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GT World Challenge America

COTA Friday Notebook

John Dagys’ Friday notebook from SRO America paddock at Circuit of The Americas…

Photo: SRO

***Jake Pedersen has been granted Bronze* status for his Fanatec GT America program with RS1’s Porsche 911 GT3 R, which will now compete in the Pro-Am class this weekend alongside Trent Hindman. Hindman and Spencer Pumpelly swept the weekend at Sebring International Raceway, competing in the Pro class.

***Additionally, the No. 19 Esses Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo of Will Hardeman and Alan Metni has been moved from Am to Pro-Am, although both drivers have remained Bronze rated per the final event entry list. This is believed to have been done due to the lack of other Am competitors.

***Several GT4 America lineups have been moved from the Am to Pro-Am, effective this weekend, following an audit performed by SRO America that took into account driver performances from the opening four races of the season.

***Most notably, the No. 26 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT4 of Hannah Grisham and Hannah Greenemeier is now running in Pro-Am because of Grisham losing her Bronze* derogation by SRO America.

***The same is the case for Matt Million, who is now also running to his FIA Silver rating in the No. 53 AutoTechnic Racing BMW M4 GT4, which elevates his entry with Troy Lindstrom to Pro-Am as well.

***Austin Krainz is also now being recognized as a Silver, although the father-and-son pairing, which won last time out at Sebring, has been withdrawn from this weekend’s event, allegedly in protest of the change.

***A total of five drivers: Greenemeier, Lindstrom, Gray Newell, Colin Harrison and Jaden Lander, have retained their Bronze* derogation for this weekend in GT4 America.

***In addition to the No. 18 RS1 Porsche withdrawal, the No. 60 Nolasport Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport of Steve Schneider and Seth Thomas is also not taking part, reducing the GT4 America field to 29 cars.

***Former series entrant Karl Thomson, of Compass Racing, has been drafted into Rotek Racing’s team this weekend to assist the team with GT4 America’s first-ever endurance race.

***Tommy Milner said his laps from Friday’s afternoon session put the No. 63 DXDT Racing Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3.R in a better window, having set the session’s ninth quickest time, in what has so far been steady progress for the customer Corvette squad.

***Milner said: “It doesn’t feel like we’re starting from scratch in some ways. With the team’s testing and their previous race experience, Ben [Mueller] our engineer is one of our Pratt Miller guys, so it feels like a normal race weekend and what I’m used to. It’s about managing and finding a little better balance and learning the car a little bit. Not a bad first day. In the second session, I think we were a little closer.”

***This weekend is trending to be SRO America’s largest event to date, with ticket sales up by 150 percent according to a series spokesperson. It’s been bolstered by the U.S. debut of GT1 Sports Club powered by Curbstone, which will see nearly 20 super or hyper cars take to the track over the course of the event in non-competitive sessions, which extends into Monday for GT1 entrants.

***Among the cars on the entry list is a Koenigsegg Regera, La Ferrari Aperta, Ford GT, two Bugatti Chirons, a pair of Lamborghini Huracan STOs and Aventador SVJs as well as an Apollo IE.

***SRO America has additionally rolled out a new hospitality experience to accommodate the influx of new guests, through its GT Paddock Club Terrace, which was sold out several weeks ago. A SRO America spokesperson also confirmed that its car coral is also already sold out and the largest its ever produced.

***Additionally, SRO America is helping promote Warner Brothers’ upcoming “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” film this weekend with special activations in the fan zone, terrace and a performance on the Sunday grid walk.

***A number of GT4 America teams’ requests to change the nominated qualifying driver was denied by the stewards, which was required to be submitted prior to the completion of administrative checks on Thursday. Click Here to view the list of drivers that will qualify for tomorrow’s three-hour enduro.

***ST Racing and Flying Lizard Motorsports were both fined $1,500 on Friday due to having vehicles improperly parked in the paddock, “incongruent” to the event logistics briefing.

***Alec Udell’s former IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship co-driver David Brule, who was initially scheduled to contest a full season in a Kelllymoss with Riley Porsche with Udell this season, has lended his support to Udell through his Thu Brulé skincare, which is sponsoring the No. 63 DXDT Corvette.

***Flying Lizard is expected to have its first Nissan Z NISMO GT4 chassis repaired and ready for potential GT America race action beginning at the next round at Virginia International Raceway according to program manager Darren Law.

***Despite being entered in GT America with its GT4 America chassis, which was replaced during the Sonoma Raceway event, Damir Hot will not take part in the pair of 40-minute races this weekend.

***While SRO America has no race action next month, Flying Lizard chief strategist Thomas Blam will have a busy June, calling strategy for Iron Lynx at both the 24 Hours of Le Mans and CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa, alongside his duties with the Italian team at the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen as well as the Lizard’s Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America program.

***A number of other SRO America competitors are set to travel to Spa-Francorchamps next week for the 24 Hours of Spa Prologue, including CrowdStrike by Riley, which recently announced its driver lineup featuring Colin Braun, George Kurtz, Nicky Catsburg and Heart of Racing team principal Ian James in a Pro-Am class entry.

***Fanatec is set to be sold to American computer peripheral and hardware company Corsair, with the two companies currently in “exclusive negotiations” pending a 70 million Euro debt from Endor AG. It’s unclear how the likely sale would impact, if any, the long-term sponsorship of GT World Challenge globally. The sim racing hardware company’s founder and CEO Thomas Jackermeier was ousted in March.

***Qualifying action for GT America gets underway Saturday at 8 a.m. CDT, followed by Fanatec GT America qualifying at 9 a.m. and GT4 America qualifying at 10:20 a.m. Race 1 for Fanatec GT America is set for a 12:30 p.m. start time, followed by GT America at 3:25 p.m. and the three-hour GT4 America enduro at 5 p.m. (all times CDT).

***Coverage of Fanatec GT America qualifying and all three races, along with race action from TC America powered by Skip Barber Racing School and Toyota GR Cup North America will be streamed on SRO’s GT World YouTube page and also on Twitch, featuring the commentary team of Ryan Myrehn, Calvin Fish and Amanda Busick.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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