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Watkins Glen Thursday Notebook

John Dagys’ Thursday notebook from Watkins Glen…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

***All cars sporting patriotic liveries assembled Thursday evening for a group photo. It included the No. 25 BMW Team RLL BMW M6 GTLM, No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP and the No. 68 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GTE, as well as numerous other cars from IMSA-sanctioned chamoionships. The initiative from IMSA and Watkins Glen is aimed to help celebrate the July 4 weekend.

***Remo Ruscitti has been a late addition to the No. 88 Starworks Motorsport Oreca FLM09 this weekend, joining Mark Kvamme and a to-be-determined third driver. Both Sean Johnston and Maro Engel were originally listed in the entry but are not expected this weekend.

***Filipe Albuquerque is serving as reserve driver for both the Nos. 5 and 31 Action Express Racing Corvette DPs. The Audi factory driver on-loan told Sportscars365 that he will get laps in both cars in tomorrow’s practice, in the event he is needed during the race.

***A total of five cars here this weekend also took part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with teams taking different routes to Watkins Glen.

***The two Ford GTs, including the GTE-Pro class-winning car, landed in Chicago last Wednesday and were back in Chip Ganassi Racing’s Indianapolis shop on Thursday for Watkins Glen prep, while the pair of Corvette C7.Rs arrived back in Detroit on Friday.

***Both the Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE and Tequila Patron ESM Ligier JS P2 Honda, which was raced by Michael Shank at Le Mans, were transported directly to Watkins Glen, via New York City. Risi’s car arrived at the track late Tuesday and has underwent a full rebuild in the paddock, while most of the prep work on the ESM car was done last week in France.

***The No. 4 Corvette C7.R has underwent repairs following its Le Mans accident. It’s included a new nose, radiator, underwing and front suspension pickup points. The car’s crash structure was not damaged.

***The Mazda throwback liveries, which have already gained a significant amount of attention at the track, will remain on the cars for next weekend’s round at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, per a Mazda spokesperson. A final decision on additional outings with the colors has not been formally decided.

***Wayne Taylor Racing is selling both of its Corvette DPs, including its championship-winning chassis, which has delivered the majority of the team’s success in IMSA competition in recent years. The cars are for sale via Lamborghini Paramus.

***It’s understood WTR, along with Action Express Racing, have placed orders for new Dallara LMP2 chassis. Both teams are believed to have ordered two cars each, which will be run with Cadillac engines and bodywork in the Prototype class as DPis next year.

***Tequila Patron ESM will be taking part in a nighttime Dunlop tire test with its U.S.-based Ligier JS P2 Honda next month. The car will run from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. on July 6-8 to test the latest development of WEC tires. “We’ve got a mileage plan, so provided we can cover enough mileage on days one and two we won’t need to do the third day, but we can’t plan for not doing it,” U.S. team manager Ian Jones told Sportscar365.

***Jones said ESM’s Ligier Honda will remain in the U.S. through the middle of November, to take part in the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup season-ending Petit Le Mans. Pipo Derani and Ed Brown are the only confirmed drivers for the 10-hour race so far, to be joined by either Scott Sharp or Johannes van Overbeek.

***The minimum drive time for Bronze/Silver-rated Prototype Challenge and GT Daytona drivers has been increased from 90 minutes to 1 hour and 45 minutes for this event. The maximum drive time, for any driver, remains at 4 hours.

***P and PC class teams have switched to Continental Tire’s “Black” tire construction this weekend, due to the increased grip of the newly resurfaced 3.4-mile circuit. Teams previously ran the “Gold” tire last year. Continental hosted a multi-day tire test with a number of teams last month.

***One of the potential concerns from competitors heading into the weekend is a newly poured concrete curbing in the Bus Stop, which could cause significant damage to tires if taken too aggressively. It is only likely to affect only GTLM and GTD cars, as the prototypes are not expected to have the ground clearance to go up on the curbs.

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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