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Daytona Thursday Notebook

John Dagys’ Thursday notebook as cars take to the track for Rolex 24 at Daytona…

Photo: John Dagys

***Despite Ricky Taylor’s heavy crash in qualifying, the No. 7 Team Penske Acura ARX-05 could make an appearance by the end of tonight’s practice session according to Ricky Taylor. Taylor told Sportscar365 that it’s the team’s goal to get the car fully repaired and turn laps towards the end of the 90-minute session.

***An Acura spokesperson confirmed to Sportscar365 that a replacement chassis is not needed, although the team has two spare tubs on-site.

***Nick Tandy claimed his fourth Rolex 24 class pole, tying the Englishman with Scott Pruett for all-time poles in the event’s history. Tandy’s previous class poles came in 2013, 2016 and 2019, with Pruett having earned poles in 1986, 2004, 2005 and 2013.

***Tandy explained that track conditions took the CORE autosport-run Porsche squad by “surprise” particularly how the Michelin tires came in and where they found the grip from. “It was the same for our competitors but not exactly as planned,” he said.

***Ben Keating said it took “a lot of courage” to complete his LMP2 class pole-winning lap in the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca 07 Gibson. “To me the Bus Stop is the Bermuda Triangle of Daytona International Speedway,” he said. “Unfortunately that’s what happened to Ricky [Taylor] with  qualifying.”

***Keating, who is pulling double duty this weekend, said purchased a “new fancy timer watch” from Walmart on Wednesday evening that will help him avoid exceeding drive time limits. “As long as I’m out of the car for at least two hours then it’s impossible for me to get in trouble with the four-out-of-six rule,” he explained.

***The No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 missed qualifying as it underwent a precautionary engine change. 

***A power controller unit issue with the No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R of Marcel Fassler saw the Swiss driver stop on track and bring out the first red flag in opening practice. The car quickly returned to action once it was towed into the pit lane.

***Paul Miller Racing’s Bryan Sellers told Sportscar365 that IMSA’s Balance of Performance adjustment to the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo, which sees a 4 mm increase in rear wing angle, is “not going to be a race-defining” change. “One of our strengths was the very end of the tri-oval,” Sellers said. “That has knocked it down a little bit. But all in all, it may benefit us a little bit in the infield.”

***Sportscar365 understands that the change, which has been made to bring the Lamborghini into IMSA’s new-for-2020 performance window, has cost the car between 1.5-2 mph in top speed.

***Wayne Taylor admitted it felt “a little strange” arriving in Daytona without either of his sons driving for his Wayne Taylor Racing operation. This weekend marks the first Rolex 24 since 2009 that either Ricky or Jordan haven’t been with the team’s lineup, amid Jordan’s departure to a full-season seat with Corvette Racing.

***Jordan Taylor is believed to have been one of the first drivers to turn virtual laps in what became the Chevrolet Corvette C8.R in Chevrolet’s Driver-in-the-Loop simulator in 2017, nearly two years before the car’s on-track testing debut.

***Taylor, then contracted to GM for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, told Sportscar365 that he was testing a Corvette C7.R until being asked to evaluate a different configuration, which unknown to him at the time, was a model based off the yet-to-be-built mid-engined GTE car.

***While having been as the first-ever ‘AMR North America driver’, Alex Riberas is contracted by the British manufacturer in the same fashion as its factory drivers according to AMR commercial controller Huw Tasker.

***Tasker told Sportscar365 that the title “best fits” with Riberas’ primary program this year with The Heart of Racing. “There’s opportunities all around the world, all of which we would consider Alex for,” he said. “It could be this year. We’re always on the lookout for new talent, new drivers and Alex certainly fits the bill with that.”

***The Heart of Racing team principal Ian James said there’s been an “open book” of data between his team’s Aston Martin Vantage GT3 operation and the factory AMR squad, which is making a one-off appearance this weekend.  

***GTD class pole-sitter Zach Robichon explained that Pfaff Motorsports’ new plaid-and-blue jeans-colored firesuits are a “step further” from the car’s plaid livery that brought attention to the Canadian squad throughout last year.

***Robichon said: “To me it feels natural as this is what I basically wear at home most of the time! I fit right in. We get a couple of looks but I think most people are used to it now.”

***A total of 27 drivers that are either Bronze or Silver-rated are required to complete night-time laps in this evening’s practice Click Here for the full list.

***An announcement is scheduled between IMSA and the ACO for Friday at 11:45 a.m. ET to formally confirm top-class prototype convergence between the WeatherTech Championship and FIA World Endurance Championship that’s set to begin in 2022.

***Ryan Briscoe was named the recipient of the fourth annual Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer humanitarian award for his work in helping the foundation provide “essential services” to young cancer patients and their families. 

 ***The Austin Hatcher Foundation is one of two ‘Proud Charities’ of IMSA.

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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