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GT World Challenge America

Sonoma Friday Notebook

John Dagys’ Friday notebook from Sonoma Raceway following circuit repairs…

Photo: John Dagys

***While race cars sat idle, the sights and sounds of construction machinery took up the majority of the day’s activities at Sonoma Raceway, with resurfacing or patchwork having understood to have been completed to Turns 2, 4 ,6, 7, 9 and 11 of the 2.52-mile circuit. The most significant work was taken to the Turn 11 hairpin (pictured above), which saw two lanes of the track torn up and completely repaved.

***Toyota GR Cup North America cars are due to take to the resurfaced track this evening for a scheduled 30-minute session, followed by a track walk, which will allow competitors to get an up-close view of the track’s condition before tomorrow’s start of Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS, Pirelli GT4 America, GT America powered by AWS and TC America powered by Skip Barber Racing School action.

***The revised schedule, released on Thursday afternoon, still currently stands for the weekend at the time of the publishing this report.

***NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin and Speedway Motorsports Inc. President Marcus Smith, operator of Sonoma Raceway, had a standoff on Twitter on Thursday evening regarding the track’s condition and the work being undertaken by SMI. The NASCAR Cup Series is due to race at Sonoma on June 9.

***Smith said in response to Hamlin’s criticism: “Our team at Speedway Motorsports has an amazing track record for working to exceed expectations. Your nonchalant post is insult to hundreds of people that are dedicated to exceeding expectations for the racing community and NASCAR fans around the world. Your negative comments would carry a lot more weight if you had a championship to back them up.”

***The GT America grid is down by one car following the withdrawal of the No. 88 AF Corse Ferrari 296 GT3 of Custodio Toledo. Toldeo’s car, the only Ferrari in the paddock this weekend, took part in Wednesday’s single test session prior to the track stoppage. The reason for the withdrawal is currently unknown.

***Geoff Carter has been promoted to the newly-created director of customer racing position within the company. Carter enjoyed previous stints with both IMSA and World Challenge in various management and technical capacities before returning to SRO America last year, initially in a team relations role.

***A revised Balance of Performance document was issued on Friday afternoon for Fanatec GT America competitors, with “decisions taken by the SRO GT Bureau on March 23.” It’s unclear what changes have been made to cars from the configuration run in Wednesday’s curtailed test session.

***SRO America has floated two possible tracks — Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and the new Flatrock Motorsports Park in Rockwood, Tenn. — as potential new venues for the series in 2025. Both are understood to have been discussed during Friday morning’s drivers meeting, with the series seeking feedback from competitors.

***It’s understood that SRO America President and CEO Greg Gill recently made a visit to Flatrock.

***GMG Racing’s new Mercedes-AMG GT2 for Brent Holden gives the California-based team the unique distinction of being the only team to field cars from three different German manufacturers, with team principal James Sofronas in an Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II, also in GT America, alongside the pair of Porsche 911 GT3 Rs (Type-991.2 and Type-992) for Kyle Washington, with Thomas Sargent joining Washington for the two-driver Fanatec GT America action.

***Chouest Povoledo Racing’s two Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evos were purchased from previous owners, as Mercedes-AMG is currently not selling complete, brand-new race cars of its GT3 model. Team principal Aaron Povoledo told Sportscar365 that one car came from an undisclosed IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship entrant, while the other is the former TR3 Racing chassis that was re-tubbed following Paul Kiebler’s accident at Road America last year.

***Head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Stefan Wendl, along with Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing project manager Julian Schoch are both on-site this weekend. Wendl is believed to be the only major GT3 motorsport boss at Sonoma, amid this weekend’s Fanatec GT Europe season opener at Paul Ricard.

***Sportscar365 understands that advance ticket sales for this weekend have been up by 40 percent compared to last year, marking a considerable uptick in interest for SRO America racing in the important Northern California market.

***Additionally, SRO America debuts an updated Paddock Club this weekend, located in the Turn 11 event center, with activation from several new partners including Pershing yachts.

***SRO America is aiming to have between 20-30 cars on track for the inaugural U.S. round of the GT1 Sports Club by Curbstone Events at Circuit of The Americas next month. The non-competitive driving program, featuring track-based hypercars and supercars, will be on track Saturday and Sunday for dedicated sessions, as well as a full track day on the Monday following the event.

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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