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CTMP Saturday Notebook

John Dagys’ Saturday notebook from Canadian Tire Motorsport Park…

Photo: Brian Cleary/

***As has been the case in most IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races so far this year, track qualifying records were again broken, with Colin Braun improving on his previous lap record, achieved last year in CORE autosport’s Oreca 07 Gibson, by 0.863 seconds.

***Saturday’s pole was Braun’s fourth at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and the first for the Nissan DPi since Pipo Derani’s pole-winning run at Motul Petit Le Mans last year.

***The No. 54 Nissan DPi, however, will start from the rear of the DPi field on Sunday following a decision to switch starting drivers to team owner/driver Jon Bennett, as well as changing tires. Braun said in the post-qualifying press conference that he would be “surprised” if he were to start the race.

***The team had utilized the same strategy throughout the 2018 season that delivered three overall poles to Braun in the summer months.

***Click Here for the provisional starting grid, which will now see the No. 7 Team Penske Acura ARX-05 of Helio Castroneves lead the field to the green at 1 p.m. EDT (Live, CNBC & IMSA Radio).

***BMW Team RLL claimed its first front-row sweep in the WeatherTech Championship era and the first pole for the team and German manufacturer since Motul Petit Le Mans last year when Jesse Krohn’s co-driver John Edwards, put the No. 24 BMW M8 GTE on class pole.

***All eight GT Le Mans qualifying drivers held provisional pole at one point during the 15-minute qualifying session.

***Krohn said their strategy was to complete minimal laps in qualifying, knowing that tire degradation will likely be high tomorrow. The No. 24 BMW completed only four laps in the session. “In that sense that we did so little laps, we’re going to be on a good way for tomorrow’s race in having fresh tires for the start of the race, have to keep it clean and see where we will end up,” Krohn said.

***It has emerged that it was the No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac DPi-V.R of Tristan Vautier that made contact with Ryan Hardwick’s No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo that ended up in the Turn 2 wall and out for the remainder of the weekend. Vautier made a visit to the Paul Miller transporter after the incident.

***Park Place Motorsports received a helping hand from fellow Porsche team Pfaff Motorsports, which has lent a spare engine to the team following an incident on Friday that damaged the oil sump on its No. 73 Porsche 911 GT3 R. “Patrick dropped two wheels on the curb in Turn 5 and it broke the bottom. Luckily for us, Pfaff had a motor an hour away,” Park Place’s director of operations Mike Johnson told Sportcar365.

***It marked the third engine to be installed in the car in the last eight days, following a routine engine change prior to Watkins Glen and an engine-related issue that ended the team’s race last weekend.

***A Porsche spokesperson told Sportscar365 that Park Place’s engine from Watkins Glen is being sent back for a full review, with the initial suspicion of it being an electronics-related issue.

***Tommy Milner is on-site this weekend to support Corvette Racing. Sporting a hand brace from his injury at Watkins Glen, Milner will miss his first race since joining the Pratt & Miller-run squad in 2011.

***Christina Nielsen is expected to return to the No. 57 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo for the next race at Lime Rock Park later this month. Ana Beatriz has taken the seat alongside Katherine Legge this weekend due to the Dane’s Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia commitments in Fuji this weekend.

***Guy Cosmo and Patrick Byrne are looking to potentially enter the LMP2 class, with Cosmo having had discussions with IMSA over the category’s future on Saturday. The duo came close to putting together a program to run in last weekend’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, although it failed to materialize at the last minute.

***Cosmo told Sportscar365 that they’re currently struggling to find teams willing to run a car in the class despite bringing a “modest” budget to the table. He said options are also being explored in other series for 2019 and beyond.

***Building on PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports team principal Bobby Oergel’s proposal of making the Rolex 24 at Daytona a non-points race for LMP2 cars, Cosmo has suggested that LMP2 should be split between an Endurance Cup and Sprint Cup, similar to the structure GT Daytona, minus a full-season championship.

***Team Penske’s exclusivity contract with the Acura DPi has become unclear, with it now believed to potentially extend through the 2020 WeatherTech Championship season, which coincides with the current length of Penske’s agreement with Acura and HPD. 

***Sportscar365 understands that at least one team had inquired about running a customer Acura DPi for this year but was ultimately denied by the championship-winning open-wheel outfit. 

***Silly season has begun in the GTD paddock, with at least two current teams in potential manufacturer switches for 2020. It comes following what’s believed to be inconsistent customer support from at least one manufacturer. 

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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