Starworks Motorsport will expand to a three-car operation for the Rolex 24 at Daytona, with the addition of a Dinan-powered Riley DP for the Prototype class.
Team owner Peter Baron confirmed to Sportscar365 that he will field the fully upgraded DP, featuring last year’s race-winning 5.0-liter BMW-based Dinan V8 engine, for Brendon Hartley, Alex Popow, Scott Mayer and two yet-to-be-confirmed pro drivers.
The entry was officially confirmed Wednesday following IMSA’s release of the entry list for the season-opener. Starworks’ DP was initially second on the reserve list but has gained a place on the grid following the withdrawal of three Prototype Challenge entries.
“I really had no interest in putting together the effort unless we had a winning chance,” Baron told Sportscar365. “That’s why it’s taken us so long to get the DP program sorted. By the time we got it sorted, we were put on the reserve list.
“Brendon can only do Daytona with us, so we’ll see what happens with drivers and maybe shuffle it around a bit after the season-opener. Scott, Alex and Mirco [Schultis] are good for the season. There will be another shakearound for Sebring.”
Despite a rumored switch to Honda’s newly developed 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 DP powerplant, Baron said it’s his intention to work with Dinan for the season.
“The nice thing about the Dinan package is that it’s such a good balance of low end and high end [power],” he said. “The GM package works well down low; it’s a good torque motor. The Ford V8 works very well up top, where the Dinan works well across the board.
“With adding some extra power [per the rules], it moves it to a place where it helps it out in the rev range. I think it will be a great motor for the 24.”
Baron said he already has confirmed the DP entry for the four-race Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup, with the intentions of completing the remainder of the season.
On the PC front, the team owner revealed a shakeup in the driver lineup, with Pierre Kaffer and Kyle Marcelli now coming aboard to join Popow and Martin Fuentes in the No. 7 car. The Venezuelan will pull double duty between the team’s DP and PC entries.
Starworks’ No. 8 car, meanwhile, will be driven by Renger van der Zande, Mirco Schultis, Eric Lux and Sam Bird.
It’s unclear where Isaac Tutumlu, who was signed with Starworks for the NAEC races, will be placed, while Baron said WTCC champion Rob Huff, who tested with the team at the Roar, will not return.
With a strong lineup in all three cars, Baron remains upbeat about his chances in both Prototype and PC.
“You never know how many chances you’re going to try and win Daytona in class or overall,” he said. “With the new rules and how it’s all going to shake out and some cars having some problems, I think this is a great opportunity.
“We’ll show up with the Dinan powerplant that’s basically been the most reliable DP motor in 24-hour history and put out a good effort and have a good shot at winning it overall.
“With the PC cars, and the guys we’re talking about in each car, and the speed we demonstrated at the Roar and our experience, I think we have a great shot at that one for sure.”