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Road Atlanta Wednesday Notebook

John Dagys’ Wednesday notebook from set up day at Motul Petit Le Mans…

Photo: John Dagys

***Nick Boulle has been a late addition to the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Oreca 07 Gibson alongside James French and Kyle Masson. The Florida-based squad makes its first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship start since the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, after crashing out in practice at its most recent outing at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

***Masson completed a shakedown of the LMP2 car at Palm Beach International Raceway last week. 

***Several Porsche factory drivers, including Earl Bamber, Laurens Vanthoor, Nick Tandy and Patrick Long, made a visit to Porsche Cars North America’s headquarters in Atlanta on Wednesday morning for an employee day, an event that also included hot laps at Porsche’s Experience Center.

***Championship leaders Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr (Prototype) and Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow (GTD), meanwhile, were part of a WeatherTech Championship trophy tour throughout Atlanta that included stops at SunTrust Park, home of the Atlanta Braves, and the College Football Hall of Fame.

***BMW of North America will again serve as the official safety car for Saturday’s race, with the manufacturer supplying a BMW M850i xDrive as the pace car and BMW M5 as the safety car. 

***The effects of Hurricane Michael will be felt in the Road Atlanta paddock tonight, as the remnants of the Category 4 storm is set to hit the Braselton Ga. area this evening and dump heavy rain. The storm is expected to subside by Thursday morning and is not likely to have any significant disruption with on-track activity tomorrow.

***Wayne Taylor Racing is set to return next year with an unchanged full-season lineup of Jordan Taylor and Renger van der Zande in the Konica Minolta-sponsored Cadillac DPi-V.R. Wayne Taylor confirmed to Sportscar365 that additional driver announcements for the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Michelin Endurance Cup are expected to be made in December.

***Taylor said the team could expand its operation to IMSA Prototype Challenge, alongside its expected return to Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America, where it currently fields five Huracan Super Trofeo EVO entries.

***Jackie Heinricher is expected to be announced as a driver for Meyer Shank Racing next year. Heinricher, who has been an occasional driver in Super Trofeo competition, is slated to test MSR’s Acura NSX GT3 at Daytona later this month.

***Sportscar365 understands that MSR has scheduled a press conference for Friday. The team is believed to have two brand-new Acuras on order for 2019, with its current cars having been put up for sale by Honda Performance Development.

***HPD and Acura have have yet to confirm a rumored Evo kit package, amid the introduction of a new GT3 regulations cycle for next year. Both Audi and Lamborghini have already unveiled Evos with its current machinery.

***IMSA has established deadlines for teams to submit Silver-rated drivers for consideration in the four Michelin Endurance Cup races next year. Any Silver-rated driver that did not participate in a WeatherTech Championship race this year is required to be reviewed by IMSA’s newly established Driver Evaluation Committee prior to the entry closing dates for each event.

***Several European Le Mans Series teams are close to confirming LMP2 entries for January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona. It includes Inter Europol Competition, which recently purchased a Ligier JS P217 Gibson, as well as Panis-Barthez Competition. The new-for-2019 class, which will be spun off from DPi machinery, is set to feature Pro-Am driver enforcement.

***Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin have been tipped to drive Corvette Racing’s solo entry in next month’s FIA World Endurance Championship race in Shanghai. GM has yet to announce its driver lineup for the team’s Asian debut, although it’s understood to feature two drivers only.

***The Chinese round is expected to be the first leg of a two-race WEC program for the Pratt & Miller squad, with Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia rumored to spearhead the lineup for the 1,000 Miles of Sebring in March.

***Bill Mullen (Wayne Taylor Racing mechanic), Dale Wise (Meyer Shank Racing engineer), Dean Martin (KohR Motorsports team owner), Karl Thomson (Compass Racing team owner) and James Clay (BimmerWorld Racing team owner) will be presented with Continental Tire’s ExtremeSpirit Awards at the IMSA banquets this weekend. The recipients were selected based on demonstrating “great respect for fellow competitors, sponsors, track operators, officials, media, and fans” throughout the 2018 season.

***Petit Le Mans will mark Continental’s final race as the official tire supplier in IMSA, following an nine-year run that began in Grand-Am competition. “I would like to thank all of our drivers, teams, and fans for making the 2018 IMSA season one to remember,” said Continental Tire director of marketing Travis Roffler. “There were records broken and many spirited battles. We are celebrating your efforts and reflecting on many great memories over the past nine years. We look forward to celebrating those achievements with you at Road Atlanta.”

***Restoration of the original Nissan DeltaWing from 2012 is underway, according to team manager Tom Milner, who is on-site this weekend to help support Panoz’s collection of race cars that are on display. Both the recently restored Panoz GTR-1 and an Elan-powered Deltawing DWC13 Coupe, meanwhile, will complete demo laps in honor of Dr. Don Panoz, who passed away last month.

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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