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Detroit Friday Notebook

Tony DiZinno’s Friday notebook from Belle Isle Park…



***There’s somewhat of a “what’s next” air in the paddock this weekend, as this is the last TUDOR Championship race before Le Mans and the impending announcement of the new 2017 global prototype regulations during the 24 Hours of Le Mans race week. Once details there officially emerge, there may become a better sense of what machinery could be racing in the TUDOR Championship from 2017 and beyond.

***This also marks the last time the TUDOR Championship will race alongside the IndyCar Series this year, and the World Challenge series as well. Inevitably, that means there’s a wealth of individuals from either paddock crossing paths and scoping things out before all head their separate ways – and through various conflicts – in the second half of the calendar.

***With Porsche having recently announced its new 911 GT3 R, this will mark the last time both the GT Daytona-spec 911 GT America and current generation 911 GT3 R will be together on the same weekend.

***Porsche Motorsport North America President/CEO Jens Walther told Sportscar365 that at the moment, the manufacturer is focusing more on Le Mans, with its three LMP1 cars, and the rest of the 2015 season before hinting or confirming any 2016 factory or customer programs in the TUDOR Championship.

***The Le Mans effort, he said, has caused the biggest ripple effect throughout the company this year in terms of finding available drivers and personnel. Walther said he won’t be making the trip to Le Mans this year.

***TRG-AMR’s pair of Christina Nielsen and James Davison will be split for the impending Watkins Glen/Road America conflict on the weekend of June 27-28. Nielsen will race at Watkins Glen with Davison at Road America, per his World Challenge commitments with Nissan. TRG-AMR has a Davison replacement signed, but not yet announced.

***After TRG-AMR completes its doubleheader weekend in both the TUDOR Championship in Detroit, the team will move eight cars, a transporter and more than 30 personnel to Le Mans for the Le Mans Festival, where Aston Martin is the featured marque. Included among those eight cars are both cars here this weekend, per team principal Kevin Buckler.

***While Scuderia Corsa drivers Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell head to the Le Mans test day immediately after the race on Saturday, both of Giacomo Mattioli’s TUDOR Championship and World Challenge crews will stick around Detroit. Per Mattioli, the only additional crewmember going straight to Le Mans after Detroit is the team’s data engineer, with five more to come later before Le Mans itself.

***Sunday, May 31, has been christened “Action Express Racing Day” by the team, for its two Corvette DPs, which are Nos. 5 and 31. “When we realized the calendar recognized our team’s Corvette Daytona Prototype race cars with its very own date, we decided to celebrate the day,” team owner Bob Johnson said in a release.

***IMSA announced Thursday a multi-year agreement with Lockton MIS Motorsport, a worldwide motorsports insurance provider, as both a proud partner of IMSA and promotional partner of the TUDOR Championship.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno) is Sportscar365's North American Editor, focusing on coverage of the IMSA-sanctioned championships as well as Pirelli World Challenge. DiZinno also contributes to and other motorsports outlets. Contact Tony


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