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Daytona Tuesday Notebook

John Dagys’ Tuesday notebook from Daytona…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

***Alegra Motorsports has been a late addition to this week’s test, with its No. 28 Porsche 911 GT3 R for Daniel Morad, Jesse Lazare and Carlos and Michael de Quesada. Porsche factory driver Michael Christensen is also listed to test. Plans are in place for the team to contest the Rolex 24 at Daytona, at a minimum.

***It has brought the total entry up to 29 cars, a noticeable increase from last month’s test. Note that Prototype Challenge cars are not eligible to take part in this week’s test.

***All three Cadillacs DPi-V.Rs were hit with electrical issues on Tuesday that limited their track time. A software update in the steering wheel systems from Cosworth caused havoc on the cars, with both the No. 31 Action Express Racing and No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing cars not getting out until the afternoon, and  the WTR car running without telemetry.

***Despite the limited track time today, both teams have already gained considerable mileage with their Cadillacs, with WTR racking up 1,800 miles between four tests, and AXR having entered this week with 1,200 miles under its belt from tests at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Road Atlanta.

***The Mazda RT24-P ran with its 2017-spec engine for the first time, after initially carrying out three days of testing with an interim powerplant. The car battled high gearbox temperatures in the morning, as well as a brake cover delamination, which was quickly fixed. “We’re learning things now that I rather find [out now] than at the Roar or the race,” Mazda Motorsports director John Doonan told Sportscar365.

***All five Mazda drivers: Jonathan Bomarito, Tristan Nunez, Joel Miller, Tom Long and Spencer Pigot, rotated through the car before lunchtime. The car completed 56 laps on Tuesday, the most of any Prototype entry. “The whole goal is to put as much mileage on the platform as we can. So far, so good,” Doonan added.

***Pigot is expected to be confirmed as one of the Mazda’s Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup drivers, once the team unveils its full Rolex 24 lineup early next month.

***The No. 90 Visit Florida Racing Riley Mk. 30 Gibson, meanwhile, only completed a systems check at Carolina Motorsports Park with Marc Goossens on Saturday prior to taking to the track at Daytona. New full-season driver Renger van der Zande got his first laps in the car today.

***The Visit Florida Riley-Gibson is chassis No. 2, with Mazda having chassis No. 1 and No. 3, which is currently in build. Bill Riley told Sportscar365 that he expects only these three cars to be present at Daytona, with the possibility of additional customers later in the year. Starworks, meanwhile, has ruled out a Daytona debut with a Riley.

***Graham Rahal turned his first laps in the No. 93 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 on Tuesday. “It’s extremely fun to drive and we just need to find a bit more pace,” he said. “I just went out and pounded laps. I was learning things every single lap to see what works and to see what doesn’t. So far so good.”

***Michael Shank Racing’s other IndyCar ace for the Rolex 24, Ryan Hunter-Reay, was on-site on Monday for a seat fitting but left due to family obligations. Hunter-Reay is expected to get his first laps in the car at the Roar next month.

***Shank took delivery of its second race chassis this week and will make its debut at the Roar next month. The No. 86 Acura, a test chassis, is again run at the test by RealTime Racing.

***Porsche North America has three mid-engined 911 RSRs on-site, but only two are testing. Team manager Morgan Brady told Sportscar365 that the third car had previously been used in the testing rotation.

***Of Porsche’s lineup at the test this week, Christensen, Patrick Pilet and Laurens Vanthoor are all fresh off last weekend’s Sepang 12 Hours, as is WeatherTech Racing driver Shane van Gisbergen and some Manthey Racing staff that are crewing the German squad’s Porsche GTD entry.

***While Christensen is teamed with Vanthoor in the No. 912 Porsche this week, the Belgian’s season-long co-driver will be Kevin Estre, who had other obligations this week.

***All four of Ford Chip Ganassi Racing’s full-season drivers have been retained for next year, with Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook, Dirk Mueller and Joey Hand taking part in the test, along with Scott Dixon.

***It’s understood a formal announcement on the Ford’s planned four-car entry for the Rolex 24 will be announced next week, that will include its full race driver lineups.

***The No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE is testing with only Toni Vilander this week. It’s understood the Houston-based team has submitted a full-season entry, although a formal program announcement has yet to be made. Giancarlo Fisichella is expected to return with the Finn for a second season as co-drivers.

***HP Composites has joined sister company Onroak Automotive in establishing a U.S. base, with the carbon fiber and composite components producer announcing last week at the PRI Show that it will open an office in Denver, N.C. alongside Onroak. Both are owned by parent company Everspeed.

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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