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Laguna Seca Thursday Notebook

John Dagys’ Thursday notebook from WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca…

Photo: John Dagys

***Max Angelelli has been diagnosed with colon cancer, with the two-time Rolex 24 at Daytona winner and Wayne Taylor Racing co-owner having undergone surgery on Monday at the University of Pisa in Italy. The 52-year-old Italian will miss this weekend’s event as a result, although it’s understood his prognosis is good.

***WTR’s Cadillac DPi-V.R will be carrying a Max “The Ax” sticker this weekend.

***A total of 32 cars are set for the penultimate round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, featuring several driver changes since the most recent rounds at Virginia International Raceway (GT only) and Road America.

***Christina Nielsen is back in the No. 57 Caterpillar-sponsored Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo after missing VIR due to her Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli commitments at Suzuka, where she claimed GT3 Pro-Am class honors in a Strakka Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3.

***Scott Hargrove is in the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R for the second consecutive race, despite an initial entry list released by IMSA listing Porsche Young Professional Matt Campbell as Zach Robichon’s co-driver for this weekend. It turned out to be an error by the sanctioning body.

***Dalton Kellett has returned to the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca 07 Gibson, while Kyle Masson is back in the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Oreca after a one-off outing by James French at Road America. 

***French was also inaccurately listed on the initial entry list for this weekend, with team principal Brent O’Neill confirming to Sportscar365 that Masson will be back in the car.

***PR1/Mathiasen’s Matt McMurry heads into the weekend with a five-point lead over Cameron Cassels of Performance Tech, in the closest points battle of the four classes.

***While missing its second consecutive DPi race due to the aftermath and financial implications of Victor Franzoni’s accident at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Juncos Racing is set to return to action for next month’s season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans. The team’s future in IMSA competition for 2020, however, remains unclear.

***Multimatic completed a two-day endurance test with its European-based Mazda RT24-P at Motorland Aragon earlier this week. Olivier Pla, Andy Priaulx, Stefan Muecke and Harrison Newey were among the drivers to take part in the test, which was to prove the car’s durability, according to Multimatic’s Stephen Charsley.

***The test was exempt from IMSA’s testing restrictions as it was a car that doesn’t compete in the WeatherTech Championship. It’s understood the sanctioning body regulates testing by the entered car/chassis only and not the team or manufacturer itself. 

***While the 2020 program for Whelen Engineering Racing’s Cadillac DPi-V.R was announced earlier this week, Sportscar365 understands that Action Express Racing’s second Cadillac is still yet-to-be-confirmed, with the team yet to secure a full sponsorship package for the season.

***Porsche is set to run throwback liveries on its pair of factory 911 RSRs at Motul Petit Le Mans in celebration of IMSA’s 50th anniversary. Sportscar365 understands that it will include a link-up with a major multi-national company that had previously sponsored Porsche race cars in IMSA competition.

***The pair of CORE autosport-run entries started the season off with Brumos Racing-inspired liveries that were also present at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, prior to reverting to the traditional design in recent races.

***Laguna Seca is Acura’s most successful track on the WeatherTech Championship calendar, with 14 class wins achieved from IMSA competition dating back to 1992, when Wayne Taylor and Ruggero Melgrati took their Comptech Acura Spice SE90P to the Camel Lights victory.

***Meyer Shank Racing’s Katherine Legge and Alvaro Parente claimed GT Daytona class honors here last year in their Acura NSX GT3.

***Felipe Nasr recently took all-new Cadillac XT6 on a two-week road trip through California and Las Vegas with friends, making multiple stops at iconic sites along the coast. “The XT6 it’s a phenomenal SUV, it was very comfortable for our entire crew and very spacious too,” he said. “The rear-view mirror camera is stunning too, just like in my Cadillac prototype. It was perfect for a road trip like this one!”

***The FIA has set a Sept. 15 deadline for drivers wishing to submit request for review of their driver rating for 2020. An initial list is expected to be published in October/November ahead of a finalized version by the end of the year.

***As was the case this year, IMSA reserves the right to make adjustments to driver ratings for its championships that supersedes the FIA’s rating. Madison Snow and Sheldon van der Linde were among the notable drivers that had ratings adjusted by IMSA for the 2019 season.

***Multiple GoFundMe pages have been set up for NBC Sports and IMSA Radio’s Brian Till, who has recently been diagnosed with throat cancer. The former driver-turned broadcaster is set to begin treatment shortly with the goal of returning to the booth, and/or pit lane, for January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona. More than $40,000 has been raised between the two pages. Click Here to donate.

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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