Notes from this weekend’s Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Roar Before the Rolex 24 test are below, split by class:
***CJ Wilson has had a busy weekend at Daytona, not just debuting the team’s new Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport but also driving it along with the team’s first full-season pairing of Marc Miller and Daniel Burkett. Wilson took laps Saturday after acquiring his IMSA license to drive. The testing comes well before his baseball season kicks off with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
***Compass360 Racing’s chassis for this weekend is the ex-Multimatic Motorsports No. 158 Ford Shelby GT350-C, and as such, is still adorned in the Multimatic white and blue livery for this test. The Children’s Tumor Foundation “Art Car” livery is expected to debut on the No. 76 car for Paul Holton and Pierre Kleinubing at Daytona.
***Compass360 team principal Karl Thomson told Sportscar365 that the team could have a customer-driven second Ford GS car by midseason, possibly as early as Watkins Glen. But Thomson wouldn’t want an extra GS car to detract from the team’s primary full-season efforts, the new GS car and the pair of Audi S3s.
***Coincidentally, both of those No. 158 Multimatic drivers from last year, Jade Buford and Austin Cindric, have been pounding the pavement this weekend in both the Continental Tire Challenge and WeatherTech Championship paddocks in hopes of finding a new ride. They’re among a long list of drivers who are here this weekend exploring the paddock and seeing what’s available.
***Kyle Marcelli, who drove for Mantella Autosport the last two years, sampled Muehlner Motorsport America’s No. 21 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport over the weekend. Muehlner has not confirmed its lineup for that car this season.
***DeMan Motorsport has two cars entered this week. Rick DeMan told Sportscar365 the team’s new No. 72 Porsche Cayman GT4 is a customer-built GT4 and the lone privateer Cayman entered for this test. Plans are to run both that car and the team’s ST class No. 11 Porsche Cayman for the full season.
***DeMan mentioned Ethan Low and Phillip Bloom as the likely candidates to run the ST class Cayman this season. Low led Friday’s timesheets in ST.
***Rennsport One has confirmed a three-car Porsche Cayman program in ST for the full season. Spencer Pumpelly will return with new co-driver Nick Galante in the No. 17 car, with Remo Ruscitti and Aaron Song in the No. 18 car and Greg Strelzoff and Connor Bloum set to return in the No. 19 car.
***Rennsport One team principal Justin Bellinzoni told Sportscar365 that the team’s No. 17 chassis, a new build they’re in the process of completing, will test for the first time later this week. The Nos. 18 and 19 cars are testing at Daytona this weekend.
***Trent Hindman sampled Bodymotion Racing’s No. 31 Porsche Cayman in ST along with Rob Slonaker and Devin Jones. Jones and Jason Rabe were announced last week as the ST class drivers for the team, which is running alongside one of the several new Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsports in GS.
***The CRG-I Do Borrow pairing of Owen Trinkler and Sarah Cattaneo will return for another season in the No. 44 Honda Civic Si in ST. The pair have fought through grip issues this weekend, and will look to get a respectable result at Daytona before heading to tracks where the Civic Si should be better suited.
***Alara Racing, as they did a year ago, has made a last-minute appearance at the Roar Before the Rolex 24 test. Alara has acquired the ex-CJ Wilson Racing Mazda MX-5 chassis. Christian Szymczak is set to return for another season and is targeting a recent past Continental Tire Challenge series champion as his potential co-driver.
***On another Mazda-related front, Freedom Autosport is expected to return with Andrew Carbonell and Liam Dwyer for another season in their Mazda MX-5, after the pair came up just short of last year’s ST title. Both drivers are on site this weekend although the team isn’t; Carbonell has spotted for the Mazda Motorsports Prototype team this weekend.
***Canadian James Vance has announced he’s signed with the MINI JCW Team for 2016 in one of its ST class MINI JCWs. Vance drove sporadic 2015 events with Racers Edge Motorsports in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, and also some PC races in the TUDOR Championship with Performance Tech Motorsports.
***Vance wasn’t the only new addition to the MINIs this week, with Ashley Freiberg also testing this weekend. Freiberg hasn’t confirmed any Continental Tire Challenge races yet in addition to her now full season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, split between the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 and No. 88 Starworks Motorsport Oreca FLM09.
***Rebel Rock Racing was also a late addition to this weekend’s test, with one of its ST Porsche Caymans. Team owner Jim Jonsin, Kris Wright, Andy Lee, Robin Liddell and Elliott Skeer were listed to drive the No. 8 car at some point this weekend, although it’s unknown whether all of them did.
***Porsche’s presence within both GS and ST is immense. With four new Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsports, a single previous generation Porsche 997 and 10 Porsche Caymans in ST, 15 of the 26 cars testing this weekend are Porsches.