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Daytona Wednesday Notebook

John Dagys’ final notebook from the IMSA-sanctioned Daytona test…

Photo: John Dagys

***IMSA’s two-day test wrapped up on Wednesday afternoon, with a handful of Prototype teams laying down quick laps in the closing moments. The No. 77 Mazda RT24-P was clocked running laps in the mid 1:38s, with the No. 6 Penske Acura ARX-05 of Ricky Taylor in the high 1:39s to low 1:40s and Pipo Derani pedaling Onroak’s Ligier JS P217 Gibson in the low-to-mid 1:39s.

***Both the Onroak Ligier LMP2 and Tequila Patron ESM Nissan Onroak DPi turned its first laps in Evo configuration in the afternoon session, with the bodywork only arriving at lunchtime. The Evo kit features a more pronounced splitter as well as revised dive plane placements (pictured above, right).

***The Onroak test car completed runs in the afternoon in multiple configurations, including without the dive planes.

***The No. 55 Mazda DPi turned its first laps, also in the afternoon session, after missing the majority of the test as it awaited a replacement engine. As a result, Mazda Team Joest focused the majority of the test around the No. 77 car.

***A turbo boost control issue for the No. 7 Penske Acura DPi saw it run limited laps in the morning session, before rejoining following the lunch break.

***The engine from the Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R was impounded by IMSA following the morning session, forcing the team to pack up early. It’s understood the engine will be sent to NASCAR’s R&D center in Concord N.C. for further evaluation, with rumors of potentially another engine from the test also having been taken.

***The team’s new signing, Renger van Der Zande, gained limited mileage in the car, having completed less than 20 laps due to IMSA’s test plan, which had been nominated to Jordan Taylor.

***WTR recently completed a test at Kennedy Space Center, utilizing its three-mile long runway for straight-line testing, which Taylor said was a memorable experience. “Every couple of hours there would be an astronaut coming into land, so we’d have to get off the runway,” he told Sportscar365. “That’s what we’d hear over the radio, ‘we’ve got to stop because an astronaut is coming in in their fighter jet.'”

***ESM is scheduled to test one of its Nissan DPis at Sebring tomorrow, with Joest set to return to Daytona for a private test on Dec. 12. Land Motorsport will also be in attendance next week with its Audi R8 LMS with brothers Kelvin and Sheldon van der Linde and Christopher Mies.

***Team Penske Team President Tim Cindric told Sportscar365 they could return to Sebring for an additional test later this month, although a final decision has yet to be taken. The Acura DPi has completed two prior tests at the Florida airfield circuit.

***The Evo kits for both the Lexus RC F GT3 and Porsche 911 GT3 R are relatively minor, with the Lexus having undergone a switch from Continental to Bosch ABS systems, a revised muffler clamp and other small reliability updates. The Porsche, meanwhile, has a new hood design and revised dive planes.

***3GT Racing has had to replace one of its two chassis following Robert Alon’s heavy accident in the season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans.

***While there’s been talk of at least one high-profile driver joining Lexus next year, 3GT is the only customer team currently planned for the WeatherTech Championship, according to Lexus Motorsports Manager Mark Egger.

***Continental Tire has developed new wet weather tires for Prototype and GT Daytona. A new GTD slick tire, meanwhile, is scheduled to debut at Sebring, following more than six months of development, according to Continental Tire IMSA Product Manager Kevin Fandozzi.

***All three primary colors on the Ford GT are in fact new, with ‘Frozen White’ being used alongside the metallic ‘Blue Lightning’ and ‘Liquid Red’ colors, which are offered on Ford’s line of production cars.

***New rules for 2018, including the use of fuel flow sensors, could ultimately be a road-block for last-minute entries into the Rolex 24. An OEM representative told Sportscar365 that the lead time for the sensors, as well as IMSA’s mandated wiring harnesses, may make it difficult for any team that hasn’t already committed to the race.

***Sentronics, the sole supplier of fuel flow sensors in IMSA, however, states there are no issues in supply, despite having given teams an ordering deadline for the Roar and Rolex 24, according to a company spokesperson, who said they will have a stock of sensors for last-minute entries.

***IMSA has set a self-imposed maximum grid capacity of 60 cars for both Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, a number that Sportscar365 understands that is very close to reaching.

***Risi Competizione is understood to have submitted two entries for Daytona, with its Ferrari 488 GTE in GT Le Mans, as well as a GT3-spec Prancing Horse for a group of customers. Sportscar365 believes the team has not yet committed to a full-season GTLM effort.

***Giancarlo Fisichella, who has driven for the team since 2014, is unlikely to return, with the Italian rumored to have been in discussions with other manufacturers, including BMW.

***A total of four Acura NSX GT3 cars could be on the grid for the Tequila Patron Endurance Cup races, with up to three being full-season entries. It’s understood a current Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge GS team is evaluating a move to GTD with the car.

***Michael Shank Racing will confirm its 2018 program, likely with two Acuras, on Friday at the PRI Show. The latest rumors have linked Lawson Aschenbach and Justin Marks to drives with the Ohio-based team.

***Porsche GT Team’s driver lineup for the WeatherTech Championship season will be announced on Saturday during its ‘Night of Champions’ celebration in Germany. Confirmation of CORE autosport’s debut in the 24 Hours of Le Mans is also expected, which is poised to see the U.S.-based factory squad operate two additional Porsche 911 RSRs alongside the pair of Manthey-run WEC entries.

***The remainder of BMW Team RLL’s driver lineup, meanwhile, will be named during its end-of-year party on Dec. 15 in Munich. Connor De Phillippi and John Edwards are the only confirmed full-season drivers so far, with Bill Auberlen set for the Patron Endurance Cup-only races.

***”The Gentleman Driver” documentary has reached post-production. The feature-length film, produced by Toni Calderon, chronicles Ricardo Gonzalez, Ed Brown, Paul Dalla Lana and Mike Guasch through the 2014-16 seasons, focusing on their lives while at and away from the track.

***ORECA has still not ruled out a LMP1 non-hybrid for the FIA World Endurance Championship next season. A company spokesperson told Sportscar365 they continue to work on the concept, although a decision whether to move ahead for the 2018/19 season has not yet been taken.

***Rebellion Racing, which will forgo the Rolex 24, is understood to be the leading customer for the potential program.

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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