The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship has announced a 25-car entry for its return to Detroit’s Belle Isle Park for the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic on Saturday, June 2.
The field for the 100-minute sprint race on the street circuit features the WeatherTech Championship Prototype and GT Daytona (GTD) classes, with the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class taking the weekend off as many of its competitors prepare for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June. The entry list for Detroit includes 14 Prototypes and 11 GTD entries.
FS2 will have live television coverage starting at 12:30 p.m. ET. In addition to live IMSA Radio coverage on IMSA.com, RadioLeMans.com and SiriusXM Radio, a re-air of the WeatherTech Championship race will be available on FS1 on Sunday, June 3 at 8:30 a.m. ET.
Tickets are available now at DetroitGP.com.
• Twelve of the 50 drivers on the entry list have won previously at Detroit in IMSA competition, but only three drivers in the field have more than one Detroit victory.
• Jordan Taylor is the winningest IMSA driver at Belle Isle Park with five career victories, but he has strong ties with both of the other two multi-time winners in Detroit. His brother, Ricky Taylor is second on the all-time IMSA winners list in Detroit with three career victories, while Jordan Taylor’s No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R co-driver Renger van der Zande, is the other multi-time winner with two previous Detroit wins, both coming in the Prototype Challenge (PC) class, which was discontinued after the 2017 season. The most recent victory for Jordan Taylor and the No. 10 team came at Belle Isle last year.
• Ricky Taylor will be looking for his fourth Detroit victory, sharing the No. 7 Acura Team Penske Acura ARX-05 DPi with Helio Castroneves. The duo picked up their first victory together – and the first victory for the new-for-2018 Acura Team Penske program – earlier this month at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Detroit’s Belle Isle circuit also is special to Castroneves, as it was the site of his first CART Champ Car victory in 2000. He has three Champ Car/IndyCar wins in Detroit, also winning in 2001 and 2014.
• Looming large in the background of the Belle Isle Park front straightaway is Detroit’s Renaissance Center, which houses the world headquarters for General Motors. Since IMSA began racing in Detroit in 2007, at least one General Motors brand has earned a class victory each year. GM vehicles have earned overall victories in the past six consecutive Chevrolet Sports Car Grands Prix dating back to the first Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race in Detroit in 2012. There were five consecutive Corvette Daytona Prototype wins from 2012 through 2016, and last year’s victory went to the No. 10 Cadillac DPi-V.R. In addition, Corvette Racing won the GT1 class in both American Le Mans Series races in 2007 and 2008, while Chevrolet Camaro GT.Rs won the Grand-Am GT class in 2012 and 2013. While there are no Chevrolets in the field this year, it is still the winningest marque at Detroit with a total of nine victories.
• While Wayne Taylor Racing is the winningest team on this year’s entry list with a total of four Detroit victories, including each of the past two years, Action Express Racing also cannot be overlooked with two victories of its own in the Motor City. Joao Barbosa, who comes into the Detroit weekend atop the WeatherTech Championship Prototype standings with co-driver Filipe Albuquerque in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R, won the Grand-Am race in 2012 with co-driver Darren Law, while No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi driver Eric Curran won in 2015 with his then-co-driver, Dane Cameron. This year, he’s sharing the No. 31 with Felipe Nasr.
• If history is our guide, a potential candidate to break GM’s stranglehold could be Acura Team Penske. In the 2007 ALMS race, the Team Penske-fielded Porsche RS Spyder captured the first IMSA race victory on Belle Isle with drivers Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas. The following year, Acura scored the overall victory with the Andretti-Green Racing ARX-01 shared by Franck Montagny and James Rossiter. This year, Acura Team Penske has two cars and four drivers all with a history of past success at Belle Isle. In addition to the previously mentioned accomplishments of No. 7 ARX-05 DPi co-drivers Taylor and Castroneves, No. 6 Acura driver Cameron owns the IMSA victory at Belle Isle in 2015, while his co-driver, Juan Pablo Montoya, has three Champ Car/IndyCar poles in 1999, 2000 and 2015.
• The Chevrolet Sports Car Classic entry list features the return of the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Cadillac DPi-V.R shared by co-drivers Matt McMurry and Tristan Vautier for the first time since a heavy crash during the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts. Vautier started that race from the pole position.
• One regular Prototype that will be sitting out the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic will be the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA LM P2 machine. “We’ve had a few incidents up to Mid-Ohio and used up some of our budget,” said team owner Brent O’Neill. “We actually had the budget to finish the year, but it was a collective decision between James, myself and Kyle that we use our Detroit budget and try to go do a couple of days of testing. We know this is a development year for us as a team with a new car, and we don’t have the resources that some of the DPi cars have. The risk/reward at Detroit is a bigger risk with a lot less reward, so we just decided that we’re going to go do a couple of private days of testing with our money that we would ultimately spend for Detroit and be ready for Watkins Glen.”
• The GTD class includes a total of five drivers who each have one previous win in Detroit, including last year’s winner, Andy Lally, who returns in 2018 with co-driver John Potter in the No. 44 Magnus Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3. Other previous GTD winners include No. 33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 co-drivers Jeroen Bleekemolen and Ben Keating (2016) and 2014 GTD winner Alessandro Balzan, who will share the No. 63 WeatherTech Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 with Cooper MacNeil. Wolf Henzler, who won the ALMS GT2 class in Detroit back in 2008, will share the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R with Michael Schein.
• In qualifying next Friday, conditions will be ripe for some first-time Motul Pole Award winners at Detroit, as this year’s entry list includes just four drivers who have previously won poles at Belle Isle. Each of the four drivers – Henzler, Jordan Taylor, Robert Alon and Bryan Sellers – have one pole apiece in Detroit. Alon will share the No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports ORECA LMP2 machine with Simon Trummer, while Sellers and No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 co-driver Madison Snow come into Detroit leading the GTD championship standings.