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Sebring Pre-Race Notebook

John Dagys’ pre-race notebook from the 12 Hours of Sebring…

Photo: IMSA

Photo: IMSA

***Park Place Motorsports will focus its efforts on the No. 73 Porsche 911 GT America, with the team’s No. 71 car to be parked after the opening stint due to a “business decision that was best for the team.” Dr. Jim Norman will get seat time in both cars and will be joined by Kevin Estre, Patrick Lindsey and Mike Vess in the No. 73 car.

***Park Place team manager Brock Wagner told Sportscar365 they fully intend to return to a two-car, full-race program for the rest of the season, which will see Norman be rejoined by Craig Stanton in the No. 71 car. Wagner said the recent update of driver ratings played a role in the team’s decision for Sebring, as Porsche Junior Connor De Phillippi remained Gold-rated despite efforts to move the 21-year-old to Silver status.

***The GTD pole-sitting Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 GT3 will see Paul Dalla Lana at the wheel, despite some questions over the former GRAND-AM driver’s involvement earlier this week. Dalla Lana sat out Friday’s Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race and was replaced by Boris Said.

***Longtime Honda Performance Development technical director Roger Griffiths resigned from the California-based company on Thursday. No details have been given on Griffiths’ surprise departure.

***A number of cars, including the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Riley-Ford, are expected to start from the rear of the 63-car grid due to one or multiple drivers in each lineup not completing the mandatory three-lap minimum in Thursday night practice.

***Prototype teams will be running on Continental Tire’s “Blacks” tire construction for the first time this season, which will be used for all non-roval circuits in the TUDOR Championship season.

***Chip Ganassi Racing has placed a large scissor lift in a RV slot in Turn 1 for its spotter to have a bird’s eye view of the 3.7-mile circuit. The team will be searching for its first finish of the season following an uncharacteristic Rolex 24 at Daytona.

***TUDOR Championship debutants Rum Bum Racing and AIM Autosport qualified 7th and 8th in GTD respectively, a class that’s widely considered to be the most competitive in the series.

***While Sebastien Bourdais’ 1:51.907 lap time in qualifying may seem fast, Audi’s new R18 e-tron quattro reportedly was lapping in the 1:42 range here last week in pre-season testing for the FIA World Endurance Championship. For the first time in more than 15 years, LMP1 cars are not allowed in the 12-hour.

***Corvette Racing debuted a colossal new inflatable paddock setup, which has quickly become a hit with fans and teams alike. According to a team representative, the setup was inspired by the NFL pre-game team runout structures. It takes roughly 10 minutes to fully inflate with air.

***On Friday, the Sebring Hall of Fame inducted five new members: Bob Tullius, Wayne Taylor, Vic Elford, Peter Gregg and Brumos Racing. A lunch celebration was held, along with a media breakfast hosted by Continental Tire.

***Corvette Racing’s Jan Magnussen will miss being on site for son Kevin’s Formula One debut in the Australian Grand Prix. The younger Magnussen will drive an McLaren MP4-29 Mercedes in the race.

***This race marks the 100th race for Krohn Racing’s pairing of Tracy Krohn and Nic Jonsson. Andrea Bertolini joins them in the Krohn green-colored No. 57 Ferrari F458 Italia in the GTLM class.

***Be sure to download the IMSA Viewing Guide for Sebring, which features all 63 starters in today’s race. Designed by Andy Blackmore, it’s the perfect resource for keeping track of driver, team and livery details. Click Here to view.

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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