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Watkins Glen Thursday Notebook

John Dagys’ first IMSA notebook from the weekend at Watkins Glen International…

Photo: John Dagys

***Jacob Eidson has completed the lineup in the No. 47 PPM Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo, which makes its first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship start since Sebring. Eidson, who is set for his series debut, joins Brandon Gdovic and Don Yount in the GT Daytona class entry. 

***Both Ford Chip Ganassi Racing and Porsche GT Team are carrying the same liveries the cars ran at the 24 Hours of Le Mans earlier this month due to time constraints between events.

***It has resulted in the No. 67 Ford sporting Ford’s blue and red ‘celebration’ livery from the Ken Miles/Denny Hulme Ford GT40 that finished second at Le Mans in 1966 and FCGR’s No. 66 car still in its bright blue color from its GTE-Pro class win in 2016, which was also seen at Mid-Ohio.

***The pair of CORE autosport-run Porsche 911 RSRs, meanwhile, return to the Brumos Racing-inspired liveries for the third time in the WeatherTech Championship season and will remain in those colors for next weekend’s round at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park as well.

***The livery celebrates the 50th anniversary of Hurley Haywood’s first race, and first class victory, as a professional driver in a Brumos-entered Porsche 911 T that he shared with Peter Gregg at the Six Hours of The Glen in 1969.

***The Fords and Porsches were delayed leaving France due to the ACO’s extended post-race scrutineering process that stretched late into Monday in Le Mans. The No. 68 Ford (which is the No. 66 car here) as well as Keating Motorsports’ Ford were both excluded for fuel capacity violations.

***Other than the military tank-inspired No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo, there are no patriotic liveries this weekend. An IMSA spokesperson told Sportscar365 that the sanctioning body elected to put a “pause” on the initiative this year in order to place full focus on its 50th anniversary celebrations, with several cars featuring season-long throwback liveries.

***The No. 50 Juncos Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R will feature a two-driver lineup this weekend in full-season driver Will Owen and the team’s Michelin Endurance Cup pilot Rene Binder. Sportscar365 understands that a deal to place Alex Brundle in the car for Watkins Glen and CTMP fell through at the last minute.

***A new-for-2019 rule mandates the use of three-driver lineups for both the LMP2 and GT Daytona classes at Watkins Glen and Petit Le Mans, although it remains optional for DPi and GT Le Mans.

***Matthieu Vaxiviere, who was initially announced as the third driver for the remaining Endurance Cup races at Wayne Taylor Racing, was never scheduled to drive here this weekend according to Jordan Taylor. The Frenchman, who is managed by team co-owner Max Angeelli, will, however, return for the Motul Petit Le Mans.

***Jordan Taylor completed a two-day test at Watkins Glen last month driving the No. 10 Konica Minolta-sponsored Cadillac DPi-V.R solo due to existing commitments for season-long co-driver Renger van der Zande. Porsche GT Team, Acura Team Penske, CORE autosport and Mazda Team Joest were among the teams also in attendance. 

***BMW Team RLL took the Le Mans break to complete a single-day test at Road America on June 6, which was also shared by Team Joest. 

***Black Swan Racing’s return to WeatherTech Championship competition comes with the same Porsche 911 GT3 R chassis that was initially feared as a write-off from the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Team engineer Owen Hayes told Sportscar365 that only the rear clip on the chassis needed to be replaced, with the team completing a “small functions test” prior to its arrival this weekend.

***The team is racing without its patriarch, Tim Pappas, for the first time, as the team owner/driver continues his recovery from injuries sustained in an accident at Bathurst in February. Porsche factory driver Dirk Werner is joined by Marco Seefried and Marc Miller this weekend in the No. 540 Porsche.

***While not yet officially confirmed, it’s understood Black Swan has plans to also contest Petit Le Mans.

***Porsche test driver Lars Kern, fresh off a SP9 Pro-Am class victory in the Nürburgring 24 last weekend, has rejoined Pfaff Motorsports in its No. 9 Porsche, which features a slightly different livery. 

***Michelin is debuting its DPi/LMP2 Hard compound and Pilot Sport GT S9M for GTD and GS in Michelin Pilot Challenge for the first time this season. TCR machinery has remained with the S9M compound, as they have had all season.

***According to Michelin North America motorsport technical director Ken Payne, the tire choice ultimately comes down to a number of factors. “Watkins Glen is always a challenge with high loads, high heat and an unforgiving track,” he said. “The other thing is there’s significant elevation change and significant high speed, high load corners.”

***Declared prior to the start of the year, the harder compound tires will be utilized for the remainder of the season, except for Petit Le Mans, and in the case of GTD, also WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

***DPi/LMP2 and GTLM competitors will have 14 sets of Michelin tires to use this weekend, with GTD limited to ten sets. Pilot Challenge limits, meanwhile have been set at seven (GS) and five sets (TCR), respectively. 

***Michelin has brought 14 tractor trailers with roughly 5,000 tires to supply both the WeatherTech Championship and Pilot Challenge series this weekend.

***A total of 37 Porsche-built race cars are taking part at Watkins Glen, including 29 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama series.

***An additional 16 Porsches are tackling the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb this weekend, including seven Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsports competing in the Porsche Pikes Peak Trophy class. Two-time Rolex 24 at Daytona winner David Donohue, meanwhile, will be at the wheel of a previous-gen Porsche 911 GT3 R.

***Audi is expected to announce a GT2-spec version of its R8 next month, potentially at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The German manufacturer would join Porsche in officially offering GT2 models built to the new SRO platform, although cars from Aston Martin, Ferrari and KTM/Reiter are all understood to be in the works as well. 

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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