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Mid-Ohio Friday Notebook

John Dagys’ Friday notebook from Acura Sports Car Challenge weekend…

Photo: John Dagys

***This weekend’s 24-car field for the Acura Sports Car Challenge is the lowest in series’ history for a three-class race. It comes following with withdrawals of the two factory Porsche 911 RSR-19s and Scuderia Corsa’s Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020.

***LMP2 cars are not racing this weekend, with its next eligible round coming in next month’s Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

***With the WeatherTech-sponsored Ferrari having withdrawn this weekend, it marks the first time that the Italian manufacturer has not been present in the GT Daytona class since the inception of the WeatherTech Championship in 2014 and the first IMSA race Scuderia Corsa has missed since joining Grand-Am in 2012.

***Porsche’s withdrawal from Mid-Ohio ends a 71-race consecutive streak of participation in GTLM, dating back to the 2014 Rolex 24 at Daytona. The German manufacturer announced earlier this year it would be ending its factory effort at the conclusion of the season.

***Porsche remains the only manufacturer to have entered every IMSA sports car race in history, thanks this weekend to its customer GTD effort from Wright Motorsports, which currently sits fourth in the teams’ championship entering this weekend.

***A number of drivers are coming off last weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, including Harry Tincknell, who claimed GTE-Pro class honors in a factory Aston Martin Vantage GTE. Tincknell was the only full-season IMSA driver to score a podium finish in this year’s postponed French endurance classic.

***Patrick Long, who ended his 16-year consecutive run of participations at Le Mans, said it felt “a little odd” not being at the event, having been in attendance in 19 of the last 21 years. “Personally it didn’t feel like the normal Le Mans,” he said. “I tuned in for 30-40 minutes and it had kind of a sleepy feel to it. But that’s 2020 in a nutshell.”

***Corvette Racing was the other notable American absentee this year, ending a 20-year run for the Pratt & Miller-run team and 19 consecutive appearances by Oliver Gavin.

***This weekend marks Tincknell’s Mid-Ohio debut after missing the race the last two years due to it clashing with the FIA World Endurance Championship round at Spa-Francorchamps. The Englishman completed time in Multimatic’s simulator in Detroit prior to his arrival on Friday.

***Mazda Motorsports director Nelson Cosgrove revealed the No. 77 Mazda RT24-P had two unrelated issues in the race at Road Atlanta, with the car having sustained a broken oil line due to a suspected vibration as well as a broken rear brake quick-disconnect fitting at the bell-housing.

***Cosgrove said both failures have been analyzed and corrected ahead of this weekend.

***Team Hardpoint is set for a busy next few months, with five races over the next six weeks, including three endurance races at Indianapolis (8 Hours), Motul Petit Le Mans (10 Hours) and Sebring (12 Hours). The two Michelin Endurance Cup races were recently added to the team’s program.

***Will Bamber, brother of defending GTLM champion Earl, is now serving as team manager at Hardpoint. The Kiwi, a co-owner in Earl Bamber Motorsport, arrived in the U.S. ahead of the Road America round looking at possible options for 2021.

***Nearly every GTLM and GTD team recently took part in a two-day test at Charlotte Motor Speedway, in preparation for next month’s 100-minute GT-only race on the ‘Roval.’ Each manufacturer was permitted to nominate one car, which didn’t count towards the testing limitations due to the late addition of the event.

***Sportscar365 understands that one of the factory Porsches had a heavy accident on the opening day of the test, with its second car, rolled out as a backup car, also hitting the wall on Day 2 but with less damage.

***Open-wheel rising star Kyle Kirkwood reportedly tested for AIM Vasser Sullivan at Charlotte, with the Silver-rated driver potentially in line for a seat within the team’s two Lexus RC F GT3s for the remaining Endurance Cup rounds.

***Up to 7,000 fans are expected to be permitted to attend the Charlotte Roval event, which will be held following the NASCAR Xfinity Series race on Sat. Oct. 10. North Carolina state Governor Roy Cooper stated this week that outdoor sports venues with a capacity in excess of 10,000 could have up to 7 percent capacity allowances.

***Rice Lake Weighing Systems has increased its support of Aaron Telitz in coming on board as the primary sponsor of the No. 14 AVS Lexus for the next two rounds. 

***Telitz returns to the car this weekend after driving the No. 12 Lexus at Road Atlanta, which has resulted in the Wisconsin native now two points ahead of Jack Hawksworth, in what Telitz has described as a “weird flip flop of points”.

***Hawksworth, who has now effectively been ruled out of winning the GTD championship should he and Telitz be paired together for the rest of the season, indicated in a pre-event Zoom call that he’s unfazed by the situation. 

***Friday’s opening practice had marked the Chevrolet Corvette C8.R’s first laps of Mid-Ohio, as unlike the previous seven IMSA events, Corvette Racing had not tested its mid-engined GTE car at the highly technical 2.528-mile, 13-turn circuit.

***Prospective Porsche Carrera Cup North America customers received a preview of the next-generation 992-based Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car during an event hosted by Porsche Motorsport North America on Thursday evening.

***Porsche’s new premier single-make series was officially announced on Friday and has already received significant interest from teams in the IMSA paddock.

***Road Atlanta co-founder Earl Walker will serve as grand marshal at the 23rd Annual Motul Petit Le Mans. BMW, meanwhile, was announced as the official pace and safety car provider for the Oct. 14-17 event at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

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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