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WeatherTech Championship

Sebring Thursday Notebook

John Dagys’ Thursday notebook from Sebring following first two practice sessions…

Photo: Jurgen Tap/Porsche

***Iron Lynx experienced a tumultuous start to the first practice session, serving no fewer than six drive-through penalties in the opening 15 minutes. In addition to penalties for the No. 60 and No. 83 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2s for leaving the pit box early after a red flag, all four of its cars were also ordered to make a trip down pit lane for ‘logistics protocol violations.’

***The reasons for the latter penalty was two-fold. First, it’s believed team personnel were found not to have tuned into the correct radio channel during transporter load-in on Tuesday. Secondly, the team is understood to have violated Art. 20 of the WeatherTech Championship supplementary regulations, which states that ‘pit lane setup must cease activity from 15 minutes prior until 15 minutes after Michelin Pilot Challenge on-track activity.’

***The No. 83 Iron Dames Lamborghini underwent a gearbox change between the first and second practice sessions.

***Additionally, the No. 19 Lamborghini suffered mechanical gremlins with Mirko Bortolotti at the wheel, although the car was able to continue running. The No. 55 Proton Competition Ford Mustang GT3 meanwhile, missed much of first practice with a clutch problem and only completed eight laps.

***Proton’s No. 5 Mustang Sampling-sponsored Porsche 963 completed even fewer running in first practice, grounding to halt with Gianmaria Bruni at the wheel after the car reportedly failed to engage the internal combustion engine after leaving the pits. It returned to the track for the second session and completed 38 laps with a fastest time of 1:50.498 set by Bruni.

***Connor De Phillippi and Nick Yelloly allocated ‘as much seat time as we can’ to their co-driver Maxime Martin during Thursday practice to allow him to get to grips with the BMW M Hybrid V8 at Sebring. The Belgian is the only driver out of the three to have not raced the car before at the Florida venue and also missed a February test due to a clash with the Repco Bathurst 12 Hour.

***Yelloly told Sportscar365: “Obviously he is a great racing driver and he has been here before, so it won’t take him long. But you do need a few laps on this circuit in particular, just to get to the limit and figure out where you’re going to pass traffic for the race. And at the end of the day [the cars [are] fast, so yeah, you’ve got to build up to it.”

***A total of 55 Bronze or Silver-rated drivers are required to take part in night practice in order to be eligible for periods of darkness in the race. Click Here for the list.

***Lamborghini chief technical officer and interim head of motorsport Rouven Mohr is on-site this weekend, amid Thursday’s news that its longtime motorsport boss Giorgio Sanna is no longer with the Italian manufacturer. Mohr also attended January’s season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona and served in Sanna’s place in the recent FIA World Endurance Championship season-opener in Qatar.

***No word has been given on Lamborghini’s timeline to replace Sanna, who had been in the position since its creation in 2015.

***Veteran engineer Owen Hayes has joined BMW of North America in a technical role, replacing Jan Hartmann, who is retiring following this weekend’s race. Among Hayes’ responsibilities is serving as the German manufacturer’s liaison between North American sanctioning bodies for Balance of Performance.

***Despite reverting to its previous BoP process for the remainder of the GTD Pro and GTD season, IMSA director of competition Simon Hodgson stressed it remains the sanctioning body’s intent not to make any in-event BoP changes. The revised BoP system goes back to IMSA declaring the performance parameters itself instead of a manufacturer-nominated system.

***Christoph von Liel has succeeded Troy Bundy as the new motorsport one-make and sales manager for Porsche Motorsport North America, with Bundy, the former PMNA one-make and GT sports manager’s roles also split up between Ryan Anselmo (Carrera Cup North America manager) and Lauren Elkins (GT sports manager).

***Bundy, who returns to his native Australia to pursue a new non-motorsport project, told Sportscar365: “The good thing is that we have the existing team still here and Christoph has pretty good working knowledge of the program because he’s overseen the program from a German perspective for a long time as well. It’s been a very smooth transition.”

***Head of Porsche Motorsport Thomas Laudenbach revealed the German manufacturer has received additional interest from prospective LMDh customers for 2025. Porsche has yet to specify how many additional 963s it will make available next year. “There is interest but there’s nothing close to sign[ed],” he said.

***Proton is known to be pursuing an additional two 963s, which could double its WeatherTech Championship effort into a two-car GTP operation in 2025.

***Rasmus Lindh is set to remain with DragonSpeed for the remainder of the Michelin Endurance Cup season, team principal Elton Julian confirmed to Sportscar365. The Silver-rated Swede has joined Malthe Jakobsen and Henrik Hedman in the team’s Oreca 07 Gibson this weekend.

***Julian explained that Hedman was due to take a sabbatical from racing this year but had expressed interest in returning to Sebring following his strong run with father-and-son Juan and Sebastian Montoya in the 2022 race that ended early with an accident by the elder Montoya.

***The Bronze-rated seat, which was occupied by Eric Lux in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, has not yet been confirmed for the remainder of the Endurance Cup but Julian said he expects it will be filled by familiar faces, suggesting the possibility of Lux jumping back in for his home race at Watkins Glen International in June.

***The case of Louis Deletraz’s missing Apple AirPods from a United flight following last month’s Sebring test went viral, with the Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti driver’s saga appearing on Jalopnik as well as several technology blogs, before the Swiss driver was reunited with his pair of wireless earphones by a United employee in Geneva last week.

***Deletraz told Sportscar365: “It’s crazy how things went. I just posted it as a funny thing on Twitter and it went completely viral. I think it had over 1.5 million people that seen it on X, which is how United got involved because they saw it getting big. They found it. In the end, it was not that important [to me] but it was really funny how it went worldwide.”

***Night practice gets underway at 7:45 p.m. EDT and runs until 9:15 p.m., in what will be the final practice session prior to qualifying on Friday at 12:50 p.m. Qualifying action will be streamed live on Peacock and IMSA.tv.

Davey Euwema contributed to this report

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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