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WeatherTech Championship

Monterey Saturday Notebook

John Dagys’ Saturday notebook from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca…

Photo: Brian Cleary/BCPix.com

***BMW Team RLL has yet to be informed whether it will continue with the German manufacturer for a 10th year, according to team principal Bobby Rahal. Rahal told Sportscar365 that he expects to remain in the sports car paddock, and could opt for a LMP2 effort should its return with BMW not materialize.

***BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt told Sportscar365 last weekend that the decision on its 2018 IMSA team partner will come prior to next month’s season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans. It’s believed, however, that Rahal remains the leading option to run BMW’s new M8 GTE cars, despite a bid from Andretti Autosport, which runs the German manufacturer’s Formula E team.

***With a 26-point lead in the Prototype championship, Ricky and Jordan Taylor could lock up the title one race early on Sunday if they win and the No. 5 Action Express Racing Cadillac of Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi finishes sixth or lower and Eric Curran and Dane Cameron in the No. 31 AXR entry place third or lower.

***Dave Fullerton has rejoined Paul Miller Racing this weekend after engineer Lars Giersing’s home in the British Virgin Islands was destroyed by Hurricane Irma. Giersing, the longtime engineer at Magnus Racing, also missed last weekend’s Pirelli World Challenge season finale at Sonoma.

***Both of the Nos. 5 and 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.Rs are carrying decals in memory of longtime NASCAR Modified legend Ted Christopher, who died in a plane crash last week. The New Englander, who had support from Whelen, made two starts in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, in 2006 and 2008.

***Audi has a reduced presence this weekend, with the absence of the Audi Sport customer racing support truck, which is typically at every WeatherTech Championship race. The No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Audi R8 LMS is completing the season, although only because of a contractual obligation.

***PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports has yet to confirm its 2018 program, although its received a high level of driver interest for the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Twelve Hours of Sebring, according to team owner Bobby Oergel.

***Oergel confirmed that Mike Guasch will not return to the team’s Ligier JS P217 Gibson for Petit Le Mans, with its third, Silver-rated driver to be announced shortly.

***IMSA has scheduled invitation-only tests for new and modified cars for the 2018 WeatherTech Championship season at Daytona in November and December. It’s understood the tests will be used to collect data on cars such as the Acura ARX-05 and the heavily modified Mazda RT24-P to formula the Balance of Performance prior to January’s Roar Before the Rolex 24. 

***Check out Andy Blackmore’s Spotter’s Guide for tomorrow’s race, featuring all 33 starters for the final two-hour and 40-minute WeatherTech Championship race of the season. Click Here to download.

***Watch the America’s Tire 250 live on FS1, beginning Sunday at 5 p.m. ET. Live coverage will also be available on IMSA Radio and streaming at IMSA.tv for international viewers.

***A giant mural of the legendary Mazda 787B has been added to the hillside visible to those traveling the Monterey-Salinas Highway (pictured below, with Mazda’s Robert Davis). The artwork, designed artist John Cerney, is painted on a plywood board that stands at 32 feet long and 10 feet tall.  “The car is huge,” Cerney said. “I strived to get all the little details right from the logos to the body lines. The bright orange and green colors really make it stand out.”

Photo: Mazda Raceway

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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