***Risi Competizione is giving its Le Mans Ferrari 488 GTE chassis its North American debut this weekend. The Houston-based team elected to switch to the rebuilt chassis following last month’s round at Virginia International Raceway.
***Both Giuseppe Risi and IMSA Race Director Beaux Barfield were among those in the IMSA paddock hit the hardest by Hurricane Harvey. While Risi’s dealerships escaped serious damage, both his and Barfield’s Houston homes were heavily flooded. A number of people from the racing community have lent a helping hand in rebuilding Barfield’s home, which was emerged in chest-deep water.
***Members of the IMSA paddock were also affected by Hurricane Irma, which hit the Florida coast two weeks after Harvey devastated parts of Texas. While most escaped serious damage, many people’s homes were without power until earlier this week.
***Stevenson Motorsports has placed all of its equipment up for sale, including both of its Audi R8 LMS cars and pair of Camaro GT4.Rs, one which hasn’t yet turned a wheel.
***Team manager Mike Johnson told Sportscar365 he’s hoping to keep the core team intact for a potential new owner or team principal, although admitted that time is running out to make it happen before the crew starts looking for new jobs.
***While the team’s Camaro GT4 program has come to an immediate end, its Audi GTD effort will continue for the rest of the season, with Lawson Aschenbach and Andrew Davis, due to a contractual obligation with Audi.
***Visit Florida Racing will not have Rene Rast as its third driver for next month’s Motul Petit Le Mans, with the Audi DTM ace set to concentrate on his title hopes in the touring car series. Team owner Troy Flis told Sportscar365 they plan to announce its replacement driver early next week.
***Flis said the Ligier JS P217 Gibson, which it is currently leasing from Onroak Automotive, remains the leading car option for next year, with Flis having met with Onroak today to discuss the French constructor’s plan for its “joker” update.
***It’s understood both Onroak and Dallara will opt for the permitted one-time update for next year, although Dallara’s update is rumored to only be applied to its low-downforce Le Mans aero kit. Multimatic, meanwhile, is believed to have received dispensation to re-homologate its Riley Mk. 30 LMP2 chassis.
***Flis admitted its driver lineup could see changes for next year, with discussions underway with funded drivers, due to an expected budget shortfall. Visit Florida’s future with the team has not yet been determined, in the wake of changes in the company’s sponsorship programs.
***Newly crowned Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden holds a link with Nick Tandy, having driven for Joe Tandy Racing in British Formula Ford in 2008-09, including through his Team USA Scholarship. Nick’s younger brother tragically passed away in a car accident in 2009, which has seen Nick take over operation of the UK-based team since.
***Ferrari continues its 70th anniversary celebrations this weekend, with the Prancing Horse having been the first manufacturer to win at Laguna Seca. Ferraris finished 1st and 2nd in the first sports car race held at the circuit on Oct. 11, 1957, won by the Ferrari 500 TR of Pete Lovely.
***Porsche, another brand synonymous to success at Laguna Seca, has 27 class victories at the famed Californian circuit, the first also coming in the facility’s first year of operation. Sam Weiss drove a Porsche 550 RS Spyder to victory in SCCA competition in 1957, with Mario Farnbacher and Alex Riberas’ GT Daytona class win here last year being the most recent.
***The German manufacturer recently announced that the Porsche Rennsport Reunion VI will take place at Laguna Seca on Sept. 27-30, 2018. The four-day program of on-track competition will be complemented by a Concours d’Elegance, which is open to invited race participants.
***Continental has brought more than 2,750 tires to Laguna Seca this weekend for both WeatherTech Championship and Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge competition.