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Roar Before The 24: Saturday Paddock Notes

More news and notes ahead of Day 2's running

Scouts visit Daytona

Around 6,000 boys and girls scouts are in attendance once again at the Roar this year, filling the infield campsites and enjoying a chance to get up close to the IMSA drivers and cars this weekend.

“Having 6,000 boys and girls scouts here this weekend is great, that’s the basic blocking and tackling,” said IMSA head Scott Atherton yesterday.

“We’re doing everything we can to capture the younger demographic, who don’t have the attention span to focus on anything for 24 hours, let alone racing! We are of the opinion that the combination of cars we have, means something to even the most jaded milennial that doesn’t have a driver’s licence and doesn’t own a car. We’re confident that the cars on our grid will continue to capture their imagination and be aspirational.

“The younger crowd is very present at our races, and it’s not just Daytona, it’s everywhere, Sam Flood, the guru at NBC, attended his first IMSA race at Petit Le Mans, he walked up to me, and he said he’d never seen anything like it, 10,000 people on the grid before a race, and that he hadn’t been to a race in a long time with so many young people in attendence.”

Manufacturers galore in IMSA this year

IMSA head Scott Atherton revealed yesterday that he believes IMSA is on to break a record this year, having the most manufacturers ever involved in an single series.

“We haven’t announced it, but the total number of manufacturers actively involved in IMSA competition, will be a new record for us, and the whole of motorsport,” he said.

“It’s a significant investment that’s required by them, and when you look at the number of them on our grid, it’s almost easier to name those that aren’t here rather than those that are.

“It’s super premium, to those that are more mainstream, and they are here because IMSA’s platform allows them to showcase their brand and technology and everything that goes with that.”

MSR gaining valuable track time with new NSX GT3s

Michael Shank caught up with DSC this morning and said that so far, the Roar has been positive for Meyer Shank Racing and its pair of new NSX GT3s, running the 2019 Evo kit.

“Day 1 was good, we have two brand new NSX’s, the ones we used in 2017 we used in 17 and 18, so we’ve got new cars now which means we’ve had a couple of teething issues to get through.

“We tested here for a few days in December, so we knew where we were at coming into this week though. For us having Michelin has helped us, as has the Evo kits, which features some new aero pieces developed by HPD and Acura, it’ll make the car more drivable.

“We’re so late to the game with the Evo kit that we don’t have spares, so we ran in the dry, but sat out the wet running yesterday!”

Vautier & JDC getting up to speed

Tristan Vautier is the only driver across JDC Miller’s pair of DPis that has experience racing a Cadillac DPi V.R coming into this season.

JDC appears to be getting up to speed with its new kit quickly though, Vautier telling DSC that Day 1 at the Roar was a success.

“It’s the roar, so it’s very busy, and it all goes by so quickly. But the team has been doing so well, after getting the cars at the last minute and getting them going. Just being able to run here is an achievement. We are a step behind because we only just got the cars, but so far we’ve been focusing on ourselves and it’s been good.

“I’ve been able to help our guys with my experience, but all our drivers are quick enough, and the testing we had in Sebring in December helped everyone get up to speed a bit. We’re not miles away.”

The #85 did hit trouble last night however, RACER.com’s Marshall Pruett reporting that when Chris Miller was at the wheel, he shifted up to fifth only to have the car engage second, breaking the car’s gearbox. It should turn laps today though, after the team worked on the gearbox internals.

Grist takes Prototype Challenge pole

After two practice sessions for the 19 LMP3 cars entered in the Prototype Challenge field, the cars headed out for qualifying in the tough conditions last night, after the final WeatherTech session which was interuppted by heavy rain.

ELMS regular Garret Grist took pole in the Qualifying session driving the #51 K2R Motorsports Ligier JS P3 with a 2:00.030, beating out the #10 Robillard Racing Norma by over two seconds.

Gilbert Motorsports #23 Norma ended up third, ahead of the #25 Conquest Racing and sister #64 K2R Ligier JS P3s that completed the top five.

Just 14 of the cars on the entry braved the conditions and set times in the session. The Prototype Challenge three-hour race is set to run later today at 12:15 local time.

DragonSpeed’s #18 ORECA arrives late

RACER.com’s Marshall Pruett spoke to DragonSpeed today and found out that its #18 LMP2 class ORECA 07 Gibson, which turned no laps yesterday, was a late arrival after the car was held at (the §short-staffed) US customs.

It should run today though, after frantic work by the crew to get it ready to go throughout yesterday.

Caymans top Pilot Challenge sessions on Day 1

The Michelin Pilot Challenge teams also hit the track yesterday, the (brand new) #47 nolasport Porsche Cayman GT4 set the fastest time of the day, a 1:53.761 set by Jason Hart in the third session.

Second fastest, in what was a day paced by the new Caymans (the top five times all set by Caymans) was the #66 TRG example after 1:53.976 from Spencer Pumpelly, ahead of the #13 AWA Porsche that completed the top three.

The first of the other chassis in the huge 31-car GS field was the #33 Winward Racing/HTP Motorsports Mercedes with a 1:54.358.

In TCR, LA Honda World Racing’s #37 Civic topped the day’s times, with a 2:00.475 by Tom O’Gorman.