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VIR Friday Notebook

John Dagys’ Friday notebook following opening day of track action at VIR…

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

***A total of 18 cars are set for the penultimate round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, with no last-minute changes since the publication of the entry list last week.

***Among the additional entries this weekend is the No. 44 Magnus Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 of John Potter and Andy Lally, which was initially only slated to contest the Michelin Endurance Cup races this year.

***Potter explained: “We had all the crew and parts available to run another race, so why not. And in this period of high inflation, our dollars go a lot further in Danville than elsewhere, so it really seemed the perfect match.”

***This weekend also marks the return to WeatherTech Championship for Hardpoint’s No. 99 Porsche 911 GT3 R for the first time since the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and the first sprint race since WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca back in April.

***Team owner/driver Rob Ferriol revealed to IMSA Radio’s Shea Adam that plans to contest the Road America round were called off due to a transporter fire.

***Paul Miller Racing will officially clinch the WeatherTech Sprint Cup title by starting Sunday’s two-hour and 40-minute race. Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow are set to become the final winners of the championship-within-a-championship, with the Sprint Cup not continuing into next year.

***The team recently tested at VIR with an undisclosed Bronze-rated driver, in a second BMW M4 GT3 chassis.

***A new spectator area opens for the first time this weekend at VIR, with fans now able to camp and spectate from the start/finish line to Turn 5 on driver’s left. The change comes in addition to another new spectator and camping area that opened last year at the south end of the track, from Oak Tree Turn to near the undulating section known as the Rollercoaster.

***Among the other upgrades include a statue of the Michelin Man. The tire manufacturer has served as the event’s title sponsor since 2016.

***Multiple drivers and members of the IMSA paddock took part a charity race on the VIR karting track on Thursday, benefitting the CKG foundation, which spreads awareness and understanding of teenage depression and anxiety. Click Here for more information.

***The 2022 Porsche 911 GT3 will serve as the safety car for this weekend’s race. The “Racing Yellow” road car is mechanically nearly identical to the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car that competes in Porsche Carrera Cup North America presented by the Cayman Islands competition. The 911 GT3 is fitted with the Michelin Cup 2 tire.

***Andretti Global, the parent company of Andretti Autosport, recently announced plans to build a $200 million “universal” motorsports headquarters in Fishers, Ind. The 575,000 square-foot facility will house its NTT IndyCar Series and Indy Lights operations as well as its IMSA programs. The team currently competes in the LMP3 class with a Ligier JS P320 Nissan.

***Ryan Hardwick has indicated plans to contest next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, courtesy of winning this year’s Bob Akin Award. The Bronze-rated driver has already locked up the award and automatic invite to the French endurance classic that comes with the title.

***Hardwick told Sportscar365: “It’s squarely in my focus. It’s in my plans. I don’t have a program finalized yet but the Bob Akin Award is pretty much a forgone conclusion. I’m counting on earning that invitation and I’m currently working on plans to compete at Le Mans next year.”

***Hardwick said the GTE-Am class entry will “likely” be in a Porsche. “Both Jan [Heylen] and Zach [Robichon] were both fortunate enough to race there this year so I’m sending them out on reconnaissance missions. They’ve got a good feel for the event. I’m really looking forward to it.”

***Live coverage of the Michelin GT Challenge will be carried on CNBC and Peacock beginning at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday. Leigh Diffey will rejoin Calvin Fish in the booth with Kevin Lee and Matt Yocum in pit lane.

***IMSA Radio will again have full coverage of the race as well with the team of John Hindhaugh, Jeremy Shaw and Shea Adam.

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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