Photo: Tony DiZinno

Long Beach weekend, Thursday notes (round one)

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LONG BEACH, Calif. – The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach packs a lot into the weekend, often so much so that despite your best efforts to attempt to cover everything, you inevitably fail. But you try nonetheless, anyway.

Thursday at Long Beach is the calm before the storm, as final preparations for the track conclude and a number of events occur either at the Long Beach circuit or around the city. Basically it’s a case of packing as many things into an event that’s the street course equivalent of Indianapolis, but in a significantly compressed time frame.

Here’s some notes and other items of record before track activity begins tomorrow. NBCSN will have coverage throughout the weekend; the pertinent details of which are linked here.

TRACK WALK/VIEWS

It’s funny. I calculated this year is my 12th time coming to Long Beach for the race, over a stretch of nearly 20 years since 1998 (yes, I was alive then, cool your jokes because even though I’m young I know this place well). But in none of those times, either as a fan growing up or in my writing career have I actually walked the track.

That finally changed today. The Cliff notes version of the track – and this is nothing new to any driver who’s done this before – is that the adjustment from fresh pavement back to concrete is difficult and while bumpy at spots, this track isn’t that bad at all.

Some quick notes I found interesting:

  • The banking on Shoreline Drive is steeper than you realize, even though it does translate to TV.
  • There’s been a couple sections repaved, notably the entries into Turn 8 and Turn 9. That should make it faster in both places.
  • Here’s Josef Newgarden’s, driver of the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, take on Turn 8, which sees a wide entry and apex descend into a tighter, narrower exit: “You have to calculate for it – you have know the edge of the track is. You’ve gotta play the angles. You work the angles. You try not to get deceived by the wide approach. The guys that have been around many times are not be deceived. That’s not too big of a deal. If you use the wide entry, it really helps the angle.”

The IndyCar on NBCSN team took a quick video of the track, linked below, and a few of my still captures are below that:

LOKI THE WOLFDOG IS ALIVE AND WELL

Rising Star Racing’s Spencer Pigot, driver of the usual No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing, has a slightly different scheme this weekend and a partner-in-crime in the form of an Instagram celebrity dog. Yes, that sentence sounds weird but it’s accurate.

Loki the Wolfdog and his owner Kelly Lund have made it to Long Beach, where a quick photo-op took place on Thursday.

Will Loki actually live up to this Instagram fame of 1.4 million followers and post about IndyCar this weekend? That remains to be seen, but hey, at least the team is:

HINCH AND RHR’S BURGEONING COP BUDDY COMEDY

You’d have needed a cop to investigate the contact between Ryan Hunter-Reay and James Hinchcliffe that occurred here three years ago, when they were teammates and also took out Newgarden in the process.

But the two are on good terms and on Wednesday, instead of there being so much drama in the LBC, it wasn’t hard for them to pay a visit to the LAPD.

Respective social posts from Hunter-Reay, driver of the No. 28 DHL Honda and Hinchcliffe, driver of the No. 5 Arrow Electronics Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda, are below, and here’s a link to more from IndyCar.com.

SPEAKING OF HINCH AND L.A…. SHARNA’S BACK

Hinchcliffe’s partner on Season 23 of “Dancing with the Stars,” Sharna Burgess, paid a visit to the track on Thursday in the first of what could be several appearances at Verizon IndyCar Series races this season. She also taped an episode of Hinchcliffe’s “The Mayor on Air” podcast.

Burgess visited Hinchcliffe at the series’ other Californian race, Sonoma Raceway in September, in advance of a segment on the show and wound up taking a ridealong in the two-seater with Hinchcliffe driving.

ROSSI’S FLAT OUT STINT OF LATE AND A SPECIAL NHRA, NAPA GUEST

Alexander Rossi continues his flat out stretch this weekend. Rossi, who continues his whirlwind run of media and testing in-between races, will have NAPA Auto Parts teammate and 2016 NHRA Funny Car champion Ron Capps on site this weekend; it’ll be Capps’ first time to this race. See more from Capps below, and we’ll have more on this topic after the weekend.

DALY GETS TO LIVE OUT HIS FAST & THE FURIOUS FANTASY IN REALITY

Thanks to the NBC Sports crew, Conor Daly, driver of the No. 4 ABC Supply Co. Chevrolet, paid a visit Wednesday to check in with Fast & the Furious picture car coordinator Dennis McCarthy for a look behind the scenes at some of the whips from the series. The latest version of the Universal Pictures franchise, “The Fate of the Furious,” opens on April 14. A filming of this segment will air during pre-race coverage from Long Beach on Sunday, from 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

A DRIVER WHO DOESN’T SEEM TO AGE NOW HAS A WINE

Takuma Sato, driver of the No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda, doesn’t look much past his late-20s or early-30s even though he turned 40 years old earlier this year. On Thursday, he released TS Sato Wine, a Cabernet Sauvignon made from grapes of California’s central coast dating the same year as his victory. A tasting took place at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Long Beach on Thursday.

RAHAL’S PHOENIX MEDIA DAY, AND DIAMONDBACKS APPEARANCE

Graham Rahal arrived in Long Beach on Thursday after a full day of running around in Phoenix on Wednesday, promoting the series’ upcoming Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix on April 29.

You can view the @PhoenixRaceway Twitter account for the full breakdown of his tweets from the day yesterday, but one of the things Rahal announced was a special ticket deal, details of which are linked below.

Rahal is in the No. 15 PennGrade Motor Oil Honda for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing this weekend. Rahal and the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team are making more mention of the World of Hyatt branding on the car this weekend; the Hyatt Regency hotel, as noted above, is inside the track.

Rahal paid a visit to Wednesday night’s Arizona Diamondbacks and San Francisco Giants game, and bumped into Dick Vitale of all people:

AND RAHAL, A NOTED HOCKEY BUFF, IS GETTING THE “WILD WING” MASCOT TREATMENT

With the Anaheim Ducks not far up the road and Rahal, a noted Columbus Blue Jackets fan, the Ducks’ mascot was on site today at Long Beach. And an IndyCar show car was mocked up today in Ducks’ orange and white colors.

DAVISON, VEACH POUNDING THE PAVEMENT

Two drivers hopeful and/or optimistic of being in the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, two-time Indianapolis 500 starter James Davison and would-be rookie Zach Veach, are among those notable drivers here even though they’re not racing this weekend. Veach was scheduled to be on hand anyway with IndyCar Radio commitments; Davison made a late call to arrive in Long Beach after being in Melbourne, where his late grandfather Lex Davison was honored during the Australian Grand Prix weekend. The Davisons are one of Australia’s iconic racing families.

Veach, meanwhile, continues to rack up the frequent flier miles to California as both he and Gabby Chaves were in town last week giving rides in the IndyCar two-seater for the Long Beach media day.

KENDALL, FITTIPALDI HONORED, AS IS PAGENAUD IN LONG BEACH LORE

Tommy Kendall and Emerson Fittipaldi were honored Thursday with their inductions into the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame, at a circuit and city special to both of them.

So too was last year’s IndyCar race winner Simon Pagenaud, who had his winner’s plaque revealed.

AND ABOUT TONIGHT…

Fittipaldi will be honored at tonight’s Road Racing Driver’s Club dinner at the Hilton in downtown Long Beach, along with A.J. Foyt and Dan Gurney, some 50 years on after their victory in the Ford GT40 Mk. IV at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This promises to be a special night and a trip down memory lane.

If today’s cars are your thing, parts of IndyCar, IMSA, PWC and more are occurring at the Thunder Thursday event taking place at the Pike Outlets.

There’s undoubtedly other events going on as well – Rahal’s Ducks game appearance among them.

SPORTS CAR DIGEST

We haven’t even scratched the surface of all the activities yet because all the above copy is IndyCar-related. But a few other sports car things of note between the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and Pirelli World Challenge paddocks:

-Two good reads from Ryan Myrehn of Sportscar365, first on how IMSA organizes the paddock logistics for its 35 cars racing here this weekend, and then a fun look at Sage Karam and Jack Hawksworth, two IndyCar veterans now racing for the 3GT Racing Lexus RC F GT3 program who are now roommates in Michigan.

-GMG Racing and Euroworld Motorsports driver Alec Udell steps up from GTA to GT in PWC, and while he’s 21 and has been in PWC for nearly a decade, he’s only raced once before at Long Beach, in an Ford Mustang Boss 302 in GTS in 2014. The reasoning? Udell wasn’t old enough to compete prior to 2014, then missed the 2015 race even though he was in GT Cup after an accident at St. Petersburg, and then missed last year because GT Cup didn’t compete.

-Jonathan Summerton makes his PWC return with the DIME Racing team in a new Lamborghini Huracán GT3, supposedly No. 111 (decals weren’t on the car yet on Thursday). The Floridian raced here in Atlantic and Indy Lights in 2008 and 2009, finishing fourth both races.

-Since 2002, Ryan Dalziel has raced here in Atlantics, Champ Cars, Daytona Prototypes, GT (Jaguar), PC and P2 (HPD) cars, but he’s never had a weekend here like this. Dalziel missed this race last year because of his FIA World Endurance Championship commitments at Silverstone. Now, he makes up for it by racing here twice – both in his No. 2 CRP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 in Pirelli World Challenge and his No. 2 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan Onroak DPi in IMSA. Dalziel is as yet unsure who his PWC SprintX co-driver will be; that portion of the season starts at VIR later this month.

-Jeff Segal has won Daytona, Sebring and Le Mans… and yet never driven at Long Beach. The co-driver of the No. 86 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 and incredible connoisseur of sunglasses makes his debut on these mean streets this weekend.

-At Porsche’s Experience Center L.A. (in Carson) on Wednesday, a gathering of all the Porsche 911s racing this weekend was present. There are nine of the GT3-spec Porsche 911 GT3 Rs; campaigned by GMG Racing (Nos. 14, 17), Wright Motorsports (Nos. 16, 58), GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing (No. 99) in PWC and Alegra Motorsports (No.28), CORE autosport (No. 54), Park Place Motorsports (No. 73) and TRG (No. 991) in IMSA this weekend. Black Swan Racing also had its No. 540 Porsche, which ran a partial IMSA season last year, present for the event. A pic below comes from Radio Show Limited’s John Hindhaugh; IMSA Radio will have all live session coverage on site this weekend.

-So here’s something to monitor: there are a combined 39 GT3-spec cars racing this weekend. In IMSA, there’s 16 of the GT Daytona cars, the series’ slowest (but still bloody fast) class racing here for the first time. They have Continental Tires. In PWC, there’s 23, which run on Pirelli.

These cars will run in both races:

  • 9-Porsche 911 GT3 R (Nos. 14, 17, 16, 58, 99 in PWC; Nos. 28, 54, 73, 991 in IMSA)
  • 6-Mercedes-AMG GT3 (Nos. 2, 54, 69 in PWC; Nos. 33, 50, 75 in IMSA)
  • 4-Acura NSX GT3 (Nos. 43, 93 in PWC; Nos. 86, 93 in IMSA)
  • 3-Audi R8 LMS (Nos. 4, 44 in PWC; No. 57 in IMSA)
  • 3-Ferrari 488 GT3 (Nos. 31, 61 in PWC; No. 63 in IMSA)
  • 3-Lamborghini Huracán GT3 (No. 111 in PWC; Nos. 16, 48 in IMSA)

The Cadillac ATS-V.R GT3 (2), McLaren 650S GT3 (3), Bentley Continental GT3 (2) and Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 (1) will run only in PWC this weekend, with the Lexus RC F GT3s (2) and BMW M6 GT3 (1) running only in IMSA.

ANOTHER GOOD RACE PREVIEW

From Mobil 1 The Grid, a look ahead to the overall landscape of this weekend’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach festivities:

Alonso gets seat fit, visits Borg-Warner Trophy in Indy

Photo: Michael L. Levitt/LAT Photo USA
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Fernando Alonso’s quick first visit to the U.S. before this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix continued Monday with a trip to Indianapolis with his Andretti Autosport team, following the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama in Birmingham, Ala.

After a jam-packed Sunday packed with media commitments and observing from the pits, Alonso went to Andretti’s shop on Zionsville Rd. where he made his seat fit for his upcoming first test on May 3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

This was the only time this could be worked into his schedule before he heads to Sochi to resume his Formula 1 commitments in his day job, lead driver of the team’s McLaren Honda.

Alonso also met the trophy he hopes to win as part of his quest to capture the Triple Crown, the Borg-Warner Trophy.

Andretti Autosport is the defending champion team at Indianapolis with Alexander Rossi. Rossi follows Ryan Hunter-Reay (2014), Dario Franchitti (2007) and Dan Wheldon (2005) as winners for the team in the ‘500.

“It’s a beautiful trophy that I would be proud to take home if I won the Indianapolis 500. There are so many familiar faces on the trophy from the past and present that represent the greatest race in the world,” Alonso said, via BorgWarner. “Can I please get a full-sized trophy to take home if I win the race? The small ones (Baby Borgs) are nice but a big one would be wonderful!”

As Alonso is a two-time World Champion, he wouldn’t be the first driver to pull off an Indianapolis 500 victory. Others that have done so are listed below:

  • Jim Clark – Formula One World Champion in 1963 and 1965, Indianapolis 500 winner in 1965
  • Graham Hill – Formula One World Champion in 1962 and 1968, Indianapolis 500 winner in 1966
  • Mario Andretti – Formula One World Champion 1978, Indianapolis 500 winner in 1969
  • Emerson Fittipaldi – Formula One World Champion 1972 and 1974, Indianapolis 500 winner in 1989 and 1993
  • Jacques Villeneuve – Formula One World Champion 1997, Indianapolis 500 winner in 1995

NBCSN videos from Alonso’s Sunday at Barber are linked below.

Press Conference

Grid Interview with Townsend Bell

NBCSN Booth

Haas goes for first three-in-a-row scoring streak in Russia

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After back-to-back eighth place finishes from Kevin Magnussen at China and Romain Grosjean last time out in Bahrain, Haas F1 Team has its second chance to score points three races in a row for the first time in its F1 career – and arguably a more realistic chance at this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix (Sunday, 8 a.m. ET, NBCSN).

Grosjean’s shock sixth and fifth place finishes to open his 2016 account in Australia and Bahrain were unexpected but the team hit a bump in the road in China. Russia, however, saw the Frenchman return to the points with an eighth place, and bring his season tally to 28 points to conclude the remarkable start of results in flyaway races.

Now, with a car that could theoretically be considered the fourth best in the field behind Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull, hopes are high for either Grosjean or Magnussen to extend the team’s scoring streak to what would be the longest yet in its short history.

The team did well to note the Olympic tie in at the Sochi circuit, linking “Super G” and how fast the new 2017 Formula 1 cars are.

From the release: “The first time we saw Super-G in Sochi was in 2014 when the Russian city hosted the XXII Olympic Winter Games. Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud beat American Andrew Weibrecht by .3 of a second on the 2.096-kilometer (1.302-mile) course with a 622-meter (2,041-foot) vertical drop to nab gold in the alpine slalom event.

“Three years later, a Super-G of a different sort returns to Sochi, but instead of taking place on the white slopes of the Rosa Khutor Alpine Resort, it will happen on the black asphalt of the Sochi Autodrom as the fastest cars in Formula One history rocket around the 5.848-kilometer (3.634-mile), 18-turn circuit for the April 30 Russian Grand Prix.”

Grosjean described the physical uptick in training he’s needed to do. The 31-year-old is in his sixth full season and seventh overall in F1, since his midseason debut in 2009.

“The cars are brutal to drive – we are not far from 8G with the peak in high corners – so it is pretty good fun, but it is hard on the body, it is hard on parts, it is hard on the cars,” Grosjean said. “You better not miss the turning point on some places. The speed we go through the corners is insane compared to the past. You need to be more precise, more accurate, more on it.

“We’re going through more g-forces, so the neck is stronger and the core is stronger,” Grosjean added. “Your whole body had to adjust to these high speeds.”

Team principal Guenther Steiner explained the importance of needing to bank points early in the crowded midfield. Haas sits seventh in the championship now, just nine points behind Sahara Force India in fourth, who have scored with both drivers in each of the three races so far in 2017.

“It’s always good to come back from two races with points, and it shows that the car is capable to score points at each race. Then again, it’s always difficult because it’s a tight midfield and we all went testing after Bahrain and everyone has learned something,” Steiner said.

“It’s as tight as it’s ever been. With four to five teams so close together, I cannot remember when that happened, and every weekend it’s mixed up in a different way. Any of these teams can go into Q3 and get into the points. It’s a very tense battle, but I think a nice battle and it keeps the constructors championship pretty open for the midfield.”

Grosjean added, “It was good to score points in Bahrain. Clearly, we deserved them – since race one, actually. I think the most encouraging fact for now is that the car is performing well everywhere we’ve been. So now we go to Russia, which was a bit of a tough one for us last year. We’ll see if we’ve made progress and if the car is working well at every type of circuit. If so, then pretty much everywhere we could score points.”

For Magnussen, the chance of a score comes after he delivered his best 2016 result here last year – seventh for Renault. He was also fifth in 2014 with McLaren, and has a chance to score for a third different team here this weekend.

“I think it’s a good track and I’ve had some good races there. Hopefully, I can have another good one there this year,” he said.

“I know last year I had a good first lap. Quite a few people messed up and lost things like front wings and so on. I made up lots of positions with that. I then had a really good race after that to finish seventh.”

 

 

PWC: 36 SprintX cars, lineups pack variety, diversity at VIR

Photo: PWC
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No less than 36 cars are set to compete in the first of five Pirelli World Challenge SprintX weekends, this weekend at VIRginia International Raceway.

Breaking down those 36 cars, they’re split this way:

  • 12 GT Pro/Pro
  • 16 GT Pro/Am
  • 1 GT Am/Am
  • 1 GT Cup Pro/Am
  • 1 GT Cup Am/Am
  • 2 GTS Pro/Am
  • 3 GTS Am/Am

And that’s before you get to the rest of the entry list: GTS: 9; GTSA: 10; TC: 32; TCA: 15; TCB: 8.

In sports car racing, the easiest way to get hooked is to embrace the variety and diversity of machinery first and ask questions about how complex it is later.

So with that in mind, here’s a breakdown of the GT SprintX entries (which themselves are split between three classes, but we’ll set that aside for a minute) and their respective lineups.

Cadillac Racing, Cadillac ATS-V.R

3 – Johnny O’Connell/Jordan or Ricky Taylor
8 – Michael Cooper/Jordan or Ricky Taylor

The fully professional Cadillac lineups give the Taylor brothers a chance to dip their feet back into Pirelli World Challenge competition alongside the team’s full-season drivers. That being said, it’ll be weird to see Jordan and Ricky racing against each other again, and Cadillac still hasn’t confirmed which brother goes where.

Magnus Racing, Audi R8 LMS

4 – Pierre Kaffer/Spencer Pumpelly (Kaffer misses Lime Rock)
44 – John Potter/Marco Seefried (Seefried misses Lime Rock)

For Magnus Racing, a return to the mini-endurance racing with pit stops could see the team with a slight advantage over those PWC-only teams in recent years. Kaffer and Pumpelly is as good a lineup as you’ll find on the grid while Potter and Seefried know each other’s nuances well.

K-PAX Racing, McLaren 650S GT3

6 – Bryan Sellers/Jonny Kane
9 – Alvaro Parente/Ben Barnicoat
98 – Mike Hedlund/Michael Lewis

With Strakka Racing coming to McLaren, Jonny Kane is the ace of reckoning added here with Sellers. Meanwhile Parente has the talented but inexperienced McLaren GT junior driver Barnicoat alongside; Hedlund and Lewis provide a very solid all-American duo.

GMG Racing, Porsche 911 GT3 R

14 – James Sofronas/Laurens Vanthoor (VIR and CTMP)
14 – James Sofronas/Matt Halliday (Lime Rock, Utah and COTA)

Calvert Dynamics, Porsche 911 GT3 R

77 – Alec Udell/Preston Calvert (partnership with GMG)

In simple terms, Sofronas’ team is one that should benefit from the SprintX format. Porsche places factory driver Vanthoor in when available while Halliday is a team veteran. Udell and Calvert will share a Calvert Dynamics entry prepared by GMG, which combines the two top teams from the series’ GT Cup class.

Wright Motorsports, Porsche 911 GT3 R

16 – Michael Schein/Jan Heylen
58 – Patrick Long/Joerg Bergmeister

Two solid lineups here for John Wright’s team. The iconic pairing of Long and Bergmeister is reunited in the team’s all-pro entry with Heylen and Schein one of the top pro/am entries.

RealTime Racing, Acura NSX GT3

43 – Ryan Eversley/Tom Dyer
93 – Peter Kox/Mark Wilkins

Wilkins and Dyer, the team’s SprintX additions, are underrated for a reason – they’re solid, quiet, capable drivers who aren’t flashy but usually get the job done. But they’re going to have to rise up against some of the other pros competing, especially when Acura’s four full-season drivers in IMSA aren’t added here.

Bentley Team Absolute, Bentley Continental GT3

78 – Yufeng Luo/Alexandre Imperatori (VIR and CTMP)
88 – Adderly Fong/Vincent Abril

Past Blancpain GT Series champion Abril is an excellent addition to this young lineup, and he and Fong will be the car to watch versus the pro/am No. 78 car.

CRP Racing, Mercedes-AMG GT3

2 – Ryan Dalziel/Daniel Morad

“Razzle Dazzle” and “State of Moradness” combine for one of the coolest nickname and driver pairings on the grid. The Canadian should learn the Mercedes quickly and combined with the rapid Scot who’s based in Florida, this team should excel.

TR3 Racing, Ferrari 488 GT3

31 – Daniel Mancinell/Andrea Montermini

Mancinelli has raised more than a few eyebrows in his first two weekends in the series, but has the pace to star. Ferrari GT veteran Montermini is a nice counterbalance.

R. Ferri Motorsport, Ferrari 488 GT3

61 – Alex Riberas/Kyle Marcelli

Remo Ferri’s entry is one of the best ones out there, with two very talented drivers sharing the team’s Ferrari 488 in the SprintX races. Marcelli’s vastly experienced for his still tender age of 27; Riberas is a rising GT star in sports car racing.

Scuderia Corsa, Ferrari 458 GT3

7 – Martin Fuentes/Stefan Johansson

Giacomo Mattioli doesn’t usually enter something unless he thinks he can win, and this pro/am lineup of last year’s GTA champ (Fuentes) and Ferrari veteran and team sporting director Johansson, is one of the best in this category.

M1 GT Racing, Audi R8 LMS

23 – David Ostella/James Dayson

Pair of Mazda Road to Indy veterans-turned-sports car Canadians share a car that will be consistent if not the outright fastest among pro/am entries.

MOMO NGT Motorsport, Ferrari 458 GT3

30 – Henrique Cisneros/TBA

Cisneros usually assembles a good effort, and the identity of his co-driver will be interesting.

Black Swan Racing, Mercedes-AMG GT3

54 – Tim Pappas/Jeroen Bleekemolen

The band has come back together for the past GTC champions of American Le Mans Series. Bleekemolen remains rapid as ever; he and Pappas have gelled well before.

DXDT Racing, Mercedes-AMG GT3

63 – Aaron Povoledo/David Askew

Team’s strength comes from its 2016 SprintX experience, something many others don’t have.

Always Evolving Racing/AIM Autosport, Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3

75 – Ricardo Sanchez/Frankie Montecalvo

There’s a lot of newness for the AE/AIM/Nissan combo including a new driver lineup and new 2017 car. While it’s unfortunate past Nissan winners Bryan Heitkotter and James Davison aren’t here, young guns Sanchez and Montecalvo have potential in spades.

McCann Racing, Audi R8 LMS

82 – Mike Skeen/Michael McCann

This SprintX-only, pro/am entry could provide an avenue for “ginger stig” Skeen to live up to his lanky frame and produce some typical giant-killing performances.

MCC Motorsports, Mercedes-AMG GT3

92 – Alexandre Negrao/Alexandre Negrao Sr.

Little known here about this entry, other than it’s another Mercedes that features a past GP2 veteran in Negrao.

TRG, Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3

007 – Kris Wilson/Drew Regitz

Wilson has been capable of winning races with TRG before but it’s hard to see this aging car and the lone am-am labeled driver lineup doing much of that here. That said, in the hands of James Davison, it does still have some speed left.

Dream Racing Competition, Lamborghini Huracán GT3

07 – Cedric Sbirrazzuoli/Lawrence DeGeorge

The pairing has driven together in Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and now PWC SprintX. Sbirrazzuoli’s got the speed here between this duo.

DIME Racing, Lamborghini Huracán GT3 (First Alternate)

111 – Jonathan Summerton/Michael Macs

Past Atlantic series race winner Summerton leads this lineup, although whether he’ll get a chance to race depends on one of the primary entries having a pre-race issue that promotes the first alternate into the field.

REST OF THE FIELD

There are also seven additional entries for the first SprintX race of the season, with two GT Cup and five GTS entries. Those cars may interfere with the GT competitors but will have their own interesting race within the race, as well.

Tom Dillmann confirmed for Formula E debut at Paris

Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.
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Mike Conway (Faraday Future Dragon Racing) will have company among guest drivers in the upcoming FIA Formula E Championship Paris ePrix on May 20.

Venturi, Conway’s old team, have confirmed French open-wheel veteran turned occasional sports car racer Tom Dillmann as a fill-in driver for Maro Engel at Paris, and will thus make his series debut. Engel is racing for Mercedes in DTM, while Loic Duval is racing for Audi at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz the same weekend.

Dillmann has driven the Venturi VM200-FE-02 before, standing in for Stephane Sarrazin for the shakedown in last month’s Mexico City ePrix as Sarrazin was en route to Mexico from the FIA World Endurance Championship Prologue test in Monza.

He’s an F3, GP2 and WEC race winner already. The 28-year-old Frenchman is understandably keen to impress on debut.

“Formula E is an exciting place to be for a driver – with thrilling motor racing and interesting technical developments. It goes without saying that it’s my goal to contest a full season in this series in the future,” he said in a release.