***The Porsche GT4 e-Performance completed demonstration laps of Watkins Glen International on Friday in the hands of Klaus Bachler, marking the EV race car’s North American track debut (pictured above). The 800 kW (1072 horsepower) all-wheel drive vehicle, based on the 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport, is scheduled for a second run on Sunday morning following warmup in the hands of Porsche brand ambassador Joerg Bergmeister.
***The No. 42 NTE Sport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2, which is making its first WeatherTech Championship start since the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona, is sporting a new purple livery this weekend. Rob Ferriol has joined Jaden Conwright and Luke Berkeley, who is set for his series debut this weekend.
***Trenton Estep has been confirmed in the No. 4 Ave Motorsports Ligier JS P320 Nissan alongside his Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS co-driver Seth Lucas and team veteran Tonis Kasemets. Estep was initially earmarked to be part of MDK Motorsports’ GTD Pro effort prior to the team electing to skip the race.
***Chip Ganassi Racing received its No. 3/No. 01 Cadillac V-Series.R from Le Mans last Thursday according to the team’s director of global operations Mike O’Gara, who said there were no air-freight dramas for the WeatherTech Championship chassis that Renger van der Zande, Sebastien Bourdais and Scott Dixon drove to a fourth place finish in the race.
***Van der Zande and Bourdais seek their second consecutive WeatherTech Championship win this weekend, driving as a pairing.
***John Farano is planning to be back behind the wheel of the No. 8 Tower Motorsports Oreca 07 Gibson beginning with the next LMP2 round at Road America according to team principal Ricky Capone, who said the Canadian elected to step out of the cockpit for his second consecutive race strictly as a precautionary measure from an injury sustained at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
***Salih Yoluc, who is subbing for Farano this weekend, is making his Watkins Glen debut and was given the majority of the track time on Friday to come to grips with the 3.4-mile, 11-turn circuit. Both Will Stevens and Kyffin Simpson tested with the team at the track prior to Le Mans.
***Capone told Sportscar365 that he’s had inquiries from several European LMP2 teams about the class for next year, and whether Tower would expand into a two-car operation. It comes amid the elimination of LMP3 class from the WeatherTech Championship next year, although IMSA President John Doonan dismissed rumors of the sanctioning body placing a cap on LMP2 entries next year as they’ve done with LMP3.
***Doonan confirmed ongoing talks of permitting current generation LMP3 cars in HSR next year, which would join pre-2020 models that already compete in the IMSA-owned series.
***Doonan told Sportscar365: “We’re looking at a bunch of options. I think, as always, we’re sensitive to equipment and assets that our stakeholders have. We’re fortunate to have some previous-generation LMP3 cars running in HSR already and maybe there’s a way to get creative with something like that. There’s no firm plans yet but I think it’s something that could be cool. ”
***LMP3 outfit Sean Creech Motorsport is holding discussions this weekend about options to keep it on the WeatherTech Championship grid next year. Team owner Sean Creech told Sportscar365 that LMP2 would be more likely over GTD, although “nothing concrete” has emerged so far.
***Sean Creech’s Ligier JS P320 Nissan tested at Watkins Glen in early June, but the three-day session was abandoned midway through the final day because of smoke from the Canadian wildfires impacting visibility.
***The No. 93 Racers Edge Motorsports with WTR Andretti Acura NSX GT3 Evo22 of Ashton Harrison, Kyle Marcelli and Danny Formal is the same chassis the team used in last weekend’s GTWC America at Virginia International Raceway. Harrison told Sportscar365 that the team worked on Monday at VIR to prep the car into IMSA specificiation.
***Racers Edge plans to build up a brand-new Acura chassis next month, to replace the car damaged in Harrison’s accident in qualifying at Long Beach. The team has yet to confirm any other potential WeatherTech Championship sprint race outings beyond Petit Le Mans.
***The Chevrolet Corvette Z06.R GT3, which will be on the WeatherTech Championship GTD Pro grid with Corvette Racing by Pratt Miller Motorsports next year, is undergoing final homologation testing in Europe according to Corvette Z06 GT3.R program manager Christie Bagne, who confirmed the existence of two test chassis.
***Bagne told Sportscar365: “Chassis 1 has primarily been involved in the track testing so far but we do have two fully operational chassis at this time and one of them is undergoing the engine dyno test [in Europe]. It’s over at Sauber for the wind tunnel testing as well.”
***Corvette Racing program manager Marc Maurini said that 5,500 miles have been completed in testing so far, at tracks including Daytona International Speedway, Sebring International Raceway, Mid-Ohio and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, with two additional track tests, in the U.S., planned within the next 30 days.
***A total of eight Z06 GT3.Rs will be racing next year, with two GTD customers in the WeatherTech Championship joining the factory-supported GTD Pro effort, two in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s LMGT3 category and two in GTWC America.
***United Autosports team co-owner and managing director Richard Dean is in the paddock this weekend, working on the Anglo-American squad’s recently confirmed full-season LMP2 plans for next year. Dean told Sportscar365 that he’s been in discussions with drivers and have advanced in firming up other elements of the two-car effort.
***Proton Competition’s first Porsche 963 is due to undergo a shakedown at the manufacturer’s Weissach test track on Tuesday according to team principal Christian Ried. It will then be worked on during the week, before being handed over to the team and departing next Sunday for the WEC round at Monza.
***The timing of the rollout is slightly later than Ried’s initial projection of the week after Le Mans and means that Proton won’t get any further testing done between the car’s handover and its debut. The timing of Proton’s second Porsche handover will dictate whether it takes the first chassis to the IMSA event at Road America in August.
***Michelin, the official tire of IMSA, is set to test a new tire for the GTD class on Monday and Tuesday at Watkins Glen with selected teams. A Michelin spokesperson explained to Sportscar365 they will continue to develop “new solutions aimed at delivering performance over a longer duration” with its goal of ultimately leading to a “reduction in resources.”
***The Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen will mark the final race for track president Michael Printup, who will be retiring following this weekend’s event. A new track president has yet to be named.
***Watkins Glen International and Sahlen Packing Company will continue their long-standing relationship in a multi-year extension, the track announced on Friday, bringing the partnership to 25 years. Sahlen’s will continue to be the entitlement sponsor for the Six Hours of The Glen as well as the Sahlen’s 120 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race.
Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report