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GT World Challenge America

Utah Thursday Notebook

Ryan Myrehn’s Thursday notebook from Utah Motorsports Campus…

Photo: PWC

***Both K-PAX Racing Bentley Continental GT3s are back and ready for action following a challenging outing last month at Portland International Raceway. The engine problem that the team dealt with there, however, is still under investigation at Bentley’s headquarters.

***K-PAX is now in possession of four Bentley chassis and has three on-site this weekend, according to program manager Darren Law. The No. 3 car that Rodrigo Baptista has shared with Maxime Soulet on SprintX weekends has remained the same throughout the season, but Alvaro Parente has gone through three different cars. 

***The first No. 9 Bentley sustained heavy front end damage at St. Petersburg and is now running as the team’s spare that is used to give media rides. The second chassis, which began the season as the team’s backup car, was significantly damaged in a crash at Virginia International Raceway in April and remains out of commission, which prompted another chassis to be flown over from Malaysia following the VIR accident.

***Law told Sportscar365 that the Intercontinental GT Challenge California 8 Hour event in October is, “100 percent on our radar,” with the team planning to be on-site in a supporting role for the factory M-Sport entries. While nothing has been confirmed, Law said the team is seriously considering running one of their existing chassis with a driver lineup to be determined.

***CRP Racing team owner Nick Short praised driver Matthew Brabham for his first outing with the team at Portland last month, stating “he did everything I asked him to do.” On the strength of that performance, Short indicated that the third-generation driver is under consideration for a larger role with the team next year. This weekend, Brabham is set to share the No. 2 Mercedes-AMG GT3 with Michael Cooper who got the last minute call up on Tuesday to replace Daniel Morad behind the wheel.

***The Mercedes GT3 underwent time-consuming repairs following a heavy crash in Race 2 at Portland that inflicted significant damage to the bodywork and suspension. Friday will mark the first time back on track for the chassis since the accident.

***Flying Lizard Motorsports has two new drivers under its banner this weekend with Michael Dinan and Robby Foley set to team up in the No. 45 Audi R8 LMS GT4. Dinan, who hails from New York City, will make his professional racing debut this weekend. Foley is coming off of a fourth place class finish for Turner Motorsport last weekend at the IMSA round at Road America.

***The opportunity arose when the team’s usual driver Mike Hedlund was unable to make the trip to Utah. Hedlund is expected to return for the finale at Watkins Glen next month.

***The altitude at Utah Motorsports Campus, situated more than 4000 feet above sea level, adds an extra element to the Balance of Performance between naturally aspirated and turbocharged engines. Many in the paddock have expressed the opinion that the high altitude is likely to benefit cars that utilize forced induction.

***SRO Motorsports Group rolled out with a “Category H” BoP last year, specifically for Utah but applicable for other high-altitude tracks such as Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City.

***Ian Lacy Racing driver Drew Stavely is racing on home soil this weekend. The Salt Lake City native is an instructor at the Ford Performance Racing School which is located at the circuit.

***In all, six Utahns are entered across all of the Pirelli World Challenge classes this weekend: David Askew of DXDT Racing in GT Am, Rearden Racing’s Jeff Burton plus Stavely and his Ian Lacy Racing teammate Steve Burns in GTS Am, and Vesko Kozaraov of Rearden Racing and his teammate Paul Terry in TC.

***Warm temperatures are expected throughout the weekend with highs on Friday and Saturday forecasted to reach 97 degrees Fahrenheit. Sunday, while projected to be cooler, still could see high temperatures as hot as 92 degrees.

***On track activity begins Friday with GT Practice 1 will be from 11:30 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. local time, while Practice 2 is slated for 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. GTS Practice 1 will run from 9:30 – 10:20 a.m. local time with Practice 2 set for 2:50 – 3:50 p.m.

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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