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Road America Thursday Notebook

John Dagys’ Thursday notebook from Road America as IMSA teams unload for weekend…

Photo: John Dagys

***A total of 35 cars are set for this weekend’s Road Race Showcase at Road America, marking a reduced grid from previous four-class races. Among the notable absences include the No. 50 Juncos Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R and No. 11 Moorespeed Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo, although Starworks Motorsport has returned after a two-race hiatus.

***Juncos, which is rebuilding its car around a new tub following Victor Franzoni’s massive accident at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, is expected to return for the penultimate round of the season at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

***Moorespeed, meanwhile, is understood to be done for the season in GT Daytona, with Will Hardeman electing not to continue the program after writing off the team’s Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo in an accident at Watkins Glen and suffering a severe concussion. The team’s Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama program, however, has continued.

***Mazda’s RT24-P will be 20 kg heavier and have nearly 20 fewer horsepower this weekend, following a Balance of Performance adjustment handed down by IMSA last week. It equates to roughly a 30 horsepower power swing to the Cadillac DPi-V.R, which has also been given 20 kg of additional weight in addition to a power boost.

***While not revealing the precise extent of the BoP changes to the Mazda, Harry Tincknell told Sportscar365 that 0.5 seconds (per lap) would be a “conservative” number. The team tested at Road America in June, prior to the BoP changes.

***Pfaff Motorsports and Wright Motorsports will swap its Porsche Young Professional drivers this weekend, with Dennis Olsen moving to the No. 91 Wright Porsche 911 GT3 R and Matt Campbell in the No. 9 Pfaff entry, which broke through to claim its first GTD win last time out at Lime Rock with Olsen and Zach Robichon.

***The decision to swap came prior to Lime Rock when a previous engagement for Campbell initially prevented the Australian from contesting Road America with Wright. When Pfaff decided to alter its lineup for a two-race run, Campbell then became available. 

***Patrick Lindsey returns to the wheel of the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche this weekend, after Marco Seefried subbed for the team owner/driver at Lime Rock.

***James French makes his first start of the WeatherTech Championship season in the No. 38 Performance Tech Motosports Oreca 07 Gibson for his home race. The Sheboygan, Wis. native has been racing full-time in the European Le Mans Series for Algarve Pro Racing this year, also in an Oreca LMP2 car.

***Former Porsche racer Patrick Kelly, meanwhile, is set for his LMP2 debut in PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports’ Oreca. Kelly was the owner of the team’s second Oreca chassis prior to it being sold to United Autosports for use in the FIA World Endurance Championship. Team principal Bobby Oergel told Sportscar365 they anticipate taking delivery of another new chassis in early September.

***The pair of Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GTs are again in their Le Mans retro liveries this weekend, with the No. 67 Ford carrying over the colors that took Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe to their first win of the season at Lime Rock Park.

***Porsche factory drivers Patrick Pilet and Nick Tandy are coming off a runner-up finish in last weekend’s Total 24 Hours, an event that saw a number of WeatherTech Championship drivers take part in, including Renger van der Zande, Pipo Derani, Tristan Vautier, Matt McMurry, John Edwards, Earl Bamber, Laurens Vanthoor, Richard Heistand, Jack Hawksworth, Corey Lewis and Mario Farnbacher. 

***Several upgrades have been made to Road America this year, including the installation of a SAFER barrier in the Kink, as well as improved runoff areas. Scuderia Corsa driver Cooper MacNeil took to social media to praise the changes.

***The 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule will be released Friday evening during IMSA President Scott Atherton’s annual “State of the Series” address. Other series-related developments are expected to be confirmed as well during the address, which is open to all series stakeholders and competitors.

***A Twitter feud between Ben Keating, Andy Lally and other IMSA competitors raged on for days following last month’s Northeast Grand Prix. Keating alleged that Katherine Legge had intentionally held up his Riley Motorsports co-driver Jeroen Bleekemolen in an effort to help Legge’s teammate Mario Farnbacher. Keating later apologized, admitting he made “an ass” out of himself on social media. 

***Road America will mark one of the first public appearances of the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, which will be on-site at the Chevrolet Motorsports Display in the main paddock near victory lane. While yet to be announced, the mid-engined Corvette has formed the basis for Corvette’s new-generation C8.R, which was first spotted testing at Road America by Sportscar365 one year ago, but still yet to be officially announced.

***Jackson Marketing, Motorsports & Events has hired ex-IMSA business development manager Jeff Smith in a new role as motorsports marketing and operations director. Smith, who had served as senior manager for corporate partnerships and marketing at IMSA, joins the Greenville, S.C.-based organization that is largely integrated into Michelin’s North America motorsports program.

***Michelin again has supplied its semi-confidential IMSA Hard compound tire for DPi and LMP2 teams, with GTD utilizing the Pilot Sport GT S9M commercial tires. Teams are allocated 10 sets (DPi, LMP2, GTLM) and eight (GTD) this weekend.

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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