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Visit Florida Racing Closing In On 24H Le Mans Effort
- Updated: December 14, 2016
Visit Florida Racing is poised to make its 24 Hours of Le Mans debut, as part of a proposed joint effort with an undisclosed team in next year’s French endurance classic.
Team principal Troy Flis confirmed to Sportscar365 that he’s submitted an entry request through IMSA and is awaiting confirmation from the sanctioning body.
“I believe we’ll have some capacity there,” Flis told Sportscar365. “But it’s something that’s not done yet. We have to see if we can get an entry.
“Once we know we can get an entry, which we’d love to get one, that will probably tell us if we’re going to go or not.”
IMSA has two “at large” auto-invites for Le Mans, which have been typically awarded to the top-finishing Pro-Am competitors in the Prototype and GT Daytona classes, although 2016 recipient Michael Shank Racing has already ruled out a return to the race for next year.
Flis said they will be taking delivery of a second Gibson-powered Riley chassis next month, which could be used for its Le Mans effort, should they secure an invite.
“Realistically, we’re even looking at if we’d do a joint [program], they might [also] have a car,” Flis said.
The only other confirmed customer of a Riley-Gibson is Ben Keating, who has also laid out plans of competing in the LMP2 class at Le Mans next year.
Keating, however, would not be able to enter under the Riley Motorsports banner, due to ACO rules prohibiting a LMP2 constructor from also fielding an entry in the race.
LMP2 rules at Le Mans also enforce Pro-Am driver lineups, with Flis therefore needing a Bronze or Silver-rated driver to join his two IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship pilots Marc Goossens and Renger van der Zande.
Visit Florida will be one of the few Gibson-engined teams competing full-time in the WeatherTech Championship next year, which would provide Flis’ squad with valuable knowledge of the car, essentially in WEC spec, in the build up to the race.
“We’ll keep the car as close to P2 trim as we can, [except] the electronics and things like that,” Flis said. “We’re going to race in IMSA but if we can go to Le Mans, we’ll go to Le Mans.”