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Sebring Tuesday Notebook

Sportscar365’s Tuesday paddock notes from Sebring ahead of FIA WEC race week…

Photo: FIA WEC

***A group photograph with 34 FIA World Endurance Championship cars was held on Monday evening. The only absentees were the No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR-19, which has undergone a chassis change, and the No. 45 Algarve Pro Racing Oreca 07 Gibson.

***There have been two livery changes since the Prologue. Dempsey-Proton Racing’s No. 88 Porsche has switched to a vibrant yellow and mixed blue scheme that was present in the group photo. Algarve Pro Racing’s Oreca is now in light blue after previously appearing in orange and black.

***Proton team boss Christian Ried told Sportscar365 that the yellow and blue design of the No. 88 Porsche was chosen by Bronze-rated driver Fred Poordad. He confirmed that the color scheme is not a reference to the conflict in Ukraine. The yellow and blue Penske LMP2 livery is also a coincidence.

***Proton tested with Poordad, Patrick Lindsey and Jan Heylen – who will race at Spa – during a Goodyear session at Barcelona two weeks ago. “It was the same car, just different tires,” said Ried. “For them to get a first impression of the car, it was perfect.”

***Ried also confirmed that Proton will run a Porsche 911 GT3 R in Europe this year, operating a customer’s entry in the single-make Porsche Sports Cup Germany series which is open to different types of Stuttgart-built machinery. The German squad already has a GT3 involvement in IMSA through WeatherTech Racing’s GTD Pro effort.

***LMP2 teams unanimously voted to allow Algarve Pro Racing to be eligible to score points in the 2022 WEC season, following the team’s late independent entry in place of G-Drive Racing. A meeting was held on Sunday afternoon to determine the outcome, which Sportscar365 understands came with no objection from any team.

***Vector Sport’s Sebring lineup of Nico Mueller, Ryan Cullen and Mike Rockenfeller visited Sebastien Bourdais at his home in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Monday after the Prologue. Bourdais is missing the WEC season-opener due to his prioritized IMSA drive with Cadillac Chip Ganassi Racing but will return for the other rounds. Nonetheless, the Frenchman has been able to spend some bonding time with his Vector teammates.

***Toyota has “no firm plan” to seek an IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship program with its LMH car but the door is not closed, according to the manufacturer’s WEC technical director Pascal Vasselon. The GR010 Hybrid will be eligible to race in the GTP class next year. “It is not planned, but it appears possible,” Vasselon told Sportscar365. “It remains something which at some point may be discussed. But there is no firm plan at the moment.”

***Ricky Taylor said his drive in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Cool Racing came through his contacts at ORECA, which has been “really helpful” in securing rides for him at the French endurance classic in recent years. The two-time DPi champion will team up with Yifei Ye and Niklas Kruetten in the entry.

***Taylor, along with a number of WeatherTech Championship DPi and GTD drivers, will have a tougher time making the Le Mans Test Day this year due to the timing of the Detroit Grand Prix, which ends at 4:50 p.m. ET., some two hours later than usual.

***It has forced Taylor to take the 9:40 p.m. Air France flight from Detroit to Paris, which is scheduled to get him into France by 10:50 a.m. Sunday, resulting in a “tighter” schedule to arrive in Le Mans in time for the start of the afternoon test session.

***Nick Cassidy also has an ambitious test day plan ahead of him. The AF Corse GTE-Am driver is provisionally aiming to contest the Formula E round in Jakarta on the Saturday before flying overnight for a Sunday rendezvous with his WEC team in France.

***Cassidy told Sportscar365 that he’s happy to have a full-time European sports car program after several seasons in Super GT. “I feel like I’ve got a lot to offer in endurance racing,” he said. “In Super GT I was quite strong for many years. The style of racing is very similar and the cars are high performance. It’s to do something similar to that in Europe.” Cassidy tested the Ferrari 488 GTE Evo at Paul Ricard before coming to Sebring.

***Jim Glickenhaus says that he’s continued to talk to three people about a possible third Hypercar entry for 2023, which he admitted was “not impossible” after having discussions last week with the same parties on a last-minute entry for this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, after the ACO re-opened entry requests. A request was not placed in the end.

***The American manufacturer has received more than 300 orders for the SCG 004 road car, which is being built at the ex-Highcroft Racing facility in Danbury, Conn. Glickenhaus is targeting the car’s FIA GT3 homologation in time for the 2024 WEC season, where he plans to run two cars in the ACO’s new GT3 class.

***Glickenhaus was spotted driving a gold SCG 004 around the paddock on Tuesday.

***The No. 64 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R is the same chassis that was involved in last year’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race-ending accident for Jordan Taylor at Motul Petit Le Mans, with all components from the firewall-forward replaced, according to the team’s WEC car chief Tim Kavanagh.

***The car’s rebuild was completed shortly after January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona and did not take part in any on-track testing prior to last weekend’s Prologue, which saw Tommy Milner record the second quickest time in GTE-Pro.

***Algarve Pro Racing is plotting more activity in the U.S including a “big test program starting after Le Mans” according to team principal Stewart Cox, who said the Portuguese outfit intends to complete “two days at each IMSA track” and run “lots of different Bronzes” with a view to more IMSA outings next year. The team has set up a base in Daytona Beach, Fla.

***Tickets for the second round of the WEC season, the TotalEnergies 6 Hours of Spa, are now on sale. Adult admission is € 41 ($44.85 USD) in advance and €49 on the gate. Children under 12 years old go free.

***Wednesday’s WEC track action at Sebring consists of two 60-minute Free Practice sessions. The first is due to start at 11:05 a.m. ET (4:05 p.m. CET) and the second gets underway at 4:35 p.m. (9:35 p.m. CET).

John Dagys contributed to this report

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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