***A pit lane fire at the end of Practice 2 for the No. 3 Corvette C7.R has been traced back to a small fuel leak. According to the team, “A small leak at a fuel line connection in the No. 3 Corvette resulted in a brief fire that quickly was extinguished.” The team expects to return for Practice 3 tomorrow.
***This is the third fuel-leak related fire for the Corvette team this year, following a massive conflagration that caused serious damage to the No. 4 entry at the Roar Before the 24 and a second, smaller fire for the No. 3 car at Sebring.
***Corvette has yet to formally announce its driver lineups for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but it is believed that Marcel Fassler will be in the No. 64 car with Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner, while Jordan Taylor will be moving back to the No. 63 entry with Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen. The team has a pre-Le Mans test at Road America scheduled later this month where it will sample Michelin’s 2017-spec WEC tire ahead of the French 24-hour classic.
***Both Visit Florida Racing and Action Express Racing had significant work on their hands following heavy accidents at Long Beach. The No. 90 Riley Mk. 30 Gibson was forced to miss the race at Long Beach after a practice shunt, and team principal Troy Flis told Sportscar365 it took the team a week and a half of hard work to prepare the spare tub to be ready in time for COTA.
***Action Express team manager Gary Nelson told Sportscar365 that the Dallara-built tub of the No. 31 Cadillac DPi-V.R was repairable after their crash at Long Beach, but said the team opted to go to the spare chassis that it already had in-house for this weekend, while the damaged tub was sent to Italy to be put in back in the original mold.
***Nelson added that he was pleased at how well the car stood up to the heavy impact. “I was pleasantly surprised. I’d heard all of these stories about when you hit the wall, you scrap out a $110,000 tub. I was worried, but when they told me it could be saved, I thought, ‘We’re good then!’”
***Both teams turned their first laps with their new chassis in Practice 1 this weekend after weather scuttled VisitFlorida’s planned test earlier in the week at Road Atlanta.
***Despite being on the entry list for this weekend at Circuit of The Americas, the No. 8 Starworks Prototype Challenge entry failed to materialize. Its absence means this weekend marks the first race in the post-merger era of the championship that a Starworks-entered Prototype Challenge car will not be on the grid.
***According to a TRG spokesperson, the team’s driving duo of Parker Chase (16) and Harry Gottsacker (17) is the youngest driver pairing in the history of the unified championship. Both drivers participated in the British GT Championship round at Rockingham last weekend in sister Ginetta G55 GT3 entries for Century Motorsport.
***This is a homecoming for Chase, who hails from nearby New Braunfels, Tex. and expects to have a strong amount of support at the track. “[COTA is] only 45 minutes from my house so it will be cool to have my whole family and friends there,” Chase told Sportscar365 last weekend in Rockingham. “It’s my IMSA debut and my first time driving the 911 GT3 R so it should be interesting.”
***The only red flag during either WeatherTech Championship Practice on Thursday came when the stewards deemed too many cars had been exceeding track limits in Practice 1. They opted to park the entire field and issued instructions to all of the competitors via radio before allowing the practice to resume.
***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.
John Dagys and Jake Kilshaw contributed to this report.