Connect with us

WeatherTech Championship

Road Atlanta Thursday Notebook

John Dagys’ Thursday notebook from Road Atlanta…

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

***All drivers who remain with a mathematical chance of the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup assembled for a photo shoot on Thursday morning. Of note, the entire ten-car GT Le Mans class still has a shot of the title, heading into Saturday’s ten-hour season finale.

***The entry list has seen a late addition with the third Starworks Motorsport Oreca FLM09. European Le Mans Series LMP2 front-runner Stefano Coletti, IMSA Prototype Lites ace James Dayson and Quinlan Lall will pilot the No. 7 Oreca FLM09, which was initially confirmed for a three-race program at Lime Rock, Road America and COTA.

***The third Starworks car boosts the overall entry to 38 cars. Click Here for the final entry list.

***An announcement from Mercedes-AMG confirming its GT Daytona class involvement for 2017 is not expected to be made this weekend. Sportscar365 has learned that a formal program unveiling will not likely take place until November, prior to official pre-season testing.

***In a reversal to last year’s rain-soaked event, sunny skies have greeted fans at Road Atlanta, with excellent conditions forecast for the remainder of the weekend. Forecasts call for 83 degrees Fahrenheit and sun on Saturday.

***Per IMSA, a total of 33 Bronze or Silver-rated drivers will need to complete at least three laps in night practice to be eligible for the race. Silvers who have raced at the track in night at least once in the last two years are exempt from the requirement. Click Here for the full list of drivers.

***Panoz DeltaWing Racing engineer Catherine Crawford has returned to the paddock for the first time since Sebring, after undergoing emergency surgery in late March for a brain tumor.

***The DeltaWing, which has been allowed to compete in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, will do so at 2016 performance levels, according to IMSA. The same provisions will be made for existing closed-top P2 cars wishing to compete in the Prototype class next year.

***The Ligier JS P217 will begin its North American development program next month. Onroak Automotive’s Ethan Bregman told Sportscar365 that its Gibson-engined development chassis will be air-freighted to the U.S. for tests at Sebring, Daytona and other tracks, and will also be present at IMSA’s official test at Daytona in November.

***Starworks Motorsport team principal Peter Baron confirmed to Sportscar365 that he expects to take delivery of his Gibson-powered Riley Mk. 30 in December, although he has yet to finalize the necessary budget. Baron said the interest in Prototype Challenge for next year remains strong, despite it being in its final year.

***It’s believed there could be as many as 14 new Prototypes on the grid for the season-opener at Daytona. So far, 11 are confirmed between Action Express (two Dallara Cadillac DPi), Wayne Taylor Racing (Dallara Cadillac DPi), Mazda Motorsports (two Riley Mazda DPi), Visit Florida Racing (Mazda/Gibson Riley), Tequila Patron ESM (two Ligier Nissan DPi), JDC-Miller Motorsports (Oreca 07 Gibson), Starworks Motorsport (Riley Gibson), PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports (TBA LMP2).

***Tequila Patron ESM is believed to be among the expected customers for the Ligier JS P3 in the new-look IMSA Prototype Challenge series next year. Team owner Scott Sharp told Sportscar365 they have not yet purchased any cars, although a JS P3 chassis with ESM decals is under its Prototype Lites tent this weekend.

***The Audi R8 V10 plus will be the official pace car for the 19th Annual Petit Le Mans presented by Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort.

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


More in WeatherTech Championship