Picture: Fabian Lagunas/SRO

***Rain impacted the opening day of observe motion at Circuit of The Americas, with a one-hour maintain on exercise as a consequence of thunderstorms within the space. It delayed a number of afternoon follow classes for opponents in SRO America in addition to the IMSA-sanctioned Porsche Carrera Cup North America and USAC-sanctioned Porsche Dash Problem North America.

***This weekend’s occasion is being run behind-closed-doors as a “VIP solely occasion” in response to SRO America President and CEO Greg Gill, who stated the group is at a “transition level” within the speedy evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic within the U.S.

“If I knew what we all know this weekend proper now, I believe we might have been capable of have followers,” Gill instructed Sportscar365. “However 30 days in the past once we needed to make the choice, we weren’t within the place to try this.”

***Fan attendance is predicted to renew starting with the following spherical at Virginia Worldwide Raceway in June though the extent of entry stays to-be-determined. “Going ahead for the rest of the season it’s our intention to have the general public into regardless of the native guidelines are,” Gill added.

***VIR has already begun ticket gross sales, with Highway America and Indianapolis Motor Speedway set to observe within the coming weeks.

***The primary parking zone at COTA is getting used as a COVID-19 vaccination website. COTA has joined quite a few different tracks throughout the nation, together with IMS, in enjoying a key half within the vaccine rollout. 

***HPD GT3 Academy graduate Jacob Abel makes his Fanatec GT World Problem America powered by AWS debut this weekend within the No. 93 Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX GT3 Evo alongside full-season driver Taylor Hagler.

***Abel shall be splitting co-driving duties this season with fellow academy graduate Dakota Dickerson, who competed within the pair of opening rounds at Sonoma Raceway final month.

***Two-time and reigning IMSA champion and Honda Efficiency Improvement manufacturing unit driver Ricky Taylor is on-site this weekend serving as a driver coach for Hagler and Abel. It marks Taylor’s return to the SRO America paddock since driving for Cadillac Racing in Pirelli World Problem SprintX competitors in 2017.

***Inception Racing plans to contest the rest of the GTWC America season in response to staff supervisor Bas Leinders. The Optimum Motorsport-run operation, which is giving the McLaren 720S GT3 its sequence debut, has established a U.S. base in close by Buda, Tx. and bought a transporter from former SRO America outfit CRP Racing.

***Brendan Iribe, who’s sharing the wheel of the mid-engined supercar with Ollie Millroy, is the co-founder of Oculus VR, which was acquired by Fb in 2014 for $2.3 billion.

***Whereas different SRO America sequence will revert to a single lap, the pair of GTWC America races will stay with two formation laps previous to the inexperienced flag. The minimal pit cease time for sequence’ opponents is 77 seconds this weekend.

***Along with Wright Motorsports, GMG Racing is one other busy staff this weekend with a number of entries throughout numerous sequence. The California-based operation is fielding a complete of eight vehicles in three sequence, headlined by James Sofronas’ Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo in GT America powered by AWS, 4 further entries in GT America, two in Pirelli GT4 America and a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup automobile entered in Porsche Dash Problem.

***Sofronas’ Lamborghini is an ex-FFF Racing Crew chassis that claimed GT3 class honors in final 12 months’s Highway to Le Mans race with Andrea Caldarelli and Hiroshi Hamaguchi. It additionally has mileage from competitors in Fanatec GT World Problem Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup in 2020.

***Zelus Motorsport will take supply of TR3 Racing’s Lamborghini on the conclusion of the weekend to make the most of as a second chassis for its twin GTWC America and GT America marketing campaign. It’s understood TR3 will purchase a brand-new Huracan GT3 Evo in time for the following spherical at Virginia Worldwide Raceway in June.

***Chris Ward, the senior supervisor for motorsport at Automobili Lamborghini America, instructed Sportscar365 that he feels “a bit like a used automobile salesman” having brokered offers with numerous buyer groups in latest months to meet the elevated demand of Huracan GT3 Evos in SRO America.

***A GT2-spec Lamborghini makes its debut this weekend in GT America for TPC Racing’s Scott Schmidt, who’s gaining expertise of COTA forward of the Lamborghini Tremendous Trofeo North America season-opener on the Texan circuit subsequent month with NASCAR.

***Ward stated that he was stunned that extra Tremendous Trofeo groups didn’t benefit from the extra observe time by getting into the GT America occasion. Solely minor modifications, together with a change of air restrictor, weight addition and elimination of entrance dive planes, is required to the Huracan Tremendous Trofeo Evo to make it GT2-compliant.

***Whereas Schmidt’s entry is the one GT2 automobile competing this weekend, GMG’s Sofronas hinted that Elias Sabo’s Audi R8 LMS GT2 could possibly be seen in race motion later this 12 months. Sabo has been utilizing the automobile primarily for observe day functions.

***Audi Sport has launched a sequence of “Coloration Version” R8 LMS GT2 vehicles that’s aimed toward collectors. Six distinctive vehicles with colours comparable to ‘Kyalami Inexperienced’, ‘Sebring Black’ and ‘Misano Purple’ are being made accessible at 349,000 euros ($419,778 USD) every.

“For the primary time within the 13-year historical past of Audi Sport buyer racing we’re providing such a shade idea to our clients,” stated Head of Audi Sport buyer racing Chris Reinke. “With one mannequin per shade, our Coloration Version ensures pure individuality and won’t be issued a second time like this.”

***The No. 61 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 is a brand-new chassis after Jean-Claude Saada’s accident in opening follow at Sonoma. The crashed automobile was patched up for the pair of season-opening races however has since been changed.

***Former Rahal Letterman Lanigan technical director Jay O’Connell has been reunited with the BMW M6 GT3, with O’Connell engineering Turner Motorsport’s entry this season in GTWC America. O’Connell instructed Sportscar365 that most of the setup changes on BMW Crew RLL’s GTLM variant nonetheless applies some 5 years later.

***Mercedes-AMG has a file ten entries throughout three sequence this weekend, highlighted by the debut of CJ Moses’ DXDT Racing Merecedes-AMG GT3 Evo in GT America and a second RENNtech Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4 for Man Cosmo and Chris Cagnazzi.

***Moses missed Sonoma as a consequence of kidney stones, the identical ailment that sidelined SRO America TV broadcaster Calvin Fish, who’s again within the sales space alongside Ryan Myrehn for this weekend’s motion.

***Cosmo and Cagnazzi plan to contest the vast majority of the GT4 America season aside from September’s Watkins Glen spherical as a consequence of earlier commitments for the Ferrari Problem North America graduate.

***Stay streaming protection of all SRO America races shall be accessible on the GT World YouTube channel, together with Saturday’s GT4 America (12:30 p.m. ET), GTWC America (2:15 p.m. ET) and GT America (5:45 p.m. ET) motion. CBS Sports activities Community will carry dwell protection of GTWC America Race 2 at 2 p.m. ET.

John Dagys

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com and SPEED Channel and has contributed to quite a few different motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John