***Saturday’s Oak Tree Grand Prix is being run without the iconic track landmark. The giant tree, measuring five-feet nine inches in diameter, fell down in a storm in July. Track staff have saved the remains of the 200-plus year-old oak tree, which will be used for souvenirs.
***Track officials announced Saturday circuit renovations for 2014, which includes a complete repave of the 3.27-mile circuit and the widening in select areas. The entire paddock will also be paved, along with the start/finish line being relocated to a more fan-friendly location.
***Extreme Speed Motorsports has had a challenging weekend thus far, particularly with its P2 championship-contending No. 01 HPD ARX-03b of Scott Sharp and Anthony Lazzaro, which lost out on Thursday’s test session due to shifting issues. The team installed a new engine and gearbox, only for Sharp to suffer an accident in qualifying.
***RSR Racing will miss its first ALMS race in four years after being forced to withdraw its PC class Oreca FLM09 this weekend due to not having a suitable co-driver for Bruno Junqueira. Team boss Paul Gentilozzi says the car will return for Petit Le Mans with Junquiera, Duncan Ende and a to-be-announced third driver.
***Speaking of Petit Le Mans, Porsche factory driver Romain Dumas will rejoin Muscle Milk Pickett Racing for the final P1 race later this month, while David Brabham is set to again drive for Extreme Speed Motorsports in its No. 01 HPD ARX-03b.
***Team Falken Tire will complete the season with their 2010-spec Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, which is carrying various aero bits from last year’s wide-body car. Wolf Henzler qualified the car in a distant 10th in class, more than 1.5 seconds behind the pole-sitting BMW of Maxime Martin.
***John Hindhaugh, the “Voice of the ALMS” will be making his final call for the series during tomorrow’s ESPN broadcast. Hindhaugh will be missing Petit Le Mans due to his commitments with the FIA WEC, which will be at Fuji that same weekend.
***Look for 8Star Motorsports to debut its new Oreca FLM09 at Petit Le Mans, which also should see the ALMS debut of IMSA Prototype Lites standout Sean Rayhall.