IMSA news recap, week of December 14
IMSA news recap, week of December 14
Last week, IMSA had a lot more news come out. For a recap of Tuesday’s Michelin on-track opportunity from Daytona International Speedway, click here. Photos are linked here.
ZANARDI’S FIRST DAYTONA TEST COMPLETE
Over the weekend, BMW Team RLL completed a private test at Daytona. This marked Alex Zanardi’s first test in the BMW M8 GTE on the high banks.
Zanardi said of Daytona, “I have to say that initially when I arrived, I was pretty impressed by the size of the facility. It really looks like the kingdom of motorsports here and it was quite intimidating.”
Zanardi races with hand controls. He’ll make his Rolex 24 debut next month and undoubtedly there will be more to come on his story.
IMSA WEATHERTECH SPORTSCAR CHAMPIONSHIP
Risi Competizione has committed to the Rolex 24 at Daytona and potentially additional Michelin Endurance Cup races to come. Miguel Molina tested the team’s No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTE last week. Risi will name drivers later.
“We’ve been coming here nearly every year since the team started in 1998, except for the years we focused on ALMS, and it is always an important endurance race.
“We’ve yet to win this one, although we’ve been on podium a few times, so that’s a goal we’d like to accomplish,” said team principal Giuseppe Risi.
There have been a bevy of announcements in the GT Daytona class. These all followed last Monday, when three potential championship programs were revealed.
Meyer Shank Racing has confirmed its second Acura NSX GT3 Evo lineup. Part-time drivers Trent Hindman and Mario Farnbacher graduate to a full-season lineup in 2019. Justin Marks (Michelin Endurance Cup) and AJ Allmendinger (Rolex 24 at Daytona) complete the No. 86 car.
Turner Motorsport has set its WeatherTech and MICHELIN Pilot Challenge lineups. Bill Auberlen and Robby Foley will share the team’s BMW M6 GT3 for the full WeatherTech season. Dillon Machavern (Michelin Endurance Cup) and Jens Klingmann (Rolex 24 at Daytona) also join.
Spencer Pumpelly (Magnus Racing) and Nick Boulle (Park Place Motorsports) will join those two teams as Michelin Endurance Cup third drivers.
Originally scheduled for WeatherTech Sprint Cup only programs, both Pfaff Motorsports and MooreSpeed have graduated to full-season programs.
Pfaff’s Porsche features the previously announced pairing of Scott Hargrove and Zacharie Robichon. Lars Kern (Michelin Endurance Cup) and Dennis Olsen (Rolex 24 at Daytona) are extras. Porsche just named Hargrove as its new Porsche Selected Driver. Kern is an engineer who set a production car lap record in a Porsche 911 GT2 RS MR at the Nurburgring earlier this year.
The MooreSpeed Audi R8 LMS GT3 features Alex Riberas and Will Hardeman as a full-season pairing. Andrew Davis (Michelin Endurance Cup) and Markus Winkelhock (Rolex 24 at Daytona) complete that car.
Montaplast by Land Motorsport has also confirmed a Michelin Endurance Cup program. That will feature Christopher Mies, Dries Vanthoor, Ricardo Fuller and Daniel Morad in an Audi R8. Land was among the teams that tested at Daytona this week.
IMSA MICHELIN PILOT CHALLENGE and PROTOTYPE CHALLENGE
Turner Motorsport, as noted above, will also run a GS class BMW M4 GT4 in the MICHELIN Pilot Challenge opener. The father-and-daughter team of Bruce and Sydney McKee share that car with Foley at Daytona.
Sunoco 240 Challenge winner Kyle Reid joins Toby Grahovec and Jayson Clunie in Classic BMW’s No. 26 BMW M4 GT4 at Daytona.
Shifting to IMSA Prototype Challenge, Muehlner Motorsports America and Robillard Racing have confirmed a two-car LMP3 effort for Stevan McAleer and Joe Robillard. The pair will be in two Norma M30s in the four sprint races, and will share one car in the two three-hour endurance races.
Alianza-Gilbert Motorsports announced an LMP3 program of its own. Canadian Anthony Simone and Peruvian Rodrigo Pflucker will share one car. Simone and Pflucker shared a Norma under the Forty7 Motorsports banner last year.