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12 Hours Of Sebring: Thursday Paddock Notes

News nibs from 'Super Sebring' on the first day of IMSA track action

Blackmore spotters guide available

Andy Blackmore’s 2019 Sebring 12 Hours, and IMSA support Spotter Guide is now available for downloading ahead of Saturday’s big race!

You can access it HERE >>>

Fjordbach enjoying IMSA debut

ELMS LMP2 regular Anders Fjordbach is here at Sebring getting his first taste of US racing with PR1 Motorsports (featured) in the IMSA WeatherTech LMP2 class.

The Dane, who is using this event to get further track time in an ORECA 07 Gibson ahead of his full-season ELMS campaign with High Class Racing (which has switched to ORECA from Dallara for this season).

“I’m loving it so far. Not only haven’t I driven at Sebring before this week, but I’d never been to the USA! I’ve been eating cornbread, driving a Jeep, getting the full American experience!”

Mazda stay positive after Daytona disappointment

Running both the Mazda Team Joest DPi in the 12 Hours and the Chip Ganassi Team UK’s Ford GTs in the WEC 1000 Miles, it’s fair to say Multimatic have skin in the game at Sebring this weekend.

Mazda boss John Doonan is not sharing the load alone though, having allowed two of his drivers a seat in both teams.

Mazda Team Joest’s light shone bright but brief at Daytona, the development curve still proving steeper than might have been predicted.

But after encouraging further test miles, Harry Tincknell and Jonathan Bomarito shared their thoughts on their prospects and indeed how they’ve prepared for juggling prototype and GT driving duties for the Super Sebring double-header.

Harry Tincknell: “I’ve been in the gym like an absolute demon preparing for this weekend, but we’ve been able to test both cars at the track, so a taste of how each car will go here and changing between the two has been really valuable. It’s a challenge physically but there’s no excuse for not having enough track time..!”

“I think we showed last year at Daytona and then again here in Sebring, where we ran strongly at the front going up to the final pit stop and could have quite easily won the race, that we can run at the front on merit. It was the same at Daytona this year and while it was disappointing not to finish it’s still encouraging.

“The Mazda has taken a huge step forward with Joest over the winter and as drivers, we can be confident going into this week. The 12 hours is the target, but if we can do the Friday as well that would be a huge bonus.”

“We had some unfortunate, unexpected luck at Daytona,” Doonan added, “but we know exactly what went wrong and had a couple of great days testing here two weeks ago. There is a great level of excitement around what’s going to happen Friday night and into Saturday.

“From my standpoint, Multimatic has truly transformed the race car in the last 18 months and we proved at Daytona how much pace we have in the package. Now it’s about executing and putting all the pieces together. And of course, these two clowns have committed to both races. In fact, all three of the #55 car drivers are in for the full weekend. I have a lot to juggle between the two teams.”

Aston Pilot Challenge livery revealed

Automatic Racing unveiled its new Pilot Challenge livery that will feature on its brand new Aston Martin Vantage GT4 which ran for the first time at Daytona in January.

Both AMR president David King and Prodrive head John Gaw were on hand for a photocall with the new machine.

Hartley talks to MP

Brendon Hartley’s big return to sportscar racing has arrived, the Kiwi driving for Action Express Racing in IMSA and SMP Racing in the WEC this weekend, doing double-duty.

He caught up with RACER.com’s Marshall Pruett, for a video which can be viewed by clicking HERE >>>

PPM Lamborghini getting ready for Qualifying

Precision Performance Motorsports’ Lamborghini Huracan GT3, which had a big off in Free Practice 2 earlier today, is being prepped so it’s ready for Qualifying and the race this weekend.

The team posted on Twitter that may even make it out during tonight’s Night Practice session.

Thankfully, the team was also able to confirm that driver Don Yount was ok after the impact.

Atherton on LMP2

IMSA President Scott Atherton spoke to DSC about the future of LMP2 in the WeatherTech championship.

While the class entry has dipped to a disappointing two cars for this weekend, with DragonSpeed’s ORECAs not running again after Daytona, Atherton remains hopeful we’ll see some cavalry arrive later in the season.

“We continue to work hard, not only with existing teams but with other potential teams as well,” he said. “It’s frustrating as a sanctioning body, as all our decisions in the prototype category were driven by our stakeholders, none of this was dictated, it was in response to feedback and requests.

“It’s frustrating, but nobody is giving up, we’re cautiously optimistic about additions coming to the class.”

Panoz Gallery Of Legends

The Gallery Of Legends outside the temporary Media Centre at the pit-in end of the IMSA pit lane has been renamed the Don Panoz Hall Of Legends, in honour of the late Dr Don Panoz, who passed away last year.

For this weekend the hall is housing a number of iconic IMSA machines from over the years, including a few of Panoz’s cars, the Deltawing Coupe and an Esperante GT2 among them.