IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge teams venture into Watkins Glen for the second extra-distance race of the year Saturday. 38 teams will take to the 3.4-mile road course Saturday afternoon.
There are two new teams debuting in the series this weekend. One is Blackdog Speed Shop, a longtime competitor in what is now SRO America dating back to the early 2000s. Team owner Tony Gaples raced as a privateer in what was then SPEED World Challenge’s GT class for years before moving into GTS competition. More recently, the team has competed in GT4 races with McLarens. The team has entered one of those McLaren 570S GT4s for this weekend with Gaples and Michael Cooper driving. Cooper is a champion at every level of what is now SRO America from the TC classes all the way up to GT3.
The other new team is Capstone Motorsports, which competes in Pirelli GT4 America SprintX competition. Regular teammates Kris Wilson and John Allen will be joined by Gary Ferrara, who has previously driven with Wilson at Automatic Racing.
Orey Fidani is scheduled to be back in the Andrew Wojteczko Autosport McLaren this weekend alongside Kuno Wittmer. Fidani sat out Mid-Ohio because his wife was expecting a baby. Chris Green drove in his place.
At Riley Motorsports, both of the Toyota Supras are running three-driver lineups. Javier Quiros, who has driven in all three races so far, has been dropped out of the car in favor of Felipe Fraga. Meanwhile, the No. 21 entry has Colin Braun joining the fold.
Notlad Racing by RS1 is back with their Aston Martin, but regular driver Matt Dalton is out due to injuries suffered in a terrible crash during the first GT America race at VIR on June 5. Dalton will be replaced by Stevan McAleer, who will drive alongside Patrick Gallagher.
There is only one driver change of note among the 14 entries, and that is at VGMC Racing. Ruben Iglesias is out of the No. 88 Honda this weekend. Karl Wittmer, Kuno’s brother, will race in his place. Karl Wittmer has primarily raced in SRO America competition, but has branched out into GT4 competition over the past couple of years with Precision Driving Tech in a BMW M4 GT4. The Canadian racer will be making his IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge debut.
The Tioga Downs Casino Resort 240 is scheduled to go green at 2:35 p.m. ET Saturday afternoon. The race will be streamed live on NBC Sports’ TrackPass service.
About the author
Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.
Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.
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