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GT World Challenge America

COTA Saturday Notebook

John Dagys’ Saturday notebook from SRO America action at COTA…

Photo: Brian Cleary/SRO

***Heavy rain and thunderstorms caused more than a one-hour delay in track action this afternoon at Circuit of The Americas, including the cancelation of qualifying for Porsche Carrera Cup North America presented by the Cayman Islands. Rain arrived midway through the Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS race and intensified to result in a red flag and early checkered flag due to track conditions.

***Both the TC America powered by Skip Barber Racing School and GT America powered by AWS races were run in full wet conditions although neither saw any major on-track incidents.

***A total of 109 cars are competing across the four SRO America series this weekend, in what marks the second-highest car count in the modern era of the organization. “I think 100+ car grids for the rest of the year are quite likely and I’m excited about that,” SRO America President and CEO Greg Gill told Sportscar365.

***Gill said there’s a “good chance” of seeing additional GT3 entrants this year and is targeting a “capacity grid” for the season-ending Indianapolis 8 Hour in October, which will be rejoined by Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli.

***The No. 77 Compass Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo of Rodrigo Sales and Matt McMurry failed to start Saturday’s GTWC America race due to engine issues stemming from qualifying earlier in the day. The team hopes to have the car on the grid tomorrow.

***Winward Racing’s Mercedes-AMG GT3 is now in full 2020 Evo spec after running the first-generation model at Sonoma Raceway. The ex-P1 Motorsports chassis has been upgraded and fully rebuilt according to a Mercedes-AMG spokesperson.

***It means all GT3-spec Mercedes competing in GTWC America or GT America competition are now in Evo trim.

***Sportscar365 understands that the McLaren 720S GT3, which is making its series debut with inception racing, features turbo-related reliability updates since the car last ran in North America in the hands of Compass Racing in the IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup races last year.

***TR3 Racing driver Giacomo Altoe is set to miss the next round at Virginia International Raceway due to his Nürburgring 24 commitments with Hankook FFF Racing Team.

***FFF team manager Andrea Caldarelli, however, has prioritized the VIR weekend, as has K-PAX Racing co-driver Jordan Pepper, who is understood to have been working on a N24 drive prior to SRO America’s change of date for the VIR round.

***Flying Lizard Motorsports has made a surprise return to the paddock this weekend with a GT America entry for Andy Wilzoch, who is competing with his 2017-spec Porsche 911 GT3 R. Program manager Darren Law told Sportscar365 that Wilzoch has earmarked several additional outings with the car.

***Wilzoch claimed GT3 Masters class honors in Saturday’s race. 

***An ex-K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3 is likely to also make its GT America debut later this year according to Law, with car owner Brent Martini eyeing several rounds as well. Both Martini and Wilzoch currently compete in the GT Celebration presented with Pirelli series.

***Compass Racing has not ruled out campaigning its McLaren 570S GT4s in SRO America later this year according to team principal Karl Thomson, who told Sportscar365 that they’ve kept the British-built cars despite its switch to Acura machinery in GT3.

***The California-based team has established a satellite shop in Indianapolis due to the amount of races on the east coast and midwest this summer, both in SRO America and IMSA.

***Ian Lacy Racing has an increased presence of Aston Martin Racing personnel this weekend, with three AMR employees supporting the team’s Pro-Am class Vantage GT3.

***The TCX class in TC America has grown to five entries this weekend, with the addition of two more BMW M2 CS cars. It includes Sonoma entrant KMW Motorsports with TMR Engineering, which is utilizing a temporary replacement chassis from Classic BMW following an accident by Roy Block in testing two weeks ago.

***Series manager Jim Jordan told Sportscar365 that he hopes to have ten TCX entries by the season finale at IMS, with the possibility of seeing an Audi RS 3 LMS DSG car for the next round at VIR. DSG-equipped TCR cars are eligible in the new-for-2021 class, which has replaced the officially licensed TCR category in the series this year.

***Matt Dalton survived a massive airborne crash in the second lap of Saturday’s GT4 America race (video below). Dalton’s Notlad by RS1 Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT4 lost control and made heavy contact with the barriers, which resulted in a 30-minute red flag period for repairs. Dalton was seen climbing from the car.

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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