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Road America Thursday Notebook

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

Photo: John Dagys

***A total of 37 cars are set for this weekend’s IMSA Fastlane Sportscar Weekend at Road America, in the first five-class WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race since the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen in June. The official entry list has seen a number of late driver changes in both the LMP2 and LMP3 classes.

***Fabio Scherer has taken the place of Anders Fjordbach in the No. 20 High Class Racing Oreca 07 Gibson. The Gold-rated Swiss driver is set to begin his four-race IMSA probationary period following his involvement in Jeff Westphal’s accident in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen.

***Performance Tech Motorsports will have an all-new lineup for its No. 38 Ligier JS P320 Nissan, with Cameron Shields having been drafted in as a substitute for Dan Goldburg, who has been faced with a last-minute conflict. Shields joins the previously announced James French in the car.

***As previously reported by Sportscar365, Matt Bell rejoins AWA for the final two LMP3 races of the season. The Englishman takes over following Kyle Marcelli’s two-race stint, who had replaced Kuno Wittmer in the No. 13 Duqueine D08 Nissan. Bell was the team’s fourth driver for the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona.

***Lance Willsey has been replaced by Malthe Jakobsen in the No. 33 Sean Creech Motorsport Ligier alongside Joao Barbosa due to a previous conflict for Willsey. The 18-year-old Dane has been the team’s Michelin Endurance Cup driver.

***Team principal Sean Creech said: “We’re happy that Malthe could join us this weekend. He has such an innate sense of how to drive a race car and his ability to drive a car in traffic is way beyond his years – and that will come in very handy this weekend.”

***Jonathan Bomarito revealed that he “stepped away” from the No. 11 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca to give Tristan Nunez a chance in the car alongside Steven Thomas. Nunez, who was dropped from race duties in the No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R mid-season, drove with Thomas during last year’s LMP2 campaign when it was under the WIN Autosport banner. Nunez tested with the team at Road America in July.

***Bomarito said: “Tristan is one of my best friends and I truly believe in his talent. He deserves to be in a top ride and already has a great relationship with Steven. So, I felt the timing was right to step away from racing to get Tristan back in the car as soon as possible.”

***It’s unclear if Nunez will also be in the PR1/Mathiasen entry for the season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans. PR1/Mathiasen will revert to its Endurance Cup lineups for the ten-hour enduro at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, which sees Josh Pierson move into the No. 11 car lineup and Ben Keating, Mikkel Jensen and Scott Huffaker retaking the No. 52 entry that’s driven this weekend by Pierson and Patrick Kelly.

***Road America marks the final sprint outing for all three prototype classes, with the Michelin GT Challenge set to close out the WeatherTech Sprint Cup season later this month at Virginia International Raceway.

***IMSA has confirmed in a technical bulletin sent to teams that LMP3 cars are permitted to utilize the “coated” header option for the remainder of the season due to “supply chain limitations.” The change is understood to only be for the WeatherTech Championship and not IMSA Prototype Challenge at this time.

***Eleven drivers are coming off last weekend’s TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa, including Dani Juncadella, who was part of the overall winning lineup in the No. 88 Akkodis-ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo alongside Jules Gounon and Raffaele Marciello. Juncadella is back with WeatherTech Racing this weekend in its GTD class Mercedes.

***Others that have traveled from Belgium include Earl Bamber, Mathieu Jaminet, Matt Campbell, Ross Gunn, Alex Riberas, Roman De Angelis, Maxime Martin, Russell Ward, Philip Ellis and Robby Foley. Additionally, The Heart of Racing and Winward Racing had cars entered although were largely made up of UK and German-based crew, respectively.

***WeatherTech Championship teams unloaded on Thursday afternoon ahead of a pair of practice sessions on Friday that will total 3 hours and 25 minutes of total track time. The series has evolved from three shorter sessions that it had offered in the past, which some drivers believe has resulted in less time to explore car setups.

***Paul Miller Racing’s Bryan Sellers said: “With two longer sessions, the track time is quite good but the time for development had decreased significantly because if you take any kind of liberties in one of those sessions and it’s incorrect then you’ve just wasted an hour and a half of time. You have to be very cautious of the things you do to not take yourself out of a window.”

***Vasser Sullivan Lexus driver Jack Hawksworth, meanwhile, has suggested that points from the GTD Pro and GTD classes should be scored as an entire group, as is the case in other GT3-based championships.

***Hawksworth explained: “I think you’d see a bit more harder racing at the end between the GTD Pro and GTD cars because you’d be looking to gain that extra point on the car behind you. Even though it’s not for the championship, it’s still going to be a points differential between you and the other Pro cars.”

***GPX Racing is eying a potential run in next year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona with a new Porsche 911 GT3 R according to team principal Pierre-Brice Mena. The Dubai-based team, which contested last weekend’s 24 Hours of Spa, is also considering a run in this year’s Gulf 12 Hours as well as the Hankook 24H Dubai in January.

***The county of Monterey board of supervisors on Tuesday voted to approve the project budget of nearly $15 million to replace the start/finish bridge and resurface WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Granite Construction was awarded the project, with work expected to begin in November ahead of the 2023 seasons.

***IMSA will hold its annual ‘State of the Sport’ address Friday at 5:30 p.m. CT where 2023 schedules, series changes and updates will be announced to stakeholders. While not live-streamed, IMSA will make available a recap video for all to watch shortly after the event.

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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