***Both of the Mazda RT24-Ps ran limited laps on Friday, due to parts delays. The pair of DPis sat out the morning session, with the No. 55 car completing a total of 22 laps in the afternoon and posting the 16th quickest time.
***The No. 77 Mazda, meanwhile, only made it out in the closing moments of the afternoon session to turn two installation laps with Tristan Nunez at the wheel. It marked the car’s first mileage since its complete rebuild from an accident in private testing at Daytona last month.
***BAR1 Motorsports’ Riley Mk. 30 Gibson, the third of the Multimatic-built prototypes, ran without the majority of its Evo updates. Joel Miller managed to get three laps in the car before handing over to Daytona rookie Ryan Cullen.
***As is the case with Joest, the Brian Alder-led BAR1 squad has also been waiting on significant components for its LMP2-spec car.
***Jackie Chan DCR JOTA had a productive opening day in WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition, with its pair of Oreca 07 Gibsons posting the fifth and seventh quickest times overall, in its first running in IMSA configuration, including on Continental Tires.
***The FIA World Endurance Championship squad has yet to confirm a program for the Twelve Hours of Sebring, according to team director Sam Hignett, who told Sportscar365 that it would likely depend on their results at the Rolex 24.
***United Autosports, meanwhile, is expected to announce a single Ligier JS P217 Gibson for Sebring later this month.
***Turner Motorsport tested Mark Kvamme and Don Yount in its BMW M6 GT3 on Friday, with an eye to compete in the Rolex 24, according to team owner Will Turner. Both drivers had been part of BAR1’s lineup in Prototype Challenge last year. Turner told Sportscar365 he’s still working on securing a full-season program for the GT Daytona class contender.
***Fernando Alonso, who makes his long-awaited sports car racing debut, revealed that one of the biggest challenges so far has been with the belts, in needing ‘extra room’ compared to his co-drivers. “The biggest thing so far has been the seatbelt, the one that goes between our legs,” he said. “I need longer compared to them… There are some ladies, so I’m not being so specific in the thing that we need!”
***While not being present at Daytona for the Rolex 24 or Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge season-opener, CJ Wilson Racing is targeting a step up to WeatherTech Championship competition, potentially by as early as Sebring. Sportscar365 understands that an announcement could come later this month.
***Acura currently has a total of three NSX GT3s available for sale, out of its initial batch of six cars for North America. HART is currently utilizing the Detroit and Watkins Glen class-winning Chassis 5, with Chassis 6, which started life with RealTime Racing, now in the hands of Michael Shank Racing for it No. 86 car.
***IMSA President Scott Atherton admitted this year’s field for the Rolex 24 may be one of the best in the event’s history. “It’s safe to say we’ve assembled the most significant field of race cars, race teams and race drivers… in modern times for sure,” he said.
***With the Roar being mandatory for all teams contesting the race, no additional entries beyond the 50 that are here this weekend will be eligible to take part later this month.
***Toni Vilander’s absence from the Roar has been for good reason, as his wife gave birth to their third child on Friday in Finland.
***With past experience in the Riley and Dallara-built cars, Acura Team Penske’s Ricky Taylor becomes one of the few drivers to have driven three of the new-gen LMP2 chassis. “They’re all very different,” he told Sportscar365. “They all respond to different setup changes. You can’t take lessons from one car and apply it to another one. It’s been interesting.”
***Sven Mueller, who is part of the lineup in the No. 59 Manthey Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R, shares the car with Harald Proczyk, whom Mueller’s father, Michael, raced against in the German Citroën Saxo Cup one-make series in 1998.
***In what’s become an annual tradition, more than 2,500 Boy and Girl Scouts are camping in the infield this weekend, as part of Scout Days that includes garage access and a pit road walk for the children this weekend.
Challenge Series Notes:
***Dillon Machavern set the pace in Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge testing in the No. 28 RS1 Porsche Cayman GT4 MR. The defending GS class champion set the fastest time of 1:55.247 in the second session after not turning laps in Session 1.
***The Compass Racing pairing of Roy Block and Pierre Kleinubing were fastest in the new TCR category in their Audi RS3 LMS TCR, while the No. 37 MINI JCW Team machine of Mat Pombo, Derek Jones, and Nate Norenberg were fastest in the ST class.
***The No. 51 K2R Motorsports Ligier JS P3 Rob Hodes and Sean Rayhall were quickest overall in IMSA Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda practice on Friday, while Michal Chlumecky set the pace in the MPC class in the No. 31 Eurosport Racing Elan DP02.
***Qualifying for the first-ever IPC race at Daytona gets underway at 9 a.m. ET on Saturday, with the 1 hour and 45-minute opening round of the season getting underway at 1:25 p.m., with live coverage on IMSA.tv.
***Atherton said there has been some “exploration” on the possibility of adding a seventh race for IPC, potentially at Sonoma Raceway in September with IndyCar, per competitors request. “It’s not easy to add a race after a schedule has been announced, after budgets have been set, after commitments have been made,” he said. “But I would never say never.”
***The 2018 season is expected to be the final year of the MPC class with the Elan DP02s, with the Challenge to feature all-LMP3 machinery in 2019, according to the IMSA boss.
Ryan Myrehn and Rene de Boer contributed to this report