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GT World Challenge America

Road America Thursday Notebook

John Dagys’ Thursday notebook from SRO America paddock at Road America…

Photo: K-PAX Racing

***SRO Motorsports America drivers took to the streets of Elkhart Lake, Wis. for the first-ever welcome party at Siebkens Resort on Thursday evening. A selection of GT3, GT4, TC and Saleen Cup cars drove down I-67 to the world-renowned resort for the event, which included an autograph session.

***Pirelli and SRO America have issued tire pressure and camber mandates for all competitors starting this weekend. GT3 and GT4 cars must have a minimum starting pressure of 20.3 PSI, with a hot pressure target of 29 PSI. The maximum front camber is -3.5 degrees, with the rear at -3 degrees.

***Previously, the tire pressure and camber settings were only listed as guidelines, and now have become mandatory and subject to penalty if teams are found to be working outside of the prescribed windows.

***While on different tires, similar mandates have been introduced into IMSA this year, in an effort to prevent tire failures, which has been an issue in several races this year in SRO America competition.

***Both the Pirelli P Zero DHD2 (GT3) and P Zero DH (GT4) tires have not faced any major issues in European, Asian and Australian competition this year, with U.S. teams believed to not have been adhering to the recommended pressures and camber settings. 

***Sportscar365 understands that Balance of Performance changes could be made this weekend to offset potential differences in performance due to the camber mandates. Road America falls under SRO’s Category B BoP, which is the same used at Spa.

***Daniel Serra rejoins R. Ferri Motorsport this weekend alongside championship leader Toni Vilander after stepping in for Miguel Molina in the previous round at Watkins Glen. Team manager Enrico Diano indicated that Molina is slated to rejoin the team for next month’s season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

***Diano said that R. Ferri is planning on a similar program in Blancpain GT World Challenge America next year with the goal of expanding to incorporate a customer car alongside its Pro-class entry. He noted that the 2020 schedule, specifically the addition of the new eight-hour endurance event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, is a positive for the championship.

***K-PAX Racing anticipates its third Bentley Continental GT3 be rebuilt by Las Vegas, following an accident in testing at the Nevada speedway last month. The No. 9 Bentley of Rodrigo Baptista and Maxime Soulet was swapped for the team’s spare chassis prior to Watkins Glen, according to team director Darren Law.

***Baptista returns to the site of his first Pro class start last year. The Brazilian was promoted from the Am category prior to last June’s event at Road America on the strength of his on-track success.

***This weekend marks the Road America debuts for Bentley factory drivers Soulet and Andy Soucek, with Alvaro Parente only one win away from matching Rondy Pobst for the most wins in team history (15).

***Despite now being permitted in GT World Challenge America, GT4 America series manager Jack Baldwin told Sportscar365 there are no plans to introduce tire warmers into GT4 competition next year.

***Ian Lacy Racing is eying an expansion for the 2020 GT4 America season. Team owner Ian Lacy told Sportscar365 he has multiple leads on a program to run alongside the pair of Ford Mustang GT4s the team fields for Drew Staveley and Frank Gannett. Lacy said the team has been approached by at least one OEM and that any potential addition would not be limited to GT4.

***Team Panoz Racing race engineer Stefan Pfeiffer is in the middle of a busy five-week stretch of racing that began with the Zandvoort round of ADAC GT Masters and concludes next weekend at the Sachsenring Pfeiffer serves as engineer for the Lucas Luhr co-owned IronForce Racing squad, which fields a Porsche 911 GT3 R.

***A total of 15 cars are set for action this weekend in the Saleen Cup, up from the dozen that took part in the last event at Watkins Glen International. A test session was held for the cars on Wednesday, according to SRO liaison Gary Cummings, who said they are targeting a 20-car grid for Las Vegas.

***Bryan Herta Autosport will enter a Hyundai Veloster Turbo R-Spec TCA car in the season-ending TC America round at Las Vegas.  American Tyler Gonzalez has been chosen to drive the first ever Veloster TCA machine in the official race debut for the car, which has been built by the Indianapolis-based team.

Ryan Myrehn contributed to this report

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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