the brand-new car back on track tomorrow for the car’s PWC debut.
***Two other cars hit trouble on Thursday, with PWC debutant Alex Riberas making left-rear contact with the wall after losing control of his No. 61 R Ferri Motorsport Ferrari 488 GT3 car. Riberas told Sportscar365 that the team has yet to determine the extent of the damage or whether they’ll be able to make repairs for tomorrow.
***The No. 77 Calvert Dynamics Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car of Preston Calvert, meanwhile, sustained right-side damage after contact with the No. 4 Magnus Racing Audi R8 LMS of Pierre Kaffer in the afternoon test session. While having been sidelined for the practice session, Calvert told Sportscar365 they hope to be on track tomorrow for qualifying.
***Portions of the 1.8-mile circuit has been resurfaced since last year, including a section between Turns 2 and 3, the backstretch, as well as the runway on start/finish straight.
***All three K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3s are the same chassis from last year, with Bryan Sellers taking over the blue-liveried No. 6 car and Mike Hedlund in the orange-colored No. 98. The team completed a shakedown at Palm Beach International Raceway last week.
***The No. 9 K-PAX McLaren, driven by defending series champion Alvaro Parente, only arrived back at the Flying Lizard shop three weeks ago from December’s Sepang 12 Hours, after multiple shipping delays on its sea-freight journey from Malaysia to California.
***While absent from this weekend’s season-opener, Always Evolving is set to return to PWC competition later this year, according to team representative Dave Green, who told Sportscar365 to look for an announcement within the next two weeks.
***The AIM Autosport-run team sold both of its 2014-spec Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3s to a team in Australia, with new cars in build. Green admitted they likely would never have been ready for St. Pete, even if the program had been finalized earlier. A cutback in funding from Nissan North America is expected to result in a new look to the program.
***James Davison admitted he’s unlikely to mount a full-season effort in PWC this year, with his ride with TRG currently being only a one-race deal. A deal to return to Always Evolving has not yet been reached. “My focus is shifting to doing as many one-off rounds as I can, whether it’s PWC, IMSA, the Indy 500 or Xfinity road course races,” Davison told Sportscar365.
***Black Swan Racing is set for a full-season campaign with a new Mercedes-AMG GT3, according to team owner/driver Tim Pappas. The team is coming off a shakedown of the car at Sebring earlier this week, with Andy Pilgrim having had seat time in the GTA class contender.
***While currently a one-off, Frankie Montecalvo, who makes his GTS debut in the No. 13 ANSA Motorsports KTM X-BOW GT4, told Sportscar365 that he could take part in additional races with the team, which won the 2016 GTS championship with Brett Sandberg.
***All PWC cars are outfitted with Race Position leader lights systems for the first time. The Dutch company now supplies the majority of series worldwide, including IndyCar, IMSA and Virgin Australia Supercars, having rapidly expanded from its initial supply in Creventic’s 24H Series in 2013.
***Patrick Long, Nate Stacy, Jan Heylen and a number of other sports car drivers, as well as IndyCar stars, took part in the 6th annual Kart 4 Kids Pro/Am kart race on Wednesday evening, raising to date $281,000 for the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.
***In an online auction, Long’s helmet he’ll wear this weekend was auctioned off for $5,200, with Scott Dixon’s race-worn Ford GT firesuit netting $6,100, with all proceeds going to provide children’s medical needs.