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Daytona Friday Notebook

John Dagys’ Friday notebook from Roar Before Rolex 24…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

***Both of DragonSpeed’s Oreca 07 Gibsons arrived at Daytona after shipping delays. The No. 81 car, which was trucked from Miami after clearing customs on Thursday afternoon, completed eight laps in Session 2 in the hands of Ben Hanley, while the No. 21 Oreca did not make it out for the opening day of track action.

***Team principal Elton Julian confirmed to Sportscar365 that Ryan Cullen will join Roberto Gonzalez and Pastor Maldonado in the No. 18 Oreca for the Rolex 24, with James Allen added to the No. 81 car alongside Hanley, Henrik Hedman and Nico Lapierre.

***Finnish driver Miki Weckstrom is slated to also turn laps in DragonSpeed’s No. 81 car this weekend but is not expected to race.

***The No. 19 Moorespeed Audi R8 LMS Evo returned to action in Session 2 after an accident by Will Hardeman in the morning. The car sustained rear-end damage from the shunt on Hardeman’s second lap in the GT Daytona class contender.

***Marco Seefried has joined Black Swan Racing’s lineup for the Rolex 24, with the Silver-rated German set to share the team’s new Porsche 911 GT3 R with Dirk Werner, Matteo Cairoli and team owner/driver Tim Pappas.

***Sportscar365 understands the team has entered the Michelin Endurance Cup races in addition to a full-season return to Intercontinental GT Challenge.

***While currently only confirmed for the Rolex 24 with Meyer Shank Racing, Christina Nielsen told Sportscar365 that she’s working on options in both America and Europe. The Dane is subbing for Jackie Heinricher in the No. 57 CAT-sponsored Acura NSX GT3 Evo this weekend and for the race.

***Nielsen turned her first laps in the Acura Evo on Friday although she had previous experience of the first-generation car from a test with MSR at Sebring in late 2017.

***A number of teams are debuting brand-new chassis this weekend, including both Meyer Shank Racing Acuras and the No. 47 PPM Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo, which was only delivered to the team on Dec. 27.

***In addition to the previously announced Linus Lundqvist, Steve Dunn, Milos Pavlovic, Don Yount, and Brandon Gdovic are a part of the testing lineup at the Roar. That grouping will be in the car for the Rolex 24, but the drivers for the remainder of the season are not confirmed.

***Team owner Richard Gdovic told Sportscar365 that the team does have a full season entry and intends to be at every round of the GTD season.

***Starworks Motorsport and Peter Baron are no longer providing technical support to Montaplast by Land Motorsport, with the Florida-based team instead only supporting the German squad’s Michelin Endurance Cup program with logistics.

***Mark Kvamme is expected to turn laps in the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca on Saturday after getting a seat fitting in the car on late Friday. So far, only Matt McMurry and Gabriel Aubry are confirmed for the Rolex 24.

***While featuring only four cars for the Rolex 24 and two registered full-season entries, additional LMP2 machinery could be on the grid later this year according to ORECA customer racing service manager Anthony Megevand, who told Sportscar365 that the French constructor has received interest from teams to compete on a race-by-race basis.

***It’s understood several IMSA Prototype Challenge and European teams are eying up full-season LMP2 efforts for 2020.

***Jeff Bal has been named the new Lexus Racing motorsports manager, taking over from Mark Egger, who has been reassigned to a new production-related project within Toyota Motor Company. Bal arrives after a six-year stint as assistant general manager for Toyota’s Central Atlantic field office.

***In addition to Ford Chip Ganassi Racing and Riley Motorsports, both Acura Team Penske and Porsche GT Team are expected to run IMSA ‘Throwback’ liveries for the Rolex 24. 

***Alex Zanardi, who is set for his Rolex 24 debut in the No. 24 Team RLL BMW M8 GTE, will be part of a media tour in New York City next week to help promote the WeatherTech Championship season opener.

***Laurens Vanthoor has become a father, with his wife, Jacqueline, having given birth to Emily Kaya Vanthoor on Friday. “She passed scrutineering with a weight of 3.450 grams and a length of 51 cm,” the Porsche factory driver Tweeted.

***IMSA’s 50th anniversary celebrations are set to be featured at four key events this year. The Rolex 24 will celebrate cars and drivers with IMSA’s legendary tracks set to take center stage at Sebring, followed by a focus on manufacturers at the Rolex Monterey Reunion, which IMSA will be the featured marque. The season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans, meanwhile, will serve as a celebration of the fans.

***Wayne Taylor Racing announced Friday new partnerships with AMETEK Electric Systems Protection and leading national bank CIT.

***More than 6,000 Boy and Girl Scouts are set to be camping in the infield this weekend for the annual Scout Days.

Ryan Myrehn contributed to this report

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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