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Long Beach IMSA Friday Notebook

John Dagys’ Friday IMSA notebook from Long Beach…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

***The No. 14 3GT Racing Lexus RC F GT3 is expected to start tomorrow’s Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach, despite missing qualifying due to a heavy accident by Scott Pruett in opening practice. The car, which sustained minor chassis damage, was repaired in the paddock and is deemed safe to race, team principal Paul Gentiozzi told Sportscar365.

***Visit Florida Racing, which also had an accident in practice, wasn’t as fortunate, as the Troy Flis-led squad packed up early after tub damage sustained to its Riley Mk. 30 Gibson. Renger van der Zande slammed into the Turn 1 wall after having brake issues, which have yet to be fully diagnosed, according to the team.

***Despite both having spare tubs, Visit Florida and fellow Riley squad Mazda elected not to bring them to California.

***SpeedSource’s Sylvain Tremblay told Sportscar365 they’ve been in discussion with Visit Florida regarding the No. 90 car’s brake issue but have not experienced any problems so far this weekend. Additional brake ducts were opened up on the cars between practice sessions due to excessive heat, which is typical for street circuits.

***A number of other cars had run-in with the walls on Friday, including Patrick Pilet’s No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR, which missed qualifying due to left-rear damage sustained in second practice and left the CORE autosport-run team virtually no time for repairs.

***Andy Lally, meanwhile, also brushed the wall in Practice 2, but his No. 93 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 managed to qualify eighth in class after repairs were made on pit lane.

***The No. 67 Ford GT of Richard Westbrook, which lost its wing and rear bodywork in qualifying, underwent an engine change in the seven-hour break between practice sessions. Westbrook will roll off from eighth on the grid in GTLM.

***IMSA’s newly mandated gear stack for the Cadillac DPi-V.Rs have resulted in the cars running at the idle RPM through the hairpin, according to Jordan and Ricky Taylor. “It feels like you’re about to stall the car,” Jordan Taylor said.

***Wayne Taylor Racing is without technical director Brian Pillar this weekend, due to a stomach ailment that has Pillar placed on a liquid diet and travel restriction. Adam Banet, who missed the Rolex 24 at Daytona due to the birth of his child, has assumed Pillar’s at-track duties.

***Pole-sitter Ricky Taylor predicts a challenging race, in terms of traffic and strategy. “Prototypes have to do two stops unless you get lucky or do some crazy fuel saving,” he told Sportscar365. “The GTs are doing one. So there’s a really strong likelihood that a yellow’s going to come out… Prototype are going to pit, GTs are going to be leading and there’s going to be a prototype fight behind the entire GT field. That could very well happen.”

***Bryan Sellers, who claimed GT Daytona class pole, is one of two drivers pulling double duty between the WeatherTech Championship and Pirelli World Challenge races here this weekend, along with Ryan Dalziel. “I literally got out of one and into the other and it feels like you’re not even in a GT3 car, from the Lamborghini to the McLaren,” Sellers told Sportscar365.

***WeatherTech Championship teams are permitted up to seven sets of tires this weekend, with Continental having brought more than 1,250 tires to Long Beach to fulfill the Prototype and GT Daytona classes. It is the least amount of tires the manufacturer will being to an IMSA race this year.

***A number of teams are set to test at Circuit of The Americas next week, including BMW Team RLL, Ford Chip Ganassi Racing, Tequila Patron ESM, PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports, 3GT Racing and Lone Star Racing, with Mazda, Michael Shank Racing and Stevenson Motorsports set to test at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

***Be sure to download Andy Blackmore’s Spotter’s Guide for the 100-minute street race. Click Here to view.

***FOX will have live coverage of tomorrow’s race, beginning at 4 p.m. ET., with coverage in Europe set for 9 p.m. BST, with commentary from Mark Cole. French, German, Dutch, Spanish and Greek audiences can see it from 10 p.m. CET. All WeatherTech Championship races will be carried live on the newly rebranded channel.

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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