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Road America Friday Notebook

John Dagys’ first notebook from IMSA Sportscar Weekend at Road America…

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

***IMSA held its annual ‘State of the Series’ address Friday evening with series president John Doonan outlining next year’s schedule, regulations changes and a roadmap for the future. It marked Doonan’s first in-person address since becoming president in late 2019.

***It was announced that NBC will broadcast both the start and finish of January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, which has been moved up to a 1:30 p.m. ET start time to accommodate for the opening hour of live coverage. It comes amid the demise of the NBSCN network in 2022, with the majority of IMSA coverage set to move over to the USA Network and streaming service Peacock as an additional viewing option.

***This year’s Rolex 24 set viewership records for IMSA on NBC and NBCSN, with nearly 1.1 million viewers for portions airing on NBC network. It was the most-watched IMSA race since the 2008 Rolex 24.

***In addition to the changes to GTD Pro and GTD, Doonan told Sportscar365 that there was consideration of having a Bronze-rated driver mandate for GTD. “We talked about that but ultimately we felt like stability right now is key,” he said.

***While there has been no changes in circuits on the 2022 calendar, Doonan confirmed they are looking at new tracks for 2023 including the previously reported enduro at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and “a bunch of other venues” as well.  

***With the alignment of GTD Pro now mostly under the GTD sporting regulations, Doonan has increased his car count projection, stating he feels there could be a “dozen” entries in both classes next year.

***Doonan confirmed the long-standing notion that the “h” in LMDh stands for hybrid, going against ACO President Pierre Fillon, who indicated during the initial convergence announcement at Daytona in 2020 that it could stand for hypercar.

***A request for proposal for an IMSA-branded team catering solution has begun, with the goal of having a unified hospitality unit for the 2022 season. Multiple independent vendors currently offer catering to teams, with Doonan suggesting the idea of a “unified” approach.

***The WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca round will take place on the last weekend of April due to a live NBC network television opportunity. Doonan said Auto Club Raceway will open its doors for IMSA transporters between the Long Beach and Laguna Seca rounds in order for teams to only make a single trip to the west coast.

***IMSA hosted its second fan forum since the onset of the pandemic on Friday, with Patrick Long, Aaron Telitz, Andy Lally, Colin Braun, Katherine Legge and Ryan Eversley taking part. The first series-organized autograph session is on tap for tomorrow at 10:45 a.m. CT in the paddock.

***Dawson Racing, which had committed to the remainder of the LMP3 season, has elected to skip Road America in order to “secure the team’s own cars and develop a testing program” according to a team statement provided to Sportscar365. The Texas-based squad plans to return for the season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans in November.

***Ryan Dalziel said he’s “honored” to have been called up by Era Motorsport to make his IMSA sprint race debut with the LMP2 team this weekend. Dalziel has been drafted in to sub for Kyle Tilley, who is taking part in this weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International.

***Era’s commitment to Road America means there are four LMP2 entries this weekend for the first time this year outside of the Michelin Endurance Cup rounds.

***Dan Goldburg is back in the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Ligier JS P320 Nissan after Mateo Llarena took his seat at the last minute for the most recent LMP3 outing at the WeatherTech 240 at Watkins Glen, where Llarena became the youngest-ever pole-sitter in series’ history.

***Kevin Magnussen heads into the weekend with previous race experience of Road America, having recently taken part in the NTT IndyCar Series round at the four-mile circuit filling in for Felix Rosenqvist at Arrow McLaren SP.

***Magnussen and co-driver Renger van der Zande are are also coming off a two-day test in May that was shared by Corvette Racing, which was preparing for the 24 Hours of Le Mans with its Chevrolet Corvette C8.Rs in low downforce trim.

***Multiple industry sources have indicated to Sportscar365 that both Dane Cameron and Felipe Nasr are set to be a part of Porsche Penske Motorsport’s factory LMDh program in 2023. Cameron previously drove with Penske under the Acura Team Penske banner in 2018-20, winning the DPi championship with Juan Pablo Montoya in 2019.

***Both have been on Porsche’s so-called ‘short list’ of 20 drivers that have been under evaluation for the team’s dual WeatherTech Championship and FIA World Endurance Championship program.

***An additional Asian manufacturer has emerged as possible candidate for LMDh, with Sportscar365 understanding that an evaluation process has been underway with a LMP2 chassis acquired from a team.

***Cadillac is set to announce its LMDh program at Le Mans later this month in what is expected to be a multi-car Chip Ganassi Racing effort that could include at least one entry in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

***The Cadillac WEC car is understood to be a requirement for the team’s entry into the 24 Hours of Le Mans, similar to the ACO’s prerequisite for Corvette Racing contesting several pre-Le Mans events for its GTE-Pro effort.

***The No. 4 Corvette is a brand-new car (chassis No. 5) this weekend after its previous chassis was air-freighted to France. Team manager Marc Maurini told Sportscar365 that the new No. 4 car will be sent to Le Mans directly after Sunday’s race to be used as a spare chassis.

***Corvette Racing now has a total of four race chassis and one test car (chassis No. 1), which is now mostly used for promotional purposes. The first official laps with the car at Road America was completed with the test chassis in August 2018 as revealed by Sportscar365 at the time.

***Andy Lally and John Potter teamed up in a Magnus Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo to win the NASA 6 Hours of Utah last weekend, in what was meant to be a “mellow weekend of fun” according to Lally, who said they lost ground early with ABS failure prior to the arrival of an “insane amount” of wind and rain. 

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

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