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Monterey Friday Notebook

Tony DiZinno’s Friday notebook from Monterey…

Photo: Tony DiZinno

Photo: Tony DiZinno

***SpeedSource Mazda’s Friday didn’t go entirely according to plan, with the No. 07 car some 2.4 seconds off Ozz Negri’s session-leading time in first practice and the No. 70 car sitting out the second due to an engine change.

***On the heels of its announcement that it would be running an Audi R8 LMS in selected GTD races later this year, Karl Thomson confirmed to Sportscar365 the team is planning its first test at Sonoma later this month, in a little more than two weeks.

***The new Lamborghini Huracán GT3 is on display in the paddock at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca this weekend, highlighting the car display at Lamborghini hospitality. The Huracán GT3, which currently competes in the Blancpain Endurance Series, is the first GT3 car fully engineered, developed and assembled internally by Lamborghini, with assistance from its valued partners.

***The Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 GT3, the winning car in GT Daytona last year, is running 45 kg heavier compared to last year at this race. It’s been a roller coaster ride for the team from a BoP standpoint this year, as this race the BMW got a 25 kg minimum weight reduction, but got its 19 mm single air restrictor increase back after losing that amount going into Sebring.

***One of the interesting elements to watch on Saturday will be which drivers qualify in PC and GTD, as this marks the first “standard length” two-hour and 40-minute race this season where it will behoove those teams to have their gentlemen drivers qualify. IMSA instituted a new rule before the season whereby qualifying drivers would start the race, but most pro drivers qualified at the Daytona and Sebring endurance races.

***On that front, TRG-AMR driver Christina Nielsen made a valid point about how this may be a better ordering system for the Silver or Bronze-rated drivers. “Honestly from IMSA’s perspective it was a really good move, because you avoid the problems of having really good drivers qualify really close, and then suddenly you find a slow Silver driver in front of three other Silver drivers that might be faster than that person. So I think this is a really good solution,” she told Sportscar365.

***This will be a busy weekend for FOX Sports, with coverage of both the FIA World Endurance Championship Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps and TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix Powered by Mazda televised in their entirety. Saturday’s FIA WEC race is expected to feature several promotional ads for the TUDOR Championship race on Sunday.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno) is Sportscar365's North American Editor, focusing on coverage of the IMSA-sanctioned championships as well as Pirelli World Challenge. DiZinno also contributes to and other motorsports outlets. Contact Tony

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