The entry list for next week’s Roar Before The 24 test at Daytona International Speedway reads like a road map of all the expansive changes within IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship over a short offseason.
GT Le Mans favorites Risi Competizione have added a GT Daytona program for an all-Mexican trio. Le Mans winner Gustavo Menezes and sports car/NASCAR driver Austin Cindric have been added to JDC-Miller Motorsports’ Prototypes. Aston Martin Racing and Turner Motorsport stalwart Paul Dalla Lana will saddle up in a Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GT3; Black Swan Racing team owner Tim Pappas has moved over to Park Place Motorsports’ GTD Porsche, and former Mazda DPi driver Joel Miller will pilot BAR1 Motorsports’ Riley/Multimatic Mk. 30 WEC P2.
Tequila Patron ESM has placed Olivier Pla in its No. 2 Nissan Onroak DPi and Nicolas Lapierre in the No. 22; Performance Tech Motorsports has retained James French for its new ORECA 07 WEC P2 alongside Kyle Masson and Nick Boulle has been added to AFS/PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports’ Ligier JS P217 in the 20-deep Prototype field.
BMW Team RLL could funnel as many as 10 drivers through it pair of new M8s in GTLM, and Risi has only named Ferrari’s Alessandro Pier Guidi for its GTLM 488 in the factory class of nine cars that also includes Corvette, Ford and Porsche.
And at 21 cars, GTD has barely edged IMSA’s Prototype renaissance as new and reconfigured entries will keep the pro-am cars busy over the Jan. 5-7 test. Austria’s GRT Grasser Racing Team is back with two Lamborghini Huracans; the 3GT Lexus team has stacked one RC F entry with its full-time drivers plus Scott Pruett and Dominik Farnbacher; SunEnergy1 Racing returns with AMG customer sport boss Thomas Jager and Mario Engel in place, and the inbound HART Acura and P1 Mercedes-AMG teams bolster the WeatherTech Championship’s field of 50 cars set for the Roar.
Factor in the first appearance of Fernando Alonso in a United Autosports’ Ligier JS P217, fellow F1 driver Lance Stroll in a Jackie Chan/DC Ligier, and all of the other stars headed to Daytona Beach, and the three-day outing will generate unheralded interest in a pre-season IMSA event.
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