Greaves Rules Out Rolex 24; Optimistic about LMP2 Future

Photo: Peter May

By: Kobe Lambeth

After months of evaluation, European Le Mans Series regular, Greaves Motorsport will not take part in the 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona in January, which is the season opener of the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship. The team had been considering a potential LMP2 or Daytona Prototype International (DPi) program for the twice around the clock American endurance classic.

Although the British team will not be racing on the high banks of Daytona International Speedway to kick off their 2017 program, team principal Jacob Greaves is looking forward to the new year with a possible move to the FIA World Endurance Championship on the horizon.

“Daytona will be too early for us in 2017 but don’t rule it out for 2018,” Greaves told Daily NASCAR Scoop and More. “We are in discussions for the FIA WEC in 2017 and we would love to race back in the WEC next season.

“For the Asian LMS and IMSA again we would love to race there and I think with the new cars it gives you a level playing field again to go and compete in some IMSA races. We’ve very much enjoyed racing in the States both with IMSA and the FIA WEC.

The new 2017 LMP2 regulations will consist of four constructors (Onroak, Oreca, Dallara, Riley/Multimatic) and a spec Gibson engine. Greaves confirmed that the team has not decided on a 2017-spec LMP2 car, but there are discussions in place.

“I think the new rules from the car and engine package look good, it will make the gap between LMP2 and GTE bigger which I think will make for easier overtaking especially for the gentlemen drivers,” said Greaves. “The uptake on the new cars sounds very promising as well so it will be good to see who is on the grid for next season.

“LMP2 was good in 2016 and the previous couple of years, good grids, and very competitive racing. It has been effectively 4 chassis manufacturers but with 2 engine options so from that side of things, it doesn’t change much. I think it’s good just to stop someone coming in with a car to beat everyone when other cars are tied into a homologation process, everyone now starts at the same time and can make changes at the same time so it should be fairer going forward.”

FIA Driver Ratings will also be a hot topic for another year after much controversy of the “sneaky silvers.”

“I think it is the impossible fix,” said Greaves. “You need young drivers with less experience to come in as a Silver to give them value and the chance to get that experience.

“Some of them will come in and be very quick and do a great job. At the same time, you have some great gentlemen racers that run businesses etc… and this will put them off. The only way to try and make things fair could be in season BOP.”

Greaves Motorsport operated two Ligier JS P2’s (One with Krohn Racing) during the 2016 European Le Mans Series season.

“It was a different year for us and a new experience running 2 Ligier Chassis, 2 new cars for the team to learn and develop, but the cars were good out of the box and with the support from Onroak the cars were topping the time sheets during official testing,” said Greaves. “Working with Tracy and the Krohn Racing team was great and was a pleasure to work with them all season, the effort and the performance put in by all the guys were great, it was just some hard luck that denied the results that the car and team deserved.

Greaves Motorsport finished 6th (Krohn Racing) and 7th respectfully in the 2016 European Le Mans Series LMP2 standings.

 

 

Cameron, Action Express Ready to Battle at The Glen

Photo: José Mário Dias

By: Kobe Lambeth

At the last round in Detroit, the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Action Express Racing Corvette DP found trouble as the No. 90 Visit Florida Racing Corvette DP of Marc Goossens had an accident, which also involved Action Express Racing’s Eric Curran. However, the team was able to repair the car and salvage some championship points, which could prove to be important when the series goes to Road Atlanta for the season finale.

Although the No. 31 Whelen Engineering team has fallen behind in the title hunt, Dane Cameron is confident that the team can recover from the Detroit crash between Curran and Goossens.

“Simple, win races,” stated Cameron.

“It certainly was unfortunate to lose the points lead and a great chance at a race win in Detroit, but that’s the past now and all we can do is concentrate on the remaining half of the season and push as hard as possible every weekend exactly as we have been.”

Tomorrow, Dane Cameron’s Action Express Corvette DP team looks to bounce back with a victory in the Sahlen’s Six Hours at The Glen.

“I am super excited for Watkins Glen, they did an amazing job with the repaving, it is the smoothest race track I have ever been on and has tons of grip now,” said Cameron.

“We had a great test there a few weeks ago with our Whelen Corvette and I think Eric and I are very confident of a strong result at the Sahlen’s Six Hours. Goals for the rest of 2016 remains the same, achieve the best results possible every weekend and try to win the Prototype Championship for Sonny Whelen and Whelen Engineering.”

Cameron is looking to finish the final season of Corvette DP competition strong with the new DPi era set to begin in 2017.

“I think change is good and it will be great to move to a new formula that is a bit more global and has a long-term plan that hopefully will encourage more manufacturers and teams to race in IMSA’s top prototype class,” said Cameron.

During a press conference before the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the ACO announced that IMSA DPi machinery would not be eligible to compete alongside their Gibson-powered LMP2 cars. What does this mean for a driver like Dane Cameron, who might have the desire of doing the twice around the clock French Endurance Classic with Action Express Racing?

“I have a huge desire to go to Le Mans! It looks like such an incredible race and event, I have been looking for an opportunity the last few years but seats are few and far between, especially for rookies but we’ll keep trying! For the moment, I think Action Express main focus is preparing the best IMSA Weathertech program possible. Although as I driver, I do have my fingers and toes crossed. “

Along with the dream of racing at Le Mans, could we see Dane Cameron take part in a NASCAR Xfinity road course event in the distant future?

“I would definitely be up to try NASCAR on a road course sometime, it’s something I have never tried but I think it would be a lot of fun and I love trying new cars and other forms of racing.”
Coverage for the Sahlen’s Six Hours at The Glen starts tomorrow @10am EST on FS1.

 

 

Pew Satisfied with Le Mans Debut

Photo: Brian Cleary/Michael Shank Racing

By: Kobe Lambeth

IMSA prototype entrant, Michael Shank Racing, had a successful debut in the 24 Hours of Le Mans by finishing 9th in the LMP2 class with their drivers Ozz Negri Jr, John Pew, and Laurens Vanthoor. A category with Nissan-powered Oreca 05’s and Ligier JS P2’s made up the majority of the field of 23. Michael Shank Racing used a Ligier JS P2-Honda, which is the same chassis Tequila Patrón ESM used to win the first two rounds of the North American Endurance Cup, the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Mobil1 12 Hours of Sebring.

The Honda power proved to be an excellent choice as Michael Shank Racing had one of fastest Ligiers in the race. The longtime Michael Shank Racing driver, John Pew, was pleased with his first trip to Circuit de la Sarthe.

“It was a fantastic experience,” said Pew.

“Although not on the podium, for our first attempt at Le Mans, I am very happy with ninth in class and finishing the race.”

A great accomplishment for the American team from Ohio finishing the race on debut at the famous twice around the clock French endurance classic. Instead of going for the overall victory, the team had to battle for class honors. Michael Shank Racing is a full-time entrant in the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship, which has completely different rules than the FIA World Endurance Championship. Did Pew have trouble adjusting to ACO rules?

“There are a lot of differences that took some getting used to,” said Pew.

“The slow zones, and having three safety cars, and flashing blue lights to let you know a faster car is coming behind.  Also, pit stops are different with fueling and tires being done separately, which means a driver change doesn’t have the same time pressure. Also, it took some getting used to the LMP1 cars flying by us.”

Along with having to adjust to a different world of racing, the Ligier JS P2-Honda runs in two different configurations in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and ACO sanctioned series.

“The biggest difference is the difference in tire manufacturer, and using a smaller displacement engine otherwise it’s pretty much the same,” explained Pew.

In ACO sanctioned series, teams are free to choose any tire manufacturer such as Dunlop or Michelin, while IMSA prototype teams must use spec Continental tires. On the engine side, the ACO requires a small 2.8 displacement engine, while IMSA allows the larger 3.5 displacement engine.

After a successful debut at Le Mans, do you think Michael Shank Racing will return next year?

“It’s too far in the future at this point to say, but I would love to go at it again,” said Pew.

The American fans would most likely be thrilled to see Pew and the entire Michael Shank Racing team return to Le Mans and battle for the top step on the podium.

061416_lemans_BC69398

Photo: Brian Cleary/Michael Shank Racing

With the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the rearview mirror, Michael Shank Racing shifts its focus to the upcoming Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen at historic Watkins Glen International. The team continues to ride the momentum from a fantastic result at Le Mans and a victory at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. John Pew only had a few words to say about him and Ozz Negri Jr taking Michael Shank and the entire team back to victory lane.

“It felt great and was overdue,” stated Pew.

After a few setbacks in the past few years, the team was able to put together a complete race, which led them to the checkered flag. Now being stateside for the remainder of the season, what are the expectations from Michael Shank Racing?

“We can’t always control the outcome, but I am very confident in both the Michael Shank Racing crew and the Ligier HPD package for the rest of the season,” said Pew.

Tune in at 10am EST on Fox Sports 1, Sunday, July 3rd, to watch to No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier JS P2-Honda fight for overall victory against the Corvette DP’s, Deltawing, Tequila Patrón ESM, and the Mazda prototypes.

Cookies and Milk?

Photo: José Mário Dias

By: Kobe Lambeth

This past weekend, the 84th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans took place. One major storyline from France concerns the future of global prototype racing.

DPi vs LMP2

It appears that trouble is brewing between IMSA and the ACO over the future of prototype racing. It was recently announced that IMSA DPi (Daytona Prototype International) cars will not be allowed to race in the LMP2 category. Originally, the American prototypes were going to be balanced alongside the ACO-spec Gibson engine.  No need to worry about this now as DPi cars will not be allowed to race. The idea of DPi and LMP2 competing together for class honors appears to be in a garbage truck heading to a landfill.

The DPi engine ban might change the minds of team owners who want to go to Le Mans. It is known that Visit Florida Racing is looking to race in the twice-around-the-clock endurance classic as early as next year. The main question is, “which LMP2 chassis does the team choose?” They could run a Mazda DPi customer program, return to the General Motors family with a Cadillac DPi, or purchase the ACO-spec LMP2 Gibson. Do you think the DPi engine ban has made it easier for Visit Florida Racing to decide which car to purchase?

We will not see DPi in LMP2, but is there a future in LMP1-Lightweight? This is a very interesting idea to consider in the next few months. IMSA wants to make DPi their top class where you pick one of the four LMP2 constructors (Onroak, Oreca, Dallara, Riley/Multimatic), have the option of running multiple engines, and bodywork which will give the car identity. There is nothing wrong with IMSA’s vision as this will be their top class. LMP1 is where the ACO wants the manufacturers and rightfully so. With the four different chassis and spec engine, LMP2 is the stepping stone for teams wanting to enter LMP1. Once again, there is nothing wrong with the ACO’s philosophy because it works for their championship.

If the 2017 LMP2 regulations were the same as DPi, it would pretty much defeat the purpose of LMP1. It is completely understandable why DPi and LMP2 cannot race together from their point of view. Switching roles, what would the reaction in America be if IMSA used the ACO-spec car as their leading prototype? It would not make any sense for the two prototype divisions to be spec. The DPi formula is perfect for IMSA and they should not let the ACO dictate how they run the show. Two championships, two sets of rules, why can’t we all just get along?

A compromise between the two sanctioning would be a miracle, but anything is possible these days. Close your eyes and imagine DPi cars from the likes of Mazda and Cadillac flying down the Mulsanne straight. All you can do is dream on because this is unrealistic in the ACO’s eyes.

If the DPi cars are not welcomed to Le Mans, then why should ACO-spec cars be welcomed to Daytona? Why is IMSA’s new prototype called “Daytona Prototype International” when there is absolutely nothing international about the formula? Why are we even discussing this topic?

There are so many questions concerning the relationship between IMSA and the ACO. Maybe we need to go old school and have both parties sit down in a room with cookies and milk until a common idea can be reached. The ACO needs IMSA and vice versa. A divorce will not benefit anyone. It will hurt both series, teams, drivers, officials, and everything that makes sportscar racing beautiful. Please, I am begging for the sanctioning bodies to get their act together or we will not like the outcome of the situation. We should definitely be worried about the future of sportscar racing. Do we risk losing the link between America and France?

Will cookies and milk save this rocky relationship? Only time will tell.

 

Panoz Deltawing Racing Set to Fight DP’s and P2’s; Future uncertain

Photo: Richard Dole Photography

By: Kobe Lambeth

As the Bubba Burger Grand Prix at the famous Long Beach street circuit nears, Panoz Deltawing Racing is ready to show the world that the Deltawing DW13 is capable of competing with the Daytona Prototypes and LMP2 cars on the historic street circuit.

Earlier this season, Panoz Deltawing Racing showed plenty of pace at Daytona and Sebring. Unfortunately, they did not get the result intended, due to certain circumstances. However, Team Manager, Tim Keene, is confident that his team can turn some heads as the future of the Deltawing DW13 is uncertain.

“Currently, we are focused on this season and continuing the development of the car,” said Keene.

“I have been with the team now for almost 2 years and I feel we now have a good set-up sorted and the car is the best it’s ever been in terms of competitiveness.”

Keene certainly believes that the Deltawing DW13 will have great showings throughout the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship season.

“We have seen some recent success at Daytona and Sebring and our goal is to continue this as the year continues,” said Keene.

“The team works incredibly well together and the dedication and perseverance to understand and develop the coupe is what makes me all the more sure we will be on the podium soon enough.”
As the development of this unique prototype continues, will the Deltawing DW13 have the ability to fight the Daytona Prototypes and the LMP2 cars on outright pace?
“IMSA’s prototype class has some particularly strong players but as our performance has proven, the DeltaWing coupe is a true competitor for the Daytona Prototypes and LMP2 cars,” responded Keene.
As many sportscar racing fans know, there will be a new formula called Daytona Prototype International (DPi) debuting in 2017, which makes us wonder what will happen to Panoz Deltawing Racing.
Will IMSA grandfather the Deltawing DW13 for 2017? Will the car be ineligible to compete? Could Panoz Deltawing Racing remain in the top class, but with a DPi program? What happened to the Deltawing GT project?
Tim Keene could not comment on the future of the team, but offered encouraging words about the direction of the Prototype class.
“With regards to the new DPi regulations, we believe in the idea of unique styling cues defined by the manufacturers for brand recognition.”
Yesterday, Andy Meyrick qualified the car sixth overall with a lap time of 1:16.006, who is co-driving with team regular, Katherine Legge, this weekend in Long Beach, while Sean Rayhall is on European Le Mans Series duties. Look for Panoz Deltawing Racing to have a great day on the twisty, historic streets of Long Beach, California.
*Sending my best wishes to Catherine Crawford and her family as the Panoz Deltawing Racing engineer recovers from brain surgery. I hope to see you back at the track soon Catherine!*

Derani Ready for Anything

Photo: José Mário Dias

By: Kobe Lambeth

At last weekend’s Mobil1 12 Hours of Sebring, Tequila Patrón ESM’s Pipo Derani put together a spectacular drive as he led the team, along with co-drivers, Scott Sharp, Johannes van Overbeek, and Ed Brown to overall victory.

Tequila Patrón ESM is entering the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship season riding a huge wave of momentum after sweeping the “36 Hours of Florida.” Pipo Derani is definitely ready to showcase his talents on the world stage for the second straight season.

“I expect to continue to be competitive to win races in WEC which is a totally different championship then IMSA with different tires, engine, and rules,” said Derani.

The IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship’s top class is “Prototype”, which consists of Daytona Prototypes, LMP2 machinery, and the Deltawing. They use spec Continental Tires. Also, pit stop procedures differ from ACO rules where you cannot change tires and refuel at the same time. In the FIA World Endurance Championship, “LMP2” is the second-tier class and is “open-tire.” The IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship and the FIA World Endurance Championship, two great series for stars like Derani to rise.

After racing full-time on the world stage last season, Derani made his fantastic debut in this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Mobil1 12 Hours of Sebring. If you witnessed those two events, then you saw a star born and something very rare: one of the most spectacular performances by an individual in their first attempt at two of the crown jewel races in American sportscar racing.

Derani stated, “Daytona and Sebring are not only the biggest races in America but also considered classics all over the World. To be able to become the first driver in history to win both in the first attempt and same year is a pretty special feeling.”

“I give all the credit to the team that gave me all that I needed to understand quickly those circuits and rules.”

JM1_5909

Photo: José Mário Dias

After a spectacular performance at Daytona and Sebring, do you think Pipo Derani has attracted some factory LMP1 teams or potential Daytona Prototype International (DPi) programs?

Derani explained, “That’s something my manager takes care of and all I want to do is continue to perform for Patron as we still have a long year ahead in WEC.”

“I honestly hope I can continue at the highest level possible to help them to win races in WEC. Like I said is a different championship with different engine, tires, and rules and we need to be on top of each topic to be up there.”

Wherever Pipo Derani’s career takes him, he will be successful and help make others around him better. If you have not heard of this talented young man, you certainly will as he will continue to prove himself against the best sportscar drivers in the world.

 

 

 

Kobe’s Daily Scoop: Interview with Colin Braun

Photo: http://www.imsa.com

By: Kobe Lambeth

As the 2016 Rolex 24 at Daytona nears, CORE Autosport driver, Colin Braun, is ready for the season to begin.

“Our goal is the same as always; we’ve got to win the championship and continue to get better. We know everyone’s been chasing us the last five years, so we have to keep on outworking everybody.”

It appears that Braun is ready for the season to begin as soon as possible with him returning as a co-driver to the team owner, Jon Bennett. Braun’s dad, Jeff, will be an engineer for the Number 54 CORE Autosport LMPC machine. It will be great to see father and son work together for a full season of IMSA competition. Colin had nothing but kind words to say about working with his dad full-time.

“It’s great! We get along really well. Obviously, we’ve known each other since I first opened my eyes. It’s great having him on board. He brings a lot of engineering expertise, but also a lot of experience in team building and chemistry, so he can pull all of our resources together very well.”

Jeff Braun also helped Colin find his way into the wonderful world of motorsports.

Colin explained, “He was a racecar engineer and I was always interested in what he was doing. We got a quarter midget when I was five years old and was hooked from that point forward. He never forced me into it—I just really enjoyed it. I’m fortunate to be able to make a living doing what I love to do.”

As the entire CORE Autosport team prepares for the upcoming season, there are lots of question marks surrounding the future of the Prototype Challenge class. Will the Oreca chassis evolve? Will we see a spec LMP2 chassis? Could IMSA look into the LMP3 category? Colin Braun had his take on the uncertain future of LMPC machinery.

“It’s hard for me to speak to that. I’ve driven the Ginetta quite a bit with a Nissan in it when I did a program for the 25 Hours of Thunderhill. Certainly, that car isn’t quite in the league of being a PC replacement car. It would need a lot of updates and changes, which would drive the price of that car quite high. I don’t get to make those calls. If we’re racing Toro lawnmowers, then that’s what I’m racing!”

Ginetta has a very interesting new entry level prototype in development, which is powered by a Chevrolet motor. Could this possibly replace LMPC in 2018? Is there a chance that CORE Autosport moves up to Daytona Prototype International (DPi) next year with the uncertain future of the Prototype Challenge class? Colin Braun gave a simple answer.

“I have no idea what the plan is going forward from the series side or the CORE side. I’m not sure how the classes will shake out, I’m just here to race and win.”

I love Braun’s desire to drive anything to have the chance to win races. Some of you might remember that Colin used to be a NASCAR driver. Although it has been awhile since he has raced in stock cars, he is open to opportunities to run some road course races.

“Yes, I’d love to do a NASCAR road course race. I feel like those are really fun, interesting, exciting races. I had some success on the road course races and was always fast, I just couldn’t seem to get a good finish. I came close to winning the Mexico City Xfinity race in my first year. I would love to, but the schedule hasn’t worked out too well with what we’ve got going on in IMSA. If it ever worked out and I could get a top-line gig, I’d be all over it.”

Calling all NASCAR teams, if you need a “road course ringer,” Colin Braun is the right guy for the job! He is an excellent race car driver who will give you a great opportunity to go to victory lane!

*Special thanks to Erin Cechal for making this interview possible. I wish Colin Braun and the entire CORE Autosport team a successful season in the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship.*

Rolex 24 at Daytona Entry List

Photo: http://www.waynetaylorracing.com

By: Kobe Lambeth

The entry list for the season opener (Rolex 24 at Daytona) of the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship has been released. This event will take place from January 27-31st.

Prototype (13 cars)

01 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford DP- Brendon Hartley/Alex Wurz/Andy Priaulx/Lance Stroll

02 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford DP- Scott Dixon/Tony Kanaan/Jamie McMurray/Kyle Larson

0 Panoz Deltawing Racing DWC13- Katherine Legge/Sean Rayhall/Andy Meyrick/Andreas Wirth

2 Tequila Patrón ESM Ligier JS P2-HPD- Scott Sharp/Johannes van Overbeek/Ed Brown/Pipo Derani

5 Mustang Sampling Action Express Racing Corvette DP- Joao Barbosa/Christian Fittipaldi/Filipe Albuquerque/Scott Pruett

10 Konica Minolta Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP- Jordan Taylor/Ricky Taylor/Max Angelelli

31 Whelen Engineering Action Express Racing Corvette DP- Dane Cameron/Eric Curran/Simon Pagenaud/Jonny Adam

37 SMP Racing BR01-Nissan- Mikhail Aleshin/Nic Minassian/Maurizio Mediani/Kirill Ladygin

50 Highway to Help BMW DP- Byron DeFoor/David Hinton/Jim Pace/Dorsey Schroeder/Thomas Gruber

55 Mazda Motorsports P2- Jonathan Bomarito/Tristan Nunez/Spencer Pigot

60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier JS P2-HPD- Ozz Negri Jr./John Pew/AJ Allmendinger/Olivier Pla

70 Mazda Motorsports P2- Tom Long/Joel Miller/Ben Devlin

90 VisitFlorida.com Racing Corvette DP- Marc Goossens/Ryan Dalziel/Ryan Hunter-Reay

Prototype Challenge (8 cars)

8 Starworks Motorsport Oreca FLM09- Renger van der Zande/Alex Popow/Jack Hawksworth/Chris Cumming

20 BAR1 Motorsports Oreca FLM09- Johnny Mowlem/Tomy Drissi/Marc Drumwright/TBA/TBA

26 BAR1 Motorsports Oreca FLM09- Adam Merzon/Don Yount/John Falb/Ryan Eversley/Ryan Lewis

38 Performance Tech Motorsports Oreca FLM09- James French/Jim Norman/Josh Norman/Brandon Gdovic

52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca FLM09- Tom Kimber-Smith/Robert Alon/José Gutierrez/Nicholas Boulle

54 CORE Autosport Oreca FLM09- Colin Braun/Jon Bennett/Mark Wilkins/Martin Plowman

85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Oreca FLM09- Chris Miller/Stephen Simpson/Mikhail Goikhberg/Kenton Koch

88 Starworks Motorsport Oreca FLM09- Mark Kvamme/Maro Engel/Sean Johnston/Felix Rosenqvist

GT Le Mans (11 cars)

3 Corvette Racing Corvette C7R- Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Mike Rockenfeller

4 Corvette Racing Corvette C7R- Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fassler

25 BMW Team RLL BMW M6 GTLM- Bill Auberlen/Dirk Werner/Augusto Farfus/Bruno Spengler

62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE- Giancarlo Fisichella/Toni Vilander/Davide Rigon/Olivier Beretta

66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT- Joey Hand/Dirk Muller/Sebastien Bourdais

67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT- Richard Westbrook/Ryan Briscoe/Stefan Mucke

68 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GTE- Alessandro Pier Guidi/Alexandre Premat/Daniel Serra/Memo Rojas

72 SMP Racing Ferrari 488 GTE- Gianmaria Bruni/James Calado/Andrea Bertolini/Victor Shaytar

100 BMW Team RLL BMW M6 GTLM- Lucas Luhr/John Edwards/Kuno Wittmer/Graham Rahal

911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR- Nick Tandy/Patrick Pilet/Kevin Estre

912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR- Frederic Makowiecki/Earl Bamber/Michael Christensen

GT Daytona (22 cars)

6 Stevenson Motorsports Audi R8 LMS GT3- Robin Liddell/Lawson Aschenbach/Andrew Davis/Matt Bell

9 Stevenson Motorsports Audi R8 LMS GT3- Kenny Habul/Dion von Moltke/Boris Said/Tristan Vautier

11 O’Gara Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3- Townsend Bell/Bill Sweedler/Richard Antinucci/Edoardo Piscopo

16 Change Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3- Spencer Pumpelly/Corey Lewis/Justin Marks/Kaz Grala

21 Konrad Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3- Emanuele Busnelli/Jim Michaelian/TBA/TBA

22 WeatherTech Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3- Leh Keen/Cooper MacNeil/Shane van Gisbergen/Gunnar Jeannette/David MacNeil

23 Team Seattle/Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3- Mario Farnbacher/Ian James/Alex Riberas/Wolf Henzler

28 Konrad Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3- Franz Konrad/Rolf Ineichen/Marc Basseng/Lance Willsey/Fabio Babini

30 Frikadelli Racing Porsche 911 GT3- Klaus Abbelen/Frank Stippler/Sven Muller/Patrick Huisman/Sabine Schmitz

33 ViperExchange.com Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GT3- Ben Keating/Jeroen Bleekemolen/Dominik Farnbacher/Marc Miller

44 Magnus Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3- John Potter/Andy Lally/Marco Seefried/René Rast

45 Krohn/Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8 GT3- Tracey Krohn/Nic Jonsson/Christopher Haase/Pierre Kaffer

48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3- Bryan Sellers/Madison Snow/Bryce Miller/Mirko Bortolotti

51 Spirit of Race Ferrari 458 GT3- Peter Mann/Matteo Cressoni/Raffaele Gianmaria/Marco Cioci

63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 GT3- Alessandro Balzan/Christina Nielson/Jeff Segal/Robert Renauer

73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3- Patrick Lindsey/Jorg Bergmeister/Matt McMurry/Norbert Siedler

93 ViperExchange.com Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GT3- Ben Keating/Damien Faulkner/Gar Robinson/Jeff Mosing/Eric Foss

96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3- Bret Curtis/Jens Klingmann/Ashley Freiberg/Marco Wittman

97 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3- Michael Marsal/Markus Palttala/Maxime Martin/Jesse Krohn

98 Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT3- Paul Dalla Lana/Pedro Lamy/Mathias Lauda/Richie Stanaway

007 TRG-AMR Vantage GT3- Sergio Pérez/Antonio Pérez/Santiago Creel/Richardo Pérez de Larra/Lars Viljoen

540 Black Swan Racing Porsche 911 GT3- Tim Pappas/Nick Catsburg/Patrick Long/Andy Pilgrim

News & Notes

*There are no changes from the Roar in the Prototype class, but there are still a few seats available in Prototype Challenge. It will be interesting to see who will fill those open slots.*

*Risi Competizione’s new Ferrari 488 GTE chassis has been built and went through a shakedown, so they will be ready for race week.*

*Memo Rojas will make his GTLM debut with Scuderia Corsa in the brand new Ferrari 488 GTE.*

*Interesting move to see that Stevenson Motorsports has placed their four full-time drivers in one car. At least, the move will allow Habul, von Moltke, Said, and Vautier to race for the class victory.*

*Two seats are available in the Number 21 Konrad Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3.*

*Sabine Schmitz replaces Connor de Phillippi in the Number 30 Frikadelli Racing Porsche 911 GT3.*

*Once again, Sergio Pérez is listed to drive but rumors are that he will only attend to support the team. However, anything is possible in sportscar racing, so do not be surprised if we see the Mexican Formula One star make his debut in sportscar racing next week.*

For more details, go to: http://www.imsa.com

Kobe’s Daily Scoop: Interview with Tristan Nunez

Photo: http://www.examiner.com

By: Kobe Lambeth

2016 is going to be a BIG year for Mazda Motorsports, as they say, goodbye to their diesel package and hello to a new turbo powered engine designed to give them a better chance at winning races in the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship. I had the pleasure of asking one of their drivers a few questions about Mazda’s chances in this upcoming season.

Mazda factory driver, Tristan Nunez said, “We are all very excited for the 2016 season. The amount of work that everyone has put in during the offseason and the end of last season surely will pay off in the long run.”

The entire team might be in for a special season after spending the past two years with the diesel-powered prototype. Mazda has the potential to turn some heads in 2016 but that is not the only thing to consider. With the new LMP2 rules in 2017 and the allowance of IMSA engines to Le Mans under a Balance of Performance process, could we possibly see Mazda Motorsports bring a car to the 24 Hours of Le Mans?

Nunez said, “At the moment, we are focusing on what’s right in front of us. Starting with the 24, but I it has been a dream of mine to go to Le Mans ever since I started racing and it would be an honor to do it with Mazda. They’ve made dreams come true before and who’s to say they can’t do it again!”

Hopefully, Nunez and Mazda Motorsports will make the trip across the pond to France within the next few years. Two different powerplants for Mazda in past years made me question the similarities and differences between the engines. Luckily, Nunez has driven both diesel and gasoline-powered prototypes and gave a simple description.

“You really can’t compare it. They are two completely different power plants. Each has its own unique characteristic. It’s been a blast to get the chance to drive both.”

As the season is about to begin, I am wondering if Mazda’s new engine will make them competitive against the dominant Daytona Prototypes.

Nunez said, “It’s hard to say. You can’t really know until the race, but we have a completely different mindset this year. Our goal is to go out there and win races.”

Based on lap times set at the Roar, it appears that Mazda will give Michael Shank Racing, Deltawing, and the Daytona Prototypes great battles! However, the main question is “how reliable can the car be?” That question will be answered on January 30th when the green flag flies! Mazda has been working to ensure that 2016 will be a memorable season.

Nunez said, “The guys at the shop have been working their tails off practicing pit stops, as well as going over every piece of the car to make sure it’s perfect. The drive that those guys have is inspiring, which pushed me to better myself as a driver too.”

Trust me, hard work will pay off and we should see Mazda competing for overall victories this season. As the team is preparing for the season opener, Tristan Nunez told me how he prepares for every race.

“Taking some time to myself to pray about an hour before I get in the car, then when I’m in the car waiting for the command to start the engines, I like to get a beat in my head and play the air drums. It’s been something that always calms my nerves.”

An awesome way to prepare for intense sportscar races! Nunez has a few inspiring individuals in his life that help him continue to strive for the best. I hope Tristan continues to follow his dreams as life is good being a young factory driver for a popular manufacturer.

“Without the support I had from my parents to pursue my dreams, I would never be where I am today. Also, having Derek Bell as a personal friend and mentor is truly something special.”

*Special thanks to Klint Briney for making this interview possible. Good luck to Tristian Nunez and the entire Mazda Motorsports team as they go on a brand new adventure in 2016!*

Frikadelli Racing confirms Rolex 24 Lineup

Photo: http://www.motorsport.com

By: Kobe Lambeth

Frikadelli Racing has announced that German road racing sensation, Sabine Schmitz, will join team owner Klaus Abbelen, Patrick Huisman, Frank Stippler, and Porsche Junior driver, Sven Muller in the Number 30 Porsche 911 GT3.

As Sabine Schmitz will join the team for the Rolex 24 at Daytona, this means that Connor de Phillippi will not drive for Frikadelli Racing in the twice around the clock endurance classic. I really hope that Connor finds a last-minute ride for the Rolex 24 because he is a talented driver who deserves to be on the grid. Go find IMSA data from the Roar and look at the fast lap times set by Connor de Phillippi. Any team would be happy to add a driver like that to their lineup. However, I am excited to see how Sabine Schmitz will fare in the new Porsche 911 GT3 car.

“We’re amazed that we could make it happen,” said Schmitz.

To be honest, I have never heard of Sabine Schmitz, but I believe that she is going to put on a show for the fans at the Rolex 24. After doing some research, it appears that Sabine is the “Danica Patrick” of Germany. She is tons of support and the fans love her! I wish her best of luck as she attacks the high banks of Daytona International Speedway.

For more information on this topic, go to: http://www.frikadelli-racing-team.de/