Well… Maybe not now now, but next week’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship test at Daytona International Speedway will be the first outing for new Daytona Prototype international machinery. The field’s last official test before the Roar Before the 24 will see 28 entries continuing development of their race cars on December 13 and 14.
While PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports was the lone prototype entry in last month’s Daytona test, Action Express Racing, Wayne Taylor Racing, Mazda Motorsports and VisitFlorida Racing will bring the prototype car count up to five. This test will feature the first public on-track outings for the Mazda RT24-P, Multimatic/Riley Mk. 30, and Cadillac DPi-V.R, which are all expected to debut in January’s Rolex 24.
The GT Le Mans field will boast a total of eight entries including the brand new 2017 mid-engined Porsche 911 RSR. Porsche’s new GT driver lineup of Patrick Pilet, Dirk Werner, Michael Christensen and Laurens Vanthoor will seek to continue their already heavily-tested 911 and build team synergy before the season. Vanthoor, who most recently won the FIA GT World Cup after flipping his Audi R8 LMS, joins former BMW factory driver, Werner, in the drivers’ first outing with the team, which is now called Porsche GT Team.
The Corvette Racing and Ford Chip Ganassi teams rejoin on-track activity with no major changes in driver lineup. Bruno Spengler will fill in for Kuno Wittmer and Bill Auberlen’s absence for BMW Team RLL. The BMW M6 GTLM was the only GTLM entry in last month’s test.
The GT Daytona field grows from 10 to 15 entries. Of last month’s takers, Paul Miller Racing is not on the list for a second round of testing. Among the new entries, GRT Grasser Racing and Konrad Motorsport bring two Lamborghini Huracan GT3 entries while Manthey Racing brings a Porsche 911 GT3R.
Two more Mercedes AMG GT3 machines will join Kenny Habul’s SunEnergy1 Racing Merc in the WeatherTech and Riley Motorsports cars of Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen and Cooper MacNeil with Gunnar Jeanette and Shane Van Gisbergen. Reigning GTD champions, Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan, will test their No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 after being absent from the previous test.
The already-slim LMPC field will not feature any entries in this test. Last time only Bar 1 Motorsports and Starworks Motorsport were on the entry list. Being the class’ final year, many teams have already moved to other opportunities, but there may be some life left in the trusted Oreca FLM09.
Testing begins 9:00 AM Tuesday morning with the first of four test sessions.
Featured Image: Cadillac Racing