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Roar Before 24 Saturday Notebook

Tony DiZinno’s Saturday notebook from Roar Before the Rolex 24…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

***Sergio Perez, announced as a new partner with TRG-AMR before Christmas, won’t be in Daytona this week but is expected to be in attendance for the Rolex 24 at Daytona itself per TRG-AMR team principal Kevin Buckler. The Force India Formula 1 driver’s new season begins March 20 in Melbourne, Australia.

***Meanwhile, Buckler turned laps behind the wheel on Friday in the team’s No. 007 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3, having also done so at November’s test here. “I know the car and I know the track. So if I can sort something they wouldn’t know, that helps us all,” Buckler told Sportscar365.

***Fifty-Plus Racing returns to IMSA competition for the first time since Sebring last year, now with upgraded carbon brakes and traction control added for the first time on its No. 50 Riley-BMW, Dorsey Schroeder told Sportscar365. New driver Thomas Gruber drove in that same chassis during November’s HSR Historic 24 at Daytona.

***Schroeder also additionally confirmed the team’s plans to compete in the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup rounds. Sebring is confirmed with Watkins Glen and Petit Le Mans expected; provided the latter happens, it would mark the team’s Petit Le Mans race debut.

***Black Swan Racing team principal and co-driver Tim Pappas told Sportscar365 Patrick Long will continue with the team at Sebring in the team’s No. 540 Porsche 911 GT3 R. It will mean the same quartet of Pappas, Long, Nick Catsburg and Andy Pilgrim will continue for a second consecutive race.

***Nicolas Minassian told Sportscar365 he and Silver-rated Maurizio Mediani are the first two confirmed drivers in SMP Racing’s second BR Engineering BR01 Nissan for the FIA WEC this season, with a third driver to be determined. Victor Shaytar, Kirill Ladygin and Vitaly Petrov were announced for the team’s first car late last month.

***If it seemed like there was an influx of kids and families in the paddock today, there was, and by design. Several Boy Scouts troops have set up camp in Turns 3 and 4 for the annual “Scout Days,” with activity scheduled for the young scouts from morning through to 6:30 p.m.

***One of the other things making the rounds through the paddock was Michael Goodwin’s annual Rolex 24 sign, this year featuring artwork celebrating Ford’s return to the sport. A number of drivers autograph the sign every year; last year’s sign was auctioned for Rett Syndrome Research and fetched a winning bid of more than $3,000.

***Beyond the three announced drivers at Change Racing, two others were added Friday via timing & scoring, in the form of Kaz Grala and Austin Cindric. Cindric arrived in Daytona on Friday.

***Change Racing also has a separate chassis from the Grasser Racing Team chassis that Lamborghini Huracán GT3 teams utilized for November testing at Daytona and Sebring. Change team principal Robby Benton told Sportscar365 the Grasser chassis is being used by Konrad Motorsport this week; the Change chassis will remain in its new green and black livery with Pertamina and Monster Energy signage for the season.

***Performance Tech Motorsports and JDC/Miller Motorsports have announced their Roar Before the Rolex 24 test lineups will be the same for the Rolex 24 at Daytona itself. It leaves BAR1 Motorsports as the only team in Prototype Challenge yet to confirm its lineups for the Rolex 24.

***BAR1 team principal Brian Alder confirmed to Sportscar365 that the team will have one full-season entry in PC, with a second possible for selected races if not the full season, same as was the case last year.

***The list of those drivers walking the paddock exploring any potential rides is longer than the number of available seats. Bruno Junqueira, Kyle Marcelli, Cameron Lawrence, James Gue, Trent Hindman and Jade Buford were among those spotted, and that list only barely scratches the surface of those who are yet to finalize any 2016 programs.

John Dagys contributed to this report

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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