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2016 IMSA Silly Season Update 2: GT Daytona

Sportscar365 takes a look at the confirmed and likely 2016 IMSA GTD entrants…

Photo: IMSA

Photo: IMSA

With less than a month until the Roar Before the Rolex 24, Silly Season is coming to an end in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

In the second and final update, Sportscar365 looks at the confirmed and likely entries for the new-look GT Daytona class in 2016:

Confirmed Full-Season (14 cars):

Alex Job Racing (Porsche) – Having been the first to confirm its 2016 plans, Alex Job Racing will return with a two-car effort with the new Porsche 911 GT3 R. Cooper MacNeil and Leh Keen are confirmed in the WeatherTech-backed No. 22 entry, with Mario Farnbacher and Ian James in the No. 23 Team Seattle Porsche. Gunnar Jeannette, Shane van Gisbergen and David MacNeil will complete the No. 22 car lineup for Daytona, with Wolf Henzler confirmed in the No. 23 Porsche. (2 cars)

Black Swan Racing (Porsche) – Tim Pappas makes his return to IMSA competition with a brand-new Porsche 911 GT3 R for himself and Dutch star Nick Catsburg. Porsche factory driver Patrick Long will join the lineup for Daytona, with the fourth, and potentially fifth drivers still TBA. (1 car)

Park Place Motorsports (Porsche) – The Patrick Lindsey-led outfit will return with a new Porsche 911 GT3 R, for Lindsey and Porsche factory driver Joerg Bergmeister, making a parting of ways with Spencer Pumpelly. Additional drivers for the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup rounds have yet to be announced. (1 car)

Paul Miller Racing (Lamborghini) – The longtime Porsche and Audi squad will switch to another Volkswagen Group manufacturer in Lamborghini for 2016, having announced plans to run a Huracán GT3. Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow have been named full-season drivers, with Bryce Miller serving as third driver for the Patron Endurance Cup rounds. (1 car)

Change Racing (Lamborghini) – The Robbie Benton-led Change Racing team will step up to top-level IMSA competition with a new Lamborghini Huracán GT3. Drivers have yet to be announced, although it wouldn’t be a surprise to see some of the team’s Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America drivers, such as Corey Lewis, be in line for a drive. (1 car)

O’Gara Motorsport (Lamborghini) – Fellow Super Trofeo squad O’Gara will also make its WeatherTech Championship debut next year, with reigning GTD champions Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell, who move from Scuderia Corsa. A second entry is possible for later in the season. (1 car)

Stevenson Motorsports (Audi) – The reigning Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge GS champions will re-enter top-level IMSA competition with a pair of Audi R8 LMS cars, with an identical full-season driver lineup from its two-car Camaro effort in 2015. Robin Liddell and newly re-classified Silver-rated Andrew Davis will drive the No. 6 car, with Matt Bell and Lawson Aschenbach in the No. 9 entry. Look for a handful of Audi factory drivers to join the effort for Daytona. (2 cars)

Magnus Racing (Audi) – The John Potter-owned team switches from Porsche to Audi for 2016, with Potter and Andy Lally returning as full-season drivers. No word yet on drivers for the endurance races, although Marco Seefried could return for those races. (1 car)

Turner Motorsport (BMW) – Will Turner’s squad will debut the new BMW M6 GT3 in a two-car season-long attack for Bret Curtis and BMW factory driver Jens Klingmann (No. 96) and Markus Palttala and Michael Marsal (No. 97). Ashley Freiberg, Marco Wittmann, Jesse Krohn and Maxime Martin will complete the respective lineups for Daytona. (2 cars)

Scuderia Corsa (Ferrari) – The Giacomo Mattioli-owned squad remains in GTD next year but with the new Ferrari 488 GT3, which may or may not debut at Daytona. Former Grand-Am GT champion Alessandro Balzan makes his full-season return to U.S. racing and is joined by 2014 GTD runner-up Christina Nielsen. Jeff Segal and Robert Renauer completes the lineup for Daytona, in what could be the only Prancing Horse represented in GTD this year. (1 car)

Riley Motorsports (Dodge) – While having evaluated a move to WEC, Ben Keating has opted to remain in IMSA full-time next year, with the Texan and Jeroen Bleekemolen returning to the No. 33 Viper GT3-R. Mark Miller and Dominik Farnbacher will complete the lineup for Daytona, with a second car still possible, but unlikely at this stage. (1-2 cars)

Confirmed Partial-Season Entries:

TRG-AMR (Aston Martin) – Kevin Buckler’s outfit is planning a return to GTD next year, although the scale of its program has yet to be determined. TRG-AMR recently announced an expanded partnership with Aston Martin Racing that will bring factory support to the program. Look for two V12 Vantage GT3s for Daytona and Sebring, with at least one potentially continuing for the full season. (2 cars – Daytona & Sebring)

Aston Martin Racing – The factory Prodrive squad is understood to be fielding a Vantage of its own at Daytona and Sebring for Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy, Mathias Lauda and Richie Stanaway. However, given TRG’s new factory support, could this entry perhaps be combined into TRG’s effort for the opening two rounds? (1 car – Daytona & Sebring)

Konrad Motorsport (Lamborghini) – Franz Konrad will enter a Lamborghini Huracán GT3 for the four-round Patron Endurance Cup with drivers Rolf Ineichen, Fabio Babini, Lance Willsey and Konrad himself. A second entry is possible for Daytona as well for the German squad. (1-2 car – NAEC).

TBA (Porsche) – Look for a fifth new Porsche 911 GT3 R to be on the grid at Daytona, from a to-be-announced team. (1 car – Daytona/NAEC)

Autometrics Motorsports (Porsche) – A Patron Endurance Cup program is planned for the team’s 997-based Porsche 911 GT3 R with drivers Cory Friedman, Joe Toussaint and potentially 2014 PWC GTA champion Michael Mills. (1 car – NAEC)

Spirit of Race (Ferrari) – The AF Corse-run squad, running under the Swiss flag, will mount a multi-race program with a Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 for Peter Mann, Matteo Cressoni, Raffaele Giammaria and Marco Cioci. Daytona and Sebring is already confirmed, with a decision yet to be made on the final two NAEC rounds. (1 car – NAEC)

Lone Star Racing (Dodge) – After its series debut at COTA this year, the Dan Knox-owned team is planning a partial season effort with its Dodge Viper GT3-R with Knox set but his pro to-be-determined, although Cameron Lawrence’s name has been mentioned. A debut at the Rolex 24 is possible. (1 car – partial season)

F Performance Racing (Lexus) – Paul Gentilozzi and Scott Pruett have joined forces for the new factory-backed Lexus effort, which is expected to debut in the second half of the season. Testing with the new Lexus RC F GT3 is set to begin in February. (1 car)

Possible/Unlikely Entries:

Flying Lizard Motorsports (Audi?) – The Darren Law-led team could return next year, although nothing has been announced. Hopes of running its McLaren 650S GT3s have faded due to no IMSA Automotive Partnership with the British manufacturer. The team could revert to its previous-generation Audi R8 LMS, however. (1 car?)

Fall-Line Motorsports (BMW) – The Michael Harvey-led squad hasn’t completely given up hope of re-entering GTD next year, with work still ongoing to potentially field a BMW M6 GT3 next year. (1 car?)

AIM Autosport (Nissan) – Hopes of seeing the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3s on the grid have faded, due to Nissan North America’s withdrawal from IMSA. With no manufacturer agreement in place, “Godzilla” would be prohibited from competing in the GTD class. (unlikely)

DragonSpeed (Mercedes) – The same situation exists at the Elton Julian-owned team, but instead with Mercedes, as the German manufacturer has no current plans to become an IMSA partner as well. This has ruled out Julian’s two Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3s from competing at Daytona, despite having shown solid pace in last month’s IMSA-sanctioned test. (unlikely)

Compass360 Racing (Audi) – Karl Thomson’s team returned its older Audi R8 LMS chassis to Flying Lizard Motorsports after its last TUDOR Championship start in Austin. A new Audi R8 LMS would make logical sense, but doesn’t seem likely given the team’s current focus on Audi programs in both the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge ST class (Audi S3) and in World Challenge (Audi TT-RS) Possible, but unlikely to happen at this stage. (unlikely)

Muehlner Motorsports – There’s been no word on this team’s prospects since a test of its Porsche 911 GT America at Lime Rock back in May. Bernhard Muehlner’s squad’s only U.S. start this year came at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, and like Wright, they’d need a new car. (unknown)

Tony DiZinno contributed to this report

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John


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