Road America Rumblings

Acura at turn 6. [Photo by Jack Webster]

Acura at turn 6. [Photo by Jack Webster]

By Jack Webster & Eddie LePine

Just some quick notes and observations from Road America.

The new mid-engine Corvette is on display in the paddock and is drawing a large crowd of onlookers, including Corvette Racing’s Doug Fehan. We asked Doug about the color scheme for next year’s C8-R, but he declined to give us any hints.

Our friend Burt Levy is on hand in the Paddock Shop hawking his new audio book of “The Last Open Road”. More than an audiobook, it is really like an old-time radio play. We highly recommend it.

Speaking of old friends, David Hobbs is on hand this weekend as well, positioned right next to Burt in the Paddock Shop, selling and signing his very entertaining book, “Hobbo”.

Word is that Ford is officially out of IMSA racing at the end of this season, with any move to DPi put off until at least 2022 when DPi 2.0 rules come into effect. That means a lot of Ford factory drivers will be looking for new rides for next year and beyond – it seems that every time we saw one of the Ford drivers in the paddock they were on their phones, possibly trying to line something up for next season?

Speaking of IMSA and the future, the 2020 schedule was announced last night and remains virtually unchanged from the 2019 version, with no new tracks or events scheduled. Some tweaking was done (reducing the number of LMP2 contests due to lack of entries) and slight shifts in dates, but nothing major. Why mess with success?

Our friends from the Austin Hatcher Foundation are on hand in the paddock this weekend, holding an auction of photos, prints and memorabilia to raise funds for their fine organization. We participated, as usual, with donations of posters and prints from our collection.

Despite added weight and reduced horsepower BoP on the Mazda prototypes by IMSA after their recent two victories, Mazda continues to be right at the top of the time charts at Road America this weekend. Mazda and Acura have been sharing the top spots, with Nissan just a tick behind. Cadillac doesn’t seem to have the speed they need – so far.

In GTLM Porsche still leads the way, again despite BoP adjustments made to GTLM cars, but everyone else in the class is within less than a second.

Qualifying is coming up this afternoon, and the race gets underway tomorrow at 1:35pm.

We are going to relax, watch qualifying shortly, do some driver interviews and then head to Eddie’s dad’s house, where the senior Mr. LePine is going to prepare a lobster dinner for us.

This racing business is tough, but someone has to do it.

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