***While GTP class teams unpacked on Tuesday morning, the majority of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competitors unloaded Wednesday in preparation for this weekend’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, which features a 53-car entry for the second leg of the Michelin Endurance Cup.
***The entry list is down by one as the No. 43 MRS-GT Racing Ligier JS P320 Nissan is absent. It was on the pre-event entry list with three to-be-announced drivers. As a result, the LMP3 class will now feature nine cars.
***NTE Sport’s Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2, which is registered for the full season in GTD, is absent this weekend due to the financial setbacks faced from its accident in the Rolex 24 at Daytona according to team owner Paul Mata, who told Sportscar365 that he’s hopeful of being back for the fourth round of the season at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in May.
***The No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport Acura ARX-06 heads into the weekend as the new GTP class points leaders following penalties imposed on the Rolex 24-winning No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura due after the team was found to have manipulated tire pressure data in the race.
***Honda Performance Development officially informed IMSA of the breach, which was communicated last week. HPD President and technical director David Salters said the “unacceptable” behavior by MSR was not condoned, with the manufacturer in ‘complete support’ of IMSA’s actions.
***Salters said in a statement: “HPD does not tolerate any misconduct, delinquency, or data manipulation of any kind. We completely support the action of IMSA in this matter. We have put a huge effort over two years with our chassis partners into the ARX-06 to make it the best race car we could. To have this put into question is unacceptable.”
***Sportscar365 understands the findings prompted an extensive post-race data analysis from Daytona by IMSA, although the sanctioning body has declined to provide further comment on the matter.
***MSR is understood to have made elaborate methods of creating and managing tire pressure offsets, with some industry experts questioning whether the manipulation could have also been in place during its DPi championship-winning 2022 season. A MSR team representative declined to make team co-owner Mike Shank available for comment.
***IMSA has put into place measures to further monitor tire pressures in an updated set of sporting regulations related to tire pressure control, which states that a tire manufacturer technician can perform a manual static tire pressure checks at any time upon the request of IMSA and under the supervision of an official.
***Additionally, competitors are not allowed to influence the tire pressures in their last three laps before coming to the pits via methods such as changing brake balance strategy, recovery strategy and brake/throttle crossing applications. Providing inaccurate, misrepresentative or misleading data may be subject to an array of penalties outlined in Art. 57.
***Gary Davies, formerly of CORE autosport, has replaced Ryan McCarthy as race engineer of the No. 60 MSR car for the remainder of the season. McCarthy was indefinitely suspended by IMSA as part of the penalties issued against the Ohio-based team.
***Both Acura LMDh cars completed shakedowns at The Concours Club near Miami last weekend, with Colin Braun in the MSR car and Louis Deletraz at the wheel of the No. 10 WTR with Andretti entry. “[Louis] said the car is good,” said team co-owner Wayne Taylor. “HPD have come up with a new engine and software, there has been new BoP, but until we get to the track we don’t know how it’ll affect us.”
***WeatherTech Racing is using a different Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo chassis as its Rolex 24 GTD Pro class-winning car, which has been retired to the MacNeil’s museum. Jules Gounon explained that the Proton Competition-run team wasn’t able to make last month’s IMSA-sanctioned test at Sebring as a result of the team “rebuilding” a previous chassis to be put back into use.
***The No.14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 arrived at Sebring with an updated livery featuring new branding from lubricants company Mobil 1, resulting in new white accents to the front bumper, bonnet and rear wing.
***AO Racing’s dinosaur-inspired livery on its Type-992 Porsche 911 GT3 R, which was christened “Rexy”, attracted plenty of fan interest once it was rolled out of the truck on Wednesday morning. The bright green livery was accompanied by an inflatable dinosaur mascot placed on the team’s hauler.
***Triarsi Competizione has brought a second Ferrari 296 GT3 to Sebring. The chassis, unwrapped in bare carbon, sat alongside its race-spec No. 023 car in the team garage. It is understood to be used for its Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS effort.
***A total of 27 drivers are pulling double duty between the FIA World Endurance Championship and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races this weekend. Porsche Hypercar drivers Dane Cameron, Michael Christensen and Laurens Vanthoor are also racing in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, as are Ferrari Hypercar aces Antonio Fuoco and Miguel Molina.
***Similarly, IMSA GTP drivers Louis Deletraz, Filipe Albuquerque and Tom Blomqvist also all have commitments in the WEC paddock with Team WRT and United Autosports, respectively.
***Of note, Iron Lynx has opted not go to the double duty-route with its second Lamborghini entry. Mirko Bortolotti and Andrea Caldarelli, who both drove the GTD Pro-entered Huracan GT3 EVO2 at Daytona, are solely focusing on their WEC LMP2 drives with Prema. In their place, Franck Perera is teaming with Jordan Pepper and Romain Grosjean.
***Two WeatherTech Championship entries entirely consist of drivers that are racing in the 1000 Miles of Sebring on Friday. Aside from the Iron Dames crew, the No. 21 AF Corse Ferrari 296 GT3 will be driven by Simon Mann, Miguel Molina and Francesco Castellacci, all of whom are also piloting Ferrari machinery in WEC this weekend.
***Frits van Eerd, who took part in the Michelin Endurance Cup last year with Racing Team Nederland, has definitively stepped down from his position as CEO of Dutch supermarket chain Jumbo. The Bronze-rated driver had already temporarily relinquished his position after he became involved in a large-scale money laundering investigation in his native Netherlands in late 2022.
***Jumbo branding prominently featured on the TDS Racing-run Oreca 07 Gibson for its entire tenure in both the WeatherTech Championship and WEC.
Davey Euwema contributed to this report