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Sonoma Thursday Notebook

Sportscar365’s Pirelli World Challenge notebook from Sonoma…

Photo: Tom Jackson

Photo: Tom Jackson

***The WeatherTech Alex Job Racing pair of Porsche 911 GT3 Rs have arrived, with a blank white transporter stripped of all signage. To differentiate the two cars, Cooper MacNeil’s No. 79 entry is running with red rear wing end plates for his GTA entry while Gunnar Jeannette’s No. 97 car has black rear wing end plates.

***There are eight Porsche 911 GT3 Rs this weekend, a PWC season high. Patrick Long, Michael Schein (Wright), Gunnar Jeannette and Cooper MacNeil (AJR), Michael Lewis (Calvert), Brent Holden (GMG), Tim Pappas (Black Swan) and Andy Wilzoch (Flying Lizard).

***PWC released updated Balance of Performance for Sonoma, and the season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, confirming a weight break for the Porsche. The 911 GT3 R is now 40kg lighter since the last Category D race at Long Beach, while 25kg lighter than it ran at the most recent round at Utah, which is Category C.

***Flying Lizard has a total of five cars it’s operating this weekend with the three K-PAX McLarens joined by Wilzoch’s 911 GT3 R and Mike Hedlund’s Porsche GT3 Cup car in GT Cup. Hedlund’s No. 35 car will not be adorned in the Flying Lizard livery this weekend owing to a lack of time to decal the car.

***Frankie Montecalvo remains in the previous generation Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 for DIME Racing. It remains to be seen when a new-spec Mercedes AMG GT3 will arrive.

***Andrew Kim’s No. 78 Bentley Team Absolute Bentley Continental GT3 had orange accents on the white and black background, rather than the green that Andrew Palmer had earlier this year. The team’s second car returns to action this weekend for the first time since Palmer sustained serious injuries at Lime Rock Park in May. Kim’s car is a brand-new chassis.

***Austin Cindric will be a late arrival to Sonoma, as he competed Thursday night in the ARCA race from Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet.

***Alex Welch’s GT Cup entry for GMG Racing is a scratch owing to a family commitment. Welch is expected to return for the season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. That class has 5 cars this weekend, with Hedlund and the returning Preston Calvert joining the three full-time entries.

***The nine GTA entries are a season-high, surpassing the previous high of eight at Circuit of The Americas earlier this year.

***TRG-AMR is split between Circuit of The Americas and Sonoma Raceway in arguably Kevin Buckler’s busiest weekend of the year. Buckler has both a GT Daytona-entered Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 and an Lamborghini Huracán LP 620-2 at COTA, while also fielding three PWC GTS Aston Martin Vantage GT4s at Sonoma for Buckler’s team’s home race. It makes for a hectic logistical weekend for Buckler and some TRG crew.

***Buckler and some of his crew will fly immediately after the COTA IMSA WeatherTech Championship race on Saturday to Sonoma. Blackdog Racing’s Lawson Aschenbach has similar plans, as Aschenbach will attempt to pull double duty between events on the same day.

***Greg Milczik makes his series debut for TRG while George Kurtz returns for the first time since Road America in June, with season-long regulars Derek DeBoer and Jason Alexandridis splitting time in the team’s No. 09 car.

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