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Detroit Friday Notebook

Sportscar365’s notebook following qualifying for Chevrolet Detroit Sports Car Challenge…

Photo: Jordan Lenssen/Porsche

***Chevrolet Detroit Sports Car Challenge pole-sitter Nick Tandy said it was difficult to get in an early banker lap in qualifying due to the time needed for tire warm up on Michelin’s soft tire compound. The Englishman’s 1:05.390 lap in the No. 6 Penske Porsche 963 came moments prior to the session-ending red flag for a spin by Pipo Derani. “We expected the times to get quicker and quicker,” Tandy said. “You just have to hope that if there’s a red flag, that it’s not you and that you’re lucky.”

***Antonio Garcia, who claimed pole in GTD Pro, said he feels more comfortable having Corvette Racing by Pratt Miller Motorsports teammate Tommy Milner alongside him on the front row, owing to the extreme challenge of passing on the downtown Detroit street circuit.

***Garcia said: “In a place like this where it’s almost impossible to pass, it’s really good to have track position. Maybe a ton of people roll the dice and the whole thing changes. We see these where the fastest car doesn’t always win. If everything falls as it should, it’ll be great to have a Corvette 1-2 around the RenCen.”

***Jonathan Diuguid returns to his ‘day job’ as managing director of Porsche Penske this weekend after serving as the Indianapolis 500 race-winning strategist for Josef Newgarden. Raul Prados, who engineers the GTP championship-leading No. 7 Porsche 963 of Felipe Nasr and Dane Cameron, was also part of Team Penske’s 20th Indy 500 victory last weekend, as Newgarden’s substitute engineer.

***Tandy coined the Indy 500 win as “Team IMSA” owing to Newgarden, who has been with the GTP team in selected Michelin Endurance Cup races, alongside Diuguid and Prados calling the shots in the race.

***A split pit lane will be utilized for the first time in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship history, with GTD Pro cars on the left side and GTP entries on the right. Of note, the penalty box, for all competitors, is located near pit-out on the right side. All pit boxes are a massive 37 feet in length.

***No Balance of Performance adjustments have been made to the GTD Pro class this weekend, marking the fourth consecutive GT race without any changes.

***BoP adjustments, however, have been made to the GTP class, with the most notable change being a 8 kg increase in minimum weight and 3 kW (4 horsepower) decrease for the Cadillac V-Series.R. The BMW M Hybrid V8 remains at 1030 kg but has received a 7 kW (9.3 hp) increase, with the Porsche 963 losing 1 kg of weight since the last round at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. No weight or power adjustments have been made to the Acura ARX-06, meanwhile.

***The minimum drive time in both GTP and GTD Pro is 10 minutes, unlike the other 100-minute race at Long Beach, which mandated just five minutes for each GTP driver.

***Tire allocations, however, remains unchanged from the other WeatherTech Championship street race, with GTP teams allowed four sets of the soft compound for the event, with a maximum of three to be utilized between qualifying and the race. GTD Pro teams are allocated four sets of Michelin’s Pilot Sport Pro GT H1 tire for the entire event, meanwhile.

***Reigning Nürburgring 24 overall winner Nicky Catsburg, who is in Detroit this weekend for his full-season GTD Pro commitments with Corvette Racing by Pratt Miller Motorsports, admitted that he has “big-time FOMO” this weekend. The Dutch driver was part of Frikadelli Racing’s historic victory in a Ferrari 296 GT3 last year.

***Catsburg told Sportscar365: “It massively hurts. But I must say that I do believe they will struggle this year to do it again with the Ferrari. The big German brands will try everything they can do not make that car win again. It was super cool to be part of that program last year. I just love that place. For me it’s the best race track in the world, by far, so it really sucks to not do it.”

***BMW M Team RLL drivers Connor De Phillippi, Nick Yelloly and Philipp Eng, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Renger van der Zande as well as AO Racing pilot Laurin Heinrich also contested the N24 in 2023 but were unable to return due to the clash between the two event this year.

***Joey Hand is the only driver in the entire 21-car/42-driver field with previous race experience of the 1.645-mile, 10-turn circuit, having taken part in last year’s Michelin Pilot Challenge GS-only race.

***The No. 77 AO Porsche 911 GT3 R, affectionally known as ‘Rexy’ is running with a gold tooth this weekend, in recognition of Heinrich Seb Priaulx’s class victory at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca last time out.

***The future of Anthony Mantella’s Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3.R remains “TBD” according to Corvette GT3 program manager Christie Bagne, who told Sportscar365: “It’s unfortunate that Mantella has parted ways with Corvette and AWA.” The car was listed for sale earlier this year after Mantella withdrew from WeatherTech Championship competition after only two races.

***Sportscar365 understands that AWA has kept on the majority of its crew despite being forced to downsize to a single-car GTD effort for the time being, with the hope of returning to a two-car operation at some stage. Orey Fidani currently leads the Bob Akin Bronze Cup standings entering the next GTD round of the season at Watkins Glen International.

***Former Mazda Motorsports director Mo Murray has been named the new CEO of Ligier Automotive North America. Murray had a brief stint as Vice President, Marketing & Commercial for NTT IndyCar Series team Arrow McLaren last year following his departure from Mazda North America.

***AMD has signed a multi-year agreement to become an IMSA ‘Proud Supplier.’ Under the agreement, AMD will provide its EPYC and Ryzen processors for servers and laptops, respectively, powering IMSA race control.

***Coverage of the Chevrolet Detroit Sports Car Classic will begin Saturday at 3 p.m. EDT on USA Network and Peacock, featuring the NBC Sports commentary team of Leigh Diffey and Calvin Fish in the booth and Marty Snider and Dillon Welch on pit lane.

***The IMSA Radio team of John Hindhaugh, Jeremy Shaw and Shea Adam will call the action for the 100-minute race, with the audio synced with video for international viewers on YouTube.

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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