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2014 Silly Season Update: GT Le Mans
- Updated: November 1, 2013
With significant manufacturer involvement and ultra-close racing, the popular American Le Mans Series GT class carries over into the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship relatively unchanged.
No doubt one of the most anticipated classes for 2014, Sportscar365 continues its “silly season” update with a look at the confirmed, likely and potential full-season entries for the newly named GT Le Mans category for 2014.
Corvette Racing – Coming off its 10th ALMS championship, the factory Pratt & Miller squad rolls into 2014 with a brand-new weapon in the Corvette C7.R. While yet to be announced, look for an unchanged full-season driver lineup. However, there will be new endurance pilots for Daytona and Sebring due to Jordan Taylor and Richard Westbrook both having already been committed to full-time GM-backed rides in the Prototype class. (2 Corvette C7.Rs)
BMW Team RLL – After an encouraging debut season with the Z4 GTE, the Bobby Rahal-led team is set to return with the same machinery and a similar lineup of drivers. After splitting the seat of the No. 56 BMW with Joey Hand in 2013, look for John Edwards to step into a full-season drive. The remainder of the lineup should remain relatively unchanged, although not yet made official. (2 BMW Z4 GTEs)
SRT Motorsports – Considered the breakout performers of 2013, the Bill Riley-led crew will also return with its pair of SRT Viper GTS-Rs, while also adding a customer GT3-R for the GT Daytona class. Like Corvette and BMW, no announcements have been made on driver lineups, although there is expected to be at least two changes, including filling the seat of Ryan Dalziel, who has gone to Extreme Speed Motorsports for 2014. (2 SRT Viper GTS-Rs)
Porsche North America – The German manufacturer steps up to a full factory program with its new 991-based Porsche 911 RSR, which contested this year’s FIA World Endurance Championship. Three-time PC champs CORE autosport will handle operations of the two-car program, which will be filled with works drivers. While Patrick Long, the only current American factory driver, appears to be a shoe-in, it’s understood the full lineup has yet to be confirmed and will depend on Porsche’s level of involvement in the WEC next year. (2 Porsche 911 RSRs).
Team Falken Tire – While the team has declined official comment, it’s understood the Derrick Walker-led organization is preparing to return. Having run Porsches since the program’s inception in 2009, and the German manufacturer offering one customer 991 for next year, it would seem logical for Team Falken Tire to go that route, if and when a program is confirmed. A drawing of a Falken Tire GT car, in what appeared to be a Porsche 911 RSR, was recently posted on the manufacturer’s Facebook page, adding more fuel to the fire. (1 Porsche 911 RSR?)
Pickett Racing – Having revealed in a Sportscar365 exclusive his plans for expansion, team owner Greg Pickett is working to finalize a GT LM program with an unidentified manufacturer. Pickett had been in talks with three GT3 brands, believed to have included Bentley and Mercedes, on homologating their cars to GTE specifications. Where that stands is unclear. Recent rumors have linked Pickett to instead potentially using a GTE car, although not confirmed. What is known is that the team is likely to be on the grid in GT LM. (1-2 TBD cars)
Risi Competizione – After a challenging season, the Texas-based squad is continuing to push ahead with plans for 2014, but is subject to sponsorship being finalized. It’s understood discussions are in the advanced stages, but an official go-ahead has yet to be given by team principal Giuseppe Risi. If the team returns, it would again be with its Ferrari F458 Italia, likely with a crop of Ferrari drivers familiar to the team. (1 Ferrari F458 Italia)
Others – Andretti Autosport has been linked to a potential return to sports cars next year, which could potentially be in GT LM. Paul Miller Racing and Alex Job Racing, which both fielded ALMS GT entries this year, however, are set to focus their efforts in GTD next year.
Confirmed Entries: 8 cars
Likely: +1-2 cars
Possible: ~1-2 additional cars