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Daytona Tuesday Notebook

John Dagys’ first notebook from Rolex 24 week at Daytona International Speedway…

Photo: John Dagys

***A total of 38 cars are set for this weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, following the late withdrawal of Rick Ware Racing’s Riley Mk. 30 Gibson, which was due to be driven by Cody Ware and Johnathan Hoggard. James Davison and Mark Kvamme also drove the car at the Roar Before the Rolex 24 but were dropped from the lineup.

***Kvamme and Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner Hoggard, meanwhile, have found refuge at Precision Performance Motorsports, completing the team’s lineup in the No. 47 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo alongside Brandon Gdovic and Eric Lux.

***The PPM Lamborghini unloaded on Tuesday sporting a revised livery with Whelen sponsorship.

***The grid marks the lowest in the event’s history as a 24-hour race, with the previous smallest car count being 44 cars, which occurred both in 2003 and 2010.

***IMSA has filled vacant garages by giving additional spaces to the reigning class champions in all four classes.

***PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports team principal Bobby Oergel told Sportscar365 that the chances of seeing his team’s second Oreca 07 Gibson for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring are “pretty good” after being forced to call off a potential program for Daytona. 

***RWR, meanwhile, is understood to be planning a GT Daytona program for the remainder of the WeatherTech Championship season, which is believed to be with an Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo.

***It’s understood a lack of interested Bronze-rated drivers has been the cause of several LMP2 programs not materializing. IMSA introduced a Bronze driver mandate for the class this year, per a majority vote from LMP2 team owners.

***Oergel said he has a Bronze-rated driver in place for the team’s No. 52 entry for the remainder of the season. Ben Keating, in a one-off race, is serving as the designated Bronze this weekend alongside Simon Trummer, Gabriel Aubry and Nick Boulle.

***Cooper MacNeil is set to pull double duty this weekend, racing in the Rolex 24 in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 as well as the opening round of Ferrari Challenge North America, in his title defense of the single-make series.

“It will be a busy weekend for me as we also kick-off the 2020 Ferrari Challenge season at Daytona,” MacNeil said. “The extra seat time in races on Thursday and Friday will help me with increased focused and track time for the 24.”

***Corvette Racing is on the verge of surpassing the 300,000-mile mark in the program’s history this weekend. The factory GT Le Mans squad, which is debuting the Corvette C8.R, will need to complete 870 miles or 245 laps, to reach the milestone 

***Questions over Bia Figueiredo’s sudden absence from the GEAR Racing powered by GRT Grasser program have been solved, as the Brazilian driver has announced that she’s expecting a child. Figueiredo made the news public on her Instagram page yesterday.

***Rahel Frey has been drafted in as the fourth driver in the all-female driven No. 19 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo this weekend.

***The No. 11 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini is a brand-new chassis following Steijn Schothorst’s accident at the Roar Before the Rolex 24 earlier this month. The majority of the Austrian crew stayed over in the U.S. between the events..

***Motul has come on board as a primary sponsor of the Team RLL BMW M8 GTEs this year, with the French lubricant company replacing Shell/Pennzoil, which had been a corporate sponsor within BMW Motorsport globally.

***Luxury watch manufacturer Franck Muller has joined forces with Bill Auberlen to produce a limited edition collection of Bill Auberlen “Race to 61” timepieces, as the BMW driver seeks to become the winningest driver in IMSA history. Auberlen is currently tied with Scott Pruett with 60 wins in IMSA competition.

***The liveries of the factory Porsche 911 RSRs reflect the company’s international corporate colors with both cars majority white and sharing a red line down the center from the hood to the rear bumper. The cars are distinguished by different colored headlamps at the night, with the No. 911 running green lights and the No. 912 featuring orange/yellow lights.

***Katherine Legge ended a two-day media tour in New York on Tuesday, making visits to CNN, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, as well a live appearance on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The GEAR Racing driver was joined by a production Lamborghini Huracan.  

***Former IMSA commentator Bob Varsha is battling a rare form of prostate cancer. A GoFundMe page has been set up for the legendary broadcaster, with more than $90,000 in funds raised so far. Varsha’s former FOX Sports colleague, Brian Till, meanwhile, has returned to work after successfully overcoming throat cancer during the off-season. 

***Longtime sports car racing mechanic Ken Wilcox passed away this week of a heart attack. Wilcox had worked for a number of teams including Cadillac Racing, Krohn Racing and Team Panoz. He is survived by his wife Joanna.

***The annual IMSA Twenty-Four Premier at ONE DAYTONA, across the street from Daytona International Speedway, is set for Wednesday from 6-8 p.m., featuring cars and drivers taking part in the Rolex 24. The free event will include a live pit stop demonstration and more.

Slade Perrins contributed to this report

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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