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COTA IWSC Pre-Race Notebook

John Dagys’ pre-race notebook for Lone Star Le Mans…

Photo: Brian Cleary/

Photo: Brian Cleary/

***Ozz Negri led the way in warmup, with the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier JS P2 Honda setting a best lap of 2:00.310. James French (Performance Tech), Dirk Mueller (Ford Chip Ganassi Racing) and Lawson Aschenbach (Stevenson Motorsports) led the PC, GTLM and GTD classes, respectively.

***The 20-minute session ended two minutes early when the No. 33 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GT3-R of Jeroen Bleekemolen came a halt on track on the front stretch.

***The Viper will start from the rear of the 39-car starting field due to a tire change, with the No. 60 Michael Shank Ligier Honda to start from the back of the P/PC field after changing its starting driver to Negri. Click Here for the final grid.

***Ryan Briscoe became the 21st different pole-sitter in GT Le Mans in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship history on Friday.

***Honda is unlikely to enter the DPi ranks next year, with the focus primarily on the Acura NSX GT3 development and factory race program. “Our focus is on getting this thing launched,” HPD VP/COO Steve Eriksen told Sportscar365. “That’s the key thing. The NSX is such an exciting vehicle that we want to make sure we get it right.”

***Michael Shank confirmed on Friday that John Pew will not return to the team after a ten-year run. Pew is expected to continue driving, but potentially in a different series.

***The first Ligier JS P217 is scheduled to begin testing in the the end of October. Onroak Automotive’s Ethan Bregman told Sportscar365 that an extensive testing program is planned for Sebring, prior to the IMSA-sanctioned test at Daytona in November. Bregman said he expects multiple cars to be competing in the WeatherTech Championship full-time next year.

***Three Ligier JS P3s have already been sold for competition in the new IMSA Prototype Challenge series next year, with Bregman anticipating a field of six to seven JS P3s for the new-look championship. The JS P3 is currently the only car that’s both homologated and currently in production.

***Be sure to download Andy Blackmore’s official Spotter Guide for today’s race, featuring all 39 entries for today’s race.

***FOX Sports 2 will carry live coverage of the Lone Star Le Mans, beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET. IMSA Radio will provide full coverage, with international viewers able to watch the race feed on and on-board cameras for everyone.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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