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Sebring Test Notebook

A roundup from the WeatherTech Championship test at Sebring…

Photo: IMSA

Photo: IMSA

***CORE autosport and JDC-Miller Motorsports debuted new engine updates and electronics on the Oreca FLM09, which resulted in a notable improvement in lap times. Colin Braun’s class pace-setting 1:53.888 lap was more than 1.3 seconds quicker than Martin Plowman’s pole time from the event last year.

***All PC cars are expected to be outfitted with the updates, which includes traction control, for the race. IMSA will allow PC teams to test at Sebring during the Promoter Test Day on Tuesday, March 15., in order to get better acclimated with the new systems.

***Scuderia Corsa’s brand-new Ferrari 488 GT3 turned its first laps in the U.S. on Thursday, and ended the test quickest in GT Daytona. Christina Nielsen, Alessandro Balzan and Jeff Segal all got laps in the new turbocharged Prancing Horse, which will make its race debut next month. It came following a shakedown at Fiorano last week.

***Dream Racing Competition returned to action Friday, but using its spare Lamborghini Huracan GT3, after Larry DeGeorge’s accident on Thursday morning. DeGeorge blamed driver error for the accident, which saw the GT Daytona class entry end up on top of the tire barrier. The Las Vegas-based team is planning to compete in the remainder of the season, beginning with next month’s race.

***A total of four Huracan GT3s, including the Dream entry, tested this week, following IMSA’s post-race penalty to the Italian manufacturer over Balance of Performance infringement at Daytona. The cars, running revised BoP at the test, were amongst the slowest GTD cars, with a 2:02.167 lap time set by the Paul Miller Racing entry the quickest of the bunch.

***Rubens Barrichello turned laps in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP, with an eye towards potentially having him join Ricky and Jordan Taylor and Max Angelelli for the race. While not many teams opt for four drivers — the maximum allowed in the 12-hour race — Ricky Taylor told Sportscar365 it could be an advantage in keeping a driver fresh for the end of the race.

***Joao Barbosa, who is recovering from a fractured wrist, was at Sebring to support his Action Express Racing team. “The perspective has not changed for me much not being in the car,” Barbosa told Sportscar365. “We usually get plenty of time to sit on the box during a test and watch what the other drivers are doing in the car. I just know that it’s not as much fun as getting to drive.” Barbosa is expected to return to the wheel of the No. 5 Corvette DP for the race.

***Newly announced Ford GT driver Scott Dixon’s laps this week weren’t actually his first at the wheel of the Multimatic-built machine, as the reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion had been part of the car’s development late last year. The Kiwi will join Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe in the No. 67 car for Sebring and is tipped to complete the lineup in one of the team’s four entries at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

***Risi Competizione was without Giancarlo Fisichella this week, who was at an Italian ski resort driving a Ferrari Formula One car on ice, as part of an event for Kaspersky Motorsport. “I have always dreamt of taking an F1 car off the racing track and seeing how it performs on snow and ice,” Fisichella said. Toni Vilander and Davide Rigon handled testing duties of the team’s Ferrari 488 GTE at Sebring, on the asphalt.

***BAR1 Motorsports could focus its efforts on a single PC entry for Sebring, according to team owner Brian Alder. The Ohio-based team started the season off strong with the class pole by Johnny Mowlem and a third place finish for its No. 20 car, which tested this week with Mowlem, Marc Drumwright, Tomy Drissi and Matt McMurry.

***Veteran Steve Newey has joined BAR1 as its new team manager and sporting director. Newey, who is coming off a stint with Roush Fenway Racing, was a founding partner in Bryan Herta Autosport, which recently merged with Andretti Autosport.

Adam Saal 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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