A handful of Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge teams, including new-for-2018 GT4 and TCR machinery, are set to take part in a single-day test at Daytona on Wednesday, ahead of next month’s season-opening BMW Endurance Challenge.
The test, primarily focused on the series’ new incoming cars, features two, one-hour sessions alongside additional practice sessions for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda.
On the entry list issued last week, 12 cars from 12 Continental Tire Challenge teams are entered for the test, five from the GS class and seven from the new-for-2018 TCR class.
Of the five GS cars, all of which are homologated to GT4 specifications, three will be seeing IMSA competition for the first time in 2018, including the Mercedes-AMG GT4, Audi R8 and BMW M4.
Three of the five GS teams are also new to the class, including Winward Racing/HTP Motorsport and Audi of America, both new to the series altogether, and BimmerWorld Racing, formerly an ST class team.
The remaining two teams return with the same car they competed with in 2017, RS1 with the Porsche Cayman and Multimatic Motorsports, which supported KohR Motorsports this past season, with the Ford Mustang.
However, the biggest change coming for the series in 2018 is the introduction of TCR. Its integration into the Continental Tire Challenge marks the first time the class will be fully incorporated into North American sports car racing, and several manufacturers are jumping at the opportunity.
Audi will be represented at the test with five RS3 LMS cars fielded by four teams: Audi of America, C360R, eEuroparts.com Racing and JDC-Miller Motorsports. Alfa Romeo and Volkswagen will also be represented with one car apiece, by Alfa TCR USA and VW Motorsport, respectively.
Many drivers who competed in the Continental Tire Challenge in 2017 are returning for the test as well, including Scott Maxwell and Jade Buford for Multimatic, Dillon Machavern and Spencer Pumpelly for RS1, James Clay and Tyler Cooke for BimmerWorld, Michael Johnson and Stephen Simpson for JDC-Miller, and Roy Block, Pierre Kleinubing and Aurora Straus for C360R.
Andrew Davis is pegged for Audi of America’s RS3 LMS TCR entry, as he piloted the manufacturer’s R8 LMS GT3 car in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship this past year
After a Continental Tire Challenge hiatus in 2017, Lee Carpentier and Kieron O’Rourke return to Daytona with World Challenge team eEuroparts.com Racing in another Audi TCR, while New York native Nick Longhi joins the C360R Audi roster as well. VW Motorsport has listed former RS1 ST driver Jon Miller in its new Volkswagen TCR car.