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GT World Challenge America

Road America Friday Notebook

Sportscar365’s Friday notebook from SRO America action at Road America…

Photo: John Dagys

***The Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS field is down to a 15-car entry following the no-show of Inception Racing’s McLaren 720S GT3 of Ollie Millroy and Brendan Iribe. The team is coming off the 24 Hours of Le Mans last weekend.

***Team manager Bas Leinders told Sportscar365: “The end-of-year calendar was extremely full with many races so we knew we had to make some choices at some point. We also need to factor in some testing, which we will do next week at Indianapolis at the David Murry Test Days.”

***Inception’s decision to forgo the event came prior to the withdrawal of the No. 04 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 following George Kurtz’s accident in opening practice. Kurtz was evaluated and released from a local hospital.

***A cell of severe thunderstorms delayed opening Pirelli GT4 America opening practice by nearly 90 minutes, with a second bout of storms pushing action even further into the evening. A pair of 20-minute sessions were held for GTWC America and GT4 America after a lengthy delay due to track conditions in Turns 8 and 11.

***Compass Racing has retained Michael Di Meo for the second consecutive event. Team principal Karl Thomson told Sportscar365 that Di Meo will continue with the team in the next round at Watkins Glen International with Rodrigo Sales set to return for the Sebring International Raceway round in October.

***Dakota Dickerson is making his first start with Racers Edge Motorsports since the season-opener at Sonoma Raceway in March. Dickerson is slated to also be in action for the round at Sebring, with Jacob Abel sharing the No. 93 Acura NSX GT3 Evo with full-season driver Taylor Hagler at Watkins Glen International.

***All three drivers could team up for the season-ending Indianapolis 8 Hour, which the Jon Mirachi-led operation intends to complete the full Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli race distance. 

***Sportscar365 understands that Honda Performance Development factory driver Mario Farnbacher is strongly rumored to be part of Compass’ Acura lineup for the race. Farnbacher has served as one of the team’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship drivers this season.

***Racers Edge is fresh off the second round of the HPD GT3 Driver Academy at Virginia International Raceway, with Round 3 of the academy set for Indianapolis next Tuesday and Wednesday with drivers Ashton Harrison, Nicky Hays, Kyffin Simpson and Cat Lauren. The team utilizes the same No. 93 chassis as run in GTWC America.

***IMSA DPi points leader Ricky Taylor is again on-site this weekend, serving as a coach for the No. 93 Acura Academy graduates.

***Memo Gidley has been given an opportunity to return to the cockpit in SRO America competition thanks to car owner Dave Traitel, who purchased the ex-KPAX Racing Bentley Continental GT3, which is now in the hands of TKO with Flying Lizard Motorsports competing in GT America powered by AWS.

***Flying Lizard program manager Darren Law told Sportscar365 that the team’s return to SRO America competition has not required an increase in staff, with the California-based team able to take resources from its programs in various club racing efforts for the two-car GT America effort.

***SRO America’s tech transporter arrived in the paddock Friday afternoon after reportedly breaking down on the way to Road America.

***GMG Racing has opened up a temporary 8,000 square-foot shop at The Thermal Club ahead of plans for a dedicated 25,000 square-foot motorsports facility coming in summer 2023 according to team principal James Sofronas.

***Sofronas confirmed plans for at least two entries in the Indy 8 Hour, with Jason Bell (Aston Martin) and Elias Sabo (Audi) each entering cars in the GT4 class. A Porsche 911 GT3 R for the GT3 class has not yet been ruled out either. 

***Sabo has taken delivery of a brand-new Audi R8 LMS GT2 car following his heavy accident in Nashville that resulted in a written-off chassis. Sofronas told Sportscar365 that it is likely to return to GT America action beginning at the Sebring round in October. 

***The Heart of Racing has rebuilt its Aston Martin Vantage GT4 that Gray Newell crashed at Nashville, with the Ian James-led operation back to full capacity this weekend with its two cars split between GT4 America and GT America competition.

***Kurtz is set for a “few more” international races in 2022, with the 24 Hours of Dubai and Road to Le Mans events earmarked along with a return to the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa for the CrowdStrike co-founder and CEO. “I think there’s some nice international races that can get you some pretty good track time that we’ll look to do,” he told Sportscar365.

***Kurtz said the ACO’s shift to GT3-based regulations for its GT class beginning in 2024 has him interested in potentially taking part in the French endurance classic in a Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo.

***Road America was due to mark the largest turnout of Mercedes-AMG machinery in SRO America history with an even split of six GT3 and GT4-spec cars initially entered prior to DXDT’s double withdrawal. It would have surpassed the series’ previous record of 11 cars in the most recent events at Virginia International Raceway in July and Circuit of The Americas in May.

***A large mix of Dodge Viper race cars from the past are part of the “Viper Reunion” support series this weekend. Spearheaded by longtime Viper entrant and former World Challenge shareholder Bob Woodhouse, Friday’s action saw a pair of practice sessions, with qualifying and time trial races organized for later in the weekend. 

***Longtime Viper dealer and driver Ben Keating are among the drivers present, with Keating’s ex-Riley Motorsports SRT Viper GT3-R taking part in the action.

***Race 1 for GTWC America is set to get underway Saturday at 1:15 p.m. CT with live coverage on the SRO’s GT World YouTube page. Other action on tap for Saturday includes GT4 America Race 1 (11:15 a.m.) and GT America Race 1 (4:15 p.m.).

***The second GTWC America of the weekend will be broadcast live on CBSSN Sunday at 2 p.m. ET, with streaming options also available.

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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