John Dagys Friday Notebook on the Eve of Season-Opening Rolex 24 at Daytona

Pierre Fillon, President of ACO, stated that they do not currently plan to change the Hypercar category name to GTP. This is to match IMSA’s naming for its top category. It will feature Le Mans Daytona hybrid and Le Mans Hypercar machinery. However, he acknowledged they need to move “step by step.”

Fillon stated that the GTP name was once used in Le Mans. It’s a brilliant idea to give WeatherTech’s top category the name GTP. For Le Mans and WEC the name for the top category is Hypercar. We don’t intend to change the name at this time. We will continue to watch the future.

According to Chip Ganassi Racing managing Director Mike Hull, Scott Dixon will decide whether or not he will participate in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. He told Sportscar365, “I don’t have an answer until the weekend is over.”

It is understood that Dixon will be focusing on his NTT IndyCar Series commitments in Texas Motor Speedway over the weekend. A final decision on Jimmie Johnson’s participation will be made.

***Hull stated that it is “safe to assume” that Kevin Magnussen will join CGR in one its Cadillac DPi.Rs for Sebring. Hull confirmed Dixon for Motul Petit Le Mans. This does not conflict with IndyCar.

***The No. 01 CGR Cadillac DPi has been called the “champions car” because of 11 IndyCar Series championships and one IMSA title. Dixon currently holds six IndyCar titles. Sebastien Bourdais is at four, and Alex Palou won the championship last year. Renger van den Zande, 2016 IMSA LMPC Champion, joins them.

Two engineers from Manthey Racing have joined Hardpoint’s GTD team, and they will be with the team for the entire season. Andreas Kociok is one of the engineers who has previously worked on Porsche factory’s GTE-Pro effort.

*** The Rob Ferriol-owned company has plans to make some GT3 appearances in the future. Ferriol stated that there are a few more, but Bathurst is the most prominent. “I would love to do the Indy 8 Hour. We had the Cups last year and supported Audi last year. While I would be open to doing some one-off races, we are focusing on the IMSA schedule as well as growing Hardpoint.

***Ferriol said that Hardpoint has plenty to test between Sebring and Daytona. This will be the first time that the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport team will race. “We will test the [GT3] R at Sebring in a few weeks. Parallel to that, we will start getting the GT4 RS ready. We’ll also test it. It is based at VIR, so we can perform rollouts and test locally.

According to Giorgio Sanna (head of motorsport), Lamborghini is “working daily” on its LMDh program. He told Sportscar365 that there are “different options” for the technical side. “It is clear that we must make a decision soon, and that’s what it is we are seeking.”

According to Sanna, ***Lamborghini will take its time in promoting GT3 Junior drivers to factory status. The works roster did not include any new signings.

***It was reported that Frederik Schandorff was close to being signed to the factory squad. Sanna said that Frederik Schandorff, along with [Michele] Beretta, and other GT3 Juniors, is always on our radar. They are predicted to be factory drivers. However, Junior drivers require time to develop and gain experience, particularly at a certain level of championship.

*** According to Mark Rushbrook, Ford Performance global motorsports director Mark Rushbrook, the Ford Mustang GT3 will make its on-track debut in 2023. There may be an end-of-year race for Balance of Performance purposes.

***Rushbrook refused to confirm where the Multimatic-built GT3 vehicle is being built, but answered “yes” both to Canada and the UK. These are Multimatic’s largest motorsports hubs. The 5.0-liter Coyote-based Ford-based V8 engine will be built at M-Sport in Great Britain.

***While not announcing drivers beyond the already confirmed Joey Hand, Rushbrook said they would “absolutely” look at the current pool of Multimatic-contracted pilots, including former Ford GT driver Dirk Mueller and Porsche Carrera Cup North America champion Seb Priaulx, for the Mustang GT3 program.

Rushbrook stated that “Obviously we have a great history with Joey [Priaulx] winning at Le Mans together.” “Andy [Priaulx] was a big part of our program, and now Seb is developing and following in those same footsteps… I think there’s a good pool to choose from.

***Michelin will be showcasing its “Regen Lab” this weekend. This lab explores the use of renewable materials that the tire manufacturer plans to incorporate into its future race tires. Its concept tire features 46 percent bio-sourced, recycled materials, including tire rubber, yoghurt cups and wood chips.

Michelin aims to make 100 percent of its tires sustainable by 2050, and 40 percent by 2030 with the support of motorsports development.

*** Haas F1 team principal Guenther Steiner was among the notables seen in the paddock Friday. Christina Nielsen, a two-time IMSA GTD winner, is also looking for a ride as a newly reclassified Bronze-rated driver and is currently searching for a ride. Nielsen was last year’s WeatherTech Championship winner in the Rolex 24 with Hardpoint.

The new tri-oval grass design has been adopted by Daytona International Speedway for major NASCAR events and early-season sports cars. An online poll determined that the Great American Race’ design was the best.

***CrowdStrike was named an official partner by IMSA in an agreement that allows the cybersecurity company to host CxO Summits at race venues for Michelin Endurance Cup C-level executives, including this week. This partnership will include signage on the tracks and VIP experiences at other IMSA races during the season.

CrowdStrike will also sponsor the Endurance, Teamwork and Speed Award at Endurance Cup races. This award recognizes a team from each class that demonstrates the unique qualities required to succeed in long-distance races.

***Coverage for the 60th Rolex 24 in Daytona starts Saturday at 1:30 p.m. NBC. Click Here to see complete U.S. TV details. IMSA Radio will anchor’s coverage, led by John Hindhaugh and Jeremy Shaw, and joined by Bruce Martin, Peter Mackay and Andrew Marriott.