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Road Atlanta Wednesday Notebook

John Dagys’ Wednesday notebook from Road Atlanta…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

***As expected, a total of 37 cars are set for this weekend’s season-ending Petit Le Mans, following the expected no-shows from CORE autosport, Black Swan Racing, as well as the No. 22 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R and No. 11 Change Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3.

***Efforts to bring the No. 11 Change Lamborghini back to action for the final two races of the season did not materialize. The Robby Benton-led team has instead placed Richard Antinucci in its No. 16 entry alongside full season drivers Spencer Pumpelly and Corey Lewis.

***Richard Lietz and Michael Christensen, co-drivers of the Dempsey Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR in the FIA World Endurance Championship, complete Porsche North America’s lineup this weekend, with Lietz in the No. 911 car and Christensen in the No. 912 entry.

***Cameron Lawrence and Ashley Freiberg have been added to Turner Motorsport’s two BMW M6 GT3 cars this weekend. Freiberg rejoins Jens Klingmann and Bret Curtis in the No. 96 car, fresh off its second class win of the season at COTA, with Lawrence making his team debut in the No. 97 with Markus Palttala and Michael Marsal.

***A Ligier JS P3 is on display under the Tequila Patron ESM IMSA Lites tent (pictured above). The car, which was at COTA in RGR Sport colors, will be one five LMP3 cars eligible for the new-look Prototype Challenge series next year. Onroak Automotive’s Ethan Bregman told Sportscar365 that a total of three Ligiers have been sold, as of COTA, with six to seven cars projected for next year.

***The 2017 Prototype Challenge series champion in the PC1 class will receive an automatic invite to the ACO’s “Road to Le Mans” support race in 2018.

***The minimum drive time for Bronze/Silver-rated PC and GTD drivers has been increased from 2.5 hours to three hours. The maximum drive time of seven hours, and no more than four hours in any six-hour period, remains for all competitors.

***The No. 90 Visit Florida Racing Corvette DP continues with a new look this weekend, after debuting a liquid vinyl/peelable paint at COTA that changes color in sunlight.

***Another car carrying a special livery again is Michael Shank Racing, with its retro color scheme to commemorate its 250th Prototype start this weekend. Of note, 230 of the team’s 250 starts came with Daytona Prototype machinery, prior to their switch to the Ligier JS P2 Honda last year.

***Saturday’s race will mark the 171st and final for DP machinery in IMSA/Grand-Am competition, with four cars set to take the green (Visit Florida Racing, Wayne Taylor Racing and two Action Express Racing). Six DPs took part in the inaugural race at Daytona in 2003.

***Of note, Christian Fittipaldi will be the only driver to have raced in the first and last DP race, having driven the No. 54 Bell Motorsports Doran JE4 Chevrolet with Didier Theys, Terry Borcheller and Forest Barber. Scott Sharp and Ozz Negri also took part in the first race, but are in P2 machinery this weekend.

***A total of 103 DPs have been produced through the 14-year run, with 47 of them Rileys (37 MkXI, 10 MkXXVI), 15 Crawfords, eight Coyotes, seven Dorans, six Dallaras (four JE4, two DP02), four Multimatics, three Lolas, three Picchios and two Chases.

***While not taking part in the final race, Chip Ganassi Racing and Scott Pruett will go down in the history books as the most successful DP team and driver. CGR has claimed 46 wins, with 44 of them having come with Pruett at the wheel.

***Wayne Taylor Racing holds 33 wins with DP machinery, with GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing third on the all-time win charts with 16 wins, all having come in Grand-Am.

***American Le Mans Series founder and sports car racing pioneer Don Panoz will be honored this evening at a 20th anniversary celebration event at the Panoz Museum. Panoz has yet to determine his team’s 2017 plans.

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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