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Pilot Challenge Daytona Notebook

Ryan Myrehn’s Michelin Pilot Challenge notebook from the Roar Before the 24…

Photo: John Dagys

***IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge teams were the first to take possession of the new-for-2019 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport which was unveiled Thursday at Daytona International Speedway. Seven teams took delivery of their new cars immediately following the reveal: BGB Motorsports, RS1, VOLT Racing, TRG, nolasport, AWA, and Bodymotion Racing.

***The Porsche teams were allowed a short amount of time with the cars prior to officially taking possession to install radios and the driver ID system and wrap the cars in team colors, but Friday’s first test session was the first opportunity for any on-track running.

***TRG team owner Kevin Buckler was not surprised by how well sorted the new car has been early in the testing process, citing two decades of experience running Porsche products. “I’ve got through this with Porsche so many times before with a new car and they always come with a better product,” he told Sportscar365.

***Buckler indicated the biggest gains had come in the new Cayman’s aerodynamics and the boost of 40 horsepower that the new model has over its predecessor.

***VOLT Racing has made the switch to the Cayman GT4 after competing with a Ford Mustang GT4 last year and is now being operated by Park Place Motorsports.

***Team principal Patrick Lindsey said the expansion of his team into Pilot Challenge is a big step. “For our program, it’s big to have another extension, and especially to team up with the VOLT Racing guys, they’re kind of a program in and of itself,” he told Sportscar365. “I couldn’t be happier.”

***VOLT has elected to enter both of its Cayman GT4s to increase track time for drivers Alan Brynjolfsson and Trent Hindman but will have a single entry for the opening round of the championship later this month. Nolasport is employing the same strategy.

***Bodymotion was forced to pack up and leave the test early after a crash in the Saturday morning Pilot Challenge session.

***It’s understood that Multimatic Motorsports will not be a full-time competitor this year but will have entries at selected events. Ford’s NASCAR development drivers are again expected to be a part of the driving lineup, and the partial schedule is believed to include venues such as Road America and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park that appear on the NASCAR schedule.

***Another Mustang GT4 campaigned by PF Racing, not present at the Roar test, is expected for the season opener at Daytona.

***Multimatic conducted a durability test for the car at Sebring in December, running alongside the Team Joest DPi and Ford GT programs which share a Multimatic connection, according to Mustang GT4 technical director Jay O’Connell.

***O’Connell is expected to assist with Multimatic’s recently announced two-car British GT operation. Billy Johnson, Scott Maxwell and Seb Priaulx have so far been confirmed as drivers for the effort, which will mark the first full-season European program for the car.

***KohR Motorsports has confirmed one full-time Mustang GT4 for Nate Stacy and Kyle Marcelli, while a second car, driven at Daytona by Kenny Wilden, Rod Randall, and DJ Randall, is locked in for at least the first half of the season.

***Team principal Dean Martin told Sportscar365 that a third Mustang GT4 is possible at selected rounds.

***BGB Motorsports has confirmed a driver pairing of Thomas Collingwood and team owner John Tecce in their No. 11 Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR with sponsorship from Loop Tackle Design for the season.

***Mikey Taylor is expected to join Stephen Simpson and Michael Johnson in JDC-Miller Motorsports’ Audi RS3 LMS TCR car for the four-hour races at Daytona and Watkins Glen.

***After opening up the question to fan input, HART has named its new Honda Civic TCR chassis ‘Scarlett.’

***The LA Honda World Racing team, which is run by the same LAP organization that campaigned the ST class Minis in recent years, has found the transition to the TCR class to be smooth one.

***Team owner Luis Perocarpi had high praise for the Civic, saying it was an “IndyCar suspension on a Civic chassis.”

***Perocarpi added that LAP’s experience in the open wheel world assisting Dale Coyne Racing’s Honda-powered IndyCar Series team in recent seasons has helped develop a relationship with the Japanese automaker, which has aided in the switch to Honda’s TCR platform.

***Not on site at Daytona is Bryan Hera Autosport, which will campaign a pair of Hyundai Veloster N TCRs. Unlike in the WeatherTech Championship, Pilot Challenge teams are not required to test at the Roar in order to take part in the race. Driver lineups are expected to be announced soon.

***At least one additional TCR entry is likely to materialize prior to the season opener.

John Dagys contributed to this report

Ryan Myrehn is an Indianapolis-based journalist and sportscaster, covering IMSA and Pirelli World Challenge. Myrehn, a graduate of DePauw University, is also the host of Sportscar365's “Double Stint” Podcast.

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