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Monterey Pre-Race Notebook

Tony DiZinno’s pre-race notebook from Monterey…



***Sunday morning’s 20-minute warmup session was uneventful. Ozz Negri again topped the timesheets at 1:19.065 in the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier JS P2 Honda. Other class leaders included Tom Kimber-Smith (PC), John Edwards (GTLM) and James Davison (GTD). Warmup results are linked here.

***Corvette Racing is going for its fourth straight win at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca today. Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia have won each of the last two years with Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner winning in 2012. Gavin and Milner have not won any event since Mosport 2013.

***Action Express Racing’s Dane Cameron seeks his third Mazda Raceway win in four years, spanning several cars and categories. He took the last win for the Mazda RX-8 for Team Sahlen in the 2012 GRAND-AM Rolex Series GT class, and won a year ago in GT Daytona in the No. 94 Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 GT3 co-driving with Markus Palttala. He and co-driver Eric Curran line up from seventh in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering-backed Corvette DP today.

***Dutch drivers Jeroen Bleekemolen and Renger van der Zande seek their third and second wins, respectively, at Mazda Raceway today. Bleekemolen won the American Le Mans Series GTC class in 2010 with Black Swan Racing and in 2012 with TRG, while van der Zande took Starworks Motorsport’s PC car to the win last year. For both drivers, it marked their first win in the United States.

***The PC class enters today’s race with an interesting stat: five different teams have won the five previous PC races at Mazda Raceway. Level 5 Motorsports, Genoa Racing, CORE autosport, PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports and Starworks Motorsport won in PC from 2010 through 2014. Any of the last three would make the first repeat, while a win by RSR Racing, BAR1 Motorsports, Performance Tech Motorsports or JDC/Miller Motorsports would extend the streak to six-for-six.

***Six drivers, Zach Veach, Todd Slusher, John Falb, Patrick Byrne, Marc Miller and Jeff Mosing, will make their TUDOR Championship debuts today.

***Miller and Guy Cosmo are utilizing Sebastian Bleekemolen and Robert Thorne’s firesuits, respectively. Cosmo started the weekend using Spencer Pumpelly’s, but the fit wasn’t quite right. Miller will have a new suit for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

***On an additional Flying Lizard Motorsports note, team manager Eric Ingraham is back at the track this weekend for the first time since Petit Le Mans last fall. Fittingly, this race marks the Sonoma, Calif. team’s last scheduled TUDOR Championship race until this year’s Petit this October.

***The owners of Scuderia Corsa, Art Zafiropoulo and Giacomo Mattioli, are also owners of nearby Ferrari Silicon Valley – making this race the team’s home event for the season. A number of clients and sponsors will be on hand for the weekend, with a rally of client Ferraris taking place each day from Ferrari Silicon Valley to Laguna Seca.

***Continental Tire will host San Jose Earthquakes soccer standout Jordan Stewart during today’s race. Stewart, a car enthusiast, spends his off day at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca taking in the sights. Stewart is a participant in this year’s “What’cha Got” Series set to air on Fox Sports beginning in August, where 14 Major League Soccer (MLS) players take their turn behind the wheel of a Lamborghini. The show is hosted by Townsend Bell.

***Today’s Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix Powered by Mazda will be covered live on FOX Sports 1, beginning at 4 p.m. ET. The green flag waves at 4:05 p.m. for two hours, 40 minutes of action. will stream in-car cameras, live timing and scoring, and IMSA Radio’s play-by-play. Live streaming and additional features will follow on the new IMSA app, which premieres this weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

***Be sure to download Andy Blackmore’s official IMSA Spotter Guide, which features a number of race-specific updates at Monterey, primarily in the Prototype Challenge and GT Daytona classes. Andy’s guides are a must-have, whether you’re at the track or following from home.

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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