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Road America Thursday Notebook

Sportscar365’s first notebook from SRO America event at Road America…

Photo: Fabian Lagunas/SRO

***The Road America event kicked off with the second-ever SRO America Welcome Party on Thursday evening, featuring a parade of cars into downtown Elkhart Lake that also included live music and an autograph session. The event was first held in 2019 but was called off last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

***The concept spawned from the traditional pre-event parade for the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa, with a similar event having taken place in 2019 ahead of the Suzuka 10 Hours. Plans are being put in place to host a parade during October’s Indianapolis 8 Hour as well.

***This weekend’s event marks the resumption of racing for Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS, Pirelli GT4 America and TC America powered by Skip Barber Racing School competitors after a nearly three-month summer break, with 11 weeks since the last round at Virginia International Raceway in early June. GT America powered by AWS competitors are fresh off the Music City Grand Prix on the streets of Nashville earlier this month.

***Inception Racing’s Brendan Iribe and Ollie Millroy, as well as Robby Foley, took part in last weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. Iribe teamed with Millroy and Ben Barnicoat for a 12th place finish in the GTE-Am class at the wheel of a Ferrari 488 GTE Evo, while Foley’s Team Project 1 Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19 was among the retirements.

***Foley’s GTWC America co-driver, Michael Dinan, meanwhile, took part in the pair of Road to Le Mans races in a TF Sport-run Aston Martin Vantage GT3.

***The No. 70 Inception McLaren 720S GT3 is back to the original chassis that it started the season with, which has since been repaired according to team manager Bas Leinders. The ex-Motorsports In Action chassis that was utilized at Virginia International Raceway following Iribe’s accident took part in last month’s 24 Hours of Spa and has remained in Europe.

“In the end it’s just a car,” Leinders told Sportscar365. “All three cars we bring to the same standard, which takes a little bit of work. At Optimum, we have quite a bit of experience with the McLarens so we are starting to properly understanding how to prep the cars to be race-winning cars.”

***Leinders explained that Iribe pulled out of the Nashville GT America race due to the timing of a pre-Le Mans test at Paul Ricard that would have been “a little too much” in the build-up to the 24-hour race.

***The 2021 SRO America schedules are set to be released next weekend during SRO’s annual press conference at the Nürburgring during the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup event. The press conference was delayed from last month’s 24 Hours of Spa.

***Sportscar365 understands that Ozarks International Raceway will feature on the 2022 schedule, likely in a May date. As previously reported, series officials have been evaluating the new purpose-built facility in Gravois Mills, Mo. for inclusion on its calendar.

***SRO America is set to meet with teams this weekend for a “series update” ahead of the official calendar announcements.

***In a reversal from its initial plans, GTWC America teams will only score points after the first three hours of the season-ending Indianapolis 8 Hour, allowing for competitors to drop out of the race should they not want to complete the full Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli race distance.

***The same rule applied to last year’s race, which only featured a handful of full-season entrants.

***Wright Motorsports returns to Road America, but with a significantly less busy weekend than it had here three weeks ago, which involved 43 crew members, eight transporters and six cars racing in two different cities.

***The Ohio-based team has just two cars to look after this weekend, the No. 20 Porsche 911 GT3 R of Fred Poordad and Jan Heylen in GTWC America and Charlie Luck’s GT3-spec Porsche in GT America.

“While this may be a lighter weekend logistically than our last time here, it’s no less important,” said team owner John Wright. “Both of our cars are looking incredibly strong with their championship leads, but we’re only halfway through the season.”

***DXDT Racing will hold a garage tour, open to the public, on Sunday at 10 a.m., allowing fans to meets some of the team’s drivers and get an up-close look at the multi-car operation. 

***A trackside autograph session for GTWC America drivers is scheduled for Saturday at 10:30 a.m., with GT America and TC America drivers at 3:30 p.m. and GT4 America drivers Sunday at 9:30 a.m. 

***Following its North American premiere at Pebble Beach earlier this month, a BMW M4 GT3 will be on display this weekend ahead of the car’s official competition debut in 2022. Turner Motorsport has been among the North America-based teams to have placed orders for the German manufacturer’s latest-generation GT3 offering.

***CrowdStrike will host its second consecutive in-person CXO Summit this weekend. Among those attending include Michael Sentonas, Chief Technology Officer of CrowdStrike and Angelo Comazzetto, Office of the Chief Information Security Officer for AWS. The extensive discussion on challenges facing organizations in cybersecurity will carry on throughout the weekend at the track, where it will include George Kurtz, CEO of CrowdStrike; and CJ Moses, Deputy CISO of AWS.

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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