derBayerische July/August 2023 - 22

T H E
2 0 2 3
S E B R I N G
By the end of the race, Connor De Philippi demonstrated that the car could
achieve strong lap times. The new era of sports car racing had shown us some
of the new excitement to come.
After the race, there was the disturbing discovery that the Daytona winning
Acura had been falsifying data presented to IMSA. Michelin sets tire
pressure limits that must not go below that specified value. The Myer Shank
Racing (MSR) team found a way to run a lower pressure than the requirement
for their Acura while presenting IMSA with data showing the required value.
Lower tire pressures would generate higher tire temperatures more quickly and
produce more grip. Lower pressures could result in tire failure. This action
was referred to as, " intentional software offsets " . It was said that Honda
Performance Development made the discovery and reported it to IMSA. MSR
was stripped of 200 of the 350 winners' points, all their Michelin Endurance
Cup points, prize money and assessed a $50,000 fine. People were also put
on probation and an engineer for the team was suspended. Apologies were
issued, but this was a serious transgression by the team. Safe to say, willful
modification of real data is a very serious transgression. Drivers from
other teams commented that they understood now how the Acura could
regain speed so quickly
after caution periods. The
drivers weren't required to
return the coveted Rolex
watches they had been
awarded and a replacement
" winner " wasn't
declared. I'll leave it to
you to make up your own
mind as to the correctness
of this. It leaves a
disturbing feeling.
Moving on to
Sebring, after running all
the cars at the same
weight (1030 kg) and
power (500 kW) at
Daytona, adjustments
were made for Sebring.
For Sebring the GTP cars had adjusted weights and power. The Acura weighed
1054 kg and generated 520 kW with the BMW at 1040 kg and 513 kW, Cadillac
at 1038 kg with 513 kW and the Porsche at 1048 kg and 517 kW.
Remember, the GTP cars have torque sensors on the cars so power can be
monitored. IMSA was beginning to reveal some of the potential performance
available in these new cars.
In GTD and GTD Pro, leaving Daytona, we saw a high level of frustration
from numerous teams who felt that the Balance of Performance (BoP) had not
been established fairly, putting the BMW M4 GT3 and particularly the new
Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) off the pace. IMSA expresses the desire to bring
new cars up to speed slowly, but the Porsche people were not happy with the
performance they were allowed and threatened to rethink their future participation.
As result of these protests, the Porsche was given less air intake restriction
while the BMW was allowed a 15 kg weight reduction. There was no
explanation why the BMW wasn't given an increase in turbo boost
pressure. Based on the BoP documents that I've seen, IMSA allows the least
boost pressure for the M4 GT3 when compared with the other sanctioning
organizations worldwide. The teams were not optimistic that the M4 GT3
would be much more competitive with less weight. Some offered the thought
22
1 2
H O U R S
that IMSA was so focused on GTP that they weren't fully addressing the
GT cars. Qualifying did not demonstrate that the BMW and Porsche had
significantly changed their comparative performance with the front running
GT cars. Based on lap times they were midfield runners. It's a 12-hour race
though, so speed is not the only issue.
The Michelin Pilot Challenge (MPC) was also part of the Super Sebring
weekend and gave us the chance to see competitive GT4 and TCR racing.
The new G82 M4 GT4 was off the pace at Daytona, but IMSA allowed the car
to run at Sebring with a more powerful setting. The GT4 car had selectable
performance levels available via different memory sticks. More of the teams
also had the new G82 race cars with which to compete. We had six G82 M4
GT4s entered in the race.
In GS, Turner Motorsport continued with their entry of two cars, one for
Robby Foley and Vincent Barletta with a second for Robert Megennis &
Cameron Lawrence. Other entries were from Auto Technic Racing with
(surprise) Bill Auberlen & JC Dubets, Stephen Cameron Racing with Sean
Quinlan & Greg Liefooghe, Fast Track Racing with Garrett Adams & Toby
Grahovec. Finally, there was a new entry from Random Vandals Racing for
Kenton Koch & Paul
Sparta. It was an excellent
group of teams and
drivers. I understand that
Bill Auberlen will return
to Turner for future races.
Qualifying for the MPC
was abandoned after
multiple incidents and
the GS field would start
in championship points
order. After the poor
results at Daytona this
meant the M4s would
begin at the back of the
field.
At Sebring the MPC
■ The #96 & #95 M4 GT4 racecars finished first and second in the Michelin Pilot Challenge.
race is known as the Alan
Jay Automotive Network
120 for the two-hour race. For the two Turner cars the race would start from
twelfth for the #96 car and nineteenth for #95 with the #25 Auto Technic Racing
and the #26 Fast Track Racing cars just behind. So, they would all have a long
way to go, but two hours in which to do it. All of them were bottled up towards
the back, gradually trying to work their way through traffic. Watching the race,
we couldn't anticipate what the results might be. In fact, starting so far back,
it didn't appear as though any of them would be likely to find success
during the race.
Turner Motorsports had the renowned strategist Don Salama, and they
must have utilized his full abilities. Turner had both cars stop early, at around
nine laps to put them off sequence and allow shorter fuel fills later. Robert
Megennis was able to move the #95 up closer to the front. Vin Barletta had
more difficulty starting from further back. They knew they would need some
yellow flags and safety car periods to put the cars nearer the front.
It's difficult to know the details while watching a race from trackside. I went
back to watch the TV stream of the race to determine how the #96 BMW moved
from about 29th to the front group. Through the pitstop sequence for all the
teams during a full course yellow, the #96 went from 29th to 20th to 11th to
4th and 3rd during the five caution laps. All of that had to be due to excellent
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derBayerische July/August 2023

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derBayerische July/August 2023 - Intro
derBayerische July/August 2023 - Cover1
derBayerische July/August 2023 - Cover2
derBayerische July/August 2023 - 1
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