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 Prototype class in 2016.
Confirmed Full-Season (7 cars):
Action Express Racing – Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi will return to the No. 5 Corvette DP in defense of the drivers’ championship, with Dane Cameron and Eric Curran also back in the Coyote-chassied No. 31 car. Audi factory driver on-loan Filipe Albuquerque will join the No. 5 car for the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup races, with Scott Pruett also on board for Daytona in the No. 5 and Sebring in the No. 31 car. Simon Pagenaud and Sunoco Challenge winner Jonny Adam will complete the No. 31 car for Daytona. (2 cars)
Wayne Taylor Racing – Brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor are set to return to the Konica Minolta-sponsored Corvette DP, with a relatively unchanged effort. Look for Max Angelelli to remain as the team’s third driver for the endurance races. (1 car)
VisitFlorida Racing – While remaining with the Corvette DP for the final year, it’s all change in the driver lineup at the Troy Flis-led squad, with Marc Goossens and Ryan Dalziel forming the new full-season driver pairing. Ryan Hunter-Reay will complete the lineup for Daytona, Sebring and Petit Le Mans, while also subbing for Dalziel at Long Beach. (1 car)
Mazda Motorsports – Following the conclusion of it diesel program, the SpeedSource-run team will debut its new gasoline-powered engines in the Lola-based Mazda prototypes with an unchanged full-season driver lineup of Jonathan Bomarito/Tristan Nunez (No. 55) and Joel Miller/Tom Long (No. 70). Additional drivers for the endurance rounds have yet to be announced. (2 cars)
Michael Shank Racing – The longtime IMSA entrant will return its Honda-powered Ligier JS P2 with Ozz Negri and John Pew, with AJ Allmendinger joining the duo for Daytona, as well as a fourth, to-be-announced driver. Talks with Memo Rojas, in efforts to field a second car, are understood to have broken down, with the focus firmly on a single Ligier-Honda and a debut in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. (1 car)
DeltaWing – While yet to officially commit to a full-season return, the DeltaWing will take part in the Rolex 24 with an expected driver lineup comprising of Katherine Legge, Andy Meyrick and Sean Rayhall. Rayhall is understood to be in line for a season-long effort alongside new Silver-rated Legge, should the program materialize. (1 car – selected races/full season?)
Tequila Patron ESM – A single Ligier JS P2 Honda, featuring the enlarged 3.5-liter powerplant, will be entered by the Scott Sharp-owned team for Daytona and Sebring for Sharp, Ed Brown and Johannes van Overbeek. It’s understood the team’s new WEC signing, Pipo Derani, could be in line for the fourth seat at Daytona. (1 car – Daytona and Sebring)
Chip Ganassi Racing – While yet to be formally announced, look for a two-car Ford EcoBoost-powered Riley DP effort for Daytona, with Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray poised to defend their overall win. Rising Canadian open-wheel driver Lance Stroll, 17, has been linked to the sister entry. (2 cars – Daytona)
SMP Racing – The Russian squad, owned by Boris Rotenberg, is set for its U.S. Prototype debut at Daytona with its BR Engineering BR01 Nissan for Nic Minassian, Maurizio Mediani, Anton Ladygin and a fourth to-be-announced driver. An outing at Sebring is possible, depending on the results from the season-opener. (1 car – Daytona)
Alegra Motorsports – Carlos de Quesada is reportedly preparing a comeback to the Prototype class for a likely one-off race at Daytona with the ex-Starworks Motorsport Riley-Dinan DP. (1 car – Daytona?)
DragonSpeed – Elton Julian’s squad will make its Prototype class debut at Sebring with an Oreca 05 Nissan for Nicolas Lapierre, Nic Minassian and Henrik Hedman, ahead of a planned full-season ELMS effort. (1 car – Sebring)
Thiriet by TDS Racing – The French squad could contest selected races this year with its Oreca 05 Nissan, although ruling out a debut at Daytona. A final decision has yet to be taken.
PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports – Plans for a move to the Prototype class with a HPD ARX-04b were abandoned last month, with the Bobby Oergel-led team instead focusing again on the Prototype Challenge class for 2016.
Krohn Racing – Following a successful first season of ELMS, the Tracy Krohn-owned team is not planning to bring its Ligier JS P2 Judd back Stateside for the opening two rounds, as was the case last year.
Starworks Motorsport – The Peter Baron-led team has relinquished its Dinan-powered Riley DP to Carlos de Quesada, leaving Starworks to focus on its two-car PC effort next year.