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VIR Friday Notebook

John Dagys’ Friday WeatherTech Championship notebook from VIR…

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

***Heat has played a major factor at VIR, with temperatures climbing to 96 degrees Fahrenheit and the heat index well over 100 degrees. Michelin reported the track temperature at a scorching 133 degrees during Practice 2. Forecasts call for a continuation of the heat wave on Saturday and Sunday, with a chance of an afternoon thunderstorm tomorrow.

***The high temperatures has also impacted tire choice. Porsche North America tried out Michelin’s medium 2015 WEC-specification tire and the 2016 hard compound on both Porsche 911 RSRs on Friday. The No. 912 Porsche of Earl Bamber and Fred Makowiecki has yet to race with the 2015-spec medium compound since IMSA allowed it beginning at Lime Rock Park last month.

***Corvette Racing’s Antonio Garcia, who topped the time charts on Friday, feels their two-day test at Road Atlanta earlier this week has paid dividends. “We brought a few things from our Road Atlanta test, and they seemed to work,” he said. “I’m very happy with that. All the testing we have done has helped and improved things.”

***The No. 6 Stevenson Motorsports Audi R8 LMS returned to the track in Practice 2 following an accident by Andrew Davis in the opening session. The car sustained right-side damage and the team elected to replace suspension components, as the cause of the accident had remained unclear.

***An off by Toni Vilander in the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GT3 in Practice 2 also resulted in damage, but is expected to return to action tomorrow morning.

***The No. 33 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GT3-R is a new chassis this weekend, after Ben Keating elected to retire chassis No. 4 following its recent Road America GT Daytona class win. Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen are now at the wheel of chassis No. 7, the latest Riley-built Viper GT3-R in existence. Keating sold chassis No. 1 to Viper Club of America racer Chris Mealey in June.

***The Viper GT3-R is expected to be in its final year of GTD competition, as Keating, who fronted the majority of IMSA’s required manufacturer partner fee for this year, will be shifting programs for 2017.

***Lone Star Racing, the other Viper team in the GTD class, is working on extending its originally planned four-race sprint program to include the season-ending Petit Le Mans, according to team owner/driver Dan Knox. Knox and co-driver Mike Skeen are set for next month’s Lone Star Le Mans race at COTA, which will mark the team’s one-year anniversary of its first IMSA participation.

***Corvette Racing is expected to retain both Mike Rockenfeller and Marcel Fassler for the season-ending Petit Le Mans. The team utilized Ryan Briscoe as a reserve driver for both of its Corvette C7.Rs in the 10-hour race last year.

***Rumors have persisted that the No. 22 WeatherTech Racing-backed Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R of Cooper MacNeil could take part in the end-of-season Pirelli World Challenge races at Sonoma and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The car was withdrawn from GTD competition last week due to Balance of Performance concerns.

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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