IndyCars - The off-season: Series news and comment until the March 2014 kick-off


#541

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Spring Training at Homestead-Miami Speedway…What did we learn?..(part 3)…

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The guy on top of Indy Lights was the biggest surprise of the weekend, as rookie Rob Megennis, confirmed for Andretti Autosport, got the best score, with a 2, based on a P2 and a P2. We know that Rob is an excellent driver, but he’s been over-shadowed in the past by a few other guys in this field. It was his consistantcy that got him the TOP spot. Rob is for real.

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Robert Megennis

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Second best was veteran Ryan Norman, confirmed for Andretti Autosport. We have seen Ryan do well in previous tests and this is no surprise. Ryan’s score was 3, with a P1 and a P5. Ryan’s P1 was also the Fastest Lap of anyone at Homestead this weekend. Ryan is ready to be a champion.

Ryan Norman

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Tying for second place is Oliver Askew, a rookie confirmed for Andretti Autosport. Oliver also got a score of 3, and in the same way as Ryan - a P5 and a P1. Oliver was TOPS at the February test at Circuit of the Americas, so his 2nd in points is also no surprise.

Oliver Askew

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Fourth in points was Zachary Claman, a veteran confirmed for Belardi Auto Racing. ZCD got a score of 4, with a P4 and a P4. We expect Zachary to be a race WINNER in 2019, as he was in 2017, when he last drove in the Lights. With his 2018 IndyCar experience, the Lights should be relatively easy for him in 2019.

Zachary Claman

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Fifth in points was Julien Falchero, as yet unconfirmed and driving for Belardi at the test. Julien got a score of 4.5, based on a P3 and a P6. As good as this is, it is not as good as we though Julien would be, based on previous tests, but then, Julien was in an Andretti car in previous tests.

Julien Falchero

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It will be fun to see if these fifteen drivers meet the expectations that this test produced, and we will start to see that this Thursday, at St.Petersburg!

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#542

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We have another CONFIRM in Indy Lights…and a possible in the works…

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A day before the start of the 2019 season of Indy Lights, Frenchaman Julien Falchero has CONFIRMED that he will run the full season of Lights for Belardi Auto Racing in the # 4 IL-15, aside already confirmed veteran Zachary Claman in the # 13 and rookie Lucas Kohl in the # 5 car.

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Julien Falchero
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22-year-old Falchero is coming out of GP3 ,where he drove for Arden International in 2018. He also has experience in Formula Renault 2.0 and in LMP2 and LMP3 sports cars. Falchero tested well for Andretti Autosport in the Lights test at Circuit for the Americas in February, but tested for Belardi at Homestead, this last weekend

Said Julien, “I am really proud to be driving for Belardi Auto Racing, everyone on the team has welcomed me wonderfully and the first day of driving the car was great. I felt really comfortable in the car and I can’t wait to get to round one at St. Pete and to fight for the championship.”

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Not yet confirmed by either the team or himself, Brit Toby Sowery may be driving for BN Racing in the Lights, as he is listed on their driver roll, aside confirmed rookie David Malukas. Like Malukas, Sowery drove in Pro Mazda (now “Indy Pro 2000”) last season, but in only two races for BN Racing. Nevertheless, he went to P2 in both of them, impressing the hell out of everyone.

In 2017 and 2016 Sowery was in BRDC British Formula 3, where he collected 6 WINS and 21 podiums. The 22-year-old is very fast.

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Toby Sowery
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Let’s hope Sowery is indeed in the series and soon CONFIRMED.

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#543

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That's right, baby!!

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That'sRight

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The off-season is OVER!!!

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Look for the thread for the first race of the season at St.Petersburg…Lets GO!

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#544

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Great news!..Pato O’Ward lands at Carlin for 2019…

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After losing his ride with Harding Steinbrenner Racing due to budget woes, just weeks before the start of the 2019 season, it was touch and go for the 2018 Indy Lights Champion to find a ride for the season, but announced today, Patricio O’Ward will drive in 13 races for Trevor Carlin this year.

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Pato O’ Ward

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O’Ward will team with Carlin’s full-timer, Max Chilton, starting with the 2nd race of the season at Circuit of the Americas. Charlie Kimball will be in the car for the other five races of the season, including this weekend at St. Pete. All three drivers will get a car for the Indy 500.

Said Pato, “I’m so excited to get this 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season underway and I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity that Trevor Carlin has given me to drive for his Indy car team and Team Chevy. I’m just thankful that he and the whole Carlin team really believe in me, and I’ll give it my all to show them that I’m ready to tackle any challenges ahead of us starting in a few weeks at COTA."

“I just don’t think I can properly express how excited I am for this opportunity. It’s been a very stressful past few weeks given my circumstances, and it’s been a bit of a hustle trying to find a new home in the NTT IndyCar Series for myself, but I couldn’t be happier about landing at Carlin.”

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We couldn’t be happier, either. Pato needs to be in a car. He is the future of IndyCar.

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#545

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Byrd-Hollinger-Belardi teams with Dale Coyne to give James Davison a ride at Indy…

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Last season Jonathan Byrd’s Racing, Hollinger Motorsport and Belardi Auto Racing all teamed with AJ Foyt Enterprises to put a single car into the Indy 500, piloted by awesome Aussie James Davison. The car was fraught with challenges and barely made the show, only to go out early. Not content with the one effort, Byrd, Hollinger and Brian Belardi want to try it again this year, but teamed instead with Dale Coyne Racing.

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James Davison

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So, why Dale Coyne? Because Davison loves the Coyne operation and has had great races with Coyne in the past, including the 2017 Indy 500, where “Davo” got a last-minute call to substutute for injured Sebastien Bourdais. Davison plugged into their program instantly and was FAST. He went from the P33 start he inherited all the way up to lead the race, but crashed out 16 laps from the end. In addition, Coyne has partnered with Jonathan Byrd’s before, getting a car for the late Bryan Clauson in the show.

Says Dale of the alliance, “We’re very excited to have James (Davison) come back to the team for the Indianapolis 500. He stepped in last minute for us with hardly any practice as a substitute driver to Sebastien (Bourdais) a couple of years ago and did a great job under the circumstances and showed he has the speed to run with the best of them.

“We’re also happy to be partnering once again with the Byrd family who have a long history with the Indy 500, as well as Hollinger MotorSport, and we look forward to working with Brian Belardi and his team.”

Dale Coyne

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Davison is an exciting and aggressive driver who always goes for the front, whether it’s in open-wheel cars or Xfinity cars or SportsCars. He will always be a great addition to any Indy 500.

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#546

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Just in case you missed it…

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…and what a shame, if you did, IndyCar has released race highlights from the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg:

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#547

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As we mentioned in the St.Pete race thread…

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…The rookie class had a stellar race, for those who could finish the race, (Marcus Ericsson’s car broke), but they also paid a price for it, as most of them are not used to this much time in a car that requires this much physical strength. Watch as Racer magazine’s Marshall Pruett interviews Felix Rosenqvist, Colton Herta and Santino Ferrucci on their great races:

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All these kids are going to be highly entertaining, this year.

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#548

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DragonSpeed builds their IndyCar for us to see…

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The team, helmed by former driver Elton Julian, came to St.Petersburg in their brand new Dallara chassis, mated to their brand new Chevrolet 2.2-liter, turbo-charged 6-cylinder engine. The car was driven by Brit Ben Hanley to a P18 finish in his IndyCar debut. It was a very hectic month prior to the race for the team, as they had to get the car assembled with no time to spare, but they made it and the car performed flawlessly.

Lucky for us, they took pictures! This will give us the opportunity to see the guts of an Indycar, and analyze it:
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This is the chassis/engine from the left side

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The large ramp at about a 45-degree angle is the left-side radiator. The dark hole right below the roll hoop is where the left-side fuel port will go and the fuel cell is sandwiched between the driver and the engine. It is self-sealing, in case of puncture, greatly reducing the chance of a fuel-related fire in the case of a crash.

The Chevy engine with the left-side turbo-charger is clearly visible, including the Chevy bow-tie on the manifold plenum cover. Note that the engine becomes a part of the chassis when it is bolted in, and no frame need be present to support it. This 70-year-old idea is the brainchild of the late Colin Chapman of Lotus fame and is universal in virtually all formula cars, now.

The bundle of snakes below and in front of the turbo are the exhaust manifolds. They are wrapped in a heat-resistant material to contain the extreme heat generated. That both saves the bodywork from melting and also makes sure that heat energy is not wasted, but instead spins the turbo quicker and with more authority, as the heat actually extracts the exhaust. Above the turbo is the intake manifold, made of carbon fiber.

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An uncovered exhaust - HEAT!
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Fresh air is pulled from inside the sidepod opening and into the turbo, where it is compressed and then forced into the engine, along with a squirt of fuel. There is thus no top scoop needed to get air to the turbo inlet, as in the past. This significantly cleans up the aero profile of the car.

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continued, tomorrow…

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#549

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DragonSpeed builds their IndyCar for us to see……(part 2)…

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Here is the right side of the chassis / engine
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In this view the slick-looking intake manifold is better seen. as it crosses over the right-side cylinder head. Everything above it is related to the fuel injection system, as well as the spark system. There is no distributor for the spark. Rather, each plug has its own digital induction discharge and it is ignited by the engine management computer. The computer also controls the fuel injection timing and can be driver-adjusted for mixture. That is, the driver can enrich or lean the fuel mixture, to a certain extent, using a dial on the steering wheel. Rich - more power and cooler running, whereas leaner saves fuel but runs a bit hotter.

The long studs surrounding the clutch basket and also coming out of the rear of the cylinder heads are the mounting points for the transmission. The transmission - like the engine - thus becomes a stressed member and part of the chassis. The car’s rear suspension is mounted to the transmission itself. Again, kudos to Colin Chapman, who was always asking each part of a car to do more than one thing, if possible, to save weight.

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Here is a more rear view of the Chevrolet
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Both turbos are clearly visible. The boost is controlled by a series-adjustable preset waste-gate that will not allow boost beyond a certain level. Extra boost is bled off through the secondary hole visible. The red lines going to each turbo are oil lines. What a fan hears at the track is coming out of the turbos un-muffled. That’s why race cars are loud, but turbo-chargers actually muffle the sound quite a bit, themselves. That is why the turbo-charged Indy Lights cars are much, much quieter than UF2000 and Indy Pro 2000 cars, which are normaily aspirated (sucking air into the engine, rather than pushing it in), and have no turbos.

The V-6 engine itself is everything silver, while everything else is added to it to manage it. The engine has dual overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. The small, round, black object at the bottom center is the clutch. It is a multi-disc clutch, like a motorcycle clutch, that allows for much greater grip in a smaller diameter area. The clutch is operated hydraulically, as it would be nearly impossible for a driver to actuate it for long manually before needing a new left leg.

The large silver pot right below the roll hoop is the oil tank. The engine has a dry-sump oiling system that draws oil needed from the tank, rather than from a pan underneath the engine crankshaft (a wet sump). This means that the engine - essentially a great air pump - is not affected by fluids sloshing around underneath the spinning crankshaft at ever-changing levels. This also protects the oil supply from possibly scraping on the ground and makes for a much tidier engine size for mounting.

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Elton Julian says the build went well, but a tiny bit behind schedule. Nevertheless, the car was ready to drive, last Friday, for the P-1 practice by pilot Ben Hanley and perforned well throughout their debut race.

Elton Julian (left) and Ben Hanley

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Thanks for the pics, boys, and good luck in 2019!

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#550

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Sebring Raceway will be extremely busy, this week…

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…as the iconic Florida track will hold racing for two different series. First, the WEC will be holding the 1000 Miles of Sebring, followed by IMSA’s 12 Hours of Sebring, and IndyCar dirvers will be involved in both.

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There are only a handful of IndyCar guys in the 1000 MIles of Sebring, so let’s see who they are:

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In the LMP1 class IndyCar driver Mike Conway will drive the # 7 Toyota TS050 - Hybrid for Toyota Gazoo Racing with co-drivers Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez.

MIke Conway

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IndyCar driver Ben Hanley will drive the # 10 BR Engineering BR1 - Gibson for DragonSpeed with co-drivers Henrik Hedman and Renger Van der Zande.

Ben Hanley

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IndyCar driver MIkhail Aleshin will drive the # 11 BR Engineering BR1 - AER for SMP Racing with co-drivers Vitaly Petrov and Jenson Button.

Mikhail Aleshin

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In the LMP2 class Road to Indy alum Andre Negrao will drive the # 36 Alpine A470 - Gibson for Signatech Alpine Matmut with co-drivers Nicolas Lapierre and Pierre Thiriet.

Andre Negrao

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IndyCar driver Jordan King will drive the # 37 ORECA 07 - Gibson for Jackie Chan DC Racing with co-drivers David Heinemeier Hansson and Will Stevens.

Jordan King

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We’ll let you know if any of these guys are successful. next, the IMSA guys…

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continued…

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#551

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Sebring Raceway will be extremely busy, this week…(part 2)…

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The WEC race will be on Friday and it will be about 8 hours of racing - assuming nothing untoward happens. The IMSA race weekend will be going on around the WEC proceedings, because tthe 12 Hours of Sebring weekend will not only be for the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series, but will also include racing of the Michelin Pilot Challenge series and the IMSA Prototype Challenge series

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…And, with all that racing there are BOUND to be a bunch of IndyCar folks - talented alums and current drivers - in those fields. Let’s see who they are, starting with the WeatherTech gang who will all be in the 12 Hour race:

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DPi class - IndyCar driver Juan Pablo Montoya will drive the # 6 Acura ARX-05 with co-driver and former champion Dane Cameron, for Acura Team Penske. Added in for Sebring will be IndyCar driver Simon Pagenaud.

Juan Pablo Montoya (left) and Simon Pagenaud

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IndyCar driver Helio Castroneves will be in the other Acura Team Penske car, the # 7 Acura ARX-05 DPi, with co-driver and former champion Ricky Taylor. Added in for Sebring will be IndyCar driver Alexander Rossi.

Helio Castroneves (left) and Alexander Rossi

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Pro Mazda alum Pipo Derani drives the # 31 Whelen Cadillac DPi-V.R. for Action Express with co-driver Felipe Nasr. Added in for Sebring will be Eric Curran.

Luis Felipe “Pipo” Derani

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Pro Mazda alum Will Owen is running the full season for Juncos Racing in their first year campaigning the # 50 Cadillac DPi-V.R. Added in for Sebring are Agustin Canapino and IndyCar driver Rene Binder.

Will Owen (left) and Rene Binder

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IndyCar driver Tristan Vautier will drive the # 85 Cadillac DPi-V.R.fpr JDC-Miller Motorsports with co-drivers Indy Lights alum Juan Piedrahita and Misha Goikhberg.

Tristan Vautier (left) and Juan Piedrahita

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GTLM class - Pro Mazda alum Connor de Phillippe drives the # 25 BMW M8 GTE for BMW Team RLL. His co-driver is Tom Blomqvist - finally allowed in the USA by the State Department, after missing Daytona. Added for Sebring is OndyCar driver Colton Herta. This was a class WINNING car at Daytona. with Connor and Colton onboard.

Connor de Phillippe (left) and Colton Herta

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4-time IndyCar Champion Sebastien Bourdais will jump into the # 66 Ford GT for Ford Chip Ganassi for Sebring, helping out regulars Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller.

Sebastien Bourdais

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The sister car, the # 67 Ford GT for Ford Chip Ganassi, will be piloted by IndyCar driver Ryan Briscoe with co-driver Richard Westbrook. Added in for Sebring will be 5-time - including 2018 - IndyCar Champion Scott Dixon.

Ryan Briscoe (left) and Scott Dixon

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GTD class - Scott Hargrove - a Road to Indy ace driver and the holder of multiple Porsche Cup titles - will run with fellow Canadian and 2018 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada Champ Zacharie Robichon, driving the # 9 Porsche 911 GT3 R for PFAFF Motorsports. Added in for Sebring will be Lars Kerns

Scott Hargrove

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continued…

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#552

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Sebring Raceway will be extremely busy, this week…(part 3)…

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IndyCar driver and broadcaster Townsend Bell will drive the # 12 Lexus RCF GT3 for AIM Vasser Sullivan, with co-driver Frankie Montecalvo. Added in for Sebring will be Indy Lights driver Aaron Telitz, the 2017 Pro Mazda Champion. This is the only all-American team on the grid.

Townsend Bell (left) and Aaron Telitz

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IndyCar driver Jack Hawksworth will be in the sister car, the # 14 Lexus RCF GT3 for AIM Vasser Sullivan, with co-driver Richard Heistand. Added in for Sebring is Philipp Frommenwiler.

Jack Hawksworth

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IndyCar driver Katherine Legge will campaign the # 57 Acura NSX GT3 for Heinricher Racing w / Meyer Shank Racing. Co-driver will be 2-time GTD-class Champ Christina Nielsen. Added in for Sebring is former Champ Car driver Ana Beatriz.

Kathrine Legge (left) and Ana Beatriz

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Next, let’s see the IndyCar folks in the Michelin Pilot Challenge race, the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120, to be held on Friday:

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Grand Sport class - Road to Indy ace driver and multiple Porsche Cup title-holder Scott Hargrove will pull double duty, as in addition to his drive in the GTD class of the WeatherTech series, he will also drive in the # 13 Porsche Cayman GT4 MR for AWA. His co-driver will be fellow Canadian Orey Fidani.

Scott Hargrove

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USF2000 alum and Porsche Cup champion Jesse Lazare will once again team with fellow Canadian Porsche Cup driver Corey Fergus in the # 69 McLaren GT4 for Motorsports In Action, as they did in 2018 with great success.

Jesse Lazare

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Touring Car class - USF2000 driver Russ McDonough will drive the # 12 Audi RS3 LMS TCR for eEuropartsDotCom ROWE Racing. His co-driver will be New Yorker Ryan Nash.

Russell McDonough

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Indy Lights driver Shelby Blackstock will drive the # 37 Honda Civic TCR for LA Honda World Racing, with co-driver Tom O’Gorman.

Shelby Blackstock

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Driving the LA Honda World Racing sister car, the # 52 Honda Civic TCR, will be Road to Indy Shootout participant and Team USA member Colin Mullan - a WINNING veteran of the now-defunct ST class from 2018. His co-driver will be Max Faulkner.

Colin Mullan

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Pro Mazda alum and paraplegic Michael Johnson will once again drive the # 54 Audi RS3 LMS TCR for JDC-Miller Motorsports, using hand controls. MJ’s co-driver will be Stephen Simpson.

Michael Johnson

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Finally there are a bunch of IndyCar alums in the IMSA Prototype Challenge series, all driving LMP3 cars:

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Indy Lights driver Neil Alberico will drive the # 4 Ligier JS P3 for Ansa Motorsports. Neil, a Vice Champion in both USF2000 and Pro Mazda, will have Leo Lamelas as a co-driver. These guys WON at Daytona to start their season.

Neil Alberico

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Pro Mazda alum Max Hanratty will drive the # 7 Ligier JS P3 for Performance Tech Motorsports, with co-driver Blake Mount.

Max Hanratty

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USF2000 alum Austin McCusker was the 2018 Vice-Champion of the Prototype Challenge series. He will drive the # 47 Norma M30 for Forty 7 Motorsports. His co-driver will be Rodrigo Pflucker from Lima, Peru.

Austin McCusker

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Indy Lights driver Garett Grist will pilot the # 51 Ligier JS P3 for K2R Motorsports. The multiple race-winning Canadian will co-drive with Rob Hodes.

Garett Grist

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IndyCar veteran Alex Barron will drive in the # 64 Ligier JS P3 for K2R Motorsports. His co-driver will be Californian Naveen Rao.

Alex Barron

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Indy Lights alum and WeatherTech 2017 PC class Champion James French will drive the # 75 Ligier JS P3 for Performance Tech Motorsports. His co-driver is Cameron Cassels.

James French

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The practice has already begun, as IMSA Prototype Challenge had two practices, today, (Wednesday), and we have the results of that in the next post…

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#553

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Wednesday at Sebring - IMSA Prototype Challenge practice…

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The IPC series will qualify and race on Thursday, so they got their chance to practice, today.

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The TOP TIME of the P-1 session was put in by IndyCar driver Austim McCusker in the # 47 Norma M30 for Forty7 Motorsports that he shares with Rodrigo Pflucker, but in the P-2 session Austin’s time was eclipsed by Mathew Bell driving the # 26 Ligier JS P3 for K2R Motorsports, with a time of 1:57.805s for a speed of 113.083mph. Matthew was 0.440 seconds faster than Austin who was P2 in the P-2 session. Mathew’s co-driver is James McGuire Jr. P3 on the day - also a P-2 session time - was the # 43 Norma M30 for Robillard Racing, driven by Stevan McAleer.
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the K2R Motorsports Ligier beats the two Normas on the day
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Mathew Bell
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On Thursday, the IPC series will qualify early on the day and then race later, just after Noon. The WeatherTech gang will practice all day, as will the Michelin Pilot Challenge series. The MPC series will also qualify - a busy day!

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#554

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Thursday morning at Sebring - the IMSA Prototype Challenge qualify…

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The series, which is IMSA’s introduction series to prototype racing, qualified this morning for their 2nd race of the season, to be held later today. Here are the TOP THREE on the grid:

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Pole was taken by Rodrigo Pflucker, driving the # 47 Norma M30 for Forty 7 Motorsports, with a time of 02:02.049s for a speed of 109.150mph. Rodrigo bested Leo Lemelas in the # 4 Ligier JS P3 for ANSA Motorsports by 0.117 seconds, while P3 went to another Ligier, the # 40 for Polestar Motor Racing Inc, qualified by David Grant.

Rodrigo’s co-driver is IndyCar alum Austin McCusker, while Leo shares the # 4 Ligier with Indy Lights driver Neil Alberico and David shares the # 40 with brother Keith Grant.

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The Forty 7 Motorsports Norma M30 on pole

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Rodrigo Pflucker
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The IPC boys will race just after noon, today. Next, the Michelin Pilot Challenge guys practice…

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#555

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Thursday morning at Sebring - the Michelin Pilot Challenge guys hold their first practice…

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The MPC is the production-based introduction series for IMSA and this morning both classes in the series held their first practice. Here are the TOP THREE in each class:

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In the Grand Sport class the rabbit was BMW legend Bill Auberlen driving the # 96 BMW M4 GT4 for Turner Motorsports, with a time of 02:10.265s for a speed of 102.266mph. Bill bested the # 46 Mercedes-AMG of Team TGM, driven by Owen Trinkler, by 0.401 seconds. Third fastest was Jeff Westphal in the # 39 Audi R8 for Carbahn Motorsports.

Auberlen shares the Bimmer with Robby Foley while Owen’s co-driver is Hugh Plumb (these two are the defending series Champions), and Jeff’s co-driver is Tyler McQuarrie.

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The Turner Motorsports BMW M4 GT4

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Bill Auberlen

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In the Touring Car class the HOT SHOE was South African Mikey Taylor, driving the # 17 Audi RS3 LMS TCR for JDC-Miller Motorsports, with a time of 02:14.410s for a speed of 99.112mph. Mikey bested fellow South African (now American), Stephen Simpson in JDC-Miller’s other Audi RS3 LMS TCR, the # 54, by 0.232 seconds. 3rd fastest in the P-1 session was Michael Lewis in the # 98 Hyundai Veloster N TCR for Bryan Herta Autosport.

Mikey’s co-driver is Britt Casey Jr. while Stephen’s co-driver is Pro Mazda alum Michael Johnson. Michael Lewisl shares the Hyundai with Mark Wilkins.

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The # 17 Audi RS3 LMS TCR for JDC-Miller Motorsports

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Mikey Taylor

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MPC will hold another practiuce, just before Noon, and then qualify later this afternoon, for Friday’s race. Next, all four classes of the WeatherTech series hold first practice…

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#556

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Thursday morning at Sebring - the WeatherTech gang hold first practice…

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All four classes of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series held their first practice for the 12 Hours of Sebring, to begin on Saturday. We have the TOP THREE in each class, beginniing with the DPi class:

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DPi class - The HOT SHOE in th top-performing class was Felipe Nasr in the # 31 Cadillac DPi-V.R. for Action Express, with a time of 01:46.996s for a speed of 124.507mph. Felipe got the better of Dane Cameron in the # 6 Acura ARX-05 DPi for Team Penske by 0.355 seconds. 3rd fastest was Renger Van der Zande in the # 10 Cadillac for Wayne Taylor Racing.

Felipe shares the # 31 with Pro Mazda alum Pipo Derani, with Eric Curran added for Sebring. Dane shares the # 6 with IndyCar driver Juan Pablo Montoya and IndyCar driver Simon Pagenaud as the add for Sebring. The co-driver of the # 10 car is Jordan Taylor while the Sebring add is Frenchman Matthieu Vaxiviere.

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The # 31 Whelen Cadillac for Action Express

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Felipe Nasr

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LMP2 class - The TOP DAWG was Gabriel Aubry in the # 52 ORECA 07 Gibson for PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports, witha time of 01:50.877s for a speed of 120.148mph. Gabriel bested Kyle Masson in the # 38 ORECA 07 Gibson for Performance Tech Motorsports by a healthy 1.591 seconds. These are the only two cars in class, this weekend.

Gabriel’s co-drivers are Matt McMurry and Anders Fjorback while Kyle’s co-drivers are Cameron Cassels and Andrew Evans.

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The PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports # 52 ORECA 07 Gibson

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Gabriel Aubrey

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GTLM class - the rabbit in class was Laurens Vanthoor in the # 912 Porsche 911 RSR for Porsche GT Team, with a time of 01:56.983s for a speed of 113.877mph. Vanthoor beat out Brit Richard Westbrook in the # 67 Ford GT for Ford Chip Ganassi by 0.330 seconds, Third fastest was Joey Hand in the other Chip Ganassi Ford, the # 66.

Laurens’ co-drivers in the Porsche are Mathieu Jaminet and Earl Bamber. Westbrook shares the # 67 with IndyCar drivers Ryan Briscoe and Scott Dixon while Joey shares the sister car with Dirk Mueller and IndyCar driver Sebastien Bourdais.

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The # 912 Porsche 911 RSR for Porsche GT Team

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Laurens Vanthoor

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GTD class - the TOP SPOT in cass was taken by Mario Farnbacher in the # 86 Acura NSX GT3 for Meyer Shank Racing with a time of 02:00.793s for a speed of 110.285mph. Mario bested Pat Long in the # 73 Porsche 911 GT3 R for Park Place Motorsports by 0.447 seconds. 3rd on the charts was Indy Lights driver Aaron Telitz in the # 12 Lexus RCF GT3 for AIM Vasser Sullivan.

Mario shares the # 86 with Trent Hindman and Justin Marks, while Patrick shares the Porsche with Patrick Lindsay and Nick Boulle. Aaron is the add for Sebring to Frankie Montecalvo and IndyCar Driver Townsend Bell in the Lexus.

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The # 86 Acura NSX GT3 for Meyer Shank Racing

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Mario Farnbacher

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The WeatherTech gang will practice again, later this afternoon. Next, the Michelin Pilot Challenge guys hold their 2nd practice…

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#557

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Thursday, Mid-day at Sebring - the Michelin Pilot Challenge series hold another practice…

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The second practice for the MPC guys had a few new names at the top with a few familiar names near them. The times for the morning practice were all faster than these mid-day times:

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Grand Sport class - the TOP SPOT went to Devin Jones in the # 82 BMW M4 GT4 for BimmerWorld Racing, with a time of 02:11.038s for a speed of 101.663mph. Devin got the better of Robby Foley in the Turner Motorsports BMW M4 GT4, by a teensy 0.035 seconds. 3rd best was Tyler McQuarrie in the # 39 Audi R8 for Carbahn Motorsports.

Devin shares the Bimmer with James Clay while Robby is with P-1 session top guy Bill Auberlen. Tyler shares the Audi with Jeff Wesphal.

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The BMW M4 GT4 # 82 for BimmerWorld Racing

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Devin Jones

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Touring Car class - the rabbit in class was again Mikey Taylor in the # 17 Audi RS3 LMS TCR for JDC-Miller Motorsports, with a time of 02:14.670s for a speed of 98.921mph. And once again, he beat out teammate Stephen Simpson in the # 54 Audi for JDC-Miller, this time by 0.164 seconds. Third in time was Mat Pombo in the # 73 Honda Civic TCR for LA Honda World Racing.

Mikey’s co-driver is Britt Casey Jr. while Stephen’s co-driver is Pro Mazda alum Michael Johnson and mat Pombo shares the Honda with Mike LaMarra.

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The # 17 Audi RS3 LMS TCR for JDC-Miller Motorsports.

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Mikey Taylor

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Michelin Pilot Challenge will practice once more and then qualify for their Friday race, later today. Next, the IMSA Prototype Challenge boys race!..

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#558

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Thursday adternoon at Sebring - IMSA Prototype Challenge hold Season Round 2…

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…and the WINNER is Stevan McAleer who drove alone in the # 43 Robillard Racing Norma M30 and came in a stout 11.355 seconds over the # 47 Forty7 Motorsports Norma M30 of USF2000 alum Austin McCusker and Rodrigo Pflucker. At the end it was the # 26 K2R Motorsports Ligier JS P3 of James McGuire and Matthew Bell that rounded out the podium.

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The race WINNING Norma M30 of Stevan McAleer
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Rodrigo Pflucker led most of the race, after briefly losing the lead to Leo Lemelas for ANSA Mortrosports on the opening lap. It was the last pit stop for McAleer that WON him the race. Not only did he get out ahead of Austin McCusker but a tire pressure adjustment turned McAleer’s Norma into a rocket, and he rocketed off.

With their P2 here and a similar spot at the Roar Before the Rolex 24, McCusker and Pflucker take over the points lead.

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Stevan McAleer
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The IMSA Prototype Challenge next race at Mid-Ohio in May in support of the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio. That race - like today’s - will be 1 hour and 45 minutes in duration, making oit possible for Stevan to drive solo, again. Next, the WeatherTech Gang hold another practice…

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#559

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Thursday afternoon at Sebring - the WeatherTech gang hold their P-2 practice…

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The 2nd practice session of the four WeatherTech classes saw a few cars improve over P-1 while others didn’t. We have the TOP THREE in ech class, with the 2 sessions COMBINED.

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DPi class - The P-2 session time of Olivier Pla in the # 55 Mazda RT-24P DPi for Mazda Team Joest was the TOPS of both sessions, with a time of 01:46.834s for a speed of 124.695mph. Olivier topped the P-1 time of Felipe Nasr in the # 31 Cadillac for Action Express by 0.162 seconds. 3rd fastest at this point is Dane Cameron, based on his P-1 time in the # 6 Acura ARX-05 for Team Penske.

Olivier shares the Mazda with Jonathan Bomarito and Harry Tincknell while Felipe shares the Caddy with Pro Mazda alum Pipo Derani and Eric Curran. Dane’s co-drivers are IndyCar drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Simon Pagenaud.

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The # 55 Mazda RT24-P for Mazda Team Joest.
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Olivier Pla

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LMP2 class - Matt McMurry topped the P-2 session in the # 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA 07 but the P-1 session time of Gabriel Aubrey in the same car holds up the the tops of the day, so far. (post # 516). Matt bested Cameron Cassells in the # 38 ORECA for Performance Tech by 3.359 seconds, so Perf Tech is not getting better.

Matt shares the # 52 with Aubrey and Anders Fjorback while Cameron’s partners are Kyle Masson and Andy Evans.

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The PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports # 52 ORECA 07 Gibson

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Matt McMurry

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GTLM class - The P-1 session time of Laurens Vanthoor in the # 912 Porsche 911 RSR for Porsche GT Team holds up, (post # 516), beating the sister car, the # 911 driven by Nick Tandy by the TEENSIEST gap of 0.008 seconds, based on the P-2 time of Nick. 3rd fastest for the day so far, is the # 66 Ford GT for Ford Chip Ganassi, thanks to IndyCar driver Sebastien Bourdais’ P-2 session time.

Lauren’s co-drivers are Mathieu Jaminet and Earl Bamber . Nick Tandy’s co-drivers are Frederic Makowiecki and Patrick Pilet, while Sebastien shares the Ford with regulars Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller.

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The # 912 Porsche 911 RSR for Porsche GT Team

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Laurens Vanthoor

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GTD class - Bill Auberlen takes the # 96 BMW M6 GT3 for Turner Motorsports to the TOP of the session and the day, so far, with a time of 02:00.583s for a speed of 110.477mph. Auberlen also topped the P-1 session of the Michelin Pilot Challenge series, earlier in the day - also for Turner Motorsports. (see post # 515). Bill is on fire. He bested the P-1 time of Mario Farnbacher in the # 86 Acura NSX GT3 for Meyer Shank Racing by 0. 210 seconds. The 3rd best of the day is Mirko Bortolotti for his P-2 session time in the # 11 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 for GRT Grasser Racing Team.

Bill shares the GT3 Bimmer with his MPC co-driver Robby Foley and with Dillon Machavern. Mario shares the Acura with Trent Hindman and Justin Marks, while Mirko’s co-drivers are Rolf Ineichen and Rik Breukers, and this car WON the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

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the Turner Motorsports # 96 BMW M6 GT3
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Bill Auberlen

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The WeatherTech gang will hold a final practice tonight, as the race will stretch into the darkness. Next, Michelin Pilot Challenge hold a final practice and then qualify…

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#560

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Thursday afternoon as Sebring - the Michelin Pilot Challenge hold final practice and then qualify…

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The final practice saw everyone slow down, dramatically over the P-1 session, which produced the fastest time of the day. Here are the TOP THREE qualifiers in each class:

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Grand Sport class - It was Russell Ward in the # 33 Mercedes AMG for Winward Racing / HTP Motorsport that topped the P-3 session but when it came time to qualify, it was Owen Trinkler in another Mercedes AMG, the # 46 for Team TGM, who took pole, with a time of 02:10.521s for a speed of 102.066mph. Owen beat out the time of Kuno Wittmer in the # 75 Compass Racing McLaren GT4 by 0.048 seconds. P3 on the grid will be the # 39 Audi R8 for Carbahn Motorsports, thanks to Tyler McQuarrie.

Owen’s co-driver is fellow 2018 series Champion Hugh Plumb. Kuno shares the McLaren with Paul Holton and Tyler’s co-driver is Jeff Westphall. Owen’s time is a new track record for GS class at Sebring.

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**owen **

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Touring Car class - Indy Lights driver Shelby Blackstock was the rabbit in the P-3 session, driving the # 37 Honda Civic TCR for LA Honda World Racing, but when it came time to qualify, the # 17 Audi RS3 LMS TCR for JDC-Miller MotorSports, which had dominated the other two practices, took pole in the hands of Britt Casey Jr. with a time of 02:13.751s for a speed of 99.601mph. Britt beat back the attempt of Brian Henderson in the # 84 Atlanta Speedwerks Honda Civic TCR by a stout 1.214 seconds. P3 on the grid will bethe # 98 Hyundai Veloster N TCR foir Bryan Herta Autosport, thanks to qualifier Mark Wilkins.

Britt’s co-driver is Mikey Taylor, while Brian Henderson shares the Civic with Todd Lamb and Mark shares the Hyundai with Michael Lewis. Britt’s time is a new track record for the TCR class at Sebring.

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The pole-sitting # 17 Audi RS3 LMS TCR for JDC-Miller Motorsports
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Britt Casey Jr.

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The Michelin Pilot Challenge will race at Noon on Friday. Next up, the WeatherTech gang hold their thirsd practice - a night practice…

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