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Road Atlanta Thursday Notebook

Tony DiZinno’s Thursday notebook from Road Atlanta…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

***OAK Racing opted to perform an engine change on its No. 42 Ligier JS P2 Honda in-between first and second practice. Alex Brundle made it out for his first installation lap 26 minutes into second practice, and eventually made it to second in eight laps at a 1:15.134. The changed engine is the one the team ran to second place at Circuit of the Americas two weeks ago.

***Jaime Melo is in attendance this weekend as a guest of Risi Competizione team principal Giuseppe Risi. Melo last started Petit Le Mans in 2010 in Risi’s final race with the Ferrari F430 GT, while a morning warmup accident cost Risi a chance to start the 2011 race with its then-new Ferrari F458 Italia.

***Mike Skeen has been added to Park Place Motorsports’ lineup in the No. 73 Porsche 911 GT America. Skeen, who is Silver-rated by IMSA, joins fellow Silver Patrick Lindsey along with Norbert Siedler and Kevin Estre to complete a four-driver lineup.

***Park Place’s second car, the No. 71, has been withdrawn. Skeen shared the car with Mike Vess at COTA. The second Muehlner Motorsports America entry, the No. 18 Porsche 911 GT America, did not run in either first or second practice but has yet to be officially withdrawn.

***SpeedSource Mazda driver Tristan Nunez is sporting pink shoelaces this weekend as part of “pink power,” to help raise awareness and a cure for breast cancer. Nunez has done this for several years; October is breast cancer awareness month.

***Both Sebastien Bourdais and Tristan Vautier expect to return with Action Express Racing and SpeedSource, respectively, in their third driver roles for 2015. Bourdais has a full-season IndyCar commitment while Vautier is unsure of his specific plans beyond continuing his long-standing relationship with Mazda.

***PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports’ Gunnar Jeannette has past Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda experience as part of a two-driver lineup, having finished fifth overall with Lucas Ordonez in the Nissan DeltaWing in 2012. Jeannette expects this year’s to be “the hardest Petit Le Mans I’ve ever done,” primarily due to the tighter, condensed overall times between the four classes. The tighter times and higher GTLM/GTD straightline speeds can make it harder for PC cars to overtake, Jeannette said.

***Corvette Racing has tribute decals on their cars honoring the late Dick Thompson, who passed away just prior to the COTA weekend. The decals were made just prior to the COTA race and have been on the cars since they arrived at Petit Le Mans this weekend.

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

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