Pirelli World Challenge’s GT classes double up in Canada (SPOILER)

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Writer’s Note: The following is a recap of this weekend’s Pirelli World Challenge races from the streets of Toronto. NBCSN will broadcast the Toronto races on Sunday, Aug. 10, at 1:30 p.m. ET. If you don’t want to know who won until then, we suggest you find another post to read here on MotorSportsTalk…

The Pirelli World Challenge’s GT-based classes – that’s GT, GTS, and the GT-A subcategory – had their own “2inT.O.” doubleheader this past weekend on the 1.75-mile Honda Indy Toronto street course.

Saturday’s Round 9 started off inauspiciously with a multi-car incident that was triggered by contact between Bret Curtis and Brent Holden and ultimately blocked up Turn 1. The melee knocked GTS polesitter Nic Jonsson and several others out of the running; at least 10 cars came away with some sort of minor damage or issue.

On the restart at Lap 7, British sports car veteran Nick Tandy got ahead of a good battle for second in GT and overall between Canada’s own Kuno Wittmer and Johnny O’Connell. While that progressed, a race for top honors in GTS heated up between Dean Martin, Lawson Aschenbach, and Jack Roush, Jr.

A second caution on Lap 20 bunched up the field for a restart with just over five minutes left, but Tandy was able to stave off Wittmer, who applied heavy pressure before coming up half a second shy of Tandy for the GT and overall win. O’Connell earned a third-place and podium finish.

Back in GTS, Martin and Aschenbach had one final scrap for the win but it was Martin who hung on for the class victory over Aschenbach and third-place Roush.

In GT-A, Marcelo Hahn claimed the checkered flag after a Lap 20 incident took out teammate and class leader at the time Albert von Thurn und Taxis. Michael Mills and Henrik Hedman rounded out the GT-A podium.

Sunday’s Round 10 in GT/GTS/GT-A had what’s assumed to be a satisfying outcome for the home fans as a pair of Canadians scored wins.

Wittmer and Tandy continued their duel from Saturday in GT, with both men passing pole sitter Mike Skeen within the first seven laps. Their fight continued after a Lap 13 caution, but ended on Lap 23 when Wittmer and Tandy made contact in Turn 1.

Said contact sent Tandy spinning out and he was then hit by an oncoming Nick Mancuso, ending both of their races. Wittmer, a native of Montreal, would lead Anthony Lazzaro and Skeen to the checkered flag.

In GTS, Toronto’s Mark Wilkins started from the pole but had his work cut out for him as he sought to hold back a group of five drivers. Marc Udell had the best shot at Wilkins, often pulling within striking distance through the corners before putting up a last-lap attack.

Udell attempted to pass Wilkins on the outside in Turn 11 coming to the checkered flag, but Wilkins had just enough to beat him to the stripe. The margin of victory – 0.039 of a second – became the closest in GTS class history. Behind them, Roush got his second P3 finish of the weekend.

After finishing second in GT-A on Saturday, Mills went one spot better after leading wire-to-wire. Dan Knox was runner-up, and Hedman again came home third.

The Pirelli World Challenge’s next event is an “all skate” on Aug. 1-3 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. GT/GTS/GT-A will have Rounds 11 and 12, while the TC/TCB/TC-A classes return to action for Rounds 9 and 10.

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).