The Winward Racing IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge team will make its WeatherTech SportsCar Championship debut at the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January. The Texas-based team owned by Bryce Ward has secured a Mercedes-AMG GT3 for its GT Daytona debut as part of a plan to move its MPC program to IMSA’s top class in 2022.
“We’re definitely going to be doing the Rolex 24 in GTD,” Ward told RACER. “And also, we want to do one more season of GT4, because we feel we got some unfinished business there. And doing the Rolex 24, it’s just dipping our toe into GTD, and I think the Rolex 24 is the only we’re going to be doing.”
Ward and his son Russell, along with Holland’s Indy Dontje and a cast of teammates, have been a steady presence in MPC with the Winward/HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT4s. A win at 2019’s penultimate round in Monterey confirmed the team’s potential to compete among the series’ best.
“We want to start slow with the GTD field because we know it’s so such a powerful field, and it’s something we definitely want to step up to in 2022,” Ward said. “And we just want to get a feel for it and start to understand it a bit better, so that ultimately when we do put forward a full season team, we really prepared and hopefully can compete for some of the highest honors available.”
IMSA’s GTD class is on pace to have 20 or more Rolex 24 entries, which should offer Ward the type of education he’s looking for at the big January 30-31 event.
“I think it’s going to be a real challenge,” he said. “Keeping your eyes in the back of your head, making sure that you’re not making mistakes and having people come up so quickly on you. It’s going to be a real challenge and the change for us. And that’s why we want to take it a little bit slowly, so that we understand things, get the feel for it, and move forward.”