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2016 IMSA Silly Season Update 2: GT Le Mans

A look at the confirmed and likely IMSA GTLM entries for 2016…

Photo: Brian Cleary/BCPix.com

Photo: Brian Cleary/BCPix.com

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 Le Mans class in 2016:

Confirmed Full-Season (9 cars):

Porsche North America – The CORE autosport-run operation will defend its class championship, with a third season campaigning factory Porsche 911 RSRs, although with an upgraded car. Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet will return for a full-season attack in the No. 911 car, with Earl Bamber and Fred Makowiecki in the No. 912. Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen will complete the lineups for the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup rounds. (2 cars)

Corvette Racing –  Two new 2016-spec Corvette C7.Rs will be run by the factory Pratt & Miller squad, featuring an unchanged full-season driver lineup of Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia, Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner. Audi factory drivers on-loan, Mike Rockenfeller and Marcel Fassler, complete the lineup for Daytona and Sebring. (2 cars)

BMW Team RLL – Bobby Rahal’s Ohio-based team will debut the brand-new BMW M6 GTLM in 2016, marking a significant departure from its venerable Z4 GTE cars. All four of the team’s full-season drivers return in Bill Auberlen, Dirk Werner, John Edwards and Lucas Luhr. New BMW signing Kuno Wittmer, Graham Rahal, Augusto Farfus and Bruno Spengler complete the lineups for Daytona. (2 cars)

Chip Ganassi Racing – The two new Multimatic-built Ford GTs will be among the stars of the class next year, with the full-season driver lineup now confirmed. Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller will pilot the No. 66 Ford, with Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook in the No. 67 entry. Look for Sebastien Bourdais and Marino Franchitti to complete the lineup for Daytona, potentially with expected WEC full-season driver Olivier Pla thrown in the mix as well. (2 cars)

Risi Competizione – Giuseppe Risi will fly the flag for Ferrari again, with the new 488 GTB set for its debut at Daytona, although the Houston-based team won’t take delivery of its car until after the Roar Before the Rolex 24. Pierre Kaffer will not return to the team, leaving at least one open seat for the planned full season effort. (1 car)

Confirmed Partial-Season Entries:

Scuderia Corsa – The Giacomo Mattioli-owned squad will step up to the GTLM ranks with a new Ferrari 488 GTE for the Patron Endurance Cup rounds. Alessandro Pier Guidi, Alexandre Premat and Daniel Serra will pilot the Michelin-shod Ferrari for the four-round program. (1 car – NAEC)

SMP Racing – The Russian squad will make its second Rolex 24 start in the last three years, but the first with the new Ferrari 488 GTE. The heavily factory-supported effort, run in conjunction by AF Corse, will see works drivers Gianmaria Bruni, Toni Vilander and Andrea Bertolini be joined by Russian standout Victor Shaytar. (1 car – Daytona)

Other Entries:

Walker Racing – With the Falken program coming to an end, the future remains unclear for Derrick Walker’s sports car squad, which has so far, yet to secure a program for 2016. The majority of the crew have found jobs elsewhere, leaving further questions if Walker can assemble a program at this late stage. Walker, meanwhile, has taken up a new job as President of SCCA Pro Racing. (unknown)

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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