Rob Hodes and Garrett Grist will anchor DragonSpeed’s new Michelin Endurance Cup program set for the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Sahlen’s 6 Hours of the Glen, and 10-hour Petit Le Mans in the No. 81 ORECA 07-Gibson LMP2 entry.
On the heels of earning the NTT IndyCar Series’ Rookie of the Year honors, Holland’s Rinus VeeKay will expand his horizons by joining in for Daytona, and DragonSpeed veteran Ben Hanley is set to complete the four-driver rotation.
“We are very pleased to welcome Rob and Garett to the DragonSpeed family,” said team principal Elton Julian. “They have both impressed us on track in the ELMS, and we look forward to helping them make the transition to LMP2, aided by the extra seat time offered by the Michelin Endurance Cup. Our target is to chase podiums and score enough points to be in the hunt for the title at the end. The competition in IMSA’s LMP2 category is stronger than ever, so we are delighted to add the talents of Rinus Veekay and Ben Hanley as co-drivers at Daytona.”
Back-to-back winners of the LMP2 class at the Rolex 24, DragonSpeed will rely heavily upon open-wheel talent to pursue its third victory.
“For my first Rolex 24 I want to compete for the win in our class and I know I can do that with DragonSpeed and this exciting driver line-up,” VeeKay said. I want to thank Rob for making me a part of this effort and his confidence in me. I can’t wait for my IMSA debut, and the chance to fight for the top step of the LMP2 podium.”
Like VeeKay, Grist focused his energies on the Road To Indy with a goal of reaching IndyCar. His journey eventually led to a career in sports cars, but he’ll be among familiar surroundings in a team that contested two Indy 500s with Hanley.
“It’s great to be joining DragonSpeed for Daytona and the full Michelin Endurance Cup,” he said. “I learned a lot about LMP2 at Le Mans this year and look forward to bringing those lessons to our IMSA campaign. We should have one of the strongest lineups with two IndyCar drivers and Rob Hodes, who has come on incredibly strong the last few seasons, combined with the team that has won the last two Rolex 24s in LMP2. My thanks to Rob and the team for this opportunity.”
Coming off a season of LMP3 racing with Grist in the ELMS, Hodes feels fortunate to have IMSA’s biggest races on the calendar.
“I am super thrilled to be entering my first 24-hour race with an outstanding team like DragonSpeed,” he said. “My teammates couldn’t be better – it’s an honor to go racing with drivers of the caliber of my LMP3 partner Garett, Rinus, and Ben. I’ve got to thank Charles Crews for bringing it all together on short notice. The Rolex will be a great challenge, but I like our chances!”