***The No. 93 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 is a new chassis following the multiple crashes and a pre-race rebuild at Road America earlier this month. The car, chassis No. 8, was shaken down on Tuesday at Honda’s Transportation Research Center test track in Marysville, Ohio, in rainy conditions, prior to making the trip to VIR.
“We built it up in about ten days,” Mike Shank told Sportscar365. “We took our time and tried to improve some things. It turned out good. We were able to get some weight out of it and get it so where we could put it where we want it.”
***Trent Hindman got his first laps in the No. 33 Riley Team AMG Mercedes-AMG GT3 in Friday’s Practice 2, after getting “hunted down” in the paddock by Bill Riley to serve as Ben Keating’s replacement in the GT Daytona championship-contending entry. “To be given the opportunity to drive this Mercedes-AMG for Bill Riley, my God, a guy like me is living the dream. I’ve got to pinch myself,” Hindman told Sportscar365.
***Keating flew home to Texas Friday afternoon ahead of Hurricane Harvey, the Category 4 storm which is forecast to dump in excess of 35 inches of rain over the weekend. Keating, who owns 17 car dealerships in the area, left on a private plane and is expected to land in San Antonio, prior to a two-and-a-half hour drive in a 4×4 truck to his home in Victoria, Texas.
***A number of other Texas-based members of the IMSA family are bracing for impact from VIR, including Houston-based Risi Competizione and CJ Wilson Racing from Austin. IMSA Race Director Beaux Barfield, meanwhile, lives in Houston, which is in the direct path of the hurricane.
***Team principal Giuseppe Risi has elected not to make the trip to VIR, as a result of the hurricane, with his car dealership closing early on Friday. The team was due to test one of its Ferrari 488 GT3 cars at Circuit of The Americas on Monday, in preparation for the upcoming Creventc 24 Hours of COTA race.
***No fewer than five cars had off-course excursions in Practice 2, including damage sustained by the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Audi R8 LMS of Lawson Aschenbach. Daniel Morad (No. 28 Alegra Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R), Kenny Habul (No. 75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3), Patrick Pilet (No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR) and Giancarlo Fisichella (No. 62 Risi Ferrari) also had slight mishaps.
***A number of cars underwent “fuel consumption validation” checks on Thursday and Friday, according to Geoffrey Carter, IMSA’s Senior Director of Technical Regulations and Compliance, in the wake of recent Balance of Performance adjustments to the fuel capacities for a number of GTLM and GTD cars.
***An additional new element could be added to January’s Roar Before the Rolex 24 beyond the the recently announced IMSA Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda race, which will open the new-for-2018 endurance format season. It’s understood IMSA is evaluating potential qualifying format changes to the Rolex 24 at Daytona, as well as awarding points throughout the season, although a final decision has not yet been made.
***Continental has brought more than 2,220 dry and wet tires to VIR for this weekend’s activities, to accommodate both the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge field as well as the GTD class in Sunday’s feature race.