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GT World Challenge America

Utah Friday Notebook

Ryan Myrehn’s Friday Pirelli World Challenge notebook from Utah Motorsports Campus…

Photo: PWC

***Michael Cooper said the schedule this weekend is favorable for his split duties between CRP Racing in GT and Blackdog Speed Shop in GTS, noting that he does not have any back-to-back sessions to deal with. He added that he has practice pulling double duty at the last minute dating to the last round at Portland when he served as a fill-in for RealTime Racing’s TCR program.

***The reigning Pirelli World Challenge GT SprintX champion credited Blackdog Speed Shop for allowing him to pursue these opportunities when they have arisen. “They’ve always made it clear that they won’t stand in my way of me trying to progress my career,” Cooper told Sportscar365. “It was just a formality to say: hey guys, I’ve got this opportunity. I’d pretty much accepted it and they were like: go for it. They’re good with all that stuff.”

***Friday marked the first time that Johnny O’Connell has been back on track in competition since the GT season finale at Sonoma last year that saw him endure what he called one of the worst crashes of career. O’Connell admitted to a little angst before turning laps, but said he was relieved that his comfort level had returned by his second lap on track.

***The former series GT series champion is sharing the No. 72 Robinson Racing Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R this weekend with his son Canaan, who finished third in the TCB championship last year with Tech Sport Racing.  The elder O’Connell indicated that there were some intra-family bragging rights on the line, saying, “It’s an opportunity for him to put me in my place and shut me up!”

***Compass Racing team owner Karl Thomson said his team is planning on entering a pair of Audi RS 3 LMS machines for the Intercontinental GT Challenge California 8 Hour event at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca this October, but there are currently no plans to run the team’s McLaren 570S GT4.

***Thomson added that significant interest from clients has the team evaluating the SRO’s GT4 World Final which is slated for Nov. 30 – Dec. 1 in Bahrain.

***The team has reunited with driver Andrew Novich this weekend. The Los Angeles native, who drove with the Toronto-based squad from 2010 through 2012, is paired with Paul Holton in their No. 78 McLaren.

***Novich, who works for the cloud storage company Rubrik, has helped the company enter the motorsports realm with Compass. Since the partnership began at Long Beach, Rubrik has used the PWC paddock to provide experiential marketing for the company, which has several of its partners on site this weekend.

Photo: Ryan Myrehn

***A Terrafugia Transition flying car (pictured above) is on display this weekend. The vehicle, which made its lone public flight demonstration at the famed Oshkosh air show last year, is billed as the world’s first practical flying car. The Transition is capable of driving highway speeds on the road and converting to flying mode in under a minute. Airborne, it can fly up to 400 miles and reach speeds up to 100 miles per hour.

***Acccording to the Terrafugia Web site, the vehicle is due to be released next year.

***Veteran sports car driver Ozz Negri is at the track helping coach Squadra Corse Garage Italia driver Caeser Bacarella this weekend. The Brazilian has contested two races for the team in IMSA competition this season including the most recent round last weekend at Road America.

***PWC has seen a reshuffling of the personnel that oversee its various classes since the last round at Portland. Staci Langham, who has served as the series business manager, has been introduced as the new GT class manager. Robbie Montinola and Jim Jordan, meanwhile, have effectively swapped roles, with the former now taking the title of director of marketing and communications, while Jordan will now serve in the Touring Car class manager role previously held by Montinola. Jack Baldwin remains the GTS class manager.

***Risi Competizione is back in the PWC Paddock for the first time since 2014 with a GT Pro-Am lineup consisting of drivers Anthony Lazzaro and Pierre Mulacek. Lazzaro was the quickest overall in Practice 2 on Friday afternoon.

***Qualifying for GT Race 1 is scheduled for 10:20 a.m. local time with the race to follow at 4:45 p.m. Meanwhile, GTS qualifying will be held at 9:10 a.m. and the first race slated for 1:10 p.m. The races will be streamed live at with tape-delayed coverage at a later date on CBS Sports Network.

Ryan Myrehn is an Indianapolis-based broadcaster and reporter. In addition to his work covering primarily domestic sports car racing for Sportscar365, he is the lead announcer for SRO America's TV coverage as well as a pit reporter for IndyCar Radio. Myrehn, a graduate of DePauw University, is also the host of Sportscar365's “Double Stint” Podcast.

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