***While the subject of Chip Ganassi Racing’s Ford GT lineup remains a hot topic in the paddock, even as the identities of the drivers are become clearer in unofficial “we aren’t really here” form, there could be a place for even more Ganassi content in January, which you’ll see in the below note.
***Sportscar365 understands at least one and potentially two CGR Daytona Prototypes will race at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, which could provide a home for some of the team’s IndyCar and NASCAR drivers. A team spokesperson didn’t confirm any DP program as yet, but said the possible release of drivers will be IMSA drivers, FIA World Endurance Championship drivers, IMSA GT endurance drivers and then a full Rolex 24 lineup, which would include any remaining drivers.
***There’s been no timing & scoring for this week’s test, as teams gather data for the first real running before 2016. Unofficial times peg the Prototype cars in the low 1:40 range, Prototype Challenge in the 1:42s, GT Le Mans in the low-to-mid-1:44s and GT Daytona in the low-to-mid 1:48s. Pole times for this year’s Rolex 24 were 1:39.194 (P), 1:42.318 (PC), 1:43.488 (GTLM) and 1:47.272 (GTD).
***Tuesday’s announcement that the Virginia International Raceway race would move back a week has avoided one clash, but now created several others with the new date (first pointed out here by Duncan Ende). Pirelli World Challenge (Utah), the Blancpain Sprint Series (Budapest), European Le Mans Series/Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup (Paul Ricard) and Trans Am Series (Road America) all race on that same weekend.
***Today marked the first day the new color code system has debuted, with PC and GTD cars now having green numbers and wing endplates, having switched from blue for enhanced visibility.
***On a GTD note, the No. 33 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GT3-R created a rather humorous start to the day with the cougar and “ME” signage adorning its hood of the car driven by Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Marc Miller. The tribute to Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby appears an inside joke noting how Keating is committed to spending some of his own money to keep the car on the grid, despite Dodge not being an IMSA official Automotive Partner.
***DragonSpeed has unloaded its two Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3s, which will test tomorrow with Frankie Montecalvo, Nick Mancuso and Victor Gomez Jr.
***In a nice gesture, the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier JS P2 Honda has a French flag on the nose cone assembly, following the tragedy in Paris last Friday night.
***Jeff Braun has shifted to CORE autosport to serve as race engineer for son Colin and Jon Bennett in the team’s No. 54 Oreca FLM09. Jeff Braun had worked with Mazda previously, but had been loaned out to CORE for the final three races of the 2015 PC season.
***During the month of October, Ryan Eversley and Sean Heckman toured the country in a Continental Tire-shod Acura MDX and will release their “Dinner with Racers” presented by Continental Tire podcast series starting on Wednesday. “Heading West” will be the first round, with “Heading East” the second round due to be revealed the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.
***On a related Continental Tire note, Continental is bringing a new rain tire to this two-day test for LMP2 and PC-spec cars, per a Continental Tire spokesperson, and is slated for a Rolex 24 race debut. The tire, which is a softer compound, has been in development for quite some time. A new rain tire for DP-spec machinery is due to be introduced at Sebring, but DP teams will run the current specification compound at Daytona.
***Roughly 60 students from Deltona High School visited Daytona today as a guest of the Mazda prototype team. As part of Mazda’s ongoing STEM efforts, the majority of students are in advanced math and science courses.