2014 Silly Season Update: GT Daytona

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

Out of the four classes for next year’s TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, the GT Daytona category will feature the largest influx of new machinery.

From Porsche’s 911 GT America to the SRT Viper GT3-R and likely BMW Z4 GT3, a capacity field of 19 cars are expected, in what could result in some full-season entries even being turned away.

Sportscar365 wraps up its latest “silly season” update with a look at the confirmed, likely and potential full-season entries for the GT Daytona category.

Confirmed:

Scuderia Corsa – The 2013 Rolex Series GT champions will return with at least one Ferrari 458 Italia for lead driver Alessandro Balzan, while being close to finalizing a second full-season Prancing Horse. The GT3-based Ferrari is one of the few GRAND-AM cars set to carry over into the new-look category for next year. (1-2 Ferrari 458 Italias)

Magnus Racing – Runner-ups in the Rolex Series last year, the John Potter-owned squad will be one of nearly ten Porsche 911 GT Americas expected for the season. The team recently took delivery of their car, the first new Porsche GTD car, with Potter and Andy Lally confirmed as co-drivers for the season. (1 Porsche 911 GT America)

Flying Lizard Motorsports -The 2013 ALMS GTC championship-winning squad has committed to returning with a two-car operation but has yet to announce its weapons of choice. The Lizards were understood to have been in negotiations with both Porsche and Audi, with a decision believed to have been made last month. What’s known is that team principal Seth Neiman will return to the wheel. An announcement is expected shortly. (2 TBA cars)

Alex Job Racing – The longtime Porsche squad is set to continue with the German manufacturer in 2014, with the Florida-based squad running up to two GT Americas. Cooper MacNeil is already lock in the WeatherTech-sponsored entry, set to be rejoined by a familiar face to the team. It’s unclear the status of the AJR’s possible second entry. (1-2 Porsche 911 GT Americas)

Dempsey Racing – Recently renewing its relationship with Porsche for another two seasons, Dempsey Racing has laid out plans for a two-car full-season program. Patrick Dempsey will drive one of the 911 GT Americas with a soon-to-be-announced co-driver, while the team is currently working through options for drivers and sponsors for the second entry, with a final decision on the lineup not to be made for a few weeks. (2 Porsche 911 GT Americas)

Riley Technologies - In addition to its factory SRT Viper GTS-Rs, the Bill Riley-run organization will also field a customer GT3-R for Ben Keating. The GT3-based machine will be co-driven by none other than two-time ALMS GTC champion Jeroen Bleekemolen, who moves over from a successful season at Alex Job Racing. (1 SRT Viper GT3-R)

NGT Motorsport – Considered one of the standout performers in the 2013 ALMS GTC season, the Ramez Wahab-owned squad will return with a Porsche 911 GT America for Henrique Cisneros and a to-be-announced pro driver that’s no stranger to the top step of the podium. After fielding a second entry on a part-time basis this year, NGT will focus its TUDOR Championship efforts exclusively on the MOMO-sponsored entry. (1 Porsche 911 GT America)

TRG-AMR North America – After debuting its Rolex Series-spec Aston Martin Vantage late this year, the Kevin Buckler-owned squad is set to field up to two of the V12-powered beasts in 2014. With one car already confirmed with to-be-announced drivers, the longtime Porsche entrant is working to fill the seats of a planned second full-season entry. (1-2 Aston Martin Vantage GT3s)

Park Place Motorsports – Park Place is poised to return with at least one Porsche 911 GT America for Patrick Lindsey, who shined alongside Patrick Long in 2013. However, with the Porsche factory driver likely off to the new works GT Le Mans program, it leaves Lindsey searching for a new co-driver. A second full-season entry, meanwhile, is in the process of being finalized. (1-2 Porsche 911 GT Americas)

GMG Racing – After fielding multiple Audi R8 LMS cars in the Pirelli World Challenge, the James Sofronas-owned squad will be lodging one full-season GTD entry for 2014, which will see GMG kick off the season with Alex Welch’s 2013 Rolex 24 class-winning Audi. The team is still in discussions about its exact plans past Daytona. (1 Audi R8)

Likely:

AIM Autosport – The Canadian squad is currently finalizing plans for a return to a single-car operation for next year. After fielding two Ferrari 458 Italias in 2013, AIM is set to focus its TUDOR Championship efforts on one Prancing Horse for a to-be-announced pair of drivers. An announcement is expected to come within the next two weeks. (1 Ferrari 458 Italia)

Turner Motorsport – After exploring a number of different GT3 options, the longtime BMW squad is poised to continue with the Bavarian manufacturer in 2014, but with a new car. Multiple sources have confirmed the team recently tested an ex-Marc VDS Racing BMW Z4 GT3 at Road Atlanta, with an eye towards homologating the V8-powered car for GTD competition.  (1-2 BMW Z4 GT3s?)

Fall-Line Motorsports – Debuting an Audi R8 GRAND-AM mid-season, Fall-Line Motorsports is targeting a two-car entry with the mid-engined sports car. An initial announcement is expected within the next ten days for the first Audi, while the Chicago area-based team is working to finalize the budget for a second full-season car. Drivers have yet to be announced. (1-2 Audi R8s)

Paul Miller Racing – Set for  a move from the ALMS GT ranks, Paul Miller Racing is finalizing a 2014 program, which has been rumored to be with an Audi R8. No official word has been given, although it’s nearly certain that Bryce Miller will return to the squad in 2014, whatever car it may be with. (1 Audi R8?)

JDX Racing – The Jeremy Dale and Harrison Brix-owned operation intend to be on the grid next year with a Porsche 911 GT America, although the program is not yet 100 percent definite. Increased costs, a concern held by many GTD teams, has seen JDX continue to finalize funding, with the hope of confirming its plans in the next three to four weeks. (1 Porsche 911 GT America)

Muehlner Motorsport – After its first full season in U.S. competition, the Belgian squad was one of the first Porsche teams to lay out plans for a two-car, full-season effort in 2014. Look for at least one 911 GT America entry to be on the grid next year. (1-2 Porsche 911 GT Americas)

Others:

Krohn Racing – Rumored to be making a move back Stateside, the soon-to-be Houston-based operation is believed to be evaluating some sort of GT program, either with its existing GTE spec Ferrari 458 Italia run in the FIA World Endurance Championship (for GTLM) or with a new GTD entry. No official word has been given on any potential program.

Black Swan Racing – The Tim Pappas-owned squad is unlikely to enter the TUDOR Championship with its Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 due to expected adjustments needed for FIA GT3-based machinery. Instead, Black Swan will remain 100 percent committed to the Pirelli World Challenge, which could include a possible expansion.

Stevenson Motorsports – Front-runners in the Rolex Series GT class, the North Carolina-based organization will focus its 2014 efforts in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge with an expanded two-car factory supported Chevrolet Camaro GT.R program in GS.

Projected Totals:

Confirmed Entries: 12 cars
Likely: +8-10 cars
Possible: ~2-5 additional cars

34 Comments

  1. Samios

    November 4, 2013 at 11:43 am

    This class is a messy disaster from the looks of it.

    • Anthony

      November 4, 2013 at 1:42 pm

      Its Corporate Welfare….. It should have been FIA GT3 cars in European spec full stop and the whiners can kick rocks, buy a GT3 car or move over to Conti Tire.

  2. Kevin

    November 4, 2013 at 11:46 am

    really hope the Lizards end up with Audi. Too many Porsches running in this class!

    • Anthony

      November 4, 2013 at 1:41 pm

      They already ordered 911 Americas. Some say Blancpain and GT Open have too many Ferraris in them…

  3. JT

    November 4, 2013 at 11:57 am

    You are right, 20+ car fields in sports car racing rarely amount to a good show.

  4. house382

    November 4, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    No mention of Speedsource, are they not making the jump from GX to GTD with the Mazda?

    • Jack

      November 4, 2013 at 12:49 pm

      the gtd mazda 6 was banned, they banned all tube framed cars like the turner bmw’s and the camaro. speed source is rumoured to be running a diesel mazda lola

      • Jaguar4

        November 4, 2013 at 2:22 pm

        Prep 2(Tube frame cars)weren’t banned from GTD.

  5. Jarrett B

    November 4, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Look for speedsource to be back next year…but not with a GTD.

    Announcement should be in a month or so (I dont want to ruin it for everyone)

    • Jason

      November 4, 2013 at 12:35 pm

      The Speedsource situation is one of those “worst kept secret” type deals. What the deal is with teams like Flying Lizard, Muscle Milk, and even Ganassi are legit questions.

      • Anthony

        November 4, 2013 at 1:39 pm

        Flying Lizard are committed to GT-D, did you not read that above?

        Muscle Milk is in discussions

        and Ganassi are rumored to move over to Ford but not confirmed.

    • Anthony

      November 4, 2013 at 1:40 pm

      Were not missing anything…. You can go ahead and ruin it. It will be another half-arse effort by Mazda no threat to win.

  6. Georges

    November 4, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    GT3 and GTE in the same series? What?
    Too many categories. We need only 2 classes. LMP(1) and GT(1/E). Like it was at Le Mans in 1993.

    • Anthony

      November 4, 2013 at 1:37 pm

      Too many classes when its oversubscribed? Hmmmm. Sorry but this isn’t 1993 just like we won’t be able to walk back the “War on Terror”. LMPC is likely to disappear by 2016 but I can see GT-D continuing.

      Also I think its offensive to real GT3 cars to call them that. They are dumbed down GT3 cars. They will get some aero and ABS back, I am not sure what else.

      They will all be 911 America pace which is likely only a few tenths faster than GTC/Rolex GT pole times last year. FIA spec GT3 cars are 4-5 seconds a lap faster…

      • Bakkster

        November 4, 2013 at 2:29 pm

        It will be interesting to see what the GT+/GT speed differential ends up being if it happens in 2016. And, whether IMSA buys into it fully for GTD.

        • Chad

          November 4, 2013 at 8:59 pm

          From everything I’ve read IMSA is going to be on board with the new 2016 GT Regs.

      • Mike Jordan

        November 7, 2013 at 6:09 pm

        See REAL GT3 spec cars in World Challange for 2014! Everybody should run GT3 spec and for TUSCC GTE and GTD,Right?

    • Bakkster

      November 4, 2013 at 2:33 pm

      Le Mans had four classes in 1993:
      C1, C2, LMP, GT

      In ’92 it was C1, C2, C3, C4.
      In ’94 it was LMP1, LMP2, GT1, GT2, and GTS

      I’m not sure Le Mans has ever had as few as just two categories.

    • Bakkster

      November 4, 2013 at 5:24 pm

      Also, both the ELMS and AsLMS have GTE and some form of modified GT3 class (In Europe GT3 with ballast and a restrictor, in Asia GT300 cars which include GT3 cars with BoP).

  7. Doug

    November 4, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    Are the GTD cars in any way eligible for Le Mans? Or will Dempsey have to find another car?

    • Anthony

      November 4, 2013 at 1:34 pm

      No and they will least a car from Prospeed again more than likely.

      • Ben

        November 4, 2013 at 1:44 pm

        Dempsey leased it from proton not prospeed btw

  8. Cuca Beludo

    November 4, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Do not know if you agree with me, but would not be a great idea to IMSA force the teams with more than one car to use the same pitstall for 2 cars. This would help increase the grid and also resolve an important issue which is the limitation of the grid in TUSCC. I really want to know the feedback from everyone.

    • Anthony

      November 4, 2013 at 1:34 pm

      Ummm so that works with V8 Supercars and doesn’t disadvantage anybody? That simply isn’t true, it does impact time in the pits and clogs up pitlane.

      What limitation? If teams in GT-D are looking for budget, don’t you know what that means?

      That means slow rich guys to buy seats. For some teams who will get help from a very good professional driver the team isn’t paying, that won’t be the case for many teams, especially the Porsche teams.

    • Chad

      November 4, 2013 at 9:05 pm

      Funny you mention this, I have been thinking the exact same thing. Only issue I can figure is how it would work for pit stops under caution. 3 car team only 2 stalls, the 3rd car would be at a pretty significant disadvantage. Not to mention cause one hell of a traffic jam should all 3 cars enter pit lane at the same time.

  9. oppositelock

    November 4, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    2 Porsches for AJR.

  10. Tim

    November 4, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    I really hope across all four classes the do not turn away a teams first car for another teams second car!

    For example Dempseys or Park Places second car should not replace Paul millers , Aims, or even Krohns first car. I believe second cars should take up left overs and Scuderia Corsa, AJR, and Flying lizard should get first dibs on a second car as they are the defending champions.

  11. Tim

    November 4, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    Also HUGE bummer on Black Swan Racing! I was really hoping for a Mercedes in the bunch!

  12. Tim

    November 4, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    What happened to Bentley`s push for teams to run the new Continental GT3? Thought we would see at least one since they claimed factory support.

    • Chad

      November 4, 2013 at 9:07 pm

      If I’m not seriously mistaken I think there was a rumor about Pickett running a Bentley. Not sure if it’s a serious possibility but I think the two have been linked in some capacity.

      • Tim

        November 5, 2013 at 10:46 am

        Their was rumors of Pickett, Paul Miller, Penske and im sure a few others. All have seemed to go elsewere with their plans. Pickett is likly to do GTLM…..Its possible we could see a Bentley GT3 made to GTE spec but i seriiusly doubt it.

  13. mimi69

    November 4, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    Even with the restrictions the IMSA placed on this class to protect the GTLM. The class is still going to be loaded. Without the Pro/Am and the class cap this class could have seen 30 or more for many of the events. More of the GTLM privateers would have followed Flying Lizard into GTD.

  14. Andy

    November 4, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    For those holding a grudge toward imsa and Daytona about the “dumbed-down” and “insult to GT3″ GT Daytona cars, you should point the fingers at the sacred GTLM class. The mfgs don’t want their factory cars getting passed on the straights by the lesser GTD cars. They would never allow the inclusion of full-spec GT3 cars for this reason. Please try to cut down on the elitism.

    • Bakkster

      November 5, 2013 at 12:37 pm

      I think in general the preference is for GT3 cars to retain their FIA-spec aero and use similar BoP that AsLMS and ELMS use for their GT3 cars. Full GT3-spec aero with TC and ABS, but adding some weight and restricting the engine a bit.

      I’m much more in favor of that, instead of the GTD-spec ECU and aero we’re getting. If they could fill the 20 car grid with cars like race in ELMS GTC, that would be ideal.

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