Connect with us

WeatherTech Championship

Mid-Ohio Thursday Notebook

Ryan Myrehn’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship notebook from Mid-Ohio…

Photo: Ryan Myrehn

***IMSA has added further clarification to its refueling restrictor process for this weekend, with teams now required to declare its restrictor diameters by Saturday at 5 p.m. All fuel rigs will then be inspected and sealed by an IMSA official prior to warmup on Sunday morning.

***Teams have been allowed to select its own refueling restrictor size since Sebring, as part of a new procedure that sees an enforced full fuel load refueling time per class, in the wake of Montaplast by Land Motorsport’s controversial refueling advantage it had at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

***Several teams that had planned to test at Mid-Ohio last month had their session snowed out. The list includes CORE autosport, Porsche GT Team, and JDC-Miller Motorsports, although Acura Team Penske, which was also initially scheduled for the April 18-19 test, did eventually get some track time.

***CORE team owner/driver Jon Bennett married longtime girlfriend Sheri Helms on April 21.

***Bennett also announced his plans to take part in the Road to Le Mans event in June driving a Yvan Mueller Racing-entered Ligier JS P3 Nissan alongside Nic Jonsson, with an eye towards a debut in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2019. “Track time at Le Mans is scarce, but in high demand,” Bennett said. “Competing in the Road to Le Mans event will provide valuable experience for any future entry into the 24-hour race.”

***His longtime IMSA co-driver Colin Braun is also slated to take part in the annual event that serves as a prelude to the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans. Braun is set to partner with Naj Husain as part of United Autosports’ three-car lineup.

***Wayne Taylor Racing’s Rolex 24-winning Cadillac DPi-V.R is up for sale. The car, which completed the 2017 season, will be made available at year’s end. Wayne Taylor told Sportscar365 they now have three Cadillac DPis in their possession, having taken delivery of a new chassis during the off-season for spares and replacing its 2017 chassis with its previous spare car for this year.

***The original DeltaWing DWC13 Coupe is also for sale. Chassis No. 1, which took part in the majority of ALMS races, has been listed on for an undisclosed price. It is only one of three chassis built, with No. 2 destroyed in the 2016 Rolex 24 at Daytona and No. 3 currently in the Panoz Museum Collection.

***Meyer Shank Racing driver Alvaro Parente says he feels fine and is ready to race after a hard crash last weekend in Pirelli World Challenge competition at Virginia International Raceway. Parente and his co-driver Katherine Legge enter the weekend third in GT Daytona points, but the future of the No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 entry, which was initially scheduled for the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup races, is still uncertain outside of the NAEC races after this weekend.

***Juan Pablo Montoya returns to the site of his first-ever race in the U.S., having taken part in a Skip Barber Saab race at the Lexington, Ohio circuit in 1993. “I had been racing cars in Colombia for less than a year and we made the move,” Montoya told the Mansfield Journal. “We came here to check this out and decided to come to Mid-Ohio and I took the track for my first race. I actually got punted. But it was fun and a big surprise.”

***Mazda returns to the site of its first class victory in the American Le Mans Series, when Guy Cosmo and Jamie Bach took BK Motorsports’ Courage C65 Mazda to LMP2 class honors in 2005. Joest Racing, meanwhile, returns to the circuit for the first time since 2002, when Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro took an Audi R8 to overall honors.

***Several drivers are in the thick of the weekend clash between the season-opening round of the FIA World Endurance Championship in Spa-Francorchamps, with Harry Tincknell’s Ford commitments in the WEC taking priority over his drive with Mazda Team Joest. Renger van der Zande, however, has given priority to Wayne Taylor Racing and is missing the WEC round.

***Both van der Zande, who will drive DragonSpeed’s BR Engineering BR1 Gibson, and Tincknell, will remain with their commitments for the second and final IMSA Prototype/WEC clash of the year on the Motul Petit Le Mans/Fuji weekend.

***Ozz Negri has been tipped for his return to WeatherTech Championship competition, with the Brazilian believed to be in line for a drive in next month’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen in Spirit of Race’s Ferrari 488 GT3. Negri is due to test the car with Ferrari Challenge driver Francesco Piovanetti later this month.

***While absent this weekend, Montaplast by Land Motorsport is expected to return to action at Watkins Glen next month. The German squad is scheduled to test its Audi R8 LMS at the upstate New York circuit later this month with Christopher Mies and Sheldon van der Linde, a test that will also see JDC-Miller Motorsports and Spirit of Race in action.

**The No. 14 3GT Racing Lexus RC F GT3, with drivers Dominik Baumann and Kyle Marcelli, will sport new sponsorship logos representing the Allegheny Health Network’s Autoimmunity Institute, the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, Inc. (AARDA) and the Race for RP (relapsing polychondritis) this weekend. Marcelli has been an ambassador for AARDA since 2016 and wears the logo on his helmet.

***Jordan Taylor’s alter ego, Rodney Sandstorm, crashed last weekend’s NASCAR race at Talladega. Sandstorm made multiple appearances, including on the FOX Sports pre-race show, where the 90’s-era super fan had his shoe autographed by Jeff Gordon. A baffled Darrell Waltrip, meanwhile, called for security on network television.

***The latest issue of the Michelin Racing USA trackside publication has been released, highlighting BMW Team RLL. It includes feature stories on BMW’s new M8 GTE, the emergence of John Edwards and Alexander Sims, a look at Connor De Phillippi and Jesse Krohn, BMW’s new kids on the block, as well as the newly-named BMW of North America ambassador Bill Auberlen. Click Here to download the issue.

John Dagys contributed to this report.

Ryan Myrehn is an Indianapolis-based broadcaster and reporter. In addition to his work covering primarily domestic sports car racing for Sportscar365, he is the lead announcer for SRO America's TV coverage as well as a pit reporter for IndyCar Radio. Myrehn, a graduate of DePauw University, is also the host of Sportscar365's “Double Stint” Podcast.


More in WeatherTech Championship