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Daytona Sunday Notebook

John Dagys’ Sunday notebook from Roar Before 24…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

***While DragonSpeed ended the Roar with the quickest time, it was the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P that was quickest in the speed traps, with Jonathan Bomarito clocked at 197.1 mph in Session 6. It was some 2.8 mph quicker than the next-quickest prototype entry, the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Ligier JS P217 Gibson.

***The quickest Cadillac DPi-V.R in the speed traps was the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing entry, at 191.5 mph. The Cadillacs were hampered by a 30mm gurney, among other aero adjustments that limited their top speed. It’s understood IMSA has been forced to restrict the top speeds to under 200 mph for insurance reasons.

***A number of teams are set for additional private testing before the race, including Tequila Patron ESM, which has a single-day test set for Sebring on Monday. Visit Florida Racing team principal Troy Flis told Sportscar365 they also plan to test at a yet-to-be-determined circuit, to continue the development of its Riley Mk. 30 Gibson.

***Rebellion Racing team manager Bart Hayden said they’ve yet to finalize the driver lineup for the Twelve Hours of Sebring but it will likely comprise of three of its four Daytona drivers. A date clash between the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and the Formula E race in Brussels, however, will result in a revised lineup for the third round of the Tequila Patron Endurance Cup.

***Reports have linked Marcel Fassler to one of the seats, likely alongside Jani, with Hayden admitting he could be one of the options. “We’re talking to quite a few folks. Marcel is obviously one of the Rebellion Racing alumni. He’s Swiss and we are a Swiss team. We’d like to try and keep that heritage and that DNA.”

***A decision on whether the team will replace its upgraded Oreca 05 tub with a new 07 monocoque following Daytona has yet to be made. Hayden said the current tub is on loan from an existing team, following an accident in last month’s Dunlop tire test at Sebring. Rebellion expects to take delivery of its two WEC Oreca 07s at the end of next month.

***Hayden said “it’s like old times again” to have Jani back with team after a three-year absence. “Of course since he left us he’s gained a lot of experience working in a factory team. It was quite interesting because there was a goodbye video at the WEC event last year when [Porsche LMP1 team principal] Andreas Seidl was saying goodbye to Mark Webber, and he was saying that when Mark first came in he was comparing everything to Formula 1 and saying how things could be far more improved.

“And I was sort of thinking maybe I’m going to experience that when Neel comes back too! ‘At Porsche, we did this, at Porsche we did that.’ But so far it’s not really come up, but it’s going to happen, I’m sure!”

***Spencer Pumpelly turned laps in the No. 28 Alegra Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R on Sunday, in the hopes of securing a seat for the Rolex 24, in what would be his 18th appearance in the race. “It was fun to get back out there and this is a great group of guys,” he told Sportscar365. “I don’t know if there’s going to be an opportunity for the 24 or not [with Alegra], but if it’s available, I’d love to do it.”

***Another driver currently without a Rolex 24 drive, Dion von Moltke, got behind the wheel of the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 in the closing stages of the final test session. It’s understood von Moltke could be placed into action as a reserve driver for the team, alongside Bryan Sellers, Madison Snow, Bryce Miller and Andrea Caldarelli.

***TRG team principal Kevin Buckler told Sportscar365 that he expects to finalize their season-long co-driver in the No. 991 Porsche 911 GT3 R alongside Wolf Henzler in the next few weeks. Jan Heylen, Derek DeBoer, Santiago Creel and Pablo Sánchez are set to join the Porsche factory driver for Daytona.

***3GT Racing debuted its No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3 at the Roar, with the team’s No. 14 car having recently gone through chassis updates per FIA homologation, according to team owner Paul Gentilozzi. Gentilozzi also confirmed that Ian James (No. 14) and Austin Cindric (No. 15) will complete the team’s full-season lineup for Sebring and Petit Le Mans as well, in addition to Daytona. A two-driver lineup will be utilized for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen.

***Acura has received multiple inquiries from customers interested in running the NSX GT3 next year, although HPD Race Team Leader Allen Miller told Sportscar365 they’ve yet to officially commit to a timeline for customer car sales. Michael Shank Racing will exclusively run the cars in the WeatherTech Championship in 2017, in a planned one-year factory effort.

***Miller said the first seven NSX GT3 chassis are being built by JAS Motorsport in Italy, with details on the production location of additional cars still to be determined. He, however, expressed the desire to eventually assemble the race cars in the U.S., as is the case for the road-going NSX, which is manufactured in Marysville, Ohio.

***Nissan Global Motorsport Director Michael Carcamo was among the Nissan NISMO staff on-site to support ESM’s Nissan Onroak DPi this weekend. Carcamo told Sportscar365 the remainder of its global motorsports program will be announced next month. He declined to comment on a likely withdrawal from Pirelli World Challenge.

***Riley Motorsports Team AMG driver Ben Keating’s planned motorsports-themed cruise has changed guises. Originally planned in partnership with Richard Rawlings’ Gas Monkey Garage brand and billed as Cruisin’ with the Monkey, the seven-day Caribbean cruise has now been renamed to ‘Cruisin with the Racers.’

“As we started visiting with people in the motorsports community, we felt that we may be benefited by making it more of a motorsports cruise,” Keating told Sportscar365. “We felt like it would be a smart thing to do to change directions and I’m excited about being able to provide something for the fans.”

Rooms are still available, with a portion of the proceeds to benefit IMSA-affiliated charities.

Ryan Myrehn contributed to this report

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

51 Comments

51 Comments

  1. seth

    January 8, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    insurance companies shutdown 200+ MPH at the 24

  2. STR

    January 8, 2017 at 5:44 pm

    I’m trying to remain calm – can someone explain this insurance enforced speed limit on a super speedway?

    • Biff Badger

      January 8, 2017 at 6:01 pm

      I believe if you go faster than 200 they do not insure the fans in the seats or infield. The ticket may say one thing but it carries no weight. The sanctioning body could be held responsible.

      • Helmuth

        January 9, 2017 at 12:54 am

        What is the difference between 198mph and 200mph ?

        • MB

          January 9, 2017 at 10:18 am

          semantics.

        • Derek

          January 9, 2017 at 1:43 pm

          2mph

  3. Amlv20

    January 8, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    Over the years,including recently in the last 6 or so years NASCAR races have had air born crashes breach the catch fences sending debris and parts of cars into the stands injuring and killing people.we all know from Le Mans what these types of cars like to do when the get the slightest bit of lift,add in the banking into the equation the fin won’t be enough to keep these cars on the ground. Not much different than the Nurburgring banning gt3 cars then allowing them back in with speed limits at flugplatz and other locations around the track after Nissans gt3 tragically went over the catch fence….

  4. Pierce

    January 8, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    Sounds like someone’s car isn’t capable of withstanding a crash at 200mph

    • Amlv20

      January 8, 2017 at 6:31 pm

      It’s not about the cars withstanding a crash or not,it’s the unprotected people out in the open that will not withstand a car crashing straight towards them at any mph!! Will your insurance cover you in a crash when you where driving 150moh and killed someone???

    • someone

      January 9, 2017 at 2:01 am

      Cars withstand it just fine, people on the other hand don’t handle carbon shrapnel and tires coming threw a fence very well at that speed.

  5. Félix

    January 8, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    They’ll be over 200 easily at Le Mans, especially if they stop tuning down the engine’s revs. It’s just that ‘Murican national sport of suing anyone and anything that’s making the suits nervous.

    • Joe

      January 8, 2017 at 6:34 pm

      uh…that’s not just a ‘Murican thing buddy…but by all means…continue to spread stereotypes.

      • Jack

        January 8, 2017 at 9:35 pm

        It’s what america is know for, lawsuits… lawsuits, fast food and commercial breaks.

        • Joe

          January 9, 2017 at 9:45 am

          Because of a stereotype Jack. That’s my point. American notoriety stems from the public view of trials (McDonald’s hot coffee, tobacco settlement, etc.), not from being all that different from any other country. That’s my point. Australia has about the same number of lawyers per capita as the US. The UK has about the same number of suits per capita as the US. Neither has the reputation, and stereotypes stemming from big media covered cases are why.

        • Andy Flinn

          January 9, 2017 at 4:17 pm

          Jack, everyone hates lawyers – until you need one.

          If it happened to you, I guarantee you’d be singing a different tune.

    • bakkster

      January 8, 2017 at 6:54 pm

      The other difference is that at Daytona they hit top speed a couple dozen feet from spectator grandstands on the outside of the corner; while at Le Mans spectators are further away, more spread out, and mostly on the straights. Definitely more potential for fan injury at Daytona (which we’ve seen several times in recent years).

    • Andy Flinn

      January 9, 2017 at 4:16 pm

      Felix, I’m not sure how it is at Le Mans or other races overseas, but most “‘Muricans” don’t have a death wish, and they certainly don’t expect to be maimed or killed just attending an auto race.

      • Matt

        January 10, 2017 at 8:59 am

        I think it would be a pretty good way to go

  6. Not Nick

    January 8, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    200 or not, they’re still going really fast!

  7. Mike S.

    January 8, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    Uh its the dreaded L word. We live in a litigious world and speed even in racing kills. Don’t like it but yeah its not just the drivers. Its the fans and workers too.

  8. Larry

    January 8, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    It’s amazing they got that fast. It was windy, cold, and rainy yesterday and really cold and really windy today.

    Working Turn 5, I could not get warm whatsoever and there was a good 15 knot wind blowing all day with some gusts probably up to 30.

  9. STR

    January 8, 2017 at 9:09 pm

    So it’s not as though the grandstands are going to fill up at the 24. Couldn’t they just restrict access to the first section of seats near the fences? Just my opinion but speed limits on racetracks is ridiculous. As a fan I assume the risk that I could be killed while spectating.

    • Jack

      January 8, 2017 at 9:36 pm

      You assume the risk, other people do not.

      • STR

        January 8, 2017 at 9:55 pm

        Well I wish more people would accept the responsibility then. I want to pay to see the cars run all out. That doesn’t mean I don’t believe in safety, but it’s an inherently dangerous sport.

        • Thomas

          January 8, 2017 at 9:58 pm

          Unfortunately the USA and much of the rest of the west has established a culture where someone is at fault for EVERYTHING. Personal responsibility and true liberty go hand in hand. Alas we have neither

        • Andy Flinn

          January 9, 2017 at 4:25 pm

          How many of you people even attend the Rolex 24?

          Yeah, it’s really dangerous watching the race at home. You might dozwe off and fall out of your La-Z-boy.

    • GTurner38

      January 9, 2017 at 6:23 pm

      When you consider that someone was struck by debris at thee St Pete Indycar race while standing behind a grandstand, you would have to close an awful lot to make sure debris couldn’t get there. The reality is that series having been looking at top speeds and slowing cars for years, whether it’s restrictor plate racing in NASCAR, making F1 engines smaller, or limiting power for LMP1 at Le Mans.

      • Brian

        January 10, 2017 at 4:43 am

        F1 has hit a top speed of over 231mph this year.

  10. Brian Lubinski

    January 8, 2017 at 10:22 pm

    So flying debris at 197 mph is OK but 203 mph is not. Are there monitors, sensors and or speed detection to determine the offending debris speed for insurance coverage?

  11. Nick1

    January 8, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    Question-Was Mike Hedlund only testing with TRG at the Roar or is he actually driving at the 24?

    • Mike Hedlund

      January 9, 2017 at 10:28 am

      I’m signed to do the 24 in the TRG car with my old co-drivers and friends Wolf (2016 ELMS season) and Jan (2013 ALMS GTC season).

      See you at the race Nick? Bring your mittens!!!!

      -mike

      • Burned Before

        January 9, 2017 at 2:42 pm

        So, you’ll run the 24, be disappointed in your result and then sue TRG to get your entry fee back? I hope Kevin Buckler has an attorney on retainer.

        • Mike Hedlund

          January 10, 2017 at 8:28 pm

          Why so anonymous?

          -mike

          • someone

            January 25, 2017 at 7:23 pm

            Because you’re a litigious jerk off? Maybe?

      • Andy Flinn

        January 9, 2017 at 4:26 pm

        Best wishes, Mike. we’ll be following your progress from the infield.

        • Mike Hedlund

          January 10, 2017 at 8:29 pm

          Thanks Andy, stop by and say Hi if you have time!

  12. Evan

    January 9, 2017 at 12:57 am

    So, we’ll never see 200mph in a prototype again at Daytona!? What were the trap speeds in the Group C/GTP days? I’m guessing quite a bit over 200. 215-220ish on banking and backstretch?
    Shit, just make the Daytona 24 a GT race then!

  13. quattro

    January 9, 2017 at 5:29 am

    IMSA applying a restrictor plate-like moves to the prototypes…

  14. jeff

    January 9, 2017 at 6:15 am

    I understand there was an issue during the Ferrari challenge race at Daytona in nov. where car pieces were thrown at some campers in Turn 5, speedway has since parked 2 semi trailers along the fence (by the lights generator) and not allowing parking there.

  15. Matra-simca

    January 9, 2017 at 8:40 am

    Maybe they need to find another insurance company; perhaps the one used at the Indy 500, where average lap speed is 220mph for nearly all the cars!

  16. MB

    January 9, 2017 at 10:26 am

    People really got bent out of shape on the Insurance thing…. sheesh.

    It all comes down to what is defensible in court, the easiest way to be sure you are operating with a solid basis for defense is to operate to an “industry standard”. 200mph evidently has a legal precedence somewhere already established as industry standard.

    If you don’t like rules like this, the help change the litigious culture of America.

  17. Dr. Jack Miller

    January 9, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    Cruisin with the Racers. Hahahaha. The people behind Gas Monkey are real d-bags.

  18. Dr. Jack Miller

    January 9, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    I feel bad that Mr. Keating and Riley became involved with those clowns.

  19. Racefanjax

    January 9, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    Interesting that the 200 MPH thing is coming up now at Daytona. The sports cars reach their highest terminal velocity on the front stretch vs. the backstretch. Remember that in the past number of years, there have been stock car breaches into the crowd (remember Larson’s engine ending up in the fence?) but no sports car issues. The ironic thing is that the new Daytona Rising upgrade has the grandstands much higher than they used to be with better control down by the fence anyway. No doubt in the name of safety, probably needed based on past history. I remember standing by start finish around midnight watching the DP cars come flying by there and thinking to myself what would happen if one blew a tire there. Having said that, 200 MPH is just a number they picked out of thin air. Makes no sense, 198 is plenty fast enough to wreak havoc. I’m sure it won’t matter to the plaintiff’s lawyer whether the car was over or under 200. Years ago, the Japanese motorcycle manufacturer’s had a gentlemen’s agreement to limit their street super bikes to 300 kph (186 mph), mainly for insurance reasons….and to keep the gummit from coming in and limiting HP.

  20. GTurner38

    January 9, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    The funny thing about the response to the speed trap issue is that most fans, including those reading this article, wouldn’t know what speed they were running had it not been posted in the article itself and probably have no idea what the old prototypes were doing. Now that they are upfront with the act that they could have gone quicker, it gets people upset.

  21. George Moran

    January 9, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    Safety or not none of it matters if racing is not first and foremost a spectacle and watching a car go around neutered by a plate or bouncing off a rev limiter isn’t a spectacle. 150 mph would be safer yet but who would care to see it?

  22. J

    January 11, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    So, lets get Spencer Pumpelly in a meeting with Kevin Buckler and solve two problems. Driver needs ride. Wolf Henzler needs teammate. One has experience driving Porsches. One has experience fielding Porsches. Seems like a good fit from here.

    Tidbit #2. A likely Nissan withdrawal from Pirelli World Challenge? What? Why? Those beasts are great, and unless they plan on racing in IMSA, I don’t get that.

    • Olly

      January 13, 2017 at 10:21 am

      Driver ratings man, you can’t have two gold or platinums in one GTD car full season.

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