Riley Motorsports will continue in IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge competition next year, with Jim Cox and Dylan Murry set to return to the team’s Mercedes-AMG GT4.
The pairing, who teamed up with Jeroen Bleekemolen for victory at Watkins Glen in June, will return for a full-season run in 2020, kicking off with with a run in November’s Michelin IMSA SportsCar Encore at Sebring.
Cox and Murry currently sit sixth in the GS championship heading into next month’s season finale at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, following a fruitful first season of Pilot Challenge for the pairing that has included starring drives by the 18-year-old Murry.
“We were way quicker at Daytona that we thought we were going to be. Then we took that rock through the oil cooler and that didn’t help,” Cox told Sportscar365.
“But then fourth at Sebring, second at Mid-Ohio, we were thinking we could actually do something here.
“Then winning Watkins Glen was huge. That was a big race.
“We’ve had some bad luck, some of our own making and some not, since. It’a been a great year.”
While it hasn’t been confirmed, team principal Bill Riley said that having Bleekemolen return for the two long-distance races at Daytona and Watkins Glen would be the “simplest and most-desired first choice”.
“What Bill and I have been talking about… The Riley team doesn’t have to up its game but Dylan and I, together, with them, have to up the cumulative game,” Cox said.
“It will mean more testing, more of everything because I think winning a race next year, other than dumb luck, preparation is going to be everything.
“Especially as a gentleman driver. I’ve just got to find more seat time. It’s hard jumping into the car from my real life.”
Riley: 2020 Focus on Single-Car GTD, GS Programs
Riley said the team is unlikely to expand beyond the two-car full-season operation for next year, split between Pilot Challenge and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with its new-f0r-2020 pairing of Lawson Aschenbach and Gar Robinson.
“I feel that we have such good people we’re working with on both teams that we really don’t want to upset the apple cart,” Riley said.
“I’m not desperate enough to bring somebody in who we don’t think would fit to all of this right now.
“The crew works hard together and even though they’re in different races, we definitely want to make sure we’re one big team and I think we’ve achieved that.”
Cox Targeting Potential Step up to GTD
While not in the cards for next year, Cox has targeted a potential GTD effort for 2021, should next year’s Pilot Challenge program go to plan.
“It’s a goal but I’m racing the clock,” he said. “I’d like to do Daytona, Sebring. That’s the ultimate goal but Bill is going to keep me within myself and make sure we get another season of GS under our belt.
“If we do even better next year, then yeah, the following year would definitely be on our target.”