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Daytona Sunday Notebook
- Updated: January 8, 2017
***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