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Sebring Friday Notebook

John Dagys’ Friday notebook from Sebring test…

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

***Cadillac DPi-V.Rs dominated the IMSA-sanctioned Sebring Test, with the Wayne Taylor Racing and Action Express Racing entries ending up with the eight quickest times in the Prototype class and more than seven-tenths clear of the next-quickest car, the No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Oreca 07 Gibson.

***The impressive speed came despite a post-Daytona Balance of Performance adjustment, which saw a 1.5 mm reduction in air restrictor for the Cadillacs, which paddock sources equated to in excess of 30 horsepower. The 6.2-liter normally aspirated V8s are understood to have a significant advantage in terms of torque over their competitors.

***Both of the Tequila Patron ESM Nissan Onroak DPis returned after engine changes, although the No. 22 car packed up during the morning session. Ryan Dalziel got the No. 2 car down to a best lap of 1:50.767, marking a considerable improvement from Thursday.

***The No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Ligier JS P217 Gibson, meanwhile, continued to struggle with electrical gremlins, although Onroak development driver Olivier Pla managed to set the 5th quickest time overall.

***Drivers have given praise to Continental’s new Prototype class tire, which makes its debut in next month’s race. “The new tire definitely fits a P2-style chassis more,” Mazda’s Tristan Nunez told Sportscar365. “It’s easier to get up to temperature. It got comfortable after just one lap and it felt pretty good.”

***With the new tire, lap times have also dropped significantly. Jordan Taylor’s pace-setting 1:49.600 lap time was nearly two seconds quicker than Pla’s pole time from last year’s race, albeit in a 2016-spec Ligier JS P2 Honda.

***3GT Racing is expected to continue unaffected, despite the seizure of equipment from RSR Racing, as well as Paul Gentilozzi’s real estate company earlier this week. Gentilozzi’s former driver, Ryan Hunter-Reay, was awarded $3.3 million in a federal suit following a decade long court battle with Gentilozzi due to a breach of contract from the 2005 Champ Car season.

***Mark Simo is no longer team manager at SunEnergy1 Racing, with the Charlotte-based team currently searching for another replacement. California-based Simo, known for his “No Fear” lifestyle brand, joined the team prior to the Rolex 24 at Daytona after veteran NASCAR crew chief Matt Chambers was let go. It’s understood the team is looking for new management that can be based at their shop.

***Former K-PAX Racing driver Colin Thompson turned laps in the No. 26 BAR1 Motorsports Oreca FLM09 on Friday, alongside Marc Drumwright, Gustavo Yacaman and Chapman Ducote, with Sean Rayhall and Chuck Quinton in the No. 8 Starworks entry with Scott Mayer.

***While BAR1 will enter two cars for Sebring and the rest of the season, Starworks team boss Peter Baron told Sportscar365 they will focus on only a single PC entry from here on out. The team’s Sebring lineup has yet to be determined.

***Ozz Negri says the biggest adjustment for him going from Prototype to GT racing with the Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 has been acclimating with the ABS. “I bet if you talk to Katherine [Legge], [Scott] Pruett, Sage [Karam], everybody that’s only driven cars with normal brake pedal, [it’s the same challenge]. But we’re getting there,” he told Sportscar365.

***Change Racing team principal Robby Benton is in the Daytona 500, with his RAB Racing team supporting the No. 96 Gaunt Brothers Racing Toyota Camry of D.J. Kennington, who raced his way into the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season-opener. Benton’s squad has supplied cars, crew and equipment, with its IMSA transporter, complete with Lamborghini graphics, parked in the garage area.

***A decision on Risi Competizione’s third driver for the 24 Hours of Le Mans is expected to be made next week, according to team manager Dave Sims. Sims told Sportscar365 that it will not be Matteo Malucelli, who teamed with the already confirmed Toni Vilander and Giancarlo Fisichella last year. It’s understood Juan Pablo Montoya, who tested with the team on Friday, is not under consideration.

***Paddock rumors, meanwhile, have indicated that Marcel Fassler and Jordan Taylor will be named as the final two drivers in Corvette Racing’s lineup for the French endurance classic, although the team has yet to officially comment.

***The Florida Orchestra will be holding a free concert at Sebring on Sat. March 11, kicking off race week at the track. The speed-themed concert, to be held in the infield, will feature music from Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, William Tell Overture, Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4 and Flight of the Bumblebee, all conducted by Music Director Michael Francis.

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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