***Pirelli World Challenge GT/GT-A/GTS competitors took to Miller Motorsports Park for three test sessions on Thursday. The majority of teams took advantage of the two hours of total track time, although no official times were recorded. Practice officially kicks off on Friday morning.
***Dyson Racing Team Bentley had a challenging day, with the No. 88 Bentley Continental GT3 of Guy Smith not turning laps in the opening two sessions due to a delay in the arrival of the car’s ECU, which was en route from the U.K. While Smith did take part in the final 45-minute session, teammate Butch Leitzinger was forced to sit out that session due to an engine change on the No. 08 machine.
***AMG factory driver Thomas Jager turned laps in Black Swan Racing’s Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 today, to help driver/team owner Tim Pappas get up to speed with the gull-wing beast around Miller’s Outer Course. DragonSpeed’s Elton Julian also took advantage of the test session to help dial in his team’s Ferrari 458 Italia GT3, which will be raced by Henrik Hedman.
***EFFORT Racing bounced back from a mechanical-related issue on its No. 31 Porsche 911 GT3 R, which saw Ryan Dalziel gain limited running time in the morning session. Dalziel and GT-A points leader Michael Mills swapped cars in the opening minutes of the second session, with Dalziel’s car being diagnosed with having a loose bolt on the front upright.
***The GT championship-leading Cadillac CTS-V.Rs are 75 pounds lighter this weekend, thanks to a Balance of Performance adjustment handed out for the season-ending round. World Challenge Director of Competition, Geoff Carter, said they didn’t expect the rapid rate of development of the FIA GT3-spec machines this year, owing to the late change.
***There have been a handful of late withdrawals from the weekend, including the RealTime Acura TLX GT, which sustained heavy damage in a start-line accident at Sonoma Raceway last month. The Peter Cunningham-owned squad, in agreement with HPD, has elected to skip the Miller round and focus entirely on preparations for a full-season campaign in 2015.
***The GT-A class sees a reduced entry of 10 cars, due to the withdrawal of the No. 24 Reiter Engineering Lamborghini Gallardo FL2 of Albert von Thurn und Taxis, who has family commitments this weekend. Bill Ziegler has also not made the trip to Utah, reducing GMG Racing armada to four Audi R8 LMS ultras.
***Despite reports of a possible endurance round, it’s believed the series will be comprised entirely of sprint races again next year. A preliminary 2015 schedule could be released as early as this weekend.
***Tune into World-ChallengeTV.com Friday at 6:40 p.m. ET for GT/GT-A/GTS Race 1 of the weekend. The live broadcast for the second, season-ending round gets underway on Saturday at 4:10 p.m. ET.