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Road Atlanta Wednesday Notebook

John Dagys’ first notebook from newly named Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta…

Photo: John Dagys

***This weekend’s Motul Petit Le Mans marks the first major event for the new Michelin Tower, a 52,000 square foot, four-story building housing race officials, media, broadcasters and hospitality. An official dedication is planned for Friday.

***The track curbing has been repainted to blue and yellow to reflect the new track naming rights to Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

***Michelin has increased the tire allocation for the DPi and LMP2 class from 22 to 24 sets this weekend based upon “analysis and data” from recent private testing. According to a Michelin bulletin, it was found that the “dynamics loading” have increased, due to in part to new pavement in several areas of the circuit.

***A change has also been made to GT Daytona class competitors, which have been placed on the Pilot Sport S9M commercial tire instead of the initially declared S8M. The harder S9M compound was previously utilized at Watkins Glen, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Lime Rock Park, Road America and Virginia International Raceway this year.

***Former Lamborghini Super Trofro North America champion Shinya Michimi has been confirmed as the third and final driver in PPM’s Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo, alongside the previously announced Brandon Gdovic and Don Yount this weekend.

***Technical information on the Corvette C8.R will be announced Thursday during a presentation with GM and Corvette Racing’s engineering team. It is expected to include confirmation of the car’s normally aspirated 5.5-liter flat-crank V8 engine.

***At least one additional change to Corvette Racing’s driver lineup is believed to be possible for 2020 beyond Jordan Taylor’s move to the factory squad, who is set to replace Jan Magnussen.

***Magnussen is understood to be a free agent for 2020, with the Dane actively seeking employment. His replacement within the team, made by top GM brass, is believed to have been contentious by several top-ranking team members.

***Saturday’s race will mark the last race for the Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. Since its debut in 2014, the Pratt & Miller-built car has claimed 17 class wins in 73 events across IMSA and the FIA World Endurance Championship, with its 16 wins in IMSA being the second-most of any car in the WeatherTech Championship to date.

***The C7.R also propelled Chevrolet and Corvette Racing to consecutive GTLM manufacturer championships in 2016-17, and driver and team championships in 2016-18. The car is a three-time class winner at Sebring, twice at Daytona and once at Le Mans.

***Petit Le Mans will also be the final factory outing for the first-generation mid-engined Porsche 911 RSR, which will be replaced by the new-generation model, which debuted in last month’s WEC season-opener at Silverstone. The car has claimed a total of ten class wins in IMSA competition, its most recent coming at VIR in August.

***A total of four Ford GTs are on-site this weekend, with Ben Keating’s chassis and the No. 67 Multimatic-run WEC car both on display in the Michelin display in the vendor village.

***The Harry Tincknell, Andy Priaulx and Jonathan Bomarito-driven No. 67 Ford GT, still in its red-and-white Le Mans throwback livery, was recently used for a media event at VIR and has also been utilized for pit stop practice by CGR mechanics.

***CGR team manager Mike O’Gara told Sportscar365 that their “initial thought” has been to re-allocate members of its sports car crew to the team’s newly announced third IndyCar entry for Marcus Ericsson, although said a final decision has yet to be made.

***O’Gara said that the team is still prepared to operate the Ford GTs next year, with prospective customers set to be in attendance this weekend for discussions with Ford on the potential purchase of cars.

***Sportscar365 understands that a partial-season program around the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring is the likely option for the team at this point.

***Multimatic is out in force this weekend, with a team of 35 engineers and technicians on-site to support the Mazda Team Joest and Ford Chip Ganassi Racing programs, as well as the pair of Multimatic-entered Ford Mustang GT4s in Friday’s Michelin Pilot Challenge season finale.

***An influx of Porsche 911 GT3 Rs are expected to the GTD ranks next year, with both Wright Motorsports and Alegra Motorsports understood to be finalizing programs. Alegra was absent from last month’s Blancpain GT World Challenge America round at Road America and is not expected for next weekend’s season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

***Cooper MacNeil is pulling double duty this week between Petit Le Mans and the SCCA Runoffs at Virginia International Raceway. MacNeil ran the fastest lap in the T2 class on Tuesday in a specially-modified 2010 Porsche 997.2 Carrera S.

***MacNeil will be at Road Atlanta in time for Practice 2 on Thursday through the duration of the weekeend. “It will be a difficult weekend as the race in Atlanta ends at 10 p.m. Saturday and the race in Virginia starts at 9 a.m. the following morning,” he said.

***Michelin Pilot Challenge TCR title contender Tom O’Gorman is slated to also travel to VIR on Sunday to be part of the broadcast team for the event.

***For the second consecutive year, BMW M will have a major presence at Road Atlanta, with a specially modified BMW M5 Competition to serve as the Official Safety Car for the race.

***Nearly 50 Wynn’s associates and guests will be attending the event, following business meetings in the Atlanta area. The Wynn’s-sponsored No. 33 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemeolen and Felipe Fraga currently holds a three-point lead in the Michelin Endurance Cup GTD standings.

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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