***New Keating Motorsports signing Ricky Taylor had a seat fitting in a Riley Mk. 30 tub in the paddock on Thursday, alongside his new 24 Hours of Le Mans co-drivers Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen (pictured above). Taylor told Sportscar365 that he’ll get his first laps in the car in a test at Road Atlanta next month.
***A number of cars hit trouble in the opening two practice sessions. The No. 86 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 didn’t take part in the first session due to clutch issues, while a gearbox leak resulted in the No. 54 CORE autosport Porsche 911 GT3 R completing only three laps.
***Gearbox issues, meanwhile, also sidelined the No. 2 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan Onroak DP in Practice 2, while the No. 11 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3 stopped on track in the session with mechanical issues, bringing out the session’s only red flag.
***Sean Rayhall has been a late addition to the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport Oreca FLM09 alongside Maxwell Hanratty and Garett Grist, who were only confirmed this morning.
***IMSA made revisions to the refueling restrictors on three cars on Thursday morning, in a second revision to the original BoP issued last week. Changes were made to the Cadillac DPi-V.R (+1.5 mm), Nissan Onroak DPi (+1 mm) and Ferrari 488 GTE (+1 mm), which will give all three cars quicker fueling times.
***A revision was also made to the aero configuration of the Mazda RT24-P, with IMSA mandating a maximum body gurney height of 65 mm, which was communicated to teams in a first revision to the BoP.
***Ford Chip Ganassi Racing’s 24 Hours of Le Mans GTE-Pro class-winning trophy was on display in the paddock alongside its Rolex 24 at Daytona class-winning hardware. Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais will be going for the unique “triple crown” of endurance race class wins on Saturday.
***Alex Lynn, who was confirmed Thursday at G-Drive Racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship, is one of only a handful of drivers to have driven both a new-for-2017 LMP2 and DPi car. The Englishman noticed there’s a big difference in both chassis and engine between the Dallara-chassied Cadillac DPi and Oreca 07 Gibson. “Every time I drive one or the other I’m thinking this one is my favorite! I’m very lucky that I drive two very nice cars,” he told Sportscar365.
***Dion von Moltke has returned to Paul Miller Racing for his second consecutive race, taking the seat of Bryce Miller. Miller was ruled out this weekend due to business commitments, with the team’s third driver still to-be-confirmed for the remaining Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup races. “I love the team and love working with Bryan and Madison. Ultimately it’s up to them. If we do a good job here, I’m hopeful,” von Moltke said.
***Ironically, it was von Moltke who replaced Miller in its full-season lineup in 2015, when the team was running an Audi R8 LMS. “The buttons are all the same as the Audi, the chassis is the same but it actually drives a lot different,” von Moltke said. “That’s been the biggest adjustment, just learning what the Lamborghini likes and getting the brain re-wired.”
***PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports has yet to confirm its entry for the next round at Long Beach, with the team still searching for funding for the 100-minute race, according to team owner Bobby Oergel. Tom Kimber-Smith and Jose Gutierrez are set for all of the remaining races except for the two street races, plus Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, with Mike Guasch back for Watkins Glen and Petit Le Mans.
***Nearly 20 IMSA drivers, including Keating, Bleekemolen, Marc Goossens, Katherine Legge, Christina Nielsen and others will be taking part in the “Crusin’ with the Racers” seven-day Caribbean cruise, which kicks off Sunday in Ft. Lauderdale. Cabins are still available. Click Here for more details.
***Tracy Krohn is set to shift his focus to VLN this year, with Nic Jonsson confirming to Sportscar365 plans for he and Krohn to contest the majority of the season in an Audi TTRS entered by LMS Engineering. The pairing will take part in the first two races in a BMW 235i, in order to qualify for the SP2 class, with the target to make their Nürburgring 24 debut with a GT3 car in 2018.
***Krohn and Jonsson also have plans to contest up to three 24H Series races, also with LMS Engineering, including the 24-hour races at Portimao and Circuit of The Americas. It’s believed they will also contest this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans in a GTE-Am entry, although Jonsson declined comment.
***Prototype teams are allocated 24 sets of tires (dry and wet), with Prototype Challenge at 18, GT Le Mans with 22 sets and GT Daytona at 18 sets this weekend.
***Continental Tire has brought more than 7,200 tires for this weekend, for the P, PC and GTD classes, as well as being the exclusive tire provider for the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and new-look Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda series.