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COTA Pre-Race Notebook

Ryan Myrehn’s pre-race notebook for COTA…

Photo: IMSA

Photo: IMSA

***Eric Curran set the pace in warmup for this afternoon’s Advance Auto Parts Sportscar Showdown at Circuit of the Americas, turning in a fast lap of 1:57.067 in the No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R. Jordan Taylor was second in the pole-sitting Cadillac for Wayne Taylor Racing 0.666 seconds back, with Marc Goossens an impressive third in the VisitFlorida Riley Mk. 30 Gibson.

***Joey Hand put the No. 66 Ford GT for Ford Chip Ganassi Racing at the top of the GT Le Mans charts, while Alessandro Balzan’s Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 led in GT Daytona and Pato O’Ward set the pace in Prototype Challenge for Performance Tech.

***The lone incident of note in the session came when the No. 70 Mazda came to an abrupt halt on the back stretch after suffering an apparent suspension failure with Joel Mill behind the wheel. The session was red flagged with under one minute remaining, bringing an end to the session.

***The SpeedSource-run team went to work following the session to determine the root cause of the failure, but the car is expected to be ready for this afternoon’s race.

***An impressive second-place qualifying effort for Jack Hawksworth in the No. 15 3GT Racing Lexus RC F GT3 will go for naught after the car was found to be out of compliance with IMSA’s ground clearance regulations. Per series rules, the car will start at the back of the GTD grid.

***Ricky Taylor’s dominance in qualifying, which saw a 1.592-second gap from first to second in the Prototype grid, somewhat obscured a tight battle behind the WTR car. Positions two through seven were covered by less than 1 second in Prototype qualifying, including cars from Cadillac, Nissan, Ligier, and Mazda.

***BMW Team RLL’s John Edwards locked down his 11th career pole on Friday, but his first since 2014. Edwards conceded that he was a bit surprised to have the car starting at the front of the grid today. “I have to say it was a little bit of surprise,” said Edwards. “I expected people to keep getting quicker, but they didn’t so we waited it out and I stayed on top.”

***Mathieu Jaminet has impressed in his series debut this weekend, snaring the pole in the highly competitive GTD class for Alegra Motorsports. While he admitted he has much to learn, Jaminet said a few familiar elements have helped to ease the transition.

“I didn’t know the team, my teammate, or how racing in the U.S. and IMSA would be,” said Jaminet. “[But] I’ve raced this car in Europe, so not everything is new. I came here last year with Porsche Supercup during the F1 weekend and won both pole positions and both wins as a rookie in the series, so I knew I would be very comfortable with this track here.”

***Kenny Habul’s qualifying run in the No. 75 SunEnergy1 Mercedes-AMG GT3 was made more challenging when his radio came out of its mount and ended up in the footwell. “The radio fell down early in the session and fell into my lap,” the Australian said. “From my lap it bounced in front of the pedals so I couldn’t get to the brake. I was trying to get it out with my foot and I had to brake with my heel and the thing got jammed down there in the end and it kind of put me off a little bit.”

***Habul will start the car from the 10th in GTD, then turn it over to Tristan Vautier who has consistently been at or near the top of the GTD standings all weekend.

***Performance Tech Motorsport standout Pato O’Ward has been the class of the Prototype Challenge class so far this weekend, and is hoping for a race win on the same day he celebrates his 18th birthday. The Monterrey, Mexico native attends high school in San Antonio, making the COTA weekend something of a homecoming for the young standout.

***Check out Andy Blackmore’s spotter guide for this weekend’s Advance Auto Parts Sportscar Showdown with updated liveries and driver lineups for all of the IMSA series that are competing this weekend here.

***Saturday’s Advance Auto Parts Sportscar Showdown is scheduled to start at 2:45 p.m. ET, with same day delay coverage on FS1 beginning at 7 p.m. ET. The two-hour Continental Tire Challenge race is scheduled for Friday at 3:45 p.m. ET with coverage available at www.IMSA.tv with commentary from IMSA Radio.

Ryan Myrehn is an Indianapolis-based broadcaster and reporter. In addition to his work covering primarily domestic sports car racing for Sportscar365, he is a pit reporter for SRO America's TV coverage as well as for IndyCar Radio. Myrehn, a graduate of DePauw University, is also the host of Sportscar365's “Double Stint” Podcast.

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