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Daytona Friday Notebook

Sportscar365’s Friday notebook on the eve of Rolex 24 at Daytona…

Photo: IMSA

***Trenton Estep has replaced Charles Finelli in the No. 7 Forty7 Motorsports Duqueine D08 Nissan, in a driver change to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship debutant entry in LMP3. The car will start from second on the class grid, thanks to a runner-up finish in last weekend’s qualifying race.

***IMSA has announced that it will conduct pre-race aerodynamic inspections on all DPi cars tomorrow at 12:45 p.m. “Upon completion of inspection, cars will proceed directly to the designated area for pre-grid activities,” a statement from the sanctioning body read.

***It comes amid a clarification made to the Cadillac DPi-V.R’s aero configuration, which now states the mandatory use of  the car’s homologated standard front fender inserts.

***Click Here for the provisional grid for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

***History was made on Friday, with Augusto Farfus turning the first-ever laps in an all-electric race car on the Daytona International Speedway road course (pictured above). The Brazilian was at the wheel of the new Hyundai Veloster N ETCR car, which also made its North American public debut.

***The demonstration was part of IMSA’s evaluation of the platform for a potential new electric race series. “We’re thrilled to be part of this today,” said IMSA President John Doonan. “This is the kind of monumental, historic moments we want to be part of both in the IMSA and NASCAR family.”

***The car was fitted with Michelin tires for the first time due to IMSA’s partnership with the French tire giant, with the bulk of the car development having been on Goodyear rubber, the official tire of Pure ETCR and the FIA WTCR World Touring Car Cup.

***WSC chairman Marcello Lotti was on hand for the achievement as well. Lotti told Sportscar365 that additional manufacturers beyond the four already committed automakers have been in discussions and working group meetings. So far, Hyundai and Alfa Romeo are the only two IMSA automotive partners with car offerings.

***Chip Ganassi revealed that its Cadillac DPi-V.R program is currently a single-year contract and is “not looking that far out” into the future in regards to potential LMDh prospects for the team once the regulations debut in 2023.

***Ganassi said the DPi program, which will see Kevin Magnussen and Renger van der Zande as full-season drivers, has been a little bit of a ”fire drill” of a program so far, with Friday’s running marking its 7th day of running. “We have a little bit to learn still,” he told reporters Friday during a Zoom call.

***Sports car racing rookie Magnussen said that his email inbox has been “full of notes” from his father Jan, a former class winner in the Florida endurance classic. 

“I think he’s had some kind of nightmare about me crashing on the exit of the pit lane because he’s been constantly talking about that,” said Kevin. “He’s told me 50 times how slippery the pit exit is. The first time I drove out of the pits I was scared and nervous. But it wasn’t so bad!”

***Jimmie Johnson, who also set for his first DPi start, said he feels like he’s now “in the window” in terms of speed. The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion’s best lap of the weekend is a 1:35.555, which is 1.4 seconds slower than van der Zande, whose time from Practice 3 has so far set the pace heading into tomorrow’s race.

***Richard Lietz is an Austrian again, following a quick fix by Stand 21 on his driver’s suit, which had the Australian flag next to his name during the Roar weekend.

***The driver lineup for the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19 hasn’t been determined for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring or 24 Hours of Le Mans according to Cooper MacNeil, who confirmed he will be driving alongside a rotation of Mathieu Jaminet and Matt Campbell for the sprint races this year.

***NBC Sports’ will utilize a 14-person on-air crew for its coverage of the Rolex 24, led by Leigh Diffey and Dave Burns in the booth alongside analysts Dale Earnhardt Jr., Townsend Bell, Calvin Fish, Steve Letarte, Kyle Petty, A.J. Allmendinger, Brian Till. Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast, Kevin Lee, Dillon Welch and Parker Kligerman will be reporting from pit road, meanwhile.

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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