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Rolex 24 Hours: Thursday AM Paddock Notes

Cool Racing Opt To Delay Push For Second ELMS LMP2 Entry

The potential second ORECA 07 Gibson entry for the ELMS from Cool Racing for 2020 has been postponed as the team opts to concentrate on their double ELMS/ WEC effort with a single car in each, including, of course, the team’s debut in the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Nicolas Lapierre, in Daytona as part of the #8 Tower Motorsports By Starworks LMP2 effort, confirmed to DSC that earlier plans to expand Cool Racing’s LMP2 programmes have been scaled back. He will start the 2020 Le Mans 24 Hours looking for a fifth win in five starts in the LMP2 class.

Congratulations To Bia Figueiredo – Mum To Be

GEAR Racing’s Bia Figueiredo’s step down for Daytona was explained earlier this week with an Instagram post from the Brazilian driver as having a very happy back story.

Bia and her husband are expecting their first baby in August.

Rahel Frey replaces her in the Daytona entry alongside Catherine Legge, Christina Nielsen and Tatiana Calderon.

Automatic Racing Reveal Second Michelin Pilot Challenge Aston Martin

Automatic Racing took the wraps off the #09 Stoner Car Care Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT4 on Wednesday. The team, which claimed pole in the season-ending race at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta with the sister #99 Invisible Glass Aston Martin, will look to return to the Daytona podium after scoring second in this race last year.

Gary Ferrera and Kris Wilson will team in the #99 entry, while Brandon Kidd, Rob Ecklin, Jr. and Ramin Abdolvahabi will share the controls on the #09 machine.

Looking back to the test, Automatic Racing team principal David Russell was pleased with driver and car progress through the Roar weekend, feeling as though the setup that the team has settled upon will roll off the truck well when they return to the iconic 3.56-mile “roval” in two weeks.

“We definitely have a good baseline after this weekend,” said Russell. “We came up with something for Sunday morning’s session that we were good with, and we stuck with that for the final session. The weather was definitely a curve ball this weekend, as was the different rubber put down by the WeatherTech cars throughout the weekend, but the goal was always the same – to shoot for having a good balance.”

Aston Martin IMSA Revival

John Gaw feels that this week’s Rolex 24, which sees Aston Martin return to the premiere IMSA series with a pair of GTD-entered Vantages, is the start of something for the brand in US racing.

“America is really starting to happen (for Aston Martin),” Gaw told DSC. “I mean, there’s going to be more than 10 GT4 cars racing in America next year. We will have some in (Michelin) Pilot Challenge but also quite a few and World Challenge, which is encouraging.

“We’ve been looking to get a car in GTD at Daytona for a long time. But as you know, it’s basically factory racing and very expensive. With The Heart of Racing and Ian James, they have put together a great program. I think Ian has done a really, really good job commercially off the track. The team is coming together nicely and we’ll give them as much support as we can.

“You see how long it’s taken (to get a car in GTD), and that will tell you how tough it is. It’s world class racing at the highest level in IMSA. You got to have absolutely everything in place or you will not be competitive at the track.