Connect with us

WeatherTech Championship

Detroit Friday Notebook

John Dagys’ Friday notebook from Detroit’s Belle Isle…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

***A total of 27 cars are set for tomorrow’s Chevrolet Sports Car Classic, following the withdrawal of the No. 540 Black Swan Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R. Family commitments has forced the Tim Pappas-owned team from taking part this weekend but a team representative told Sportscar365 they are scheduled to return for next month’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.

***While Christian Fittipaldi claimed pole, the No. 5 Action Express Corvette DP will likely start from the rear of the P/PC field tomorrow due to Fittipaldi flat-spotting his tires in qualifying. IMSA rules only allow up to one tire to be changed from qualifying to the race. The team has yet to make a final declaration.

***A number of cars are carrying decals in support of Andrew Palmer, who was injured in last weekend’s Pirelli World Challenge event at Lime Rock Park. Members from Lamborghini and PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports — a manufacturer and team that Palmer has driven for — came together to create the decal.

***Tom Kimber-Smith, who teamed with Palmer for PC class wins at Daytona, Sebring and Petit Le Mans with PR1/Mathiasen last year, is also sporting the hashtag #GetWellSoonAndrew on his helmet. Numerous other drivers, including Jordan Taylor, Bryan Sellers, Madison Snow, Corey Lewis and IndyCar driver Conor Daly have also done the same this weekend.

***It was a tough day for Mazda, with the No. 70 car of Joel Miller and Tom Long undergoing an engine change between practice sessions and the SpeedSource-run team battling setup issues with its Lola-based prototypes over the bumpy surfaces. Tristan Nunez told Sportscar365 the bumps are much more noticeable this year due to their significantly increased speeds compared to last year.

***It isn’t just Mazda that’s facing issues with the track surface, as some of the GT3 machinery, including the Porsche 911 GT3 Rs, have had gremlins with its ABS systems activating over the bumpy surfaces.

***The No. 8 Starworks Motorsport Oreca FLM09 is sporting a new sparkly red, white and silver livery, in a design that’s been partly inspired by team owner Peter Baron’s toe nail colors. Baron, who regularly gets his toe nails painted by his daughter for good luck, told Sportscar365 that his nails will match the car’s new livery for tomorrow’s race.

***The Starworks car isn’t the only PC livery this weekend, as the No. 20 BAR1 Motorsports entry is carrying graphics for the new Jason Bourne spy thriller film, due out in theaters on July 29. Tomy Drissi returns to the wheel of the car alongside Johnny Mowlem.

***Despite being in its home town and arguably the best venue for the unveil, multiple sources have confirmed that GM will not be announcing its Cadillac DPi program this weekend. The manufacturer, however, continues work on its new-for-2017 car, which will utilize Dallara LMP2 chassis. Wayne Taylor Racing and Action Express Racing will be the two primary teams campaigning cars next year.

***Nearly a dozen IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship drivers, as well as a handful of crew and support personnel, will be flying to Le Mans following Saturday’s race to take part in the test day.

***Jeroen Bleekemolen, Ben Keating, Marc Goossens, Ryan Dalziel, Cooper MacNeil, Leh Keen, Marc Miller, Christina Nielsen, plus her father Lars-Erik Nielsen and Porsche Motorsport North America President Jens Walther will be on a private jet that is scheduled to arrive by 7 a.m. Sunday at the Le Mans airport.

***Ricky and Jordan Taylor, as well as Ozz Negri, Mike Shank and Shank’s crew of Dale Wise (lead engineer), Colin Ward (assistant engineer), Darin Pigg (mechanic) and Ralph Lohr (tires) will be on Delta Flight 98, which departs Saturday at 6:15 p.m. ET and gets them into Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport at 8:15 a.m. France time.

***The drivers and crew on the commercial flight are expected to miss the majority of the morning session, which runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. France time.

***Michael Shank Racing’s crew is split between Detroit and Le Mans, with Justin Harnisfager (crew chief), Dave Leiter (mechanic), Kevin Wimer (mechanic) and Brett Dozmati (electronics) currently in France undergoing prep for Sunday’s test, alongside drivers John Pew and Laurens Vanthoor.

***Shank has brought in additional crew for Detroit, including former mechanics from 2013, when it ran as a two-car operation, as well as Kevin Doran and some of his staff.

***Continental Tire has brought 1,200 tires to Detroit for the three-class race. With the GT Le Mans class not in action, Continental is the exclusive tire provider for the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship this weekend.

***Be sure to check out Andy Blackmore’s official Spotter Guide for the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic, featuring all 27 starters for the P/PC/GTD race.

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

1 Comment

More in WeatherTech Championship