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IMSA at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park

This weekend, the IMSA series returns to action north of the border at Ontario’s Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, and it’s set to be an up-and-down weekend in many ways.

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Chevrolet Grand Prix

Sunday’s 160-minute sprint race on the 2,439-mile road course will feature 35 teams, one more than last year. However, the class breakdown is much different.

Last year’s race featured four classes (GTP, LMP3, GTD Pro and GTD). The GTP class will not race this weekend and will be replaced by LMP2 as the main class. LMP3 is no longer in WeatherTech and will only race on the undercard of the IMSA VP Racing SportsCar Challenge this weekend.

The LMP2 class will take center stage with 12 teams, one less than Watkins Glen. DragonSpeed ​​is the only team not participating from Watkins Glen.

With the GTP class not racing this weekend, many of the GTP drivers are free to race. The FIA ​​World Endurance Championship is taking place at Interlagos in Brazil, leaving many of LMP2’s regular drivers out of the race.

Tower Motorsport brought in Renger van der Zande to work alongside John Farano. It’s a return of sorts. Tower Motorsports is more or less a modern version of Starworks Motorsport. Van der Zande raced for the team full-time in 2014.

TDS Racing’s Mikkel Jensen is out of the car due to his commitments at Peugeot TotalEnergies in the Hypercar class. Scott Huffaker, who normally runs the endurance races, will take his place.

AO Racing has chosen Louis Deletraz to drive the ‘Spike’ alongside PJ Hyett. He replaces Paul-Loup Chatin, who races for the factory Signatech Alpine team in Brazil. Deletraz is a household name for the team and won the European Le Mans Series at Imola last weekend in a car jointly run by AO Racing and TF Sport.

Filipe Albuquerque, who normally drives for Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Global, will drive the No. 22 car for United Autosports alongside Dan Goldburg this week. He replaces Paul di Resta, who drives Peugeot in Brazil. Albuquerque will race for the team in the ELMS.

Richard Mille AF Corse has selected Pipo Derani from Action Express Racing to drive the number 88 car alongside Luis Perez Companc. Derani replaces Nicklas Nielsen, who will race for Ferrari AF Corse in Brazil.

Finally, Era Motorsport announced last week that Stuart Wiltshire would make his debut in the series in the number 18 car, replacing Dwight Merriman.

There are nine entries in GTD Pro this weekend, down from the 11 at Watkins Glen. Iron Lynx and Risi Competizione are not participating, having declared their intention to race only in the Michelin Endurance Cup races.

The only driver change here is Mario Farnbacher returning to The Heart of Racing’s No. 23 Aston Martin in place of Alex Riberas, who is in Brazil to drive the team’s WEC entry in the LMGT3 class.

GTD has 14 entries, fewer than the 21 at Watkins Glen. Triarsi Competizione, AF Corse’s No. 21 Ferrari, Magnus Racing, Lone Star Racing, Cetilar Racing, Iron Dames and Wright Motorsports are not entered. Wright Motorsports has entered every GTD race up to this point in the season, but is not entering for the full season.

Spencer Pumpelly returns in the #27 car for The Heart of Racing, replacing Ian James who raced with Riberas in Brazil.

Both drivers are currently TBD for Andretti Motorsports’ No. 43 Porsche, the car shared by Jarett Andretti and Gabby Chaves this year.

The Chevrolet Grand Prix is ​​scheduled to go green at 11:05 a.m. ET on Sunday morning. The race will be broadcast live on USA Network at 11 a.m. ET.

IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Canadian Tire Motorsport Park 120

There will also be 35 teams competing this weekend for the Michelin Pilot Challenge, fewer than the 39 at Watkins Glen but on par with the 35 cars that competed last year.

The Grand Sport class had 23 entries, down from 25 at Watkins Glen. Teams not participating were two from Automatic Racing, Riley’s No. 21 Porsche and Kellymoss, and van der Steur Racing’s No. 82 car.

There are a few other teams that are not racing at Watkins Glen. The aforementioned No. 82 car at Watkins Glen was a joint venture between van der Steur Racing and Ruckus Racing. This weekend, Ruckus Racing returns with its own No. 45 car that raced at Mid-Ohio. Scott Blind will drive alongside Andrew Davis, who will replace JP Southern.

TWOth Autosport, a Canadian team previously associated with VP Racing SportsCar Challenge regular Eddie Killeen, will be competing in the Grand Sport class for the first time this weekend with Justin DiBenedetto and Travis Hill driving a Porsche. The team has previously competed in the TCR class.

Hattori Motorsports returned with a Supra driven by Jack Hawksworth and Parker Thompson. Hawksworth was originally scheduled to race alongside Yuichi Nakayama at Mid-Ohio, but was called up to Le Mans to replace Jose Maria Lopez after Mike Conway was injured, and Lopez was recalled to the No. 7 Hypercar.

Hawksworth and Thompson are the defending champions of the race. They should be tough.

TCR has 12 teams, fewer than the 14 at Watkins Glen. It does not include part-time efforts from Road Shagger Racing, HART and LA Honda World Racing.

Bryan Ortiz has been replaced by Jon Brel in the No. 6 Honda for Montreal Motorsports Group, with Saturday marking the Quebec driver’s first race in the series.

Baker Racing, who competed at Mid-Ohio for the first time, is back with their Audi. Dean and Sam Baker will compete once again.

Driver changes continue at Victor Gonzalez Racing Team (VGRT). Morgan Burkhard has moved from the #80 car to the #99 car he will share with Tyler Gonzalez. Both driver slots in the #80 car are marked TBD.

The Canadian Tire Motorsport Park 120 is scheduled to go green at 1:25 pm ET on Saturday. The race will be streamed live on Peacock at 1:20 pm ET.

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