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Blancpain GT America

Road America Weekend Notebook

John Dagys’ weekend notebook from Pirelli World Challenge at Road America…

Photo: Brian Cleary/PWC

***CRP Racing has gone through a shakeup since Lime Rock Park, with crew chief Gary Penninson departing for Pfaff Motorsports, and other personnel understood to have vacated the Nick Short-owned team. Short is serving as the acting crew chief this weekend.

***Wholesale Balance of Performance adjustments have been made to the GTS class since the last Category B track at Virginia International Raceway in April. The changes are mostly focused on weight and ride height.

***The Audi R8 LMS GT4 and BMW M4 GT4 both get a 20kg increase, compared to 15kg for the SIN R1 GT4 and Mercedes-AMG GT4s and 10kg added to the 2018-spec KTM XBow GT4. The baseline Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR, meanwhile, gets an 8kg increase, while both the Ginetta G55 GT4 and McLaren 570S GT4 receive 10kg weight breaks and a 5kg reduction for the Ford Mustang GT4.

***The only GT3 car adjusted is the Audi R8 LMS, which has a 20kg increase in minimum weight but offset with a 1mm larger air restrictor.

***The pair of 50-minute races will see separate starts for the GT and GTS cars, as was the case at Long Beach, which saw several GT4-spec cars entered in a non-points invitational category. Road America marks the first points-paying combined GT/GTS race since the 2014 season finale at Utah Motorsports Campus. 

***PWC boss Greg Gill explained that the combined format came at the request of Road America. “It started with the track first saying, ‘Can you help us with time?'” Gill told Sportscar365. “Here it made sense to combine but I don’t see between now and the end of the year where else we would combine, and the same thing going into next year.”

***Gill expects additional GT entries later in the season, following an increased 14-car GT/GTA/GT Cup field this weekend. “We’re working on that now and have seen some incremental growth,” he said. “We’ll see continued growth and definitely [into] next year.”

***It is the busiest weekend in the history of Flying Lizard Motorsports, with the California-based squad operating five cars at Road America, as well as entering a McLaren MP4-12C in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

***Clint Vahsholtz qualified the Toyo-shod McLaren second in Time Attack 1, behind the class pole-sitting Porsche 911 GT3 R driven by David Donohue, who is one of several top-level sports car racing drivers that are tackling the famed hill climb on Sunday morning.

***RealTime Racing team owner Peter Cunningham, who finished second overall last year in his PWC-spec Acura TLX GT, is also taking part in the event again, with CJ Wilson Racing entering a pair of Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsports, including one for the former MLB star himself.

***Flying Lizard’s Pikes Peak effort is being headed up by technical director Tommy Sadler, who typically works with K-PAX Racing. Program manager Darren Law, meanwhile, is handling its PWC operation this weekend, which includes the season debut of the No. 46 Porsche for Andy Wilzoch.

***Wilzoch, who is competing in the GTA class with his GT3-spec Porsche, is slated to also take part in the Sprint rounds at Portland International Raceway and Watkins Glen later this summer.

***VOLT Racing is making its second and final planned PWC start of the year with its Ford Mustang GT4 for Alan Brynjolfson, who teamed with Trent Hindman for class victory at Virginia International Raceway in April.

***The Mike Johnson-led team has a busy stretch of racing ahead, with races in five of the next seven weeks, largely in Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge competition, which resumes next weekend at Watkins Glen prior to a trip North of the Border to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

***GTS championship leader James Sofronas has returned to the site of his pro racing debut 25 years ago, in a monumental weekend for the GMG Racing team owner/driver. “From our humble beginnings as a small little race shop on the less desirable side of Santa Ana, to the 30,000 square foot service center we have today, it’s been an incredible journey,” Sofronas said.

***GMG driver and Crowdstrike co-founder and CEO George Kurtz is hosting the fourth CXO Summit this weekend, which will see cyber security executives meet near Elkhart Lake to discuss important industry issues. It is the third summit to be hosted during a PWC event. Crowdstrike became the Official Cybersecurity Provider of PWC earlier this year.

***Sofronas told Sportscar365 that he’s likely to field two Audi R8 LMS GT4 cars in the California 8 Hours at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in October.

***Plans for Alec Udell to complete the PWC season, however, have not materialized, with no additional races currently on his schedule. The Clemson University student, who is in his final semester, recently began an internship with an engineering firm in California.  

***TR3 Racing is expected to move into its new shop in Ft. Lauderdale later this summer. The new location, which is three miles from its current facility, will unite its motorsports programs and performance division under one roof, according to Gregory Romanelli.

***Watch the first combined GT/GTS race of the weekend this afternoon at 4:35 p.m. CDT, with Race 2 set for Sunday at 2:45 p.m., live on World-Challenge.com. Tape-delayed coverage will air in CBS Sports Network on July 1 at 3 p.m. EDT (GT) and July 11 at 9 p.m. EDT (GTS).

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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