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Laguna Seca Friday Notebook

John Dagys’ Friday notebook from WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca…

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

***IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship teams battled unseasonably high temperatures on Friday, with ambient temps reaching 93 degrees Fahrenheit  track temps in excess of 110 degrees, according to Michelin.

***GT Daytona class entries will now be eligible for all 12 WeatherTech Championship events in 2020, following Friday’s news that Long Beach has become a round of the WeatherTech Sprint Cup. The move is believed to be supported by both Acura and Lexus, which had initially pushed for the inclusion of the GTD class to Long Beach in 2017.

***Additional Balance of Performance changes are possible prior to next month’s season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans, according IMSA technical chief Geoff Carter, who confirmed that the two-race rolling average will still be at play heading into the ten-hour enduro.

***PPM is set to return for Petit Le Mans, with its Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo for Brandon Gdovic, Don Yount and a third, yet-to-be-announced driver. 

***A number of GTD teams have yet to confirm 2020 programs, some of which are dependent on the confirmation of driver ratings by the FIA and subsequent possible rating revisions by IMSA. Among the teams to potentially be affected include Meyer Shank Racing, Pfaff Motorsports and Paul Miller Racing.

***Madison Snow, who recently tested with Paul Miller, is on-site this weekend. The 23-year-old retired from racing last year after his driver rating was adjusted from Silver to Gold rating by IMSA.

***Both of CORE autosport’s Nissan DPis are up for sale according to team owner Jon Bennett, who confirmed the sale of its two Oreca 07 Gibsons to teams in Europe, one of which being IDEC Sport.

***Bennett told Sportscar365 that he has no current racing plans but would not rule out returning to the wheel in a different racing discipline in the future. Next month’s Motul Petit Le Mans will mark the owner/driver’s final race, having elected to retire from top-level competition.

***Rick Ware Racing has reportedly purchased the ex-BAR1 Riley Mk. 30 LMP2 car for a planned WeatherTech Championship program for next year. The North Carolina-based team is set to make its prototype debut in the 2019-20 Asian Le Mans Series with a pair of Ligier JS P2 Nissans run by Eurointernational. 

***It’s unclear if the Antonio Ferrari-run operation will also assist the longtime NASCAR team in the WeatherTech Championship next year.

***Sportscar365 has learned that the LMP2 class could see a Bronze driver mandate next year, following a push from several competitors. Each car currently requires at least one Bronze or Silver-rated driver.

***IMSA held its latest DPi 2022 steering group meeting earlier this week in Daytona, with nearly 40 people again in attendance. It’s understood ten manufacturers are currently involved in shaping the regulations, which are due to be finalized by early next year at the latest.

***Corvette Racing is set to unveil its mid-engined C8.R at Motul Petit Le Mans. Sportscar365 understands the car is set to run a normally aspirated flat-crank engine, despite the initial belief of a move to a turbocharged powerplant.

***While Riley Motorsports has been the first, and only GT Daytona class team to announce plans to enter the Michelin IMSA SportsCar Encore, it’s understood there are at least three other GT3 cars already committed to the Nov. 9-10 race at Sebring International Raceway.

***Five teams: Team Penske, Chip Ganassi Racing, Meyer Shank Racing, Vasser Sullivan and Moorespeed, have entries on both ends of the Monterey Speed Week, which sees the NTT IndyCar Series close out its season next weekend.

***Moorespeed is the only non-IndyCar entrant, with the Texas-based team fielding three cars in next weekend’s Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama.

***Lexus has a significant presence here this weekend as the official luxury vehicle of Laguna Seca. As part of the partnership, the Lexus GS F will serve as the pace car for Sunday’s race and the manufacturer has support vehicles throughout the facility.

***The brand has additional trackside activation in celebration of its 30th anniversary this month, including the Lexus Racing Experience (LRE) display featuring Lexus F performance vehicles and interactive experiences, as well as a 2012 Lexus LFA that is on display. 

***Scott Pruett will serve as the grand marshal for Sunday’s two-hour and 40-minute race. Pruett is the winningest driver in IMSA history with 60 victories, including 22 wins in a Lexus-powered prototype for Chip Ganassi Racing from 2004 to 2009. 

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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