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Road America Friday Notebook

John Dagys’ Friday IMSA WeatherTech Championship notebook from Road America…

Photo: Porsche Cars North America

***The No. 8 Starworks Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT3 of Ryan Dalziel and Parker Chase underwent a gearbox rebuild and change of all four dampers between practice sessions after posting the 14th quickest time in GTD, which was some 2.1 seconds slower than the pace-setting Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 in Practice 1.

***Scuderia Corsa ran with Ferrari’s previous turbo boost ratios on Friday as it awaits a calibration machine to put the No. 63 Ferrari 488 GT3 into IMSA’s revised Balance of Performance levels, which has seen roughly a 4 horsepower increase in the mid-to-high RPM levels.

***The Ferrari has additionally received a 10 kg weight break for this weekend and 1-liter increase in fuel capacity. 

***The Cadillac DPi-V.R has claimed only two podium finishes in the last five races, the most recent coming in Detroit for the No. 31 Whelen Engineering entry of Pipo Derani and Felipe Nasr. It was among the cars in DPi to undergo BoP changes as well.

***The third driver for the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi has not yet been confirmed according to team manager Gary Nelson, who has praised Mike Conway, who teamed with Filipe Albuquerque and Joao Barbosa at the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen. “If you can write an endurance driver’s description in the dictionary, you only have to put Conway’s picture there,” Nelson told Sportscar365.

***Gar Robinson and Lawson Aschenbach are set for their second-to-final race of the season in the No. 74 Lone Star Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, although Sportscar365 understands that a full-season program could be in the cards for the driving duo in 2020.

***Aschenbach declined comment but said he’s been “really pleased” with the progress made over the course of the season.

***Scott Hargrove is scheduled to return to the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R for the next GT Daytona race at Virginia International Raceway. The Canadian has been forced to sit out both the WeatherTech Championship and Michelin Pilot Challenge races this weekend, with AWA making a late switch to a McLaren 570S GT4 in the GS class.

***Both Porsche Young Professionals Matt Campbell and Dennis Olsen, who have replaced Hargrove in the Pfaff Porsche over the last two races, will be unavailable at VIR due to their full-season Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli commitments in the Suzuka 8 Hours.

***PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports team principal Bobby Oergel told Sportscar365 that Dalton Kellett could return to the team for the final two races of the season, with discussions currently ongoing. Gabriel Aubry, meanwhile, has already been confirmed as the team’s third diver for Motul Petit Le Mans.

***Saturday’s Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama race will be the 200th in series history, dating back to its formation in 2005. Both the USA and Canada series have combined again for the second and final time this season, featuring more than 30 cars.

***Road America will be the largest gathering of Porsche race cars in North America this year, with 50 cars competing across four series. A group photo was taken on Thursday evening (pictured above).

***Ben Keating will be at the wheel of an Acura in next weekend’s 24-hour ChampCar Endurance Series (formerly ChumpCar) race at Virginia International Raceway. The Texan and several of his dealership partners and associates will team up in a modified 1997 Acura Integra that will do battle alongside nearly 100 other cars, including a 1982 Chevrolet Camaro entered and driven by Bill Riley.

***Keating said that he expects there to be a friendly rivalry between the two entrants. “I’m going to kick Bill’s ass!” said Keating, who admitted his choice of car came prior to incident at Lime Rock Park and subsequent Twitter feud involving Acura driver Katherine Legge.

***Patrick Lindsey hasn’t ruled out returning to defend his FIA World Endurance Championship GTE-Am title next season, despite not testing for Team Project 1 at the recent pre-season Prologue. The Park Place Motorsports driver told Sportscar365 that he’s in discussions to figure out a deal with a Bronze-rated co-driver for the 2019-20 campaign.

***Wright Motorsports team principal John Wright believes the team’s busy four-car program this weekend helps to “keeps the team focused”. The team is running three Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge cars, in addition to its GTD Porsche entry. “There were some weekends last year where we had close to 50 people on the itinerary, so we’re used to this,” Wright told Sportscar365. “We like being diversified and we like the workload. It brings out the best in everyone.”

***Wright added that the team will likely re-allocate a couple of crew from its GT3 Cup Challenge program onto the GTD entry to help with pit stops in Sunday’s WeatherTech Championship race.

***Chevrolet will hold a public walk-around of the 2020 Corvette Stingray at 10 a.m. CT on Saturday at the Chevrolet Motorsports Display in Road America’s main paddock near Victory Circle. Ed Piatek, Corvette Chief Engineer, will lead the discussion.

***Road America marks one of the first public appearances of the mid-engined sports car, which was unveiled last month.

***Ryan Dalziel is auctioning off a Rolex 24 signed street sign, created by Michael Goodwin, to benefit the Rett Syndrome Research Trust and Selfless Love Foundation. More than $1,000 has already been raised in less than 24 hours of the launch.

***Harry Tincknell has targeted a run in the 2020 24 Hours of Le Mans with Carlin, which has revealed intentions of contesting the 2019-20 Asian Le Mans Series with its Dallara P217 Gibson currently driven in the European Le Mans Series by Tincknell, Ben Barnicoat and Jack Manchester.

***Tincknell revealed that the team chose the Dallara LMP2 car for its ELMS campaign simply because of Manchester’s height, with the Brit’s 6’6 frame unable to fit inside the Oreca 07 or Ligier JS P217.

***A number of drivers have been making the rounds in the paddock this weekend, including Pirelli GT4 America driver Jarett Andretti, who has laid out ambitions of moving into Michelin Pilot Challenge competition with Andretti Autosport next year.

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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