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WeatherTech Championship

Daytona Sunday Notebook

John Dagys’ notebook following qualifying race for Rolex 24 at Daytona…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

***The Nos. 79 and 97 WeatherTech Racing GTD Pro entries and No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R were all given post-race penalties equivalent to a drive-through for failure to operate within IMSA and Michelin’s tire usage requirements. All three cars were given in-race warnings, and as outlined in the sporting regulations, a second offense is subject to a drive-through penalty.

***New for this year, the tire usage requirements outline minimum cold and/or hot pressures and/or stabilized pressures as well negative camber values in GTD Pro and GTD, aimed to keep competitors within a safe operating window.

***Sunday’s qualifying race-winning No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-05 of Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor started from the rear of the DPi field after the car did not meet the minimum rear wing assembly angle in post-qualifying technical inspection on Saturday.

***It marked the first Rolex 24 pole for Acura in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition and WTR’s first since 2018 when it campaigned an Cadillac DPi-V.R.

***Albuquerque said he was impressed with the pace of 46-year-old Richard Westbrook, who challenged Taylor for the win until the final lap when the Englishman spun his No. 5 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac DPi around on the final lap. “We’re living in an era where younger is better. That was an old dog that’s showing how it’s done.”

***The No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura was gambling on a late-race yellow according to Oliver Jarvis, who teamed with Tom Blomqvist to finish fourth on Sunday. “I had to save a lot of fuel and those on the alternative strategy got a little bit ahead,” he said. “But it was great for Tom and I to get some race laps in the car and acclimatize ourselves with the team a bit more.”

***A similar situation caught out the No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac of Tristan Nunez and Pipo Derani, which was relegated to a seventh place finish in DPi after being forced to make a pit stop for fuel with less than ten minutes to go while running in third.

***Chip Ganassi Racing competition director Michael Harvey described the team’s simultaneous drive-through penalties for pit speeding as “surprising.” He told Sportscar365: “On one of the cars we’ve certainly been conservative with it, so we need to look into why. No. 01 had a couple of warnings yesterday, so we knew where we were, and we adjusted accordingly. It’s disappointing to see that we’ve received a penalty today.”

***The caution-free nature of Sunday’s race resulted in both CGR Cadillacs dropping out of the mix for the front row. They will start the Rolex 24 from fifth and sixth.

***Jimmie Johnson reflected on a second-row result for his No. 48 Action Express Racing Cadillac: “We have a little work to do with the balance of the car, but more laps for me, more laps together as a group, great strategy to finish third, so good day,” Johnson said. “Looking forward to getting more laps later in the week, taking the data from this race to learn more and then go racing.”

***Earl Bamber set the race’s fastest lap, a 1:34.628 in the No. 02 CGR Cadillac.

***Gradient Racing made the grid with its repaired Acura NSX GT3 Evo22 following Kyffin Simpson’s accident on Saturday, with Simpson and co-driver Till Bechtolsheimer teaming for a 16th place class finish. The car missed warmup by a mere minutes as final repairs were being made following overnight chassis repairs.

***A refueling issue dashed hopes for the GTD Pro class pole-sitting No. 2 Porsche 911 GT3 R of Alexandre Imperatori and Patrick Pilet, which was relegated to a tenth place finish in class. “During the refueling pit stop, the petrol didn’t flow as planned and that cost us a lot of time,” Pilet said. “Still, I’m glad it happened in the qualifying race. Imagine if something like that happened in the 24-hour race.”

***T3 Motorsport only completed 16 laps with its Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo. Franck Perera, who didn’t get to drive the second stint, told Sportscar365 that the car appeared to have registered an electrical issue.

***Proton Competition entered its first race with the Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo and posted a fourth-place finish in GTD Pro, or sixth overall, with Jules Gounon and Maro Engel. “It’s their first race with the Merc, so we are bringing our [factory] knowledge and making small steps,” said Gounon. “The team is doing a great job. We are trying to find different options for the setup, but we are in a good spot.”

***Contact between the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT3 of Bill Auberlen and Tom Gamble’s No. 27 The Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 ended both teams’ races roughly halfway through the race. A total of 54 of the 61 starters finished the race.

***Among the retirements were three LMP3 entries, including the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier JS P320 Nissan of Gar Robinson, who went behind the wall on Lap 5. The No. 54 CORE autosport Ligier didn’t start the race due to a mechanical issue found during warmup.

***While not yet announced by the team, Sportscar365 understands that Will Stevens will be back in the WTR Acura DPi for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Unlike several other NTT IndyCar Series drivers, Alexander Rossi will be focusing exclusively on the Texas Motor Speedway event that falls on the same weekend as Sebring this year.

***Albuquerque will be one of several drivers slated to take part in both the IMSA and FIA World Endurance Championship races at Sebring, with the Portuguese ace driving for United Autosports full-time in LMP2 this year. “It’s like 24 hours with an eight-hour rest,” he told Sportscar365. “We will have WEC on Friday which will race. You’ll then sleep for eight hours without cars and then you start again for 12 hours. I think it should be OK.”

Daniel Lloyd 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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