***Former Rolex 24 class winners and racing champions gathered for the annual Champions Photo in victory lane at Daytona International Speedway this afternoon (pictured above).
***Michael Christensen has been a late addition to both of the GT Le Mans class Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSRs as a fourth driver. The Dane turned laps in both the Nos. 911 and 912 entries during this morning’s final practice, but is not expected to drive in the race unless needed.
***The No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia is a new chassis after its accident at the Roar Before the Rolex 24. The No. 51 car for Saturday’s 53rd Rolex 24 at Daytona was not shaken down until Thursday’s opening practice session and will roll off second on the grid in GTLM.
***Krohn Racing does not have plans to compete in the entire four-round Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup, as the Texas-based squad only confirmed for Daytona and the Twelve Hours of Sebring in addition to its full-season European Le Mans Series program and 24 Hours of Le Mans entry request. Team manager Gary Holland told Sportscar365 they could take their Ligier JS P2 Judd back Stateside for COTA and Petit Le Mans but no decision has been made.
***Onroak engineer Gautier Boutellier is serving as race engineer for Krohn’s No. 57 Ligier-Judd this weekend. Holland said Boutellier, who engineered OAK Racing Team Asia’s effort at Le Mans last year, will likely continue with the team through Sebring. Krohn, meanwhile, has yet to announce its third driver for the ELMS season.
***The Corvette C7.R appears likely to race outside of the TUDOR Championship and 24 Hours of Le Mans this year, as it’s understood Larbre Competition is finalizing a FIA World Endurance Championship program with a customer C7.R.
***While Wayne Taylor Racing has still yet to make a decision on his Le Mans invite, Bill Sweedler confirmed to Sportscar365 that all systems are go for Scuderia Corsa’s Ferrari F458 Italia effort in GTE-Am. Sweedler and Townsend Bell will be joined by a to-be-announced third American driver. However, the car may not be run by AF Corse as originally understood. “Giacomo [Mattioli, team principal] clearly wants some of key team members as part of the team,” Sweedler said.
***The FIA released this week an updated driver ratings list, including some notable changes. Jonathan Summerton, Tonis Kasemets and Bruce Jouanny have been reclassified from Gold to Silver rating, while Christian Fittipaldi and Max Papis have been classified as Platinums.
***Of note, Rolex 24 pole-sitter Ozz Negri has a Silver driver rating for 2015. Sports car ace Negri, who recently turned 50, is technically eligible to compete as the “amateur” driver in a lineup for teams competing in the Pro-Am enforced categories in the TUDOR Championship or other sports car series.
***While having been launched this week, there are currently no plans for the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 to race in North America this year. “In the future, the car will definitely come to North America and given the extension of the contract with Super Trofeo and IMSA and the fact that we’re in this paddock, the natural assumption would be that we could expect to see a GT3 in that paddock in the not-too-distant future,” Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America Series Director Chris Ward told Sportscar365.
***Longtime Muscle Milk Pickett Racing team manager/engineer Brandon Fry has joined Nissan’s LMP1 effort as one of three race engineers for the GT-R LM NISMO. Fry joins veteran Ricardo Divila on the team’s engineering staff. The car will be officially unveiled during the Super Bowl on Feb. 1.
***A number of TUDOR Championship teams are racing on Motegi Racing Wheels this weekend, including SpeedSource (Mazda SKYACTIV-D), AF Corse (Ferrari), Scuderia Corsa (Ferrari) and Riley Motorsports (Dodge Viper). The company has expanded its reach for 2015 in becoming the exclusive wheel provider for LMP3.
***The final Motorsports Hall of Fame of America class to be inducted in Detroit was announced on Friday. The class includes Ricky Carmichael, Walker Evans, Warren Johnson, Tommy Kendall, Mark Martin, Duke Nalon and Lloyd Ruby; Carmichael and Kendall were on site.
***Rolex has announced a partnership extension with Daytona International Speedway as race title sponsor and track official timepiece. The expanded partnership will also see Rolex provided naming rights for the new frontstretch lounge and suite level associated with the Daytona Rising redevelopment.
***IMSA has announced the Audi R8 V10 Plus will be the official safety car for the race, and additionally the manufacturer has renewed its official automotive partnership with IMSA.
***Ingersoll Rand has been announced as the new “Official Power Tools of IMSA,” in a multi-year partnership.
Tony DiZinno contributed to this report