Daytona Thursday Notebook

Photo: John Dagys

***Trent Hindman’s first laps in Wright Motorsports’ Porsche 911 GT3 R came in Thursday afternoon’s practice session, where he logged 17 laps after getting the late call to replace Ryan Hardwick, who has been ruled out for the remainder of the weekend due to a concussion from an accident in Wednesday’s IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge practice.

“Jan [Heylen], Klaus [Bachler] and Pat [Long] have certainly helped me out a ton with figuring out what the car likes, what it doesn’t like, driving style-wise,” Hindman said. “It’s a lot for me to learn but everybody from Wright Motorsports is doing a great job in welcoming me into the team with open arms. All the stuff on track will sort out over time.”

***The No. 111 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo rebounded from electrical issues in opening practice to post the quickest time in GT Daytona in second practice in the hands of factory driver Mirko Bortolotti. 

***Grasser’s No. 111 number plate is to signify Lamborghini’s three consecutive GT Daytona class wins in the race.

***Oliver Jarvis reacted to Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani’s claims of sandbagging from non-Cadillac DPi teams at the Roar Before the Rolex 24, stating that comments such as theirs is “nothing new” especially after the annual pre-season test.

“It’s a shame BoP becomes a topic but looking at practice, it’s extremely close,” said Jarvis. “I think IMSA has done a really good job. Until we really get into halfway through the race we just don’t know how close it really is.”

***Harry Tincknell said he feels like the Multimatic-Mazda partnership is one of the “established teams” in the DPi class this year amid the numerous off-season changes in teams and manufacturers. It comes despite Mazda’s scaled back effort to a single entry.

***Confirmation of an all-pro GT3 class for the WeatherTech Championship beginning in 2022 has been met with widespread approval from manufacturers, teams and drivers.

***Chevrolet’s director of motorsports competition engineering Mark Stielow said in a statement that the introduction of GTD Pro is a “positive move forward” for professional GT racing in North America although came short of confirming a GT3-spec Chevrolet Corvette C8.R for 2022.

“We appreciate the leadership and openness from IMSA during this on-going process,” said Stielow. “Now that the class structure has been established, Corvette Racing and Chevrolet will continue to work with IMSA to determine how Corvette could fit into this new future of GT competition.”

***In a statement, Aston Martin said it’s “pleased” by the change to the class structure and “looks forward” to working with customer and partner teams on GTD programs in 2022. The British manufacturer currently offers customer support to the GTE, GT3 and GT4 platforms with Vantage models.

***A total of 63 Bronze or Silver-rated drivers will be required to complete nighttime laps in tonight’s practice session. Click Here for the list.

***Robert Kubica said that his Rolex 24 debut with High Class Racing is a “first approach” to endurance racing, although the Pole has previous 24-hour experience with a start in the 24 Hours of Dubai.

***Kubica said there’s “nothing clear” in regards to his racing plans beyond Daytona, having ruled out a return to DTM under the GT3-spec formula due to the time needed to adapt to to the platform amid his continued reserve driver role with Alfa Romeo F1, although admitting he could see himself in LMP2 in the future.

“At the end it’s quite late in the season and I have my [F1] work already,” he said. “Knowing and seeing what happened last year with COVID-19, it’s hard to combine two programs. I don’t want to compromise what I have already, which is F1… But I think LMP2 is my main target and the series I would like to race if possible.”

***Steffen Hollwarth, who had been the head of operations for Porsche’s factory IMSA program, has remained on in a similar position this weekend amid the transition to WeatherTech Racing’s privateer effort in the GT Le Mans class.

***Porsche enters the Rolex 24 on a three-race win streak in GTLM after claiming victories in the final rounds of the factory program in 2020. The German manufacturer also claimed GTD class honors in last year’s season-ending Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

***Former DTM ace Timo Glock is making his second 24-hour race start following his run in the 2015 Total 24 Hours of Spa in a BMW Z4 GT3 alongside Bruno Spengler and Alex Zanardi. Glock is also new to the BMW M8 GTE. 

***While BMW Team RLL seeks its third consecutive GT Le Mans class win, team co-owner Bobby Rahal is celebrating the 40th anniversary of his overall win in the race in 1981 at the wheel of a Porsche 935 K3.

***Austin Dillon said he’ll get a tattoo if he wins the Rolex 24 in the LMP2 class, as it would be the “underdog story” of the race. The NASCAR Cup Series driver got ink after his Daytona 500 win in 2018.

***ACO President Pierre Fillon and former FIA World Endurance Championship CEO Gerard Neveu are among those expected to be in attendance this weekend as the ACO and IMSA continue work on LMDh and global prototype convergence.

***Fillon recently sold his medical practice, where he served as a renowned eye doctor in Le Mans, in order to focus entirely on his duties in the ACO.

***Hurley Haywood has been named to the board of directors for the NASCAR Foundation. Led by Mike Helton, the NASCAR Foundation is a leading charity that works to improve the lives of children who need it most in NASCAR communities through the Speediatrics Children’s Fund and the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award. To-date, the charity has raised $36 million for these groups.

Ryan Myrehn contributed to this report

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