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Long Beach Friday Notebook

John Dagys’ Friday TUSC notebook from Long Beach…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

***While the car count may be one of the lowest in recent memory, it doesn’t lack quality, with the GT Le Mans battle tight as always and Ricky Taylor and Scott Pruett putting on an entertaining duel for the overall pole. As a result, it’s shaping up to be an ultra-close battle tomorrow in both classes.

***Corvette Racing predicts the mid-race pit stop will play a determining factor in the 100-minute race. However, under the current pit stop regulations, Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner feel they’re at a disadvantage, as it takes up to two seconds longer for driver changes due to the location of Corvette’s optional crash box. “The safety in our car is paramount to Corvette and to the team and to everyone here. But you feel like that’s going against us right now,” Gavin told Sportscar365.

***HPD Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Steve Eriksen said he expects to have a decision on their direction for the ARX-04b by the end of the month, which would include the timeframe and team to assist with its development. “I have talked with ESM,” Eriksen told Sportscar365. “They have a window of availability post-Le Mans, so they’re very happy to help if we want the help. If we need to do something before then, we’ll probably have to get another team to help us with that.”

***The No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier JS P2 Honda has struggled with coming to grips of Long Beach, with an electrical issue in final practice forcing the car out for half of the session. John Pew qualified 7th overall and per IMSA’s new-for-2015 rules, will start the race.

***It’s also been a challenging day for the SpeedSource Mazda squad, which saw both of its Mazda SKYACTIV-D prototypes sustain minor damage following opening practice incidents. While they continued largely unharmed, the diesel-powered cars elected not to qualify and instead save tires for the race.

***The SpeedSource Mazdas will remain in California during the West Coast Swing at Mothers car care’s headquarters in nearby Huntington Beach, Calif., before making the trip north to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in less than two weeks’ time.

***It’s one of the biggest weekends of the year for Honda Performance Development, which has 55 engineers on-site between its programs in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, Verizon IndyCar Series and Pirelli World Challenge.

***Long Beach race has typically brought out a number of dignitaries from the automotive world and this year is no exception. Porsche Cars North America CEO Detlev von Platen is on-site this weekend and enjoying the action from the Porsche North America pits.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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