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Road Atlanta Wednesday Notebook

Sportscar365’s Wednesday notebook from Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta…

Photo: John Dagys

***A total of 43 cars are set for this weekend’s Motul Petit Le Mans, the largest field for the ten-hour enduro at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta since 2014. IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship teams unloaded Wednesday afternoon ahead of the start of on-track activity on Thursday morning.

***Among the late driver additions include Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS driver Benjamin Hites in NTE Sport’s Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo alongside Don Yount and Jaden Conwright. The team is making its fourth start of the season and first since Road America in August.

***Michele Beretta has joined Grasser Racing Team’s lineup alongside full-season drivers Franck Perera and Misha Goikhberg. Beretta won the 2020 European Le Mans Series title with Proton Competition and was one of this year’s International GT Open champions with Lamborghini outfit Vincenzo Sospiri Racing.

***Beretta’s assignment to Grasser means that he and his GT Open co-champion Frederik Schandorff, who is subbing for Ollie Millroy at Inception Racing, will be competing against each other in GTD.

***Rodrigo Pflucker and Stefan Rzadzinski complete the Forty7 Motorsports LMP3 lineup this weekend, in addition to Mark Kvamme. Pflucker was the 2019 IMSA Prototype Challenge champion with the same team, while Rzadzinski’s most recent drive came in the Jaguar I-PACE eTrophy which supported Formula E for two seasons.

***There have been no major Balance of Performance adjustments since the last round at Virginia International Raceway other than a 1-liter fuel capacity reduction for the Chevrolet Corvette C8.R. The McLaren 720S GT3, making its first series start of the season, has been listed with a minimum weight of 1295 kg.

***This weekend marks the first time since 2020 that two Porsche 911 RSR-19s will compete in WeatherTech Championship competition. All three of the drivers of the No. 97 Porsche — Kevin Estre, Michael Christensen and Fred Makowicki — are fresh off last weekend’s 8 Hours of Bahrain.

***Roman De Angelis and Scott Huffaker were among a handful of Silver-rated drivers that took part in last weekend’s FIA World Endurance Championship rookie test in Bahrain at the wheel of Aston Martin Vantage GTEs. The Heart of Racing driver was quickest of the North American contingent, which also included Kenton Koch and Dylan Murry.

***Members of European Le Mans Series and Michelin Le Mans Cup outfit Cool Racing are assisting WIN Autosport this weekend in the operation of its LMP3 car for Matt Bell, Naveen Rao and Josh Skelton. 

***United Autosports, which is also operating as a two-car prototype effort this weekend, is utilizing an Andretti Autosport transporter alongside its dedicated Florida-based truck. A number of its crew came straight from last weekend’s WEC season finale in Bahrain.

***The No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo is a brand-new chassis this weekend, with its Rolex 24 at Daytona GT Daytona class-winning car having been retired from competition. Several members of its European-based outfit are on-site this weekend including engineer Alex Zoechling.

***Inception Racing, which is making its IMSA debut, was forced to remove its Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS decals from its transporter upon arrival. A similar situation occurred to WeatherTech Sprint Cup entrant Compass Racing earlier this year.

***Corvette Racing is making its 250th start this weekend since the program’s debut in the 1999 Rolex 24.

***Every Porsche GTD program is in contention for one or more championship this weekend. Pfaff Motorsports’ Laurens Vanthoor and Zach Robichon lead the class standings while Wright Motorsports’ Patrick Long holds an outside chance of the title, with the Ohio-based team in contention for the Michelin Endurance Cup title.

***Team Hardpoint’s Rob Ferriol, meanwhile, leads the Bob Akin Award, which will provide an automatic invite to next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. Ben Keating currently leads the Jim Trueman award, which offers the same for LMP2.

***TF Sport is unlikely to return to the Rolex 24 at Daytona after making its debut in the race this year with an Aston Martin Vantage GT3. “Not at the moment,” team principal Tom Ferrier recently told Sportscar365. “I’ve sent a couple of budgets out but nothing major. Ben [Keating] is not keen to do it in an Aston, which is fair enough because he’s done it once.”

***Ferrier added that TF Sport customer Salih Yoluc at one stage considered an IMSA LMP2 program, but is now set to go for a second stint in the European Le Mans Series instead. Projections for a second LMP2 car in the British team’s stable now have a “30 percent” chance of happening, according to Ferrier.

***The new-for-2023 Porsche 911 GT3 R has begun on-track testing according to Head of Porsche Motorsport Thomas Laudenbach. The type-992 based model is expected to take part in selected test races next year ahead of a full customer rollout the following year.

“We’re testing and we’re in the middle of our test work,” Laudenbach told Sportscar365. “So far I’m very happy because there hasn’t been any major problems. You always have a few things when you develop a new car but so far nothing that makes me worry.”

***Officials from Global Medical Response (GMR) and IMSA today confirmed an extension of their corporate partnership through 2024. GMR’s ground ambulance business, American Medical Response (AMR), will continue in its role as official emergency medical services partner with IMSA.

***For the second year in a row, Jackson Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) and Road Atlanta have partnered to create the Electric Vehicle Performance Corral presented by Jackson EMC. The all-electric car corral is open to the public. 

Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report

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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