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Lime Rock Thursday Notebook

Sportscar365’s Thursday notebook ahead of this weekend’s Northeast Grand Prix…

Photo: Michelin

***A total of 21 entries are set for Saturday’s Northeast Grand Prix, in the first of two GT-only IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races this season. 

***While on the entry list, Starworks Motorsport has not made the trip to Lime Rock Park as it continues to diagnose performance-related issues to its Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo that forced the team’s withdrawal from the last event at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

***Lime Rock marks the second consecutive WeatherTech Championship race without a GT Daytona-class Audi on the grid, with Moorespeed also having elected to skip the race in the wake of Will Hardeman’s accident at Watkins Glen.

***Lone Star Racing, which has entered all IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup races to date with its Mercedes-AMG GT3, had never planned to contest the Lime Rock round, with Road America and Virginia International Raceway the only two races remaining on its partial-season program.

***No Balance of Performance adjustments have been made to the GT Le Mans class, despite Porsche’s continued streak of success. The German manufacturer will be seeking a record-extending sixth consecutive class win on Saturday.

***The CORE autosport-run Porsche 911 RSRs have returned to the familiar white, red and black “Porsche crest” livery. The last time the cars ran the international corporate race colors was at Mid-Ohio.

***The CTMP GTD class-winning Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 has been pegged this weekend, with a turbo boost reduction in the range of 12 horsepower. The Bill Auberlen and Robby Foley-driven car has also been given a 2-liter decrease in fuel capacity. Reductions in minimum weight, meanwhile have been handed to the Ferrari 488 GT3 (-10 kg) and Porsche 911 GT3 R (-5 kg).

***Paul Miller Racing has re-tubbed its Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo following Ryan Hardwick’s weekend-ending accident at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park earlier this month. While the team initially considered using its spare car, a decision was made to rebuild the No. 48 car around a new chassis.

***Hardwick, meanwhile, has been ruled out of this weekend’s race due to a knee injury sustained in the accident, with Corey Lewis set to team up with Sellers.

***Lamborghini has gone through a number of Huracan GT3 Evo chassis in recent weeks, with three cars also written-off during the Spa Test Days.

***As expected, Marcel Fassler will again sub for Tommy Milner in the No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, with Milner still recovering from a broken hand following his crash at Watkins Glen. Lime Rock Park will mark another new track for the Swiss driver. “It’s a different type track than any other at which I’ve competed,” he said. “Things will happen very quickly on such a short lap. So this will be another new challenge.”

***The Pratt & Miller-run squad, which is still seeking its 100th victory in IMSA competition, returns to the site of its 100th class win in program history, coming three years ago.

***The 2020 Corvette Stingray production car will be formally unveiled at 10:30 p.m. EDT in Orange County, Calif. News on the race car, which has been testing for more than a year, is not expected to come at tonight’s launch.

***In an odd twist, Porsche Young Professionals Matt Campbell and Dennis Olsen will be swapping rides for the next race at Road America, due to the timing around Wright Motorsports and Pfaff Motorsports’ driver-related decisions.

***Campbell is in the No. 91 Wright Porsche 911 GT3 R this weekend, with Olsen taking Scott Hargrove’s seat in the No. 9 Pfaff entry. A previous commitment, which has since been sorted, initially prevented the 24-year-old Australian from doing Road America with Wright.

***Instead, Campbell will be in the Pfaff Porsche for Road America, with Olsen moving to the Wright entry alongside Anthony Imperato, who is contesting both races in the No. 91 Porsche.

***Wright’s return to WeatherTech Championship competition is understood to only be for a two-race program, which fits into the middle of a nearly three-month gap in the Blancpain GT World Challenge America schedule. A team spokesperson told Sportscar365 that the aim of the program is to give Imperato more endurance racing experience.

***Pascal Zurlinden, Porsche’s director for GT factory motorsports, has been tipped to become the new Head of Porsche Motorsport. Zurlinden, who attended last weekend’s New York City E-Prix in New York in advance of Porsche’s entry into the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, would replace Fritz Enzinger, who has been in the position on an interim basis since Dr. Frank Steffen Walliser’s promotion to head of the 911 and 718 model lines late last year.

***Toni Vilander has become a partner in a Ferrari dealership in his native Finland. The 38-year-old, who joined the Italian manufacturer as a factory driver in 2005, says his time with Ferrari has been the “best time” of his career.

***Sam Posey and Skip Barber were recognized this afternoon for their contributions to IMSA and sports car racing, in celebration of IMSA’s 50th anniversary.

***The compact two-day event sees three WeatherTech Championship practice sessions on tap for Friday, followed by qualifying on Saturday morning prior to the race start at 3:10 p.m. EDT. Live streaming coverage will be available on the NBC Sports App, as well as IMSA Radio, with NBCSN airing same-day coverage beginning at at 9:30 p.m.

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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