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Long Beach Thursday Notebook

John Dagys’ first IMSA notebook from the weekend at Long Beach…

Photo: John Dagys

***Jordan Taylor is planning to drive in this weekend’s Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix of Long Beach despite recently undergoing a medical procedure while on vacation in Hawaii. Sportscar365 understands that Taylor, who currently leads the IMSA Prototype championship points standings, is due to arrive in LA tonight and will likely attempt to drive the team’s Cadillac DPi-V.R tomorrow morning.

***It’s understood that Kamui Kobayashi, who teamed with Taylor, Renger van der Zande and Fernando Alonso for victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, is on standby this weekend should Taylor not be able to drive.

***The minimum drive time to score points in Saturday’s 100-minute race is just five minutes, which is believed to have factored into the team’s decision to attempt to keep Taylor in the lineup.

***Joey Hand, who has been ruled out of this weekend’s race due to a “flu-like illness” is resting at his home near Sacramento, according to co-driver Dirk Mueller, who will instead team with Sebastien Bourdais on Saturday. Mueller told Sportscar365 that Hand came down with a virus while at last week’s media day for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

***It will mark the first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race since 2014 that Hand will miss.

***Kyle Kaiser, who is set for his second start of the year in the No. 50 Juncos Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R, told Sportscar365 that it is currently a one-race deal. Kaiser has previous experience of the circuit in NTT IndyCar Series competition last year, with Juncos, as well as in Indy Lights in 2015.

***Incidentally, the Ricardo Juncos-led team is not pulling double duty this weekend as it is not fielding an IndyCar, while Indy Lights is not in action this weekend.

***Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan has referred to Long Beach as a “racing roulette wheel” owing to the unpredictable nature of the race that has seen Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner claim GT Le Mans class honors the last two years, including benefitting from a final-corner pileup in 2017.

***Long Beach is Michelin’s “lightest” weekend of the year, according to Michelin Motorsports North America technical director Ken Payne, who told Sportscar365 they’ve brought roughly 1,000 tires this weekend for the 19-car DPi/GTLM field.

***The pair of Porsche 911 RSRs return to its traditional red and white ‘crest’ livery for the first time in WeatherTech Championship competition since Laguna Seca last year. The cars sported retro paint schemes at the Motul Petit Le Mans (1998 Porsche 911 GT1 98) as well as at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring (Brumos Tribute).

***Porsche factory driver Patrick Long will be on IMSA Radio’s commentary team this weekend, alongside John Hindhaugh and Jermey Shaw in the booth, while also making an appearance during Sunday’s Pirelli GT4 America Sprint broadcast on CBS Sports Network.

***In honor of Acura’s new title sponsorship of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, Meyer Shank Racing’s Dallara-Honda IndyCar, driven by Jack Harvey, will carry Acura branding, marking the first Indy car in Acura colors since 1994.

***While not competing in IMSA this weekend’s DPi/GTLM-only race, the No. 57 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo is on display in the convention center atrium along with several other historical Acura Motorsports machines.

***It’s another busy weekend for Team Penske, which will be taking part in six races in five series with a total of 13 drivers. It includes Monster Energy NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series races at Richmond International Raceway, Virgin Australia Supercars at Phillip Island as well as the NTT IndyCar Series and WeatherTech Championship races at Long Beach.

***An estimated 160 crew will be on hand between Penske’s various racing efforts this weekend.

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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