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Sonoma Weekend Notebook

Sportscar365’s weekend notebook from SRO America action at Sonoma…

Photo: Porsche Cars North America

***GMG Racing’s record-breaking eight-car effort in this weekend’s SRO America event at Sonoma Raceway includes six Porsche entries (pictured above). It has become the first customer team worldwide to campaign GT2, GT3 and GT4-spec Porsches on the same weekend. 

***Among the key staff to have been brought in for the massive effort includes 24 Hours of Le Mans-winning engineer Brad Kettler, who was also with the team at the season-opener at Circuit of The Americas in March.

***Saturday’s GT World Challenge America powered by AWS victory for Rodrigo Baptista and Martin Fuentes was the Mexican drivers’ first-ever overall triumph in the series.

***It came after the dominant No. 93 Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX GT3 Evo of Shelby Blackstock and Trent Hindman was forced to serve a penalty for pitting outside of the pit window. 

***A stewards’ bulletin was issued on Thursday confirming a five-minute delay to the opening of the pit window for this weekend’s races in order to “avoid pit lane congestion” from the completion of the GT Sports Club America race, which ends at the 40-minute overall mark.

***Changes have also been made to the qualifying procedure for GT4 America SprintX races in the case of the triple-header weekends. The grid for Sunday’s Race 3 (Lime Rock Park Race 1 makeup) has been determined by Driver 2’s second fastest qualifying lap.

***The third SprintX race at Road America, meanwhile, will be set by Driver 1’s second fastest qualifying lap.

***SRO America could make a second trip to COTA as a replacement for the Watkins Glen International round on Sept. 18-20, which has come under jeopardy due to increased COVID-19 travel restrictions and protocols in New York. Sportscar365 understands that COTA is the favorite to replace Watkins Glen, despite initial interest from Barber Motorsports Park.

***Both NASCAR and IMSA have been forced to cancel its events at Watkins Glen due to state mandates, which would have required every participant to be tested for COVID-19 under the condition of waiving the current 14-day mandatory quarantine upon arrival from 30-plus states.

***Tony Gaples has made his return to the paddock after missing VIR after undergoing emergency eye surgery. The Blackdog Speed Shop team owner is aiming to get back behind the wheel of his McLaren 570S GT4 for the team’s home race at Road America later this month.

***GT4 America race director Brian Till is pulling double duty this weekend by also fulfilling his remote TV commentary commitments with Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America. Both 50-minute Super Trofeo races at Road America did not conflict with GT4 America on-track activity at Sonoma.

***Flying Lizard Motorsports driver Robby Foley is nursing a knee injury from last weekend’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship round at Road America when a brake issue sent his Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 into the barriers in a practice session. 

***James Sofronas has expressed interest in contesting the Indianapolis 8 Hour in October with GMG Racing’s Porsche 911 GT3 R. The team owner/driver told Sportscar365 they will “wait and see” as its customer programs in GT2 and GT4 will take priority. 

***Sofronas made his 256th start in SRO America competition in Saturday’s GTWC America race, as he continues to hunt down all-time leader Peter Cunningham, who holds the most race starts at 265.

***Jeff Braun has remained with DXDT Racing this weekend following Braun and Kurtz’s breakthrough overall win at VIR last month.

***Fellow veteran race engineer Rick Cameron, father of reigning IMSA DPi champion Dane, has been brought on-board to help with Rearden Racing. The team has a number of interns from the University of Alabama College of Engineering, as part of alum John Allen’s hands-on educational program that began last year.

***Sonoma Raceway was the site of TRG team owner Kevin Buckler’s driving debut in 1995, where the Californian claimed victory in his first-ever pro race. “I used to know every inch of this track so I’m glad when I can still offer a tidbit of information to the boys,” Buckler said.

***While usually hosting hundreds of guests for its home race, COVID-19 restrictions have seen a scaled-back effort this weekend for the Petaluma-based operation. Buckler has recently launched virtual wine tasting parties though his Adobe Road Winery brand.

***Sunday’s race action kicks off at 9:30 a.m. PT with GT4 SprintX Race 3, followed by the second round of GTWC America and GTSC America at 1:15 p.m. and the third and final GT4 Sprint race from the weekend at 3:15 p.m.

***Sunday’s 90-minute GTWC America round will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network, with coverage beginning at 1 p.m. PT/4 p.m. ET.

Ryan Myrehn contributed to this report

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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