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GT World Challenge America

Utah Friday Notebook

John Dagys’ Friday notebook from Utah Motorsports Campus…

Photo: Brian Cleary/BCPix.com

Photo: Brian Cleary/BCPix.com

***The No. 77 Calvert Dynamics Porsche 911 GT3 R has been ruled out of this weekend’s action following Andrew Davis’ massive fire in SprintX Practice 2. The team has shifted its focus to the No. 98 Porsche, which has now been entered in SprintX for Michael Lewis and Preston Calvert. Lewis will drive the same car in the Sprint races, as originally planned.

***The actual cause of the oil fire from the No. 77 Porsche is still being investigated. Preliminary reports of an engine failure are not accurate, according to the team.

***HPD Senior Program Engineer Lee Niffenegger confirmed to Sportscar365 that the Acura NSX GT3 will not make its race debut this weekend, despite having initially being considered. No official timeline has been established for its first race, although the car will not be at the next round at Sonoma due to lack of track time.

***It’s believed a possibility still exists for a debut in the season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in October, depending on how the FIA Balance of Performance test at Ladoux goes next month. Niffenegger said they expect to again utilize the PWC weekend for testing purposes.

***The SprintX field is set to again see an eight-car starting grid, with both GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars and Performance Motorsports Group Ginetta G55 GT4 cars having only taken part in practice sessions with single driver lineups, despite additional team drivers having been on-site. Eight cars also took part in the season-opener at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in May.

***SprintX pole-sitter David Burke arguably has the most laps of any driver at this track, as a former instructor of the Ford Performance driving experience, which the Englishman helped develop and launch in 2005. “I worked in the school for quite a while and was trying to find a racing ride like any younger driver,” he said. “I married a Utah gal and we have three kids now. I left the driving school recently and I teamed up David Askew and David Hikes to form a race team here in Salt Lake City (DXDT Racing).”

***Turbocharged GT3 cars dominated the time sheets in Sprint practice, having set the nine quickest times in the GT class in Practice 2. The quickest non-turbo was the GTA class-leading No. 66 DIME Racing Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 of Frankie Montecalvo, some six-tenths slower. SRO and PWC issued updated barometric pressure settings for the turbos prior to this morning’s sessions.

***K-PAX Racing is poised to expand its PWC program to the GTS class next year with at least one new McLaren 570S GT4 car. “It makes sense for us to try and run a McLaren because our GT3 program will be McLaren again,” Flying Lizard program manager Darren Law told Sportscar365. “So that’s the main focus. If we can keep it all contained in one brand, that would be the goal.”

***Law said they could run anywhere from three to five cars total next year, between GT3 and GT4, with the team actively seeking customers for its planned expansion to GTS.

***GMG Racing is planning a four-car program in SprintX next year, with three new Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MRs (GTS) and a Porsche 911 GT3 R (GT), according to team principal James Sofronas.

***Sofronas told Sportscar365 they are receiving five Clubsport MR upgrade kits next month, in anticipation for its ramped up effort with the car. “That’s the ultimate customer racing car for the new guy getting in that wants a pro to co-drive with them in SprintX,” he said.

***Always Evolving’s two 2014-spec Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3s will be headed to a customer in Australia, who plans to enter the cars in the Australian GT Championship, and potentially the Bathurst 12 Hour. James Davison told Sportscar365 there’s a chance he may be part of the team’s run at Mt. Panorama in February.

***Catch live streaming coverage of tomorrow’s races on world-challenge.com. The SprintX race gets underway at 1:30 p.m. ET, with Sprint GT/GTA/GT Cup at 6 p.m. ET and GTS Race 1 at 7:15 p.m. ET.

***Highlights of the races will be aired on CBS Sports Network on Aug. 21 at 2 p.m. ET (Sprint GT), Aug. 21 at 4 pm. ET (GTS) and Aug. 25 at 9 p..m. ET (SprintX).

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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