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Daytona Wednesday Notebook

John Dagys’ notebook prior to the start of TUDOR Championship action…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

***David Ostella has replaced Ryan Booth, the 2013 IMSA Prototype Lites runner-up, as fifth driver in Performance Tech Motorsports’ PC car. Ostella won his only PC class start in 2013, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring co-driving with David Cheng and Mike Guasch for PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports. Ostella joins Raphael Matos, Tomy Drissi, Gabriel Casagrande and Julio Campos.

***Bia Figueiredo is still among those on site this weekend looking for a ride, after testing the Starworks Motorsport PC car at the Roar Before the Rolex 24, but the Brazilian was replaced at the last minute for one of the team’s two PC class cars.

***BMW was named Wednesday as an official automotive partner of IMSA. The German manufacturer will be well represented in both the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge this weekend, with two factory Z4 GTEs in GTLM, one Z4 GT3 in GTD and 17 BMWs taking part in Saturday’s BMW Performance 200 CTSC race.

***Connor De Phillippi, who made his 24-hour race debut in the Dubai 24 Hours earlier this month, called it the “most fun he’s ever had” in a race car after having 7.5 hours of total driver time. De Phillippi is the second pro in the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT America, co-driving with fellow pro Kevin Estre, Patrick Lindsey, Mike Vess and Jason Hart.

***For the second year in a row, the Audi R8 V10 will serve as the official safety car for the Rolex 24. Five of the mid-engined sports cars are entered in the GT Daytona class this weekend as the German manufacturer seeks back-to-back class victories in the race.

***Stefan Johansson has joined Scuderia Corsa as the team’s new sporting director. The former F1 driver and sports car racing veteran will oversee team driver development, manage the sponsor relationships and work with both existing and potential clients in Scuderia Corsa’s GT and Ferrari Challenge programs.

***Both of the SRT Motorsports Viper GTS-Rs are again being put on a diet, as the V10-powered beasts have been given a 30kg weight break, 15kg under the ACO’s weight break that was given at Le Mans last year. The factory Vipers return to Daytona for the first time since winning the race overall in 2000.

***Toni Vilander will be racking up the air miles in 2014, as the Ferrari factory driver will serve as a commentator for Finnish network MTV3’s Formula One coverage. Vilander, who will again undertake a full season of the FIA WEC, is flying directly to Jerez to cover the first official pre-season test on Tuesday.

***Despite starring in OAK Racing’s Morgan-Nissan in 2013, Alex Brundle is still yet to finalize his FIA WEC plans for 2014. The 23-year-old Brit says he’s assessing multiple options in LMP2. Brundle is making his Rolex 24 debut this weekend at the wheel of Muscle Milk Pickett Racing’s Nissan-powered Oreca 03, which is just a one-off race at the moment.

***Believe it or not, but Gunnar Jeannette and Frankie Montecalvo return to the wheel of a Prototype Challenge car for the first time since 2011, when they were teamed in separate CORE autosport entires. Jeannette won the PC championship that year. The duo have been late additions to the PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports entry, the team that took Mike Guasch to the ALMS drivers’ title last year.

***TOTAL will sponsor pole awards for the Prototype, Prototype Challenge and GT Daytona categories but will be absent from the GT Le Mans class due to the majority of the factory-backed teams having other lubricant sponsors.

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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