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Portland Friday Notebook

Ryan Myrehn’s Friday PWC notebook from Portland International Raceway…

Photo: Brian Cleary/PWC

***A glimpse into the future of Pirelli World Challenge is expected to be seen Saturday night when stakeholders meet with series officials. In recent months, a survey was issued to various series stakeholders including current teams and sponsors as well as potential participants currently competing outside of PWC.

***Sportscar365 understands that the questions on the survey included queries regarding the schedule and race formats (Sprint vs. SprintX), among others, the future of which are expected to be revealed at the meeting, which is understood to include SRO founder and CEO Stephane Ratel and PWC boss Greg Gill.

***While the full 2019 calendar will not be revealed on Saturday, the number of dates is expected to be released. Series officials indicated that the goal is to have next year’s schedule finalized by the Total 24 Hours of Spa at the end of the month, although no hard date has been set.

***The end-of-season banquet, meanwhile, is expected to be held in Indianapolis in conjunction with the Performance Racing Industry trade show, which is scheduled for Dec. 6-8.

***K-PAX Racing is running a commemorative end plate on the rear wings of its race cars this weekend featuring a British bulldog wearing American flag sunglasses to acknowledge both the 50th PWC win for the team and this generation of Bentley Continental GT3.

***K-PAX has reverted to a spare car after a mechanical problem that caused the No. 9 Bentley Continental GT3 to miss the entire first practice session. The new chassis, which is the repaired chassis from Alvaro Parente’s heavy crash at St. Petersburg in March, has been used to give track rides to media members and other dignitaries this weekend and is sporting a nearly all-black livery except for yellow mirrors and the commemorative wing end fence.

***Some mistaken geography wasn’t enough to slow down Compass Racing driver Paul Holton, who accidentally flew to Portland, Maine on Thursday instead of Portland, Oregon. After realizing the error, Holton promptly booked his travel from Portland to Portland and arrived in plenty of time for this weekend’s Rose Cup Races.

***Matthew Brabham, who makes his PWC debut this weekend, hopes to continues a long legacy of Brabham success at Portland. Matthew’s father Geoff and uncle David are both former winners at the track.

***Wolf Henzler dismissed any advantage he might have from being one of the few drivers that has past experience racing in Portland, saying the cars and track have changed too much for any lessons learned early in his career to be overly helpful.

***Drew Staveley says Ian Lacy Racing’s recent test at Portland benefited him even though he didn’t test himself. Ian Lacy and Frank Gannett did the lion’s share of the driving duties in the test and Staveley said the experience they gained aided in the team’s quick start to the weekend. Staveley set the fastest time in the first GTS practice of the weekend in his Ginetta G55 GT4.

***Michael Cooper got a late call up to make his TCR class debut in the No. 44 RealTime Racing Honda Civic Type-R TCR, replacing Adam Merzon. In his first session in the car, Cooper qualified an impressive fifth.

***PWC officials have installed three layers of tire barriers in the Festival Curves on the front straight to ensure taking the runoff in the chicane will not allow any driver to gain an advantage. Volunteers from both the Touring Car and GT ranks tested the runoff in practice to ensure a car that was forced to straight line the chicane could navigate the tire barriers without getting stuck.

***The opening GT SprintX race of the weekend is set for Saturday at 1:10 p.m. PDT (4:10 p.m. EDT), followed by the 60-minute GTS round at 4:40 p.m. (7:40 p.m. EDT). Both races, as well as the TC and TCR/TCA rounds, will be streamed live on World-Challenge.com. Click Here for details.

Ryan Myrehn is an Indianapolis-based journalist and sportscaster, covering IMSA and Pirelli World Challenge. Myrehn, a graduate of DePauw University, is also the host of Sportscar365's “Double Stint” Podcast.

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