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HTP Winward Names Lineup for GTD Debut at Daytona

HTP Winward Motorsport locks in drivers for GTD debut in Rolex 24 at Daytona…

Image: Andy Blackmore Design

HTP Winward Motorsport will make its first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD appearance this month competing in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

The German-American squad has confirmed that it will enter a Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo to be driven by Maro Engel, Indy Dontje, Philip Ellis and team principal Russell Ward.

Dontje and Ward are also signed up to drive a HTP Winward Mercedes-AMG GT4 in the IMSA Pilot Challenge series, which is holding its first race on the same Jan. 29-31 weekend as the Rolex 24. The pair will be undertaking double-duty during the event.

HTP Winward Motorsport made its debut last year, building on an earlier partnership between Winward Racing and 2016 GT World Challenge Europe teams’ champion HTP.

After a season in Pilot Challenge, the merged team is now set for its first outing in IMSA’s GT Daytona class, while its season-long plans are set to be outlined at a later date.

Last year the team also contested the Hankook 24H Dubai and the 24 Hours of Portimao, which it won with Dontje, Ellis, Ward and Bryce Ward. Additional GT3 appearances came in GT World Challenge America powered by AWS.

Additionally, HTP Motorsport won the 2013 Total 24 Hours of Spa with Mercedes-AMG and has also taken podiums at the Nürburgring 24 and the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.

“Our first participation at the Rolex 24 means something very special to us,” team principals Ward and Christian Hohenadel are quoted as saying.

“The task is to pick up a good rhythm and keep it without being a stumbling block for the fast prototypes. Those will be approaching in the mirrors in a flash which can be crucial especially during the long January night.

“Apart from that, the laws of endurance racing apply to everyone – only [those] who drive much and stand little have a chance to end up at the top. These rules apply to Florida as well as they do in the Ardennes or the Eifel region.

“We all are extremely motivated and are very much looking forward to the race.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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