Connect with us

WeatherTech Championship

Road Atlanta Pre-Race Notebook

Tony DiZinno’s Pre-Race Notebook from Road Atlanta…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

***All three Prototypes involved in red flags in qualifying, the No. 9 Action Express Racing Corvette DP, No. 07 SpeedSource Mazda SKYACTIV-D and No. 42 OAK Racing Ligier JS P2 Honda, will take the grid. OAK changed the entire drivetrain (engine and gearbox) on its entry, marking the second engine change of the weekend. Meanwhile the No. 07 crew stayed til 3 a.m. to replace the right front of the car and fix a broken radiator.

***OAK led morning warmup with Alex Brundle putting in a 1:15.174 on his ninth and final flying lap. Andy Meyrick had led the majority of the session in the DeltaWing coupe and ended second at 1:15.197. Other class leaders in the uninterrupted 25-minute session were Renger van der Zande for Starworks Motorsport (1:17.077, PC), Jan Magnussen for Corvette Racing (1:19.389, GTLM), and Phillip Eng for GB Autosport (1:21.935, GTD).

***The No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8 LMS and No. 55 BMW Team RLL BMW Z4 GTE move to the rear of the field for tire changes.

***Chip Ganassi Racing managing director Mike Hull confirmed one Riley-Ford DP will continue for a full season into 2015. Hull expects a 14-stop race, with six tear-offs on the car and a plan to change one every other stop. The decision to use Scott Dixon rather than Sage Karam as third driver for Petit Le Mans came down to Dixon’s availability and prior PLM race experience.

***Jaime Melo, who is here as a guest of Risi Competizione this weekend, is working on a return to the U.S. next year, potentially with Risi. This year, Melo has raced in VLN and Brazilian Stock Cars; while a return to the U.S. is preferable, European options also exist.

***Patrick Dempsey is now listed as a third driver in the No. 58 Snow Racing/Dempsey Racing Porsche 911 GT America. It remains to be seen whether he will actually drive alongside Jan Heylen and Madison Snow, but he would be eligible to do so and could help save the team from potential maximum drive time issues.

***One other last-minute third driver addition is Larry Pegram joining Mark Kvamme and Daniel Lloyd in the No. 19 Muehlner Motorsports Porsche 911 GT America, the lone Muehlner entry that will start today’s race.

***Several stats of note heading into today’s season finale: In Prototype, Action Express Racing’s No. 5 Corvette DP has five straight top-fives and is also the only P class team to podium in every Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup race this year. Additionally in Prototype Challenge, CORE autosport goes for a clean sweep of all 4 NAEC races; 8Star Motorsports looks for its third straight win to end the year, a mark achieved by BAR1 Motorsports last year, while PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports looks for its first podium of the season.

***On the GT stats side, in GT Le Mans, Corvette Racing seeks its first podium since winning at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in July; the polesitting No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR hasn’t podiumed since winning the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the No. 55 BMW Team RLL BMW Z4 GTE since Monterey; the No. 93 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R has six straight top-fives including five podiums; and the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 Italia has four straight top-fives including two wins.

***In GT Daytona, the No. 22 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America enters with five straight top-fives while the sister No. 23 Team Seattle car has been unlucky not to score a single one since Detroit. Flying Lizard Motorsports as a team hasn’t cracked the top-five since Monterey in May; meanwhile the No. 81 GB Autosport and No. 007 TRG-AMR squads seek their first podiums of the season.

***This race marks the last for Silvia Mammone in her current position as motorsports marketing manager, Michelin, a stint that has dated to 2007. Mammone, who spearheaded “The Alley” and Motorsports on Main among other items, takes a new role within Michelin OE starting Monday. Sarah Robinson will take over the role.

***Michael Valiante, Eric Curran, Tom Kimber-Smith, Ryan Eversley, John Edwards, Ian James, Andrew Davis, Andy Lally, Brandon Davis, and Kyle Marcelli are drivers racing today who also competed in yesterday’s Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge finale. Lally is pulling triple duty, having also raced in the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo races. Mikhail Goikhberg (IMSA Prototype Lites) and Christina Nielsen (IMSA Porsche GT3 USA) are also pulling double duty between the TUDOR Championship and another IMSA series this weekend.

***Much cooler conditions, only high 50s to low 60s for ambient temperature, greet the series for the season finale. will stream the entire race today, with no geo-restriction, beginning at 11 a.m. ET. FOX Sports 2 coverage will begin at 3 p.m. ET, while flag-to-flag coverage will also be available on FOX Sports Go, along with live on-board camera feeds at​

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno) is Sportscar365's North American Editor, focusing on coverage of the IMSA-sanctioned championships as well as Pirelli World Challenge. DiZinno also contributes to and other motorsports outlets. Contact Tony

1 Comment

More in WeatherTech Championship