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2016 IMSA Silly Season Update: Prototype

A look at the confirmed and possible IMSA P class entries for 2016…

Photo: IMSA

Photo: IMSA

Silly season is in full swing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, with a number of off-season changes expected prior to the 2016 season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.

Sportscar365 looks at the confirmed and possible entries for the Prototype class, which enters the final season under the current set of combined DP/P2 regulations.

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, in what is expected to be a near-identical effort from 2015. (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.com Racing – While having looked at getting a jump start on 2017 with a switch to P2 machinery, Spirit of Daytona is poised to remain with its tried and trusted Corvette DP for next year. However, it appears there will be at least one change to the driver lineup, with Richard Westbrook rumored to be off to race the new Ford GT. (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 SKYACTIV prototypes. It’s believed there will be at least one change in the full season driver lineup for the two-car factory squad. (2 cars)

Michael Shank Racing – The longtime IMSA entrant will return its Honda-powered Ligier JS P2 with the expected driver lineup of Ozz Negri and John Pew. It’s understood Memo Rojas has been in discussion with the team, and others, for a possible drive, which could open the door for a second full-season or NAEC-only entry. Look for the team to utilize an upgraded 3.5-liter version of the Honda V6 powerplant.  (1-2 cars)

Possible/Partial Season Entries:

PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports – The Prototype Challenge stalwarts could step up to the top class next year with a P2 car. Multiple options were initially on the table but it’s believed the Bobby Oergel-led team is closing in on running HPD’s ARX-04b, which is set to resume development. Look for Mike Guasch and Cuttwood to return, should the deal materialize. (1 car – full season?)

DeltaWing – The future of the DeltaWing DWC13 is up in the air, with the Don Panoz-owned team evaluating a possible introduction of its GT-based car for next year. Memo Rojas, whose sponsorship funded the majority of the team’s 2015 program, is talking to other teams, leaving further question marks over the future of the DeltaWing program. (1 car?)

Tequila Patron ESM – The Scott Sharp-owned team is already committed to a return to the FIA WEC next year but is expected to contest the Rolex 24, as well as potentially the remaining NAEC rounds with one Ligier JS P2 Honda. (1 car – NAEC?)

Chip Ganassi Racing – While the team’s focus will be on the GT Le Mans class and its new factory Ford GTs, all fingers are pointing towards a Rolex 24-only program for a Riley-F0rd DP, as the team seeks its 7th overall win in the Florida endurance classic. (1 car – Daytona)

Krohn Racing – Following a successful first season in the ELMS, Tracy Krohn has yet to decide on his team’s 2016 program, which could include a return to Daytona, Sebring, or potentially more IMSA rounds with its Ligier JS P2 Judd. (1 car – NAEC?)

DragonSpeed – Elton Julian’s squad will make its Prototype class debut at Sebring with an Oreca 05 Nissan for Julian, Henrik Hedman and Frankie Montecalvo, ahead of a planned full-season ELMS effort. (1 car – Sebring)

Starworks Motorsport – The Peter Baron-led team is working hard to bring its Riley-BMW DP back out for one final year of competition, with options currently on the table. (1 car?)

AF Racing – The Russian squad has been evaluating a possible two-race IMSA program for its BR Engineering-built BR01 LMP2 car for Daytona and Sebring. (1 car – Daytona & Sebring?)

European P2 Team – An undisclosed European P2 team also considering a possible outing at Daytona. (1 car – Daytona?)

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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