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Sebring IMSA Friday Notebook

John Dagys’ notebook from the eve of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring…

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

***Both the No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo and No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes failed post-qualifying technical inspection due to ride height infractions, moving the GTD and GTD Pro class entries to the rear of the GT starting field for tomorrow’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Philip Ellis and Dani Juncadella had initially qualified second and third, respectively, in their classes.

***Additionally, the No. 4 Ave Motorsports Ligier JS P320 Nissan has been moved to the back of the LMP3 grid as the car was also out of compliance. “Any sprung part of the car must be situated more than 50 mm above the reference surface,” a statement from IMSA read.

***Pipo Derani’s pole-winning 1:45.836 lap time would have put the Action Express Racing Cadillac V-Series.R fourth on the grid for the FIA World Endurance Championship 1000 Miles of Sebring, behind the No. 50 Ferrari 499P and pair of Toyota GR010 Hybrids.

***Both the Cadillac and Porsche 963 are running to the same Balance of Performance figures in the WeatherTech Championship and WEC this weekend, which is understood to have been by design from the organizing bodies.

***ACO competition director Thierry Bouvet said: “I think having both [championships] on the same starting BoP here at Sebring shows how good the collaboration is. I think that’s a strong statement from ACO, FIA and IMSA. We all have the same ambitions and targets.”

***LMDh cars are running closer to the 520 kW (700 horsepower) maximum power output this weekend after the GTP class entries were limited to 500 kW (670 hp) at the Rolex 24 at Daytona for what Sportscar365 understands was for safety reasons related to cars not exceeding 200 mph on the oval.

***Ricky Taylor and Tom Blomqvist were the only GTP class drivers to take on two sets of Michelin tires during qualifying although their efforts fell by the wayside due to Campbell’s session-ending crash.

***Both the Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport and Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-06s did not appear to encounter any electrical-related issues in qualifying following a troublesome day for the cars on Thursday that saw multiple on-track stoppages and system resets.

***GTP class teams are permitted to use 11 of their 16 allocated sets of Michelin SHT compound tires in the race tomorrow, marking an increase in allocation compared to the Rolex 24 at Daytona, which was split between the SHT and SLT compounds.

***The No. 7 Porsche Penske Motorsport Porsche 963 suffered no major damage from Matt Campbell’s Turn 1 crash. A Porsche spokesperson confirmed to Sportscar365 that the damage was limited to bodywork, but that the team changed the rear dampers as a precaution.

***Pfaff Motorsports will take part in the race as planned according to team manager Steve Bortolotti. The Canadian squad spent Friday rebuilding the No. 9 Porsche 911 GT3 R after Klaus Bachler crashed in qualifying. “The Pfaff Motorsports team is going to work hard until the car is done,” Bortolotti told Sportscar365. “I don’t think it’ll be an overnight or anything like that.”

***Bortolotti further confirmed that a chassis change was not necessary after Bachler’s impact with the Turn 1 barriers. “Amazed as to how tough the Porsche chassis is on this new 911 GT3 R. A big testament to the car they developed. I feel like a hit like in most cases in the past or with other brands would have been a chassis replacement, but this new Type-992 car is extremely tough.”

***Both Kellymoss with Riley Porsches were repaired following separate accidents in night practice, with the No. 91 car having been stripped down before being rebuilt overnight. Alan Metni qualified the car in 15th in the GTD class as one of the contingent of Bronze-rated drivers that elected to qualify and permitted to change tires for the start of the race as a result.

***LMP2 and LMP3 cars qualified together for the first time, which allowed GTP class cars to have the track on their own, having previously been paired with LMP2 machinery.

***Kyle Marcelli revealed he came close to aborting his pole lap aboard the No. 93 Racers Edge Motorsports with WTR Andretti Acura NSX GT3 Evo22 after he made a mistake through Turn 1.

***Marcelli told Sportscar365: “I asked for an update as I got through Turn 5, and I think we were P3. We needed a tenth, and that’s when I was gonna bail on it, because I had screwed up Turn 1 a little bit. And I just kinda stayed in it and got through seven, and I was up a tenth. So I figured, okay, I’m just gonna stay on it. We only went purple in Sector 2, and then finished the lap off and was able to get pole.”

***Only two of the required drivers — George Kurtz and David Brule — did not complete the minimum night-time laps in the red flag-filled Thursday night practice, with Kurtz having been given dispensation to race during periods of darkness tomorrow and Brule understood to not drive at night according to IMSA Radio.

***Cadillac, which scored its first GTP class pole on Friday, is seeking its third consecutive Twelve Hours of Sebring victory, albeit with the new V-Series.R LMDh car. Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 02 Cadillac DPi-V.R claimed top honors last year, prior to JDC-Miller Motorsports’ triumph in the 2021 edition of the race.

***The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America will feature a showcase of Panoz race cars as part of the new Don Panoz Endowment located on the grounds of Daytona International Speedway. Announced last week, “Don’s Garage” currently has the Stars-and-Stripes Panoz LMP1 roaster and DeltaWing on display, with other Panoz cars and memorabilia to be on rotation.

***Pfaff Motorsports has been inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame class of 2022. The reigning GTD Pro class championship-winning team joins Canadian competitors such as Gilles and Jacques Villeneuve, Ron Fellows and others, including Pfaff team owner Chris Pfaff, who was inducted as a significant contributor to Canadian motorsports as part of the class of 2016.

***The Heart of Racing is set to contest the next two Hankook 24H Series rounds at Mugello and Spa-Francorchamps as an extension of its 24H Dubai program with a Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo. Team principal Ian James told Sportscar365 that additional races are currently not planned due to clashes with its IMSA and SRO America programs.

***The Jackson Motorsports team is wearing black armbands in tribute to the founder and chairman Larry Jackson, who passed away earlier this week. There are 38 Jackson associates on-site handling tire inventory, mounting, balancing and release to the IMSA teams, and communications for the largest event in Michelin Motorsport’s history.

***NBC Sports’ coverage of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring kicks off on Peacock at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday, with USA Network carrying the race from 4:30-10:30 p.m. ET. Additionally, Peacock will have the full race. Leigh Diffey, Dave Burns, Calvin Fish, Townsend Bell and Brian Till will be in the booth, with Kevin Lee, Dillon Welch, Hannah Newhouse and Matt Yocum on pit lane.

***Flag-to-flag coverage will also be available on IMSA Radio, led by the team of John Hindhaugh, Jeremey Shaw, Shea Adam and Joe Bradley.

Davey Euwema 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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