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Road Atlanta Pre-Race Notebook

John Dagys pre-race notebook for 20th anniversary Motul Petit Le Mans…

Photo: John Dagys

***Fans have packed the grid for the 20th anniversary Motul Petit Le Mans, despite uncertain weather for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale. Rain affected warmup, and although having dried out since, showers could return before the checkered flag at 9:05 p.m. EDT.

***The No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R of Ricky Taylor will start from the rear of the overall prototype field due to changing tires. Taylor had qualified 7th. Both the No. 33 Riley Team AMG Mercedes-AMG GT3 and No. 54 CORE autosport Porsche 911 GT3 Rs have also changed tires and will start from the back of the GT grid.

***Click Here for the final, official starting grid.

***Today’s race marks an end of an era for the Oreca FLM09, in the final outing for the Prototype Challenge class after a nearly decade run in ALMS and IMSA competition. Debuting in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in 2010, the French-built prototype has taken part in a total of 77 IMSA races, including today’s ten-hour finale.

***Performance Tech Motorsports is looking to claim a clean sweep of the PC season, having won all seven races this year to date in the spec prototype class. It would mark the first time since 2008 that the same team won every race in an IMSA season, when Corvette Racing swept the GT1 class between its two Corvette C6.Rs.

***The BMW M6 GTLM is also set for its final race, set to be replaced by the new M8 GTE, which will make its competition debut in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona. BMW will continue to offer and support the M6 GT3 next year.

***Team Penske President Tim Cindric said they hope to finalize the remainder of its lineup within the next two weeks, including its endurance drivers. Cindric confirmed to Sportscar365 they will utilize three drivers per car for the Rolex 24 at Daytona, and not four, as allowed per the rules. “We’d like to get into testing with all six drivers in place and be able to get used to the cycle,” Cindric said.

***Ricky Taylor is expected to be announced as Penske’s fourth full-season driver next week, joining Helio Castroneves, Dane Cameron and Juan Pablo Montoya. The identity of the endurance drivers still remain unclear.

***An announcement is also expected next week from Scuderia Corsa to confirm Cooper MacNeil and WeatherTech’s switch to the team’s Ferrari 488 GT3 for next year. Sportscar365 revealed last month that MacNeil would likely be headed to the GTD championship-winning team, replacing Christina Nielsen. 

***IMSA has yet to finalize its next TV package, with its current four-year agreement with FOX Sports expiring at the end of next year. IMSA President Scott Atherton revealed their desire to remain with FOX but admitted they need to evaluate all options available. 

***Atherton admitted that NBC Sports could now become an option to discuss following the network’s loss of its Formula One coverage to ESPN for next year. “Our mission like always will be to end up with the best possible combination,” Atherton told Sportscar365. “[NBC losing F1] certainly caught us by surprise. There’s been no initiative on our part since then; we’ve been a little busy since that news came out. I wouldn’t rule it out.”

***He said traditional TV coverage, particularly over-the-air network and widely available cable channels, remains the “cornerstone” of any media program, despite the explosive growth of streaming channels 

***Porsche GTLM team manager and CORE autosport COO Morgan Brady is a father, with his wife giving birth to Felix Morgan Brady on Friday in Charlotte, just one hour after Brady arrived direct from Road Atlanta.

***The field for this weekend includes four drivers with overall 24 Hours of Le Mans victories to their name: Brendon Hartley, Earl Bamber, Nick Tandy and Marcel Fassler. Seven drivers in the field have won previous Petit Le Mans overall (Ozz Negri, Olivier Pla, Nick Tandy, Jordan Taylor, Ricky Taylor and Nick Heidfeld).

***Check out Andy Blackmore’s Spotter’s Guide for today’s race, featuring all 39 starters for the final IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship round of the season. Click Here to download.

***Watch the 20th anniversary Motul Petit Le Mans on the FOX family of networks, beginning at 10:30 a.m. EDT on FS1, before moving to FS2 from 11:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. FOX Sports GO picks up the coverage from 2:30-5:30 p.m. before returning to FS2 for the run to the checkered flag. The full race will also be available on FSGO.

***Full flag-to-flag coverage will be available on for international viewers, as well as IMSA Radio.

Jake Kilshaw contributed to this report

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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