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Road America Pre-Race Notebook

Tony DiZinno’s pre-race notebook from Road America…

Photo: Michelin

Photo: Michelin

***Michelin has debuted a new “single-stinter” tire compound for its GTLM teams this weekend, designed specifically for the TUDOR Championship. All of its partner teams except BMW qualified on the medium compound rubber, with pole-sitter Earl Bamber breaking the class qualifying record by 1.4 seconds.

***Scott Pruett led overall in an uneventful 20-minute morning warmup at Road America. Conor Daly, Nick Tandy and Jeroen Bleekemolen were other class leaders, while the sole Mazda SKYACTIV Diesel Prototype and the Michael Shank Racing Ligier JS P2 Honda did not turn laps. Results are linked here.

***The reason Shank’s car was not out for morning warmup was that the fuel cell was being patched and repaired. The team is working to ensure the car makes the grid. John Pew qualified fifth in the car he shares with Ozz Negri.

***Tandy, who is sharing the No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR with Patrick Pilet, has a fresh engine in the car after the team performed an engine change. Pilet struggled to set a representative time in qualifying.

***Dan Binks’ annual Corvette auction at Road America to benefit Camp Anokijig raised at least $25,000 on Saturday at the Corvette corral. Parts from Jan Magnussen’s damaged No. 63 Corvette C7.R from his accident in practice at Le Mans were auctioned off.

***Action Express Racing, defending champions at Road America, head into today’s race with its consecutive completed laps and mileage streak having exceeded 3,700 laps and 12,00 miles, respectively, since the start of the TUDOR Championship. Totals through the first 18 races since the 2014 Rolex 24 at Daytona are 3,794 laps and 12,114.881 miles.

***Several cars are sporting #ImWithDrew decals, including Magnus Racing, Compass360 Racing and Park Place Motorsports among others, to honor 28-year-old Drew Leathers. Leathers is nearing the end of a battle with neurofibromatosis, NF.

***While Bobby Rahal is focused on his BMW Team RLL team’s chances at Road America this weekend, he’s been announced as a driver for the second Classic 24 Hour Race at Daytona, presented by IMSA, in November. He’ll co-drive a 1974 Porsche 911 RSR with automobile industry executive, Jim Farley.

***European prototype constructors Onroak Automotive and ORECA are ramping up their North American presence ahead of the new-for-2017 LMP2 regulations. Onroak has recently hired HPD race engineer Ethan Bregman as its U.S. representative and ORECA is set to open its U.S. office in Charlotte, headed by Renaud Chevalier.

***Two young 16-year-old IMSA drivers named Austin, Cindric and Versteeg respectively, were nominated among the candidates for Jeremy Shaw’s Team USA Scholarships, although Cindric withdrew his name for consideration due to prior commitments. The selection process continues this weekend before a six-finalist shootout at Auto Club Speedway in September. Cindric competes in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and Versteeg in the IMSA Prototype Lites.

***Be sure to check out Andy Blackmore’s official Spotter Guide for today’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase, featuring all 33 starters for today’s two-hour and 40-minute race.

***Catch live coverage of the race on FOX Sports 1, beginning at 3 p.m. ET. The Race will also air live on IMSA Radio and via the IMSA app.

John Dagys contributed to this report

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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