Friday IMSA Sebring news and notes

Motorsport Images

Friday IMSA Sebring news and notes


Friday IMSA Sebring news and notes


Qualifying warmup
IMSA ran a short warmup session prior to qualifying, allowing teams to check setups prior to qualifying. Mathieu Jaminet in the No. 6 Porsche Penske Motorsports was quickest, with a time less than four hundredths off the fastest time turned in a WeatherTech SportsCar Championship session all weekend. Both Acuras that stopped on track completed the session.

Pit now! Which pit?
Racing in two different series on the same weekend isn’t anything unusual for sports car drivers. But there’s a twist at Sebring: just as a driver doing both IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and Michelin Pilot Challenge at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta must use two different pit lanes, so do the drivers doubling up in the WEC 1000 Miles of Sebring. And at Sebring, they’re in very different places — IWSC competitors enter out of Turn 17, while WEC competitors enter at Turn 15, and heading for the wrong pit lane could be disastrous.

If a driver is in a completely different car in the two races, that makes it a bit easier to remember. But if the cars are the same, such as Dane Cameron jumping between Porsche Penske 963s, it can get a little more confusing.

“I’ve done a double before, but to do it in the same car that looks almost identical from inside is a little different,” says Cameron. “Luckily, the voice is a little different on the radio, so that makes for a bit of a help. And the cars that you’re seeing on track are different, right? We’re seeing GT3s vs. GTEs so it’s a couple of little cues.”

Still, he’s not taking any chances.

“I’ve just told everybody here, ‘Treat me like I don’t know anything.’ I’d rather have that reminder of, ‘IMSA pit lane,’ ‘WEC pit lane.’ I’m asking for more help in particular this weekend to make sure I don’t do something silly. Just tell me where I need to be and what’s happening and really relying on the team. But yeah, managing your time is the most difficult thing, trying to get your debriefs, be in the right place, wear the right suit at the right time is the most challenging, But at least at least the Nomex and the shoes are the same, so one less thing to swap.”

Drivers might do a double take when they spot the AO Racing, Porsche 911 GT3 R in their mirrors… Jake Galstad/Motorsport Images

911 GT3 dino-might
New GTD team AO Racing, whatever success on track awaits them, has already achieved greatness when it comes to liveries. First came the Preston Henn Swap Shop tribute for Daytona. Now, for the rest of the season, the No. 80 Porsche driven at Sebring by PJ Hyett, Seb Priaulx and Gunnar Jeannette will be known as Rexy and carry a bright green livery based on a Tyrannosaurus rex. And at night, a light in the grill shines behind some very sharp teeth.

The inspiration for the design came from team principal and driver Hyett and his children. On his helmet, Hyett sports a T-Rex for his son and unicorn for his daughter.

Priaulx has been quick in the car so far at Sebring, putting the car into the top three in GTD in two sessions. However, he may have an unfair advantage; while the other Porsche teams are racing the 911 GT3 R, AO Racing’s model is a GT3 … Rawr!

First rain race?
Despite the thousands of miles of testing, the GTP manufacturers and teams have had little or no running in the wet. Among official IMSA sessions, only a night session during the Roar Before the 24 experienced wet conditions. So if it rains on Saturday during the Twelve Hours of Sebring, it will be the first time many of the drivers have experienced the LMDh cars in those conditions.

Forecasts currently call for passing thunderstorms during the race on Saturday, although that chance is diminishing as it gets closer. Only Porsche Penske Motorsports with the No. 7 963 and Action Express Racing with the No. 31 Cadillac did any serious running in one wet Roar session. For the others it will be quite educational.

Entry list loses one
The pre-event entry list for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring listed 54 cars; however, the entry for MRS-GT Racing, which had no drivers listed, has withdrawn, bringing the number down to 53.