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IMSA: 2018 Motul Petit Le Mans entry list notebook

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IMSA Wire Service

Heading into the Motul Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta – the season finale for the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship – this is the final part of a four-part series in which the primary championship contenders in each of the three classes are compared.

Wednesday, we previewed the GTLM class. Thursday, we looked at the Prototype class. Friday, we looked at the GTD class and today we wrap up the series with an all-encompassing statistical look at next week’s overall event.

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The 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship draws to a close on Saturday, Oct. 13 at Road Atlanta with the 10-hour Motul Petit Le Mans.

The race also represents the season finale for the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup.

The 21st annual Motul Petit Le Mans headlines an event week at the 2.54-mile, 12-turn Road Atlanta circuit that also includes the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge’s two-hour Fox Factory 120, which wraps up its 2018 campaign on Friday, Oct. 12.

Other events include a season-ending pair of 45-minute Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama races and the one-hour, 45-minute IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda season finale.

The WeatherTech Championship entry list features 37 cars:

* 14 entries in the Prototype class

* 9 entries in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class

* 14 entries in the GT Daytona (GTD) class.

Live television coverage of Motul Petit Le Mans begins Saturday, Oct. 13 at 10:30 a.m. ET on FS1, with continuing coverage on FS2 from 12 p.m. ET through the checkered flag.

Live IMSA Radio coverage also will be available on IMSA.com, RadioLeMans.com and SiriusXM Radio (Sirius 119/XM 202/App 972). Tickets are available now at roadatlanta.com.

Click here for the provisional WeatherTech Championship entry list.

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Notes:

– Of more than 100 drivers on the Motul Petit Le Mans entry list, 39 have at least one previous victory in the prestigious event.

o Oliver Gavin has the most Motul Petit Le Mans wins among active drivers with five previous victories. He won the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) GTS class in 2002 and 2004, the ALMS GT1 class in 2005 and 2008, and the ALMS GT2 class in 2010. He will share the No. 4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R with co-drivers Tommy Milner and Marcel Fassler.

– There are four additional drivers in this year’s field with three or more Motul Petit Le Mans victories.

o Timo Bernhard, who will share the No. 22 Tequila Patrón ESM Nissan DPi with Johannes van Overbeek and Pipo Derani, is a four-time winner, taking ALMS GT victories in 2003 and 2004 and ALMS P2 wins in 2006 and 2007.

o Jan Magnussen also is a four-time Motul Petit Le Mans winner with victories in the ALMS GTS class in 2004, ALMS GT1 in 2005 and 2008 and ALMS GT2 in 2010. Magnussen is slated to share the No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R with co-drivers Antonio Garcia and Fassler.

o Patrick Long, who shares the No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R with Christina Nielsen and Robert Renauer, has three Motul Petit Le Mans wins, taking ALMS GT2 wins in 2005 and 2006 and an ALMS P2 win in 2007.

o Marino Franchitti, who is entered in the No. 55 Mazda Team Joest Mazda RT-24P DPi car alongside Jonathan Bomarito and Spencer Pigot, also is a three-time Motul Petit Le Mans winner with ALMS P2 victories in 2009, 2010 and 2013.

– Jeroen Bleekemolen, who is sharing the No. 33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 with Ben Keating and Luca Stolz, has the most Motul Petit Le Mans pole positions among active drivers with three. He took ALMS GTC poles in 2010 and 2011 and a WeatherTech Championship GTD pole in 2016.

– Corvette Racing is the winningest team in the Motul Petit Le Mans field with eight previous victories. The first came in the ALMS GTS class in 2000 and its most recent was the ALMS GT2 win in 2010.

– Among the top-two contenders for the 2018 WeatherTech Championship title in each class, five of the six teams have at least one previous Motul Petit Le Mans victory. In addition to the eight Corvette Racing wins, CORE Autosport has two, while Action Express Racing, Paul Miller Racing and Meyer Shank Racing have one each. Ford Chip Ganassi Racing is the only championship contender without a previous Motul Petit Le Mans win.

– With 19 victories, Porsche is the winningest active manufacturer at Motul Petit Le Mans. Audi is second with 11 wins and Chevrolet is third with 10.

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Previous Motul Petit Le Mans Winners in 2018 Field (39):

Oliver Gavin (5) – ALMS GTS – 2002, 2004; ALMS GT1 – 2005, 2008; ALMS GT2 – 2010

Timo Bernhard (4) – ALMS GT – 2003, 2004; ALMS P2 – 2006, 2007

Jan Magnussen (4) – ALMS GTS – 2004, ALMS GT1 – 2005, 2008; ALMS GT2 – 2010

Patrick Long (3) – ALMS GT2 – 2005, 2006; ALMS P2 – 2007

Marino Franchitti (3) – ALMS P2 – 2009, 2010, 2013

Bill Auberlen (2) – ALMS GT – 2001, GTLM – 2017

Romain Dumas (2) – ALMS GT – 2003, ALMS P2 – 2007

Johannes van Overbeek (2) – ALMS GT2 – 2007, ALMS GT – 2012

Ryan Briscoe (2) – ALMS P2 – 2008, 2013

Joao Barbosa (2) – ALMS P2 – 2011, P – 2015

Jeroen Bleekemolen (2) – ALMS GTC – 2011; GTD – 2016

Ryan Dalziel (2) – ALMS PC – 2012, P/Overall – 2017

Scott Sharp (2) – ALMS GT – 2012, P/Overall – 2017

Toni Vilander (2) – ALMS GT – 2012, GTLM – 2016

Wolf Henzler (2) – ALMS GT – 2013; GTLM – 2014

Bryan Sellers (2) – ALMS GT – 2013; GTLM – 2014

Nick Tandy (2) – ALMS GT – 2013, GTLM/Overall – 2015

Spencer Pumpelly (2) – ALMS GTC – 2013, GTD – 2015

Madison Snow (2) – ALMS GTC – 2013, GTD – 2015

Dirk Mueller (1) – ALMS GT – 1999

Helio Castroneves (1) – ALMS P2 – 2008

Simon Pagenaud (1) – ALMS P2 – 2010

Andy Lally (1) – ALMS GTC – 2010

Tim Pappas (1) – ALMS GTC – 2011

Mario Farnbacher (1) – ALMS GTC – 2012

Kyle Marcelli (1) – ALMS PC – 2013

Ricky Taylor (1) – P/Overall – 2014

Jordan Taylor (1) – P/Overall – 2014

Renger van der Zande (1) – PC – 2014

Patrick Pilet (1) – GTLM/Overall – 2015

Sebastien Bourdais (1) – P – 2015

Christian Fittipaldi (1) – P – 2015

Robert Alon (1) – PC – 2016

Jose Gutierrez (1) – PC – 2016

Ben Keating (1) – GTD – 2016

Alexander Sims (1) – GTLM – 2017

Connor De Phillippi (1) – GTD – 2017

Christopher Mies (1) – GTD – 2017

Sheldon van der Linde (1) – GTD – 2017

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Previous Motul Petit Le Mans Pole Winners in 2018 Field (21):

Jeroen Bleekemolen (3) – ALMS GTC – 2010, 2011; GTD – 2016

Romain Dumas (2) – ALMS GT – 2004, ALMS P2 – 2007

Dane Cameron (2) – ALMS PC – 2011, 2013

Toni Vilander (2) – ALMS GT – 2012, GTLM – 2017

Richard Westbrook (2) – P/Overall – 2015; GTLM – 2016

Bill Auberlen (1) – GT3 – 1998

Dirk Mueller (1) – ALMS GT – 1999

Oliver Gavin (1) – ALMS GTS – 2004

Timo Bernhard (1) – ALMS GT2 – 2005

Andrea Bertolini (1) – ALMS GT1 – 2007

Ryan Briscoe (1) – ALMS P2 – 2008

Marino Franchitti (1) – ALMS P2 – 2009

Kyle Marcelli (1) – ALMS PC – 2012

Spencer Pumpelly (1) – ALMS GTC – 2013

Christian Fittipaldi (1) – P/Overall – 2014

Jack Hawksworth (1) – PC – 2014

Nick Tandy (1) – GTLM – 2014

Earl Bamber (1) – GTLM – 2015

Robert Alon (1) – PC – 2016

Helio Castroneves (1) – P/Overall – 2017

James French (1) – PC – 2017

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Previous Motul Petit Le Mans-Winning Teams in 2018 Field (14):

Corvette Racing (8) – ALMS GTS – 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004; ALMS GT1 – 2005, 2007, 2008; ALMS GT2 – 2010

Acura Team Penske (3) – ALMS P2 – 2006, 2007, 2008

Risi Competizione (3) – ALMS GT2 – 2008, 2009; GTLM – 2016

AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (3) – ALMS PC – 2011; PC – 2015, 2016

CORE Autosport (2) – ALMS PC – 2012; GTLM/Overall – 2015

Tequila Patrón ESM (2) – ALMS GT – 2012; P/Overall – 2017

Wayne Taylor Racing (1) – P/Overall – 2014

Paul Miller Racing (1) – GTD – 2014

Action Express Racing (1) – P – 2015

Park Place Motorsports (1) – GTD – 2015

Meyer Shank Racing (1) – P/Overall – 2016

Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports – GTD – 2016

BMW Team RLL (1) – GTLM – 2017

Montaplast by Land Motorsport (1) – GTD – 2017

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Previous Motul Petit Le Mans Race-Winning Manufacturers in 2018 Field (8):

Porsche – 19

Audi – 11

Chevrolet – 10

Ferrari – 8

BMW – 2

Nissan – 1

Mazda – 1

Ford – 1

Alex Palou fastest as several go off course during IndyCar practice at IMS

IndyCar Harvest GP practice
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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Alex Palou paced the opening practice Thursday for the IndyCar Harvest GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

The Dale Coyne Racing rookie turned a 1-minute, 10.177-second lap around the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course in his No. 55 Dallara-Honda.

Jack Harvey was second, followed by Colton Herta, points leader Scott Dixon and Max Chilton.

PRACTICE CHART: Click here to see the speed rundown from Thursday’s session

FRIDAY AT IMS: Details for watching Race 1 of the Harvest GP

Qualifying for Friday’s race will be at 6:20 p.m. ET Thursday on NBC Sports Gold.

Will Power, who won the pole position for the July 4 race at the track, spun off course with just more than a minute left in the session after the left rear of his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet made slight contact with the right front of Alexander Rossi’s No. 28 Dallara-Honda.

Power was among several drivers who went off track, but there were no damaged cars during the session. Marcus Ericsson missed the final 5 minutes of the practice after being penalized for causing a red flag with a Turn 8 spin.

Arrow McLaren SP drivers Pato O’Ward and Helio Castroneves, who is driving for Oliver Askew (who is recovering from concussion-like symptoms), also veered off course as did rookie Rinus VeeKay and Santino Ferrucci.

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson was in attendance at the session before racing Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. Johnson will be driving a partial schedule of road and street courses in IndyCar next season for Chip Ganassi Racing.

“Literally, the smallest of details, I can pick up on,” Johnson told NBC Sports pit reporter Kevin Lee. “It’s been really nice today just to see how a session starts and obviously to jump on the radio and listen to how the systems work and then obviously you get into the car and the setup and such. I’m at ground zero right now, a 45-year-old rookie trying to learn my way into a new sport essentially.”

Johnson told Lee his sponsorship hunt to run a Ganassi car “has gone really well. The fact that I’m here today and ingrained so deeply in the team is a great sign of where things are going. Looking forward to getting behind the wheel of a car soon and hopefully having some announcements for the world to see soon, too.”

Fans were in attendance Thursday for the first time this season at IMS, which is allowed a limited crowd of 10,000 for its races this weekend.