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International Motor Sports Association

Michelin IMSA SportsCar Encore at Sebring – Saturday Notebook 

 
November 9, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
SEBRING, Fla. – The second annual Michelin IMSA SportsCar Encore weekend kicked off on Saturday with three practice sessions for the LMP3, GT3 and GT4 racecars competing in Sunday’s four-hour endurance race at Sebring International Raceway.

 
The fastest lap time in each class was set during the final practice in the midafternoon, with rain dampening the first session and the track warming up during midday practice.

 
Fastest of the day was the No. 33 Sean Creech Motorsport Ligier JS P3 at one minute, 58.077 seconds (114.026) in the IMSA Prototype Challenge. Lance Willsey is co-driving the LMP3 this weekend with Indy Lights champion Oliver Askew, who was recently announced as a full-time IndyCar driver with McLaren in 2020.

 
Of GT3 cars, the reunited duo of Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow was fastest with a time of 2:00.731 (111.520 mph) in the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3. Lastly, the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT4 was quickest in the GT4 class at 2:11.927, with Robby Foley and Vin Barletta behind the wheel this weekend.

 
The Michelin IMSA SportsCar Encore goes green on Sunday at 12:05 p.m. ET with live streaming available on IMSA.tv with IMSA Radio commentary. Qualifying is set for 9:35 a.m., with a 45-minute grid walk beginning at 11:10 a.m.

 
Tickets will be sold at the Sebring International Raceway gate for $10 apiece with overnight RV parking available for $20. Military veterans with ID will be admitted free throughout this Veterans Day weekend event.

 
McAleer Looking for 2019 Sebring Sweep in IMSA Prototype Challenge
After winning the IMSA Prototype Challenge race at Sebring this past March, Stevan McAleer and the Robillard Racing team are looking to double their luck with another IPC win at the iconic circuit.

 
McAleer will be co-driving alongside team owner Joe Robillard in the No. 43 Norma M30 LMP3 racecar. Robillard entered all but the season opener at Daytona International Speedway this past January in IPC and co-drove with McAleer at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in July. Meanwhile, McAleer finished third in the championship standings at season’s end.

 
“This is my favorite track in the country,” said McAleer. “It was nice to get a win. It’s just a place I spend a lot of time here. After first practice, we were actually really fast, I think. The car wasn’t great, and the lap times were still there. I do think we have a shot of winning. It’d be nice to get the both of them, the race in March and the four-hour Encore. That’s the plan, but the real plan is to get Joe as much seat time as possible. He’s already excited about 2020. He wants to get as much time in the car.” 

 
Root Steps Up into Wright’s Porsche 911 GT3 R
Max Root is behind the wheel this weekend at Sebring, but in a different GT3 racecar than he’s used to. The Wright Motorsports driver is getting his first experience in a Porsche 911 GT3 R after completing a successful second season in the one-make Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama series.

 
A junior at Pepperdine University, Root broke through for his first GT3 Cup Challenge USA win at VIR in August and racked up two more victories by the end of the season.

 
“GT3 Cup is a great platform for drivers of all ages to develop your skills,” said Root. “It’s one of the hardest cars to drive perfectly and at the limit and I think all those skills transition to the GT3 car. It was a no brainer to go with the Porsche. It’s the best car and the best manufacturer. Once I got the call and the opportunity from Wright, it was a dream of mine just to get in the car. Sebring is a great course to do it at, so I’m really happy we were able to put it together.”

 
Root will be racing in the four-hour enduro in Wright’s No. 16 Porsche alongside Jan Heylen and Ryan Hardwick.

 
“It’s been an awesome experience so far,” said Root. “I think Wright Motorsports has put together a really easy to drive car today. It was a nice transition going from a Cup car with no traction control, no ABS into something will all the aero, traction control and ABS and it’s a lot more complicated.”

 
Murry Does an Encore on First Professional Season of Racing
After an impressive first full season of IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge competition Dylan Murry is looking to cap off the year with one last win at the Encore.

 
The Georgia native and recent high school graduate earned his first professional victory in the IMSA Prototype Challenge at Mid-Ohio SportsCar Course in May and followed that up with his first Pilot Challenge victory the next race at Watkins Glen International.

 
Teaming up with Riley Motorsports this past season, Murry and co-driver Jim Cox will be back in the same No. 35 Mercedes-AMG GT4 machine on Sunday for the four-hour race, hoping to improve on their fourth-place showing at the 3.74-mile circuit back in March.

 
“This year went a lot better than I expected it to,” Murry said. “Having the chance to run with a team like Riley Motorsports for the first time, with how good they are of a team, has really been incredible. Everything they do is immaculate. It has to be perfect and no second-place trophies are allowed on the truck! I learned that lesson the hard way. It really has been a pleasure to race with them full season and going into next year, doing a full season with them is going to be incredible.”

 
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International Motor Sports Association

Auberlen Gearing Up for “Race to 61”
While Reliving Excitement of 60th IMSA Win

 
November 18, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Bill Auberlen’s record-tying 60th IMSA victory couldn’t have been more dramatic.

 
It came right down to the last lap of last month’s 10-hour Motul Petit Le Mans. After stalking the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Daytona (GTD) race-leading No. 33 Mercedes-AMG GT3 with Felipe Fraga at the wheel for the final half-hour, Auberlen pounced on an opportunity on the white-flag lap just as Fraga’s car ran out of fuel.

 
“It was coming down to the wire, and on that last lap, he was running a real blocking line in (Turn) 10, and then he opened up that we could now get aggressive with each other,” Auberlen recalls. “I gave him a little bump, he ran defensive into 12, I got under him in 1, and we bumped again. Then, if he looks, before he ran out of gas, I was under him in 4.

 
“So, at that point, I said, ‘Check. Mate.’ Because he can’t turn in anymore and we would have had contact and he would have abandoned left. But at that exact moment, I think he ran out of gas exactly there.

 
“Terrific. Unbelievable race. Not only that but then you figure out, Holy cow. So many people watched this race on TV. So many fans, because it was such an exciting finish that I was returning emails and phone calls and voicemails for weeks after that.”

 
At the end of the night, Auberlen found himself tied atop the all-time IMSA race winners list with the legendary Scott Pruett. And now, the Californian’s focused forward, beginning what he has dubbed the “Race to 61.”

 
He’d like to build a documentary around his chase to become IMSA’s winningest driver. Of course, if that win were to come in the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 25-26, Auberlen jokes, ‘It might be a short film.’

 
Returning to the Turner team and the No. 96 BMW alongside co-driver Robby Foley, Auberlen knows the ingredients are in place to get that victory sooner rather than later.

 
“How it’s going to happen is we’re just going to do the same thing we did,” he said. “Which is, now we have more knowledge, we have more understanding of the M6 and how to make it go fast, the same team, the same driver lineup, I don’t want to change a thing. I want to improve on what we’ve already done, ‘cause it was already really good.”

 
Auberlen and Foley scored two victories in 2019, at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in July and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. Those victories were vital contributors to a runner-up result in the final WeatherTech Championship GTD standings.

 
He and the team are aiming for one spot better in 2020, although Auberlen realizes that championships are usually won through consistency rather than outright race wins.

 
“If you’re running for a championship, it’s a much more conservative approach,” he said. “You’re not always duking it out to get that top step of the podium at the end. But I think, with how good the BMW M6 GT3 is and how good my teammates are, a win throughout the year should come. Hopefully, on its way, it does. If it doesn’t this next year, maybe the year after or the year after. I’ve got a long way to go.”

 
Indeed, at the age of 51, Auberlen is showing no signs of slowing down.

 
“You know what? My happiness with racing has even gone up,” he said. “I’m at a new part of my career where I can still go fast, I can still win races, but I can also understand the gravity of what we’re doing within here. Right?

 
“In terms of life, we’re a blip on a radar, but in terms of what we do here, for me to be able to understand the level of what we’re doing and why we’re doing it at and the guy I’m going to war with every weekend, I can sit back and I can really enjoy it. I love it and appreciate it. That’s where I’m at now.”

 
The 2020 Rolex 24 At Daytona will take place January 25-26. Tickets are available at www.DaytonaInternationalSpeedway.com.

 
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Chance to See IMSA Legend Bell, Iconic Porsche 962 One of Many Reasons to Attend Classic 24 Hour At Daytona Presented by IMSA

 
November 15, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Take it from IMSA legend, Derek Bell.

 
If you have the means, the Classic 24 Hour At Daytona Presented by IMSA is a must-attend event.

 
“All I say to people is, ‘If you want to come and see a major part of sports car racing history, you have to come to this event,’” said Bell. “It’s the same as going to the [Rolex 24 At Daytona]. You’re seeing the modern cars in action for 24 hours. But you come here, and you see everything that made that history and some of the drivers that did it.”

 
Bell is one of those drivers at this weekend’s unique event organized by Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR). The five-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner and three-time Rolex 24 winner is sharing perhaps the most iconic IMSA race car of all time, the No. 14 Lowenbrau Porsche 962, and several other important Porsche race cars with his son, Justin Bell – another Le Mans-winning driver – Gunnar Jeannette, Rodrigo Sales, Rod Emory and Todd Holbert.

 
Bell appreciates the fact that Holbert – son of the late Al Holbert, his longtime former co-driver – is part of the driver lineup for this weekend’s races on the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road circuit. There are seven different run groups that will participate in four, one-hour races throughout a 24-hour period beginning at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday.

 
“Al’s not with us, sadly, but the great thing is, his son, Todd, is out there in one of the cars,” Bell said. “He’s a charming, lovely man like his dad was. Al was really the greatest man in my racing career as far as working with him.

 
“Al’s determination, his engineering prowess, his ability to set up cars and the fact that he was always looking for new developments to improve the cars, he was a wonderful driver. We’d go out and we won races, so you can’t have a better teammate than that.”

 
As you can tell, it doesn’t take long for a trip down memory lane to start at the Classic 24. It continues right into the cockpit for Bell.

 
“Whenever I get in the car, straightaway, as soon as I sit in it, my hand goes automatically to the key,” he said. “I know where everything is. It’s uncanny, like when I drove last year at Rennsport (at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca). I get in these cars every two or three years somewhere, a 962 if not this very one.

 
“As soon as you get in, the memory is just unbelievable. I mean, you know exactly what it’s meant to feel like. Generally, within two or three laps, you’re doing good times. You’re not pushing to the limits, possibly, but you’ve got the lines right and it’s just fantastic.”

 
The Classic 24 also offers fans those same opportunities to reminisce about earlier eras of sports car racing. Bell cherishes those opportunities also.

 
“It was funny this morning, because a gentleman came up and he said, ‘Can I have your autograph, please?’” Bell relates. “I was like, ‘Good God, that’s the first one I’ve done today.’ And then a photograph and that sort of thing, and then – of course – it all just flows.

 
“The amazing thing is the way they come up and they just say, ‘I’m one of your greatest fans and I’m glad I’ve met you after all this time.’ You go, ‘Bloody hell, you’ve been waiting a long time, haven’t you?’ But it’s very special to see the fans and the other drivers.”

 
And most of all, it’s special to see, hear and smell those classic sports cars once more on the racetrack.

 
“Most people would buy a piece of art and stick it on the wall in the house and only the people that came to the house would ever see it,” Bell said. “Now here, these same sort of gentlemen, quite wealthy gentlemen, have a passion and they buy a car, but they have the opportunity now to have it driven by the people that drove it. Or to drive it themselves and to experience some of the history that they might have only seen on TV or read about in books.”

 
Tickets for the Classic 24 Hour At Daytona Presented by IMSA will be available for purchase from the Gate 40 ticket booth at Daytona International Speedway. For more information, please visit Classic24Hour.com.

 
IMSA TWITTER, INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK
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TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold Becomes New Exclusive Home of Live Michelin Pilot Challenge, IMSA Prototype Challenge Streaming in U.S., Live WeatherTech Championship Race Coverage Also Available
 
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 14, 2019) – Following a successful first year together in 2019 in which viewership increased by more than 50 percent year-over-year, IMSA and NBC Sports today announced a new component to their partnership heading into the 2020 season with the introduction of TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.

 
The new digital motorsports platform launching in early December is a transition of the FansChoice.tv platform that previously offered live streaming of IMSA, NASCAR and American Flat Track (AFT) events. The announcement was made at NASCAR Championship 4 Media Day in Miami Beach, Florida by officials from NBC Sports, IMSA, NASCAR and AFT, all of which will be part of the new offering.

 
TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold will be the exclusive home for live streaming of IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge and IMSA Prototype Challenge races in the United States, and also will offer complete live streaming of all IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship events.

 
“TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold offers our fans more options to watch IMSA content on the devices they are using the most,” said IMSA CEO Ed Bennett. “Metrics indicate our fans are consuming more of our product digitally, and the move to TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold is a natural progression for coverage of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge and IMSA Prototype Challenge. TrackPass allows us to showcase our sport to millions of additional households, which instantly becomes the leading digital platform for motorsports fans in the United States.”

 
Subscriptions to TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold – which does not require a cable television subscription – start at $2.99/month or $19.99/year for the IMSA-only package. A complete package that includes IMSA, AFT and “NASCAR Roots” (ARCA, Whelen Modified Tour, grassroots racing and select NASCAR practice and qualifying sessions) coverage is available for $4.99/month or $44.99/year.

 
TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold allows users to cast streamed content on a connected device via the NBC Sports App and NBCSports.com, allowing fans to experience racing action on their preferred hardware, including big-screen environments. Upon launch, TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold will be available via iOS and Android phones and tablets, desktop web browsers, Apple TV (Gen 4), Roku, Amazon Fire TV, AndroidTV, Xfinity X1, Xfinity Flex and Chromecast devices connected via HDMI.

 
IMSA.tv will continue to offer live streaming of Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama and Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America races, as well as WeatherTech Championship qualifying and in-car cameras during WeatherTech Championship races for U.S. viewers.

 
International viewers can watch these races the same way they did in 2019, as this product is only available in the United States.

 
WeatherTech Championship races will continue to be televised on NBC, NBCSN and CNBC and available on the NBC Sports App and NBCSports.com for cable television subscribers with authentication. The Michelin Pilot Challenge and Prototype Challenge races will also continue to be broadcast on NBCSN as they were in 2019. A subscription to TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold eliminates the authentication requirement.

 
To sign up for TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold, please visit http://nbcsports.com/gold/trackpass and to learn more about what promises to be the most robust motorsports offering in the domestic digital marketplace visit our FAQ page at https://www.imsa.com/trackpass.

 

Acura Team Penske Goes Back to Work in Defense of DPi Title

 
November 13, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Acura Team Penske’s celebration for winning the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Daytona Prototype international (DPi) title is over.

 
Last week at Daytona International Speedway, both of the team’s Acura ARX-05 DPis and all six of the team’s drivers – full-timers Dane Cameron, Juan Pablo Montoya, Ricky Taylor and Helio Castroneves, and the team’s pair of endurance drivers, Indy 500 winners Simon Pagenaud and Alexander Rossi – were back in action on DIS’ famed high banks.

 
The team also confirmed last week that the driver lineups for 2020 will be the same as they were at the start of 2019. Cameron and Montoya will defend their DPi championship in the No. 6 with Pagenaud as their endurance co-driver. Castroneves and Taylor again will share the No. 7 for the full season alongside Rossi at the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts and Motul Petit Le Mans.

 
Rossi was replaced by Graham Rahal for Motul Petit Le Mans last month as he was in Australia competing in the Bathurst 1000, which was the same weekend.

 
“We are working on all aspects,” said Castroneves. “We’re trying new things, but for the most part is we have a third member, who is Alex Rossi, trying to fit back in again in our team. We’re getting the stuff that normally you don’t have a chance (to do) because the track is busy in traffic. We’re trying everything we can to make sure that when we come back here, we are ready to go.”

 
Castroneves and Taylor finished third in the 2019 DPi standings. They finished on the podium in half of the season’s 10 races but did not have a race victory. They’re looking to flip that script in 2020.

 
“We were coming into it off of a great year for Acura Team Penske last year,” Taylor said. “I think the (No.) 7 car, in particular, has some unfinished business to get to as far as race wins. We had plenty of pace last year, but we’ve just got to complete the job this year, I think.”

 
If Taylor and Castroneves are among the “hunters” in the 2020 DPi class, Cameron and Montoya could be considered the “hunted.” Their championship run included victories at Mid-Ohio, Detroit and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and a total of seven podiums.

 
“The ball, for us, keeps rolling,” Montoya said. “Nothing’s changed for us. We have the same guys, same crew, same drivers, same everything. I think we have good momentum on our side. We’re here preparing the best we can for the 24 hours. I think this is one of the main goals of 2020 is to get this win with either car. Hopefully, the (No.) 6, but either car, honestly. But it’s exciting. I think we’ve got a realistic chance of winning it.”

 
Montoya, who’s already won three Rolex 24s in his career, is open to the No. 7 team scoring a Rolex 24 victory. Cameron – who now has three WeatherTech Championship titles on his résumé – is hungry to add a Rolex watch to his collection.

 
“Even more so than the championship, for myself, I think the goal has to be Daytona,” Cameron said. “That’s the one that’s gotten away from me in the last 10 years. That’s going to be the big motivator through all the winter training. It’s going to be Daytona and knowing I’m going to have another great opportunity there. It’s been very elusive for me over the last number of years. Hopefully, 2020 can be the year I can get my first Daytona 24 win.”

 
The 2020 Rolex 24 At Daytona will take place January 25-26. Tickets are available at www.DaytonaInternationalSpeedway.com.

 
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AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus Drivers Looking Forward to 2020 Rolex 24, Working with NASCAR Champion Kyle Busch

 
November 12, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – AIM Vasser Sullivan has been one of a handful of teams in recent weeks that headed south to Florida for testing ahead of January’s Rolex 24 At Daytona, the season-opener for the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

 
The Lexus team will have even more eyes on it during the upcoming twice-around-the-clock contest, as it was announced last week that 2015 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion Kyle Busch – who also is among the Championship 4 heading into Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway – would be joining the driver lineup. It is not yet confirmed if Busch will compete in the No. 12 or No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3.

 
After the news, both Frankie Montecalvo and Jack Hawksworth were on hand at the World Center of Racing as part of the team’s two-day test last week and were eager to work with the stock car star. They both had been with Busch the day prior at Toyota’s annual Motorsport Day in Dallas the day prior.

 
“It’ll be cool to work with Kyle,” said Hawksworth. “He’s hugely experienced in NASCAR and a fantastic driver. He’s won the (NASCAR) Cup, a high form of racing, so obviously very talented. It’s obviously very interesting seeing him come to a completely different style of racing, different style of car and see how he gets on. I’m looking forward to working with him and seeing how he does.”

 
“I think it’ll be really interesting having his experiences at a track like this,” added Montecalvo. “It should be a learning experience a little bit, but we’ll see what we can do.”

 
The Rolex 24 is known to attract high-profile drivers like Busch from other racing series around the world. Hawksworth isn’t concerned though about the brighter spotlight placed on the team and instead views it as an opportunity for all of IMSA.

 
“He’s a quality driver, we want to put the best drivers in the car that we can,” said the Brit. “He’s obviously very talented, so just looking forward to getting him in the car and seeing what he does. I think for the brand and for the team, it’s great to have a driver of that notoriety from the perspective that it brings attention to the series, brings attention to the team and it can be a good thing for not just our team, but everyone involved with it.”

 
AIM Vasser Sullivan’s two entries finished in the top five of the WeatherTech Championship GT Daytona (GTD) class this past January in its first season as an IMSA team. The No. 12 Lexus – which Montecalvo ran in – finished second, while the No. 14 wound up fifth with Hawksworth as a part of that lineup.

 
“We’re taking that experience we’ve gained over an entire season, going back to a race where we’ve seemed to have some good luck, but at the same time had a great run,” said Montecalvo. “We’ll build off of that and staying out of trouble in a 24-hour race like the Rolex is key, so that’s what we’ll do.”

 
The 2020 Rolex 24 At Daytona will take place January 25-26. Tickets are available at www.DaytonaInternationalSpeedway.com

 
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IMSA Statement on Passing of Driver Dr. Tim George
SEBRING, Fla. (November 10, 2019) – The following is a statement from the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) following the passing of driver Dr. Tim George earlier today. 
 
“The IMSA family is shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Tim George today. He was a long-time IMSA competitor and a friend to many in the paddock. At this difficult time we would like to extend our thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies to his wife Rosalind and the rest of their family.”
Champion Daytona Prototype Drivers Look Forward to Returning to
Cockpit at Classic 24 Hour At Daytona Presented by IMSA

 
November 11, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Joao Barbosa knows what it feels like to drive a Corvette Daytona Prototype (DP) to victory in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, which he did in 2014 alongside Action Express Racing co-drivers Christian Fittipaldi and Sebastien Bourdais.

 
Barbosa and Eric Curran both know what it’s like to drive Corvette DPs to IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship titles. Barbosa did it alongside Fittipaldi in 2014 and 2015, while Curran won the 2016 title with Dane Cameron as his co-driver.

 
That’s why both drivers are excited for this weekend’s Classic 24 Hour At Daytona Presented by IMSA. They’re going to get the chance to relive positive memories from their not-too-distant past in Corvette DPs this weekend.

 
“We won the Daytona 24 with a similar car,” said Barbosa, who is teaming up with JC France and Tim Jernum this weekend. “It’s not exactly the same car but was a very similar car.”

 
The feelings are similar for Curran, who will drive a Corvette DP prepared by Hudson Historics this week. Curran said the team is bringing five Corvette DPs to Daytona this week, one still wearing the same Whelen Engineering livery that he and Cameron drove to the 2016 title.

 
“It’s fun to kind of go back in time a few years and go back to Daytona Speedway in a few of my old Daytona Prototype Corvettes that I raced for years around that track in the past,” Curran said. “So, it’s a bit of a different animal than the Cadillac DPi, but still an exciting race car to race.”

 
The unique 24-hour race organized by Historic Sportscar Racing, LLC (HSR) brings a variety of different sports cars onto the legendary, 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway circuit, some of which never raced in the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

 
That’s obviously not the case for the Corvette DPs, which were built primarily with the Rolex 24 in mind.

 
“That car feels really at home at Daytona,” Barbosa said. “It’s a great car. We developed that car. When the new era of the Corvette DPs came along, we developed the car a lot at Daytona with the downforce and the tunnels and everything and the different aero package. It’s a car that’s suited for Daytona and it’s still fast. It’s just a great overall fun car to drive around Daytona.”

 
Fun is the name of the game this weekend. While these Corvette DPs could likely compete for 24 consecutive hours as they used to, this weekend they only will need to run four, one-hour races in a 24-hour period beginning at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday.

 
There are seven different run groups participating in the Classic 24. The DPs are part of Group F, which runs at 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at 12 a.m., 6 a.m. and 12 p.m.

 
“You’re not having to drive for four or five different stints, three or four hours apiece, that’s for sure,” Curran said. “But it’s still an exciting weekend. I mean, it’s cool the way that they have it staged throughout and all the different classes and cars. Yes, it’s much lower key than the true Daytona 24, but still exciting nonetheless.”

 
And if Hudson Historics is looking for any late-night or early-morning volunteers to drive the car, they won’t have far to look. Curran is ready and willing.

 
“Why not?” he said. “It gives a little bit of memory of what the true Daytona 24 is all about. I don’t have any problem. I know that there’s some early A.M. shifts to do and it’s not problem. I mean, it’s again much lower key than what you’re actually doing in the 24. I have no issue. Whatever stints they sign me up for are the ones I’ll do. It’s a little bit of preparation for the [Rolex] 24 [in January], so it’s exciting.”

 
Tickets for the Classic 24 Hour At Daytona Presented by IMSA will be available for purchase from the Gate 40 ticket booth at Daytona International Speedway beginning Thursday, Nov. 14. For more information, please visit Classic24Hour.com.

 
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Event

IMSA Michelin Sportscar encore

The final IMSA race weekend of 2019 is upon us � the Michelin IMSA SportsCar Encore! The second annual four-hour endurance race at Sebring International Raceway happens this Sunday, November 10 at 12:05 p.m. ET. Tune in live on IMSA.tv with IMSA Radio commentary to watch LMP3, GT3 and GT4 cars battle on the bumps simultaneously to close out another great season of IMSA racing.

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November 9 - 10
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Sunday, November 10, 12:05 PM - 4:05 PM ET
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Tune-In: Michelin IMSA SportsCar Encore

The final IMSA race weekend of 2019 is upon us � the Michelin IMSA SportsCar Encore! The second annual four-hour endurance race at Sebring International Raceway happens this Sunday, November 10 at 12:05 p.m. ET.

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Kyle Busch To Compete In 2020 Rolex 24 At Daytona

Lexus Motorsports, in conjunction with AIM VASSER SULLIVAN and Toyota Racing, announced Joe Gibbs Racing NASCAR driver Kyle Busch as one of the endurance racers who will compete behind the wheel of the Lexus RC F GT3 in the 2020 Rolex 24 at Daytona.

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Mazda Aiming Even Higher For 2020 After Breakthrough Season

If you happened to drive by Daytona International Speedway last week, you may have heard the Mazda RT24-P DPi car turning laps around the 3.56-mile road course.

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Two Wheels To Four: Supercross, Lamborghini Super Trofeo Champion Chad Reed Sets Sights On IMSA Future

From a harrowing two-wheel incident to a now four-wheel champion, it’s been an unpredictable year for racer Chad Reed.

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IMSA Sporting And Technical Regulations Released For 2020 Season

With the entry process already under way for the 2020 season, IMSA released the Sporting Regulations and Standard Supplementary Regulations for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge and IMSA Prototype Challenge.

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Top Social Post

This week's top social post features the No. 53 Moorespeed Porsche 991 from the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama series.

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Enter For Your Chance To Win A 2019 Corvette Grand Sport

Enter for a chance to win an ultimate race fan�s prize package, including a 2019 Corvette Grand Sport Drivers Series special edition and a trip for two to the 2020 Rolex 24 at DAYTONA.®

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Daytona SunTrust ROKU Merchandise
 
Two Wheels to Four: Supercross, Lamborghini Super Trofeo Champion Chad Reed Sets Sights on IMSA Future

 
November 7, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – From a harrowing two-wheel incident to a now four-wheel champion, it’s been an unpredictable year for racer Chad Reed.

 
It was only eight months ago that the wildly popular, championship-winning dirt bike rider was sidelined with multiple broken bones and other injuries stemming from a Supercross incident. Just three months later, though, Reed returned to racing – this time of behind the wheel of a Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo EVO.

 
It began when Reed connected with IMSA driver Ryan Hardwick through mutual friends. The pair headed to Las Vegas earlier this summer for Reed’s first ever test in a Lamborghini Super Trofeo race car for Dream Racing.

 
“The test went well right away,” said Reed. “The owner, Enrico (Bertaggia) was like, ‘I’ll know in five minutes whether we’re going to put him in the car or not.’ I guess I passed the test.”

 
Just one week later, Reed found himself headed to Watkins Glen international in New York to make his debut in the IMSA-sanctioned Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America series as a part of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen weekend.

 
“I had heard a lot about Watkins Glen, but I had never been there,” Reed explained. “We race close by in a place called Unadilla, about an hour and 45 minutes away. So, though I’ve been to that part of the country quite a lot, I’d never gotten out to Watkins Glen. It was really exciting to go and see a pretty historic venue for IMSA racing.”

 
Originally competing in the Pro-Am class with Hardwick, Reed moved to the LB Cup class in July after Hardwick suffered a season-ending knee injury of his own in a crash during a WeatherTech Championship practice at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

 
Last month – following four wins in eight LB Cup races alongside new co-driver Justin Price – Reed headed to Circuito de Jerez in Spain to compete in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo World Finals. The duo won the final race of the 12-round Super Trofeo North America season, before Reed prepared to contend individually for the World Final LB Cup Championship amongst Lamborghini Super Trofeo competitors from around the world.

 
“I actually lived in Europe in 2001, so when I first left my native country Australia as an 18-year-old kid, I went to race the World Championship in Europe,” said Reed. “I got to venture all over Europe and I got to spend some time there. I’m a huge MotoGP fan and Jerez is a big part of that championship and testing program, so I knew the venue quite well.

 
“I had never been there, but I’d known it well enough that I’d watched so much of it that basically going there for the first time didn’t feel like the first time. To get to go to a venue I knew so much about and cared about its heritage, to race a Lamborghini there was really exciting.”

 
After winning the first of two World Final races, Reed finished second in Race 2 to clinch the LB Cup World Championship, adding his first four-wheel title to his already impressive collection of championships on two wheels.

 
“I’ve been a professional athlete for 22 years,” said Reed. “I come from a lot of experience in the racing world and in my opinion, racing is racing, always. From two wheel to four wheel, it’s a little different here and there but for the most part, racing at the highest level is always the same. It always takes the same mindset and it always takes the same successful way of going about it that is rewarded in every way. That’s just what I think.”

 
But what is it that keeps the drive going for the multi-time AMA/World Supercross champion? His participation in Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America shows just that – his desire to learn.

 
“It’s that progression at never arriving and always trying to be better and trying to figure out what it is,” explained Reed. “That desire to jump into something and try to find more. Though I won in Jerez, already immediately I re-watched the race. I got to watch it on TV and a lot of the battles I was in.

 
“With watching it, already your mind says, ‘Ah, I could do this better, I could do that better or I could approach this better.’ The competitive side of you, you’re always looking for more and always trying to find that competitive edge and understanding of how to be better. I guess that just drives me and it fuels me.”

 
Reed added how competing in four races at Jerez – instead of the traditional two at IMSA weekends – added even more fuel to his fire.

 
“Four races is double the time, so you have double the day there and double the experience and double the learning,” he said. “I’m left on this high where, ‘When’s the next time I get in a car?’”

 
Although now in the IMSA offseason, Reed hopes it won’t be long before he returns to a race car. The now 37-year-old is becoming more aware of the impending end to his two-wheel career, but has no intentions of quitting racing any time soon.

 
“I’m at the tail end of my Motocross career and life beyond motorcycles is becoming more real each and every year,” said Reed. “At this point, I’m not sure how many more years I’ll race. But it just feels normal to go racing. I feel the change. I really enjoyed my time in the car this year.

 
“The goal currently is to do Super Trofeo again. I think that’d be awesome to get in a car by myself and try to maximize my time, jump up a class into the Am class, then go learn and try to figure that out. That’s pretty much where I’m at, just figuring out what I can do.

 
“As far as being in IMSA racing, that is the goal. I love racing so much. It’s like I see Sebring and Daytona and the Six Hours at Watkins Glen. I don’t know why, but that seems really appealing to me and it seems fun. I love that grinding away, finding the limit. If I could find a level of driving that I feel I need to get to, where I can be competitive at that level, then obviously a GTD or something like that would be something I would really enjoy and love to do.”

 

Mazda Aiming Even Higher for 2020 After Breakthrough Season

 
November 6, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – If you happened to drive by Daytona International Speedway last week, you may have heard the Mazda RT24-P DPi car turning laps around the 3.56-mile road course.

 
The car and its drivers turned a lot of laps at DIS last week, then moved a few hours southwest of Daytona to run even more laps at Sebring International Raceway and its legendary, 3.74 miles of bumpy concrete and tarmac.

 
Mind you, these tests were occurring nearly 90 days before the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship opens with the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Saturday, Jan. 25, and more than 140 days prior to the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts on Saturday, March 16.
So, a good first question would be why so soon?

 
“The Rolex 24 is the biggest endurance race in the States, it’s the biggest race on the IMSA calendar and it would just be an absolute dream if we could (win) it,” said Harry Tincknell, who co-drove the No. 55 Mazda DPi to its historic first victory in the 2019 Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen alongside Jonathan Bomarito and Olivier Pla.

 
“I mean, I feel like we have the team, we have the car, we have the engine, we have the drivers,” Tincknell continued. “It’s a reality now. I think in the past, a win at the Rolex has been a dream, whereas now it can be a reality. But it’s obviously going to be an incredibly tough race. It’s absolutely relentless and unforgiving.

 
“It’s the first race of the season. It’s not like we have two or three races to sort of ease our way into the championship. It’s a really brutal schedule from that point of view, which is why we’re here in October testing and getting the reliability sorted.”

 
Reliability is the next frontier for the Mazda DPi program.

 
In 2019, the obvious goal for everybody in the program was to finally get that first victory. They poured everything they had into their pursuit of victory, and were finally rewarded not just at Watkins Glen, but in the next two races as well at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Road America.

 
“Everyone says once you get the first one, they all seem to follow,” said Tristan Nunez, who won at CTMP with Oliver Jarvis in the No. 77 Mazda DPi. “Getting three in a row, I think, really showed that and we had strong showings since then. We were really close at [Motul] Petit [Le Mans on Oct. 12], but didn’t quite get there. We had some bad luck at the end.

 
“But as a whole, we’re there now. We’re in the first with the big teams. I think all the other teams see that. They’re not just seeing us as the Mazdas on track. They see us as a competitor, strong, and I think they’re a little bit worried about what we’re going to show this [2020] season. I think the big pressure’s out of the way now, getting that first win for Mazda. Now, it’s just continuing that momentum, getting podiums, and I think we’re going to go for a championship this season.”

 
And a key step to achieving that goal is to have a strong 36 Hours of Florida to start the 2020 campaign. Hence the reason they’ve already logged so many testing miles less than a month into the so-called “offseason.”

 
“I think 2020 is the year that we go for the championship,” Tincknell said. “That’s the year where we match consistency with winning speed. This year, it was gung-ho every race, just try and get a victory. We didn’t really hold anything back. We took a lot of risk to get those victories.

 
“Whereas, I think in 2020, if we can have a bit more reliability in the first two races and be up there in the championship, then we can maybe just pick and choose our moments a little bit more. Instead of going for gung-ho, 100 percent, maybe just be a little bit more risk averse and just keep scoring the points.

 
“Because, at the end of the season, that’s what gets you into the title fight is the consistency rather than the big highs followed by big lows. We had some massive highs in 2019 and we also had some lows. We’ve just got to be a little bit more consistent and I think that’s going to be the difference.”

 
The 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship gets started with the Roar Before The 24 at Daytona International Speedway on Jan. 3-5. The 58th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona is set for Jan. 25-26.

 
Tickets for the Rolex 24 are available now at DaytonaInternationalSpeedway.com.
 

 

Champions, Intriguing Driver Lineups Highlight

Michelin IMSA SportsCar Encore Entry List

 
November 4, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Sunday’s four-hour Michelin IMSA SportsCar Encore features a plethora of accomplished competitors as revealed on the entry list announced today, with previous championship winners in all classes.

 
The LMP3 class, which will have 10 entries at the Encore battling for the overall victory, includes the reigning IMSA Prototype Challenge championship team, Forty7 Motorsports, fielding the No. 47 Norma M30.

 
The No. 47 entry’s driving trio includes IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship star Tristan Nunez, who drove the No. 77 Mazda DPi to a victory at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in 2019, along with 2019 IMSA Prototype Challenge (IPC) Bronze Cup co-champions Joel Janco and Jonatan Jorge. Nunez also won the IPC championship back in 2012.

 
The GT3 class will see the reunion of 2018 WeatherTech Championship GT Daytona (GTD) co-champions Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow in the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3. It will be the first race for Sellers and Snow together since the 2018 season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta in which they wrapped up their championship season with a third-place result.

 
The GT4 class includes the 2019 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Grand Sport (GS) championship-winning CarBahn with Peregrine Racing team fielding the No. 93 Audi R8 for co-drivers Sameer Gandhi, Mark Siegel and Tom Dyer.

 
A revised weekend schedule has slightly moved up the start of the four-hour race, which now begins at 12:05 p.m. ET on Sunday, Nov. 10. The race will be streamed live on IMSA.tv with commentary provided by IMSA Radio.

 
The full entry list is available here.

 
Other notable entries are as follows:
  • A month after closing out the 2019 WeatherTech Championship season with a stirring, last-lap victory in the GTD class at Motul Petit Le Mans, Turner Motorsport and driver Robby Foley will be back in action at the Encore. This time, Foley is sharing the No. 96 BMW M4 GT4 with co-driver Vin Barletta.

 
  • ANSA Motorsports, which scored the overall victory in the inaugural Michelin IMSA SportsCar Encore in 2018, is returning in the LMP3 class with the No. 2 Ligier JS P3 to be shared by 2018 IMSA Prototype Challenge MPC class champion Jon Brownson, Tim George and Neil Alberico, who finished third in the 2019 IPC LMP3 season standings and won the season-opening race at Daytona.

 
  • The same lineup that finished second overall in last year’s Encore is returning intact for 2019. James McGuire, Matt Bell and Kay van Berlo will once again share the No. 26 K2R Motorsports Ligier JS P3.

 
  • No. 54 Black Swan Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R owner/driver Tim Pappas is returning to competition for the first time since he was injured in a crash at February’s Bathurst 1000 in Australia. Pappas will co-drive with past Michelin Pilot Challenge champion, Spencer Pumpelly, and another veteran of Michelin Pilot Challenge competition, Marc Miller.

 
  • Speaking of successful Michelin Pilot Challenge racers, the GT4 class also includes the No. 35 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG of Jim Cox and Dylan Murry. Cox and Murry teamed with WeatherTech Championship veteran Jeroen Bleekemolen to win a thrilling, four-hour race at Watkins Glen International this past June.

 
  • The No. 35 is one of two entries from the Riley team competing at the Encore. The other is the No. 74 Mercedes-AMG GT3, which will be shared by Gar Robinson and Lawson Aschenbach. Robinson and Aschenbach are joining the Riley team for the full 2020 WeatherTech Championship season after competing in the IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup rounds in 2019 with Lone Star Racing.

 
  • There are a few more champions in this year’s Encore field. One is Cameron Cassels, who won the 2019 Jim Trueman Award and the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup in the LMP2 class. He will be co-driving the No. 75 Performance Tech Motorsports Ligier JS P3 with Max Hanratty in the LMP3 class on Sunday. Another is 2018 Lamborghini Super Trofeo AM World Champion Ryan Hardwick, who is joining the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R driver lineup alongside Jan Heylen and Max Root. Hardwick was sidelined for the second half of the WeatherTech Championship season with a knee injury suffered in an on-track incident at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in July.
 

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