IMSA Road America pre-race news and notes

Jake Galstad/Lumen

IMSA Road America pre-race news and notes

IMSA

IMSA Road America pre-race news and notes

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No. 01 Cadillac ready to go after wreck
Chip Ganassi Racing was aided by the early qualifying for today’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at Road America in repairing the damage from Sebastien Bourdais’s accident in the No. 01 Cadillac. The car needed work on at least three corners after the session, but by 5pm the team had suspension back on and the car sitting on the setup pads.

Track patch
The section of asphalt on the outside of the exit curb in Turn 1 Friday afternoon was patched well enough that it lasted through Porsche Carrera Cup Trofeo races as well as a four-hour Michelin Pilot Challenge race, so it shouldn’t present any problems for today’s IMSA Fastlane SportsCar Weekend 2h40m race.

Tire degradation a concern…
It’s no secret that Road America is due for a repave, and it’s about to get one. For today’s race, though, the old pavement is going to chew up tires quickly. As one LMP2 driver who took over a car in practice with 20-lap-old tires said, “I thought the car was broken.”

So tire management will be forefront in the drivers’ and strategists’ minds. As GTD polesitter Robby Foley noted: “Over time the pavement kind of tears up the tires a little bit more. Already we’re thinking about how do we protect our tires specifically the rear tires. (The Turner Motorsports BMW M4 GT3) is great — luckily we lose front and rear pretty pretty much together, but I think to maintain position and race well you have to you really have to have good traction. So we’re kind of already planning that for tomorrow.”

“The tire degradation is absolutely massive here, for all of the cars,” said Jack Hawksworth, who will start the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 from the GTD Pro pole before handing over to Ben Barnicoat. “If you look at the lap times in practice that fall off from the start of the stint into the end of the stint, it’s like two or three seconds. So that’ll be critical tomorrow, if it’s dry, to to look after the tires.”

…unless it’s wet
There’s a high probability of rain during the race, so tire management become less of a concern if much of the race is run in wet conditions. Depending on which forecast one believes, it could be raining for the first half or more of the race.

“It should be a rainy race and starting from pole, obviously it will help you through the first few corners with the spray and less incidents to happen,” said DPi polesitter Filipe Albuquerque.

Added Hawksworth: “Wet is always a bit of a lottery right? Sometimes you know you get it right and sometimes you don’t. So if it’s wet we’ll just we’ll see what happens. I think it’ll be a bit of a crazy race tomorrow if it’s wet. We’ve got two Brits in the car, right? So you’d like to think we’d be all right in the wet.”

Drive times
In anticipation of inclement weather, minimum drive times have been reduced across the board for all classes except DPi, which is only 10 minutes.

The minimum drive times for LMP2, LMP3, GTD PRO and GTD are now 30 minutes. Normal minimum drive times in a 2h40m race for LMP2 are 60 minutes, while LMP3, GTD Pro and GTD usually have a 45-minute minimum.

How to watch
The race, with the green flag scheduled for 11:40am ET, will be streamed in its entirety on Peacock. Live coverage begins on USA Network at noon ET.

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