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Road America Saturday Notebook

John Dagys’ Saturday notebook from IMSA weekend at Road America…

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

***While IMSA confirmed on Saturday the cancelation of both the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and Lime Rock Park rounds, Sportscar365 understands that up to two additional events are under threat due to state restrictions because of rising COVID-19 infections.

***Multiple sources have indicated to Sportscar365 that the penultimate round of the season at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca could be moved to Barber Motorsports Park, while there are now questions over the status of the Mid-Ohio event in late September, amid news that its NTT IndyCar Series round has been postponed.

***Fans who held tickets for the Six Hours of The Glen will automatically receive a credit for the full amount paid plus an additional 20 percent towards a future event at any NASCAR-owned track or Watkins Glen International for either this year or in 2021. A full refund is also available.

***News on options for already purchased tickets for the Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock will be released in the “coming days” according to the circuit, which is still targeting to host its first spectator event on Labor Day weekend.

“We deeply regret not hosting the IMSA Northeast Grand Prix this year, but clearly understand the obstacles IMSA was presented with,” said track president Skip Barber. “IMSA racing has long been a tradition at Lime Rock Park, and we know IMSA has exhausted every opportunity to conduct the event this year. The good news is that IMSA remains unwavering in their commitment to return in 2021 and beyond.”

***Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta track president and general manager Rick Humphrey said his staff is “more than ready” to host two IMSA endurance races over the next three months, having taking over Watkins Glen’s six-hour event, which will be run on Labor Day weekend. The new event will also count towards the Michelin Endurance Cup.

***Road Atlanta kicks off its spectator event season this weekend with MotoAmerica, while tickets and camping packages for the additional IMSA enduro set to go on sale on Monday at 12 p.m. ET. Click Here for more details.

***Ricky Taylor said the motivation from his pole run came from teammate Dane Cameron topping the time charts in Practice 2. “He kind of showed me how it’s done and then I tried to apply what I learned from him,” he said. “That’s the power of having good teammates and a great team like Acura Team Penske.”

***GT Le Mans qualifying saw five of the six cars in class top the time charts. Only the No. 24 Team RLL BMW M8 GTE of Jesse Krohn did not post a time that was good enough for provisional pole, with the the entire class ending up within 0.715 seconds. 

***Laurens Vanthoor’s GTLM pole was Porsche’s first at Road America in five years, and also came with a new track qualifying record.

***The No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 rebounded from a heavy accident in final practice due to a brake issue for Robby Foley to qualify fourth in GTD. The entire right side of the car was replaced in the short timeframe between sessions. 

***Wisconsin native Aaron Telitz, who scored his first career IMSA pole on Saturday, said it’s been great to see fans at his home track. “I’ve gone to a lot of tracks and Road America is the only one where I really see people walking around wearing Aaron Telitz shirts and they’re saying hi and hello to me. It’s just cool to have fans that are there to see me race,” he said.

***While numbers have not been released, a significant amount of spectators are on-site this weekend. It comes in the wake of heavy local advertising in the Milwaukee and Chicago markets in recent days.

***Multimatic headed into the weekend without data from its driver-in-the-loop simulator for the first time this season, after it was deemed to have been an “unnecessary risk” for any of the Mazda drivers to travel to Detroit or Toronto, where the sims are located.

***An increase in fuel capacities in GT Le Mans will result in a “more flat out race” according to Earl Bamber, following the last two races that turned into mileage runs to make it on two stops. The Porsche 911 RSR-19 now has a 96-liter capacity (+3 liters since Sebring), with the Chevrolet Corvette C8.R at 101 liters (+5 liters) and BMW with a 97-liter tank (+ 12 liters).

***Porsche GT Team has “sharpened” its pit lane protocol following the collision between Nick Tandy and Laurens Vanthoor at Sebring according to Steffen Hoellwarth, the head of operations for Porsche’s IMSA program.

***Hoellwarth has essentially ruled out seeing a customer GTLM program next year, saying it hasn’t been discussed and is “unlikely” to happen due to the budget required from a privateer team. “Such a customer would be competing against factory efforts. This is something, in the current economic environment, that I think is very unlikely,” he told Sportscar365.

***Ricky and Jordan Taylor are sharing a “tiny home” this weekend, in a community of temporary hotel-like rooms located on the front stretch behind the main grandstands. It is the second year the brothers have stayed at track in the rustic accommodations. 

***The Porsche and Corvette GTLM squads are scheduled to test at Road America on Monday. Both the Nos. 3 and 4 Corvettes are listed with its full slate of drivers with Earl Bamber the only tabbed to drive the No. 912 Porsche, with all three of his teammates set to be en route back to Europe. 

***Porsche’s Hoellwarth confirmed to Sportscar365 that they have plans for additional tests this year “depending on the next update of the IMSA schedule”. In addition to the races already run, the Porsche 911 RSR-19 also has experience at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

***The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray will serve as official pace car this weekend. Road America served as one of the first public appearances for the 6.2-liter V8-powered mid-engined Corvette, which was on display in the paddock last year.

***Watch the IMSA Road Race Showcase at Road America Sunday at 12 p.m. ET live on network NBC with Leigh Diffey, Calvin Fish and AJ Allmendinger in the booth and Dillon Welch and Dave Burns in pit lane. Coverage will also be available on IMSA Radio with John Hindhaugh, Jeremy Shaw and Shea Adam.

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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