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Sebring IMSA Friday Notebook

Sportscar365’s Friday notebook from IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship paddock…

Photo: Porsche

***The No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR has been stripped of its front row start in the GT Le Mans class after driver Laurens Vanthoor did not proceed directly to tech post-qualifying. As a result, Vanthoor will start from the rear of the GTLM field, promoting the No. 3 Corvette C7.R of Antonio Garcia to second in class.

***Click Here for the updated provisional grid, which is expected to feature at least one additional change. The 12th placed GTD qualifying No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 appears set to also start from the rear due to a post-qualifying engine change.

***Acura claimed its first-ever double pole on Friday in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition, with Dane Cameron taking the No. 6 Team Penske Acura ARX-05 to the top overall and in DPi and Trend Hindman’s No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo taking top class pole honors in GT Daytona.

***It marked Silver-rated Hindman’s first career WeatherTech Championship pole.

***Grasser Racing Team performed a remarkable feat to have its Lamborghini qualify fourth in class following a crash in the practice session that immediately preceded qualifying. The damaged car returned to the paddock with less than 30 minutes to spare before qualifying began, and the team made rapid repairs to the rear of the car to ensure Rolf Ineichen would have a chance to set a time.

***Also returning for qualifying after a hard accident was fellow Lamborghini team Precision Performance Motorsports. The team was forced to skip Thursday night practice  after Don Yount’s heavy practice crash, but the car was back together in time to qualify. Brandon Gdovic qualified the car fifth in class.

***BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt said it’s now unlikely they will enter the DPi class under the current regulations, which are confirmed through the 2021 season, although has continued to express interest in the next-gen ruleset, which looks set to feature a hybrid powertrain component.

***Reigning GTD class co-champion Madison Snow is back in the IMSA paddock for the first time since electing not to compete due to his offseason reassignment to a FIA Gold driver rating. Snow told Sportscar365 he was simply enjoying the weekend as a fan, adding that it was the first time since his 2013 GT3 Cup Challenge season that he’s been able to watch the 12 Hours from the sidelines.

***Snow indicated he was not currently pursuing a return to the cockpit and that he was enjoying his time away from driving. However, he added that his brother McKay Snow is evaluating a return to racing in Lamborghini Super Trofeo this year.

***Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Pascal Vasselon said they are “very willing” to let its drivers contest additional non-conflicting WeatherTech Championship races, opening the door for Mike Conway to return to the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and Motul Petit Le Mans.

***Conway was not released to contest this weekend’s race due to his WEC commitments, while visa issues resulted in the Englishman missing the Rolex 24 at Daytona, a race that was won by his Toyota LMP1 teammates Fernando Alonso and Kamui Kobayshi.

***Bill Auberlen is set for his 26th Sebring 12 Hours start on Saturday. The BMW veteran stands second in all-time race starts to Hurley Haywood, who made 28 in his illustrious career.

***The Sebring Gallery of Legends building has been renamed in honor of Dr. Don Panoz. The serial entrepreneur and American Le Mans Series founder passed away in September following a short battle with cancer. A number of Panoz race cars are on display in the gallery this weekend.

***’Super Sebring’ grand marshal Allan McNish admitted to Sportscar365 that he found himself nodding off prior to the qualifying broadcast for the WEC race last night. McNish, who serves as a commentator for the WEC broadcasts, is also the team principal for Audi Sport Abt Team Schlaeffer and is in the midst of an intense travel schedule with Sebring in the middle of ABB FIA Formula E Championship rounds in Hong Kong and Sanya.

***Coverage of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring will be spread across the NBC family of networks (see times below), with full coverage available on IMSA.tv for international viewers, as well as on IMSA Radio, led by John Hindhaugh, Jeremy Shaw and Shea Adam.

Ryan Myrehn contributed to this report

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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