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Lime Rock Friday Notebook

Sportscar365’s notebook after opening day of track action at Lime Rock Park…

Photo: Brian Cleary/BCPix.com

***Oliver Gavin played a role in recent development of the newly launched Corvette C8 Stingray, having completed tests with the production car at the Nürburgring in recent weeks. “It was great to be part of that entire operation and to work with that team at such a challenging track,” Gavin said. “I got a lot of enjoyment and pleasure in driving the Stingray and working with the team.”

***Details on the Pratt & Miller-built GTE car have not yet been released, although a teaser video was shown during the end of Thursday evening’s launch in California. 

***Magnus Racing received special dispensation from IMSA to change the car number of its Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo from its traditional No. 44 to 11, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. The car is sporting a special livery adapted to mimic the Saturn V rocket.

***Team owner/driver John Potter told IMSA Radio it was his wife’s idea to create the special livery after realizing the landing’s anniversary falls exactly on race day tomorrow.

***Lime Rock is expected to mark the final race for Ford Chip Ganassi Racing’s Le Mans liveries, with the No. 67 Ford GT expected to revert to its traditional red-white-and-blue design for the remainder of the season.

***The future of Team Penske’s involvement in the WeatherTech Championship beyond 2020 has been an ongoing topic of debate. Sportscar365 understands that several existing IMSA teams have held discussions with Honda Performance Development on the potential supply of Acura ARX-05 DPis for the 2021 season. 

***Its understood Penske’s contract with Acura and HPD is through the end of the 2020 season.

***GTLM competitors have up to ten sets of tires to utilize this weekend, with GTD teams limited to only six sets of Michelin Pilot Sport GT S9M commercial tires. As was the case at Lime Rock last year, GTLM teams are expected to “mix-and-match” between three different compounds with the confidential supply of tires.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see GTLM teams take advantage of the multiple compounds they have and doing ‘mix-and-match’ between corners of the car,” said Michelin North America motorsports technical director Ken Payne. “In other classes, it wouldn’t surprise me if they’re hard on rears and just change the rears, or perhaps just a left corner.”

***Graduates of the BMW Service Technician Education Program (STEP) and a U.S. Marine veteran from the BMW Military Service Technician Education Program (MSTEP) are serving as support crew members for BMW Team RLL this weekend.

***STEP graduates Bretton Setzefpandt (Motowerks, Bloomington, MN), Sergei Pnchyschyn (BMW of Omaha, Omaha NE) and David Graves (BMW of Watertown, Watertown, CT) have joined U.S. Marine MSTEP graduate Isaiah Garcia (BMW of Murrietta, Murrietta, CA) in the team after having recently completed a 16-week technician training course with BMW.

***BMW has yet to decide on whether it will return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans for a one-off run with its North American-based partner, amid the German manufacturer’s exit from FIA World Endurance Championship competition. While expected to continue operating the cars in the WeatherTech Championship, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s contract with BMW is up for renewal at the end of this year.

***Cooper MacNeil recently completed a test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in a Ferrari Challenge car ahead of the IMSA-sanctioned single-make series’ return to the famed circuit next weekend for the first time since 2002 when the series supported the Formula 1 race.

***Tickets for the 58th annual Rolex 24 at Daytona will go on sale on Thursday. The 2020 WeatherTech Championship season-opener is set for Jan. 25-26, with the full series schedule set to be released next month at Road America during IMSA’s ‘State of the Series’ address.

***NBC Sports has its busiest weekend of the year for motorsports programming, with NASCAR, IndyCar and Pro Motocross all in action in addition to WeatherTech Championship action, adding up to more than 46 hours of coverage.

***It’s resulted in a shuffled TV talent lineup for the IMSA broadcast, with Calvin Fish being joined in the booth by NASCAR lead race announcer Rick Allen and Jon Beekhuis, who normally serves as a pit lane reporter. Brian Till and Parker Kligerman will serve as pit reporters for Saturday’s broadcast.

***A.J. Allmendinger, who is normally in the IMSA booth, will be filling in for Townsend Bell in Iowa, due to Bell’s racing commitments with AIM Vasser Sullivan at Lime Rock. Bell currently sits second in the GTD title race alongside co-driver Frankie Montecalvo in their No. 12 Lexus RC F GT3.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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