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VIR Pre-Race Notebook

John Dagys’ pre-race notebook from VIR…

Photo: Michelin

Photo: Michelin

***Oliver Gavin led the way in warmup, with the Corvette Racing driver posting a best lap of 1:43.546 and leading another 1-2 for the manufacturer. The No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 of Bryan Sellers topped GT Daytona again, marking a sweep of the sessions for the team.

***The 20-minute session ended a few seconds early, due to an off-course excursion for the No. 100 BMW M6 GTLM of Lucas Luhr. The No. 4 Corvette and No. 23 The Heart of Racing/AJR Porsche 911 GT3 R also had minor spins in warmup but both also continued.

***Michelin is hosting the “Michelin Hot Lap Experience” on the VIR Patriot course this weekend, featuring production cars from each of its five technical partner GTLM teams (pictured above). Fans can stop by the Michelin display for a chance to win rides in the cars, piloted by drivers from Michelin’s proving grounds in South Carolina, several of whom have specifically developed the corresponding road car tires. Up to 200 fans are expected to take part in the experience.

***Michelin utilizes Virginia International Raceway for both production and race car tire development on a regular basis, which has made its title sponsorship of this weekend’s Michelin GT Challenge at VIR even more relevant.

***While Lamborghini has dominated GTD so far, all three teams are not as optimistic for the race, due to a refueling restrictor adjustment made to the Huracan GT3 for this weekend. Class pole-sitter Madison Snow told Sportscar365 they estimate to be up to six seconds slower on each pit stop, as a result. “We’re going to try something with our fuel strategy again because we have a huge disadvantage there with our new restrictor,” he said.

***The No. 6 Stevenson Motorsports Audi R8 LMS has continued to battle an issue in the rear-end of the car, with Andrew Davis spinning the car twice in qualifying. It came after an accident by Davis on Friday, caused by an unknown issue. Davis will start fourth in the GTD class this afternoon.

***Risi Competizione worked until 12 a.m. on Saturday morning making repairs to its No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTE following Toni Vilander’s accident on Friday. Damage was sustained to the front and rear of the car, and has virtually wiped out their spare parts. Giancarlo Fisichella will start from fourth on the grid this afternoon.

***While the Dallara LMP2 is set to begin testing within the next few weeks, and both the Ligier JS P217 and Oreca 07 scheduled to hit the track shortly after, the Gibson-engined Riley Mk. 30 is not expected to begin its on-track testing program until late October. Bill Riley told Sportscar365 they have multiple tests planned with the car in November with Ben Keating’s chassis.

***Veteran PR rep Fiona Miller, who had long been a part of the IMSA/ALMS paddock, is in the hospital in the UK undergoing treatment after a sudden illness. Miller currently serves as the Media Manager for the FIA World Endurance Championship. Everyone at Sportscar365 wishes Fi a speedy recovery and hope to see her back at the track soon.

***Be sure to download Andy Blackmore’s official Spotter Guide for today’s race, featuring all 21 entries for today’s race.

***FOX Sports 1 will carry live coverage of the Michelin GT Challenge at VIR, beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET. IMSA Radio will provide full coverage, with international viewers able to watch the race feed on and on-board cameras for everyone.

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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