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Road America Thursday Notebook

John Dagys’ Thursday WeatherTech Championship notebook from Road America…

Photo: Brian Cleary/

***The entry list for this weekend’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America is down to 33 cars following the withdrawals of both the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Oreca 07 Gibson and No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R. 

***The No. 71 P1 Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3, which was on the provisional entry list last week, is also not present this weekend, although both JC Perez and Loris Spinelli are taking part in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America races.

***Unlike the Prototype class which has seen additional power increases for the DPi cars, no Balance of Performance adjustments have been made to the GT Le Mans and GT Daytona classes since last month’s GT-only round at Lime Rock Park.

***IMSA, however, has updated the technical regulations for refueling tanks in all classes, clarifying that the refueling tank height is measured at a distance of 1.25 meters from the outermost face of the pit wall, with a tolerance of +0/-1.0 cm for the tank height.

***Action Express Racing has scheduled an announcement for Saturday, which is believed to be linked to Christian Fittipaldi. Paddock sources have indicated to Sportscar365 that the Brazilian could announce his retirement from driving. 

***Fittipaldi, who serves as the team’s sporting director, has scaled back his driving commitments to the Tequila Patron North America Endurance Cup races only this year, although filled in the for injured Joao Barbosa in last month’s Prototype round at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

***Barbosa has returned to action this weekend, having been cleared to race the No. 5 Cadillac DPi-V.R alongside Filipe Albuquerque.

***Porsche Cars North America has created a decal in memory of Champion Racing team owner Dave Maraj, who unexpectedly passed away last month. The decal, which says: “Dave Maraj, A Champion Remembered” on a field that reminds of the Champion livery, is being offered to Porsches running in all IMSA-sanctioned series this weekend and is also available to other manufacturers.

***There could be a TBA event in the release of the 2019 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule tomorrow evening. Sportscar365 understands that a deal with the state of Michigan has not yet been reached by Detroit Grand Prix officials, which has put the entire event in question.

***According to an article in the Detroit Free Press, negotiations with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources continues, with DNR  interested in moving forward to keep the event as long as “sufficient changes” are made, including an increased sanctioning fee, duration of the set up and tear down and the offsetting of “lost opportunity revenue” of the facilities. 

***Other announcements expected Friday evening by IMSA President Scott Atherton include the likely confirmation of seperate DPi and LMP2 classes, as well as significant cost-cutting measures in GT Daytona.

***Sportscar365 believes that GTD could feature a three-tiered championship next year, with seperate titles for the Michelin Endurance Cup, sprint races and overall season, which would allow teams multiple options based on available budgets.

***Marino Franchitti is expected to be confirmed as Harry Tincknell’s sub in the season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans, with the Scot due to test with Mazda Team Joest at Road Atlanta next week.

***Tincknell and several other drivers will be forced to miss the race due to the FIA World Endurance Championship’s date change to its Fuji round, which now falls on the same weekend as the 10-hour Road Atlanta endurance classic.

***Despite its drama-filled exit from last month’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, Montaplast by Land Motorsport will return for Petit Le Mans, according to team strategist Peter Baron. The German squad, however, will have a different third driver, as it has parted ways Alessio Picariello since his last IMSA outing with the team at Sebring.

***Laurens Vanthoor and his wife Jacqueline are expecting their first child, with both the Vanthoor’s and CORE autosport COO and wife LT’s baby expected on New Year’s Eve. 

***The second-ever Dinner with Racers LIVE will take place Saturday from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Road America Center, featuring an expanded lineup of drivers, team personalities and animals. Hosted by Sean Heckman and Ryan Eversley, the event will feature free food, as well as the promise of Germans.

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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