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Sebring Thursday Notebook

John Dagys’ Thursday notebook from Sebring…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

***Filipe Albuquerque’s pace-setting 1:49.759 time set on the opening day of the IMSA-sanctioned test at Sebring was reportedly more than 1 second slower than Action Express Racing’s best lap set in a private here in December. However, it’s unclear what power configuration the Cadillac DPi-V.R was running in at the private test, as the cars have faced a decreased air restrictor this week.

***Tequila Patron ESM sat out the afternoon session due to undergoing engine changes on both of its Nissan Onroak DPis after drops in oil pressure. Team manager Erin Gahagan told Sportscar365 the engine changes were both precautionary. Ryan Dalziel managed to set a 1:52.010 lap time in the No. 2 Nissan prior to the issue.

***While both Bruno Senna and Brendon Hartley are not in attendance this week, both will rejoin Ed Brown and Johannes van Overbeek in the No. 22 ESM entry for the race.

***While Ricky Taylor was notably absent from today’s test, it was for a good reason, as the 27-year-old took the wheel of Simon Pagenaud’s IndyCar championship-winning Dallara DW12 for a single-day test on the Homestead road course. It marked Taylor’s first laps in an IndyCar, and with Team Penske. Ricky is slated to join brother Jordan and new signing Alex Lynn for the second and final day of IMSA testing tomorrow.

***The pair of Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3s are running in bare carbon, although they are the same chassis utilized at Daytona. General Manager Tim Keene told Sportscar365 both cars have been rebuilt since the season-opener and will have their liveries re-applied prior to the race.

***Bill Auberlen and Alexander Sims have a new car, livery and car number for the remainder of the season, with their No. 19 BMW Art Car having been retired and the pairing now in the No. 25 BMW Team RLL BMW M6 GT3, alongside Kuno Wittmer. The No. 25 car is a new chassis, with the John Baldessari-designed car set for a worldwide tour in art festivals.

***BMW of North America Motorsports Manager Victor Leleu told Sportscar365 that Wittmer is confirmed for Sebring and Petit Le Mans, but Nicky Catsburg, who teams up with John Edwards and Martin Tomczyk for next month’s race, “a candidate” for Petit Le Mans but not yet confirmed for the ten-hour season finale.

***The debut of Lone Star Racing’s Mercedes-AMG GT3 will not come at Long Beach as originally planned, as the team’s single-race entry has been rejected by IMSA. A series spokesperson told Sportscar365 that the Long Beach event will be open to “Premium” full-season entrants in Prototype, GT Le Mans and GT Daytona only due to limited paddock space.

***It’s understood an announcement on Lone Star’s revised schedule could come as early as next week. The team is expected to contest a minimum of four races with Dan Knox and Mike Skeen as drivers.

***Mark Schomann has joined DAC Motorsports as its new race engineer. The team, entered for the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup races, is coming off a solid series debut at Daytona, as the third highest-placed Lamborghini Huracan GT3 after swapping chassis overnight prior to the race.

***A total of seven Huracan GT3s are set for Sebring. Grasser Racing Team will only field a single Lamborghini, although Konrad Motorsport is set to return with its entry. Only Paul Miller Racing and Change Racing, however, are expected to be full-season efforts.

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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