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Daytona Wednesday Notebook

John Dagys’ Wednedsay notebook from Daytona International Speedway…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

***All 61 cars taking part in the 60th anniversary Rolex 24 at Daytona assembled for a group photo on the tri-oval on Wednesday. Official on-track action kicks off Thursday at 11:05 a.m. ET with a 90-minute session practice session. 

***The extent of the pre-event Balance of Performance adjustments given to several GTD cars may not be seen tomorrow, with current forecasts calling for a 90 percent chance of rain. The BoP changes are understood to have been made based on data from dry running during last weekend’s Roar Before the Rolex 24.

***Both Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez traveled back to Europe after the Roar to take part in a Toyota Gazoo Racing LMH test at Motorland Aragon according to Autosport. The test involved eight-time World Rally champion Sebastien Ogier, off the back of the Frenchman’s second place to Sebastien Loeb in the Monte-Carlo Rally.

***Algarve Pro Racing has brought its full stable of Oreca 07 Gibsons to Daytona for its IMSA debut under the G-Drive Racing banner. The Portuguese team owns three LMP2 cars and has a spare chassis situated in its garage, behind the two Rolex 24-contending machines.

***The outgoing Head of BMW M Motorsport, Mike Krack, is in the Daytona paddock six days before he officially begins his new role as team principal of the Aston Martin Formula 1 team. BMW’s LMDh program manager Maurizio Leschiutta is also on-site.

***Racing Team Nederland will base its Michelin Endurance Cup program at Team Premat’s headquarters adjacent to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, after previously using the same shop for its Rolex 24 effort last year. TDS Racing operates the Nederland program, as it has previously done in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

***TDS team principal Xavier Combet told Sportscar365 that his organization is hoping to establish a permanent presence in the U.S alongside its European business. “We definitely don’t want to do only this year and come back to Europe,” he said. “We want to stay here.  If you see an opportunity, you have to go for it. We will see.”

***Sportscar365 understands that TDS is set to operate a European Le Mans Series LMP2 entry with a new Bronze-rated customer this year. The team will not support any customers in the WEC after Racing Team Nederland switched to IMSA and Realteam Racing aligned with Team WRT.

***Hong Kong and Germany-based KCMG is taking part in its first North American race with the Porsche 911 GT3 R, and its first race stateside since the 2019 California 8 Hours where it ran a pair of Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3s. “This is actually the first flyaway that we’ve had in [more than two] years,” said team manager Matt Howson. “Everything else has been five minutes away in the Nürburgring or two hours away in Spa. This is a big test of that team infrastructure and human resources.”

***In a technical bulletin issued on Wednesday, IMSA has permitted LMP3 team to utilize “opaque adhesive tape” as inlet blockers for the engine and gearbox cooling inlets due to the forecasted ambient temperatures this weekend. Temperatures are currently forecasted to dip to 35 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius) during the overnight hours of the race this weekend.

***IMSA has also confirmed that all DPi cars will undergo technical inspection during the “pre-race period” on Saturday prior to the start of the race and upon completion of inspection will proceed directly to the pre-grid. According to the sanctioning body, any cars found out of compliance with the technical regulations will not be permitted to proceed to the false grid.

***Peter Baron, who has taken up a race strategist role with Chip Ganassi Racing, has rented out equipment to four teams this weekend, including KCMG. Baron’s former Starworks operation, running under the Tower Motorsport banner, is now under the direction of ex-Extreme Speed Motorsports chief mechanic Ricky Capone.

***Additional Acura NSX GT3 Evo22 cars are expected later this season. Sportscar365 understands that at least one team is committed for the WeatherTech Sprint Cup races, while another car could debut as early as the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in March.

***In addition to Guy Cosmo, who has been left without a ride following a late driver change at Gilbert Korthoff Motorsports, two-time IMSA class champion Matt McMurry has also been making the rounds in the paddock looking for a last-minute drive. McMurry, who serves as a sim driver for Acrua’s LMDh program, is understood to have had been close to securing a LMP2 seat until a late change.

***Lexus will be hosting more than 150 guests in a Turn 1 hospitality suite this weekend. It comes in addition to its suite for dealers and executives atop the main grandstand. Despite COVID-19 restrictions, last year saw an 80 percent increase in participation from its dealer network over pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

***Jules Gounon won the inaugural Motorsport Attorney Invitational held at the LPGA International golf course in Daytona Beach, Fla. on Monday. Organized by motorsports and immigration attorney Dustin Hesseltine, nearly 20 drivers took part in the event, with Harry Tincknell placing second and Jordan Pepper third.

***A number of other drivers spent off days vacationing in Miami or checking out some of the local attractions, including Kennedy Space Center for LMP2 pilots Louis Deletraz, Ferdinand Habsburg and Rui Andrade.

***Andy Blackmore’s official IMSA Spotter Guide has been released ahead of the start of on-track action on Thursday. Click Here to download.

***Racing Pride, a UK-based organization promoting LGBTQ+ inclusion through motorsport, has announced an expansion to North America with new ambassadors and partners. Among the five new driver ambassadors are sports car racing driver Tom O’Gorman, with the organization partnering with You Can Play, Athlete Ally, Gridlife, FCP Euro, and Out Motorsports.

***Twenty-Four Premier takes place this evening at One Daytona to kick off the Rolex 24 weekend. Cars and drivers begin arriving at 6 p.m. ET, followed by the driver fan forum featuring Wayne Taylor Racing’s Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque, Alexander Rossi, and Will Stevens at 6:15 p.m. and an autograph session beginning at 7 p.m. 

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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