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WeatherTech Chanmpionship Sebring Test -Thursday Notebook

CORE autosport Getting More Comfortable with Nissan DPi

The weeks leading up to the 2019 season-opening Rolex 24 were quite hectic for CORE autosport, which announced plans in December to switch from the ORECA LMP2 car it used to finish second in the 2018 WeatherTech Championship Prototype standings to the Nissan DPi for the 2019 season.

Despite the frantic pace, the team of Jon Bennett, Colin Braun, Romain Dumas and Loic Duval managed a solid, fourth-place result in the Rolex 24. With that race now in the rearview mirror, the team has had the opportunity to get much more acquainted with the No. 54 Nissan DPi, which it was doing again at Sebring on Thursday.

"For us at CORE autosport, this is our first real opportunity to do a private test and learn this car," said Braun of the car that actually won last year’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with Patrón ESM. "Obviously, great success with the ESM guys last year in the class, but for us, we’re on the new Michelin tire for this year.

"We had a chance to get these cars a little bit before Christmas, do some work in our shop, go to the Roar test before Daytona and then do the Daytona race, but that’s been it. So, for us, getting a chance to come here to Sebring and do a couple of days of private testing where we can really just take our time, work through different changes and really learn this car on this tire has been huge."

BMW Racer Edwards Flies Himself to WeatherTech Championship Events

Depending on headwinds and tailwinds, John Edwards will be at home in Charlotte in two to three hours after he wrapped up IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship testing activities Thursday at Sebring International Raceway.

That’s because Edwards will simply head over to the airport right next to the 3.74-mile Central Florida road course, jump in his Cirrus Aircraft, and fly himself home.

"I’ve been in love with flying for a few years now," Edwards said. "I’ve got my pilot’s license and I actually have my own little Cirrus that I fly myself to all of the races. At some places, it pays off a little bit, but at Sebring, it pays off a lot. The airport is right there. The track used to be part of the airport, so I get to drop right in.

"Sometimes, I don’t even rent a car. I just get somebody to pick me up, because we’re only a mile from the racetrack. I generally stay right here, especially when we’re testing. It’s a nice way to travel and I get to take part in one of my passions while getting to the track, which sure beats going through lines at security in the airport."

Bomarito, Mazda Team Joest Have High Hopes for Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring

Between the strong pace the team showed in the 2018 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts and Oliver Jarvis track record in qualifying for last month’s Rolex 24 At Daytona, Mazda Team Joest has plenty of reasons to be optimistic heading into next month’s 67-running of the Twelve Hours.

The team was back in action Thursday at Sebring for the first of two days of testing. All four of the team’s full-season drivers were in attendance – Jonathan Bomarito, Harry Tincknell, Oliver Jarvis and Tristan Nunez.

"We had a little bit of weather, which actually ended up being a good thing," Bomarito said. "We got to drive the Michelin wet tires around Sebring, cycled all the drivers through, that was very productive. But we’re looking to come back to this race very strong. We had a very fast race car here last year and we were quick in Daytona in January.

"We’re really expecting a good result coming for the Twelve Hours. The crew have been working really hard hours at the shop. We’re doing a one-car test, but the second car is getting built. It’s all looking really promising. Everybody is very optimistic and really gelling even more as a team, so we’re excited. We’re excited for the future and we’ll see what the rest of the races hold."

IndyCar Champion Pagenaud Prepares for Busy March, Busy 2019 at Sebring

Not long after the calendar flips to March at the end of next week, 2016 IndyCar Series champion Simon Pagenaud is going to be a pretty busy race car driver.

Pagenaud will kick off his IndyCar season in St. Petersburg on March 11 in the No. 22 Team Penske Chevrolet. Six days later, he’s back in the cockpit of the No. 6 Acura Team Penske ARX-05 DPi with co-drivers Dane Cameron and Juan Pablo Montoya, and eight days after that, he’ll be back in the IndyCar for the second round of the season at Circuit of The Americas on March 24.

Thursday at Sebring, Pagenaud joined his Acura Team Penske cohorts in the second of two days of testing the DPi machine.

"It’s different than IndyCar," Pagenaud said. "It’s very much about having a fast average among the three drivers throughout the entire race in every condition. It’s a lot of fun and I really enjoy it.

"This always helps me because I love driving, first of all. Whatever the car, if it’s got four wheels, and engine and a steering wheel, I just want to drive it. Obviously, with my ties to Acura and now with Team Penske, it’s phenomenal for me, this opportunity to race in sports cars, as I’ve been doing for many, many years.

"Remember, I come from sports car racing, originally, so that’s my background. Being able to race the IndyCar and a sports car is very great, because it keeps my mind open on how a car could behave differently and I believe it helps my skills also with adjusting to different cars quickly."

Super Sebring Ticket Information

Tickets for the doubleheader Super Sebring weekend featuring the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and FIA World Endurance Championship are still on sale for the weekend of March 14-17.

Ticket packages are available on www.sebringraceway.com.

For fans unable to attend, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring will be broadcast on Saturday, March 16 starting on CNBC at 10:30 a.m. ET with more coverage throughout the day on the NBC Sports App and NBCSN. The entire race can be streamed live on the NBC Sports App.

The 12-hour race follows the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge race, the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120, on Friday at noon ET and the IMSA Prototype Challenge race on Thursday at 12:35 p.m. ET, all of which can be streamed live on IMSA.tv with IMSA Radio commentary.