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2017 IMSA Silly Season Update 2: GT Daytona

A look at the confirmed and likely GT Daytona entries….

Photo: Brian Cleary/

Photo: Brian Cleary/

In the latest Silly Season update, Sportscar365 takes a look at the confirmed, likely and possible entries for the GT Daytona class in next year’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.

Confirmed Entries (14-16 cars):

Scuderia Corsa (Ferrari) – The two-time and defending class champions will return with at least one Ferrari 488 GT3 for 2016 champions Alessandro Balzan and Christina Nielsen. Matteo Cressoni will complete the lineup for the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup races. A second car for the endurance events is understood to be possible and rumored to feature Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell. (1-2 cars)

Michael Shank Racing (Acura) – The longtime Prototype entrant will move to the GTD class next year, running Acura’s two-car factory NSX GT3 effort. Jeff Segal, Ozz Negri, Katherine Legge and Andy Lally are confirmed for the season, joined by Mark Wilkins and Tom Dyer for the endurance rounds and IndyCar aces Graham Rahal and Ryan Hunter-Reay for Daytona. (2 cars)

3GT Racing (Lexus) – The Paul Gentilozzi-led effort will field two new Lexus RC F GT3 cars, with a stacked squad of Scott Pruett, Sage Karam, Jack Hawksworth and Robert Alon for the season, with Austin Cindric, Dominik Farnbacher, Ian James and Gustavo Menezes completing the lineup for the endurance rounds. (2 cars)

Riley Motorsports (Mercedes-AMG) – Bill Riley’s team switches from Dodge Vipers to Mercedes-AMG GT3s in a two-car full-season program featuring factory backing. Jeroen Bleekemolen and Ben Keating team up in the No. 33 entry, with Cooper MacNeil and Gunnar Jeannette spearheading the second, WeatherTech-backed car. AMG factory driver Thomas Jaeger and Shane van Gisbergen complete the WeatherTech lineup for Daytona. (2 cars)

SunEnergy1 Racing (Mercedes-AMG) – A new team to the paddock owned by NASCAR driver Kenny Habul, the N.C.-based operation has laid out plans to enter the full season with Tristan Vautier as its lead driver. Habul and road racing ace Boris Said will share the second season-long seat and both be in the car for Daytona, with the team’s fourth, rumored-to-be high-profile driver, for the season-opener yet to be announced. (1 car)

CORE autosport (Porsche) – The five-time Prototype Challenge champions make the move to the GTD class with a customer Porsche 911 GT3 R program for Colin Braun and team owner Jon Bennett. Nic Jonsson joins the duo for the endurance races, with Porsche factory driver Patrick Long added for Daytona. (1 car)

Park Place Motorsports (Porsche) – Patrick Lindsey’s Porsche operation returns with an unchanged lineup of Lindsey and Joerg Bergmeister for the season, with Matt McMurry in for the endurance races. (1 car)

TRG (Porsche) – The Kevin Buckler-led team will return to full-season IMSA competition with a new Porsche GTD effort. Factory driver Wolf Henzler is confirmed for the season and will be joined by Jan Heylen, Derek DeBoer, Santiago Creel and Pablo Sánchez for Daytona. The German’s season-long co-driver has not yet been determined. (1 car)

Stevenson Motorsports (Audi) – While having not yet officially announced its program, it’s understood the John Stevenson-owned team will return with at least one Audi R8 LMS. Look for its four 2016 full-season drivers of Robin Liddell, Andrew Davis, Matt Bell and Lawson Aschenbach to be in the car at Daytona, with a second entry unclear at this point. (1-2 cars)

Paul Miller Racing (Lamborghini) – Lamborghini’s top-performing GTD team from 2016 returns with a largely unchanged effort, with Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow back in for the full season and joined by Bryce Miller for the endurance races. Andrea Caldarelli completes the lineup for Daytona. (1 car)

Change Racing (Lamborghini) – The Robby Benton-led team will return with a single Lamborghini, with the expected full-season lineup of Spencer Pumpelly and Corey Lewis. A formal program announcement is set to be made in the next few weeks. (1 car)

Partial-Season Entries (5-6 cars):

Dream Racing (Lamborghini) – Enrico Bertaggia’s Las Vegas-based team is set to return, although in a limited capacity, as the team sets its sights on a full-season Pirelli World Challenge program instead. However, look for a combination of Cedric Sbirrazzuoli, Paolo Ruberti, Luca Persiani and Larry DeGeorge at the wheel of its Lamborghini for the endurance races, at a minimum. (1 car)

Grasser Racing Team (Lamborghini) – Gottfried Grasser’s team is set for its U.S. debut, with a minimum two-race program. The Blancpain GT Series regulars, and heavily supported Lamborghini squad, will enter two Huracan GT3s at Daytona for Mirko Bortolotti, Christian Engelhart, Rolf Ineichen and Ezequiel Perez Companc, with additional drivers to be announced. A single-car program for Sebring is also planned, with an eye of completing the Patron Endurance Cup with one car. (2 cars)

Ebimotors (Lamborghini) – The Italian squad is set to take on the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Twelve Hours of Sebring, and potentially additional races, with Fabio Babini and Emanuele Busnelli at the wheel. (1 car)

Alegra Motorsports (Porsche) – Carlos de Quesada’s bunch has stepped up for a Patron Endurance Cup program with a new Porsche 911 GT3 R, featuring the solid lineup of Daniel Morad, Jesse Lazare, plus Carlos and his son Michael, for Daytona. Further races beyond the four enduros is also possible. (1 car)

Lone Star Racing (Mercedes-AMG) – After a partial season run with its Dodge Viper GT3-R, which is no longer eligible for GTD competition, the Dan Knox-owned team is finalizing a return, but with a Mercedes-AMG GT3. While a full-season effort has been ruled out, look for the team to be present at select races next year, but not likely at Daytona. (1 car)

Daytona-Only Entries (4 cars):

Aston Martin Racing – Paul Dalla Lana will return to Daytona with an Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3, featuring a heavy works lineup led by Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda, plus the potential of either or both Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen. (1 car)

Konrad Motorsport (Lamborghini) – The German squad will be back at Daytona with a Lamborghini Huracan GT3 for Marc Basseng, Marco Mapelli and Lance Willsey and a to-be-determined remainder of the lineup. Franz Konrad, meanwhile, hasn’t ruled out Sebring at this stage either. (1 car)

Manthey Racing (Porsche) – The German squad will enter a customer Porsche 911 GT3 R for Nils Reimer, Reinhold Renger, Harald Proczyk and Steve Smith, the potential of newly named Porsche factory driver Sven Mueller completing the lineup for the Daytona-only effort. (1 car)

Land Motorsport (Audi) – Newly crowned ADAC GT Masters champions, Land Motorsport, is set for its Daytona debut, with an Audi R8 LMS for Connor De Phillippi, Christopher Mies, Jules Gounon and Jeffrey Schmidt. Additional races could also be possible for the German squad, with its car remaining in the U.S. after the season-opener. (1 car)

AF Corse/Spirit of Race (Ferrari) – The Amato Ferrari-owned team will enter one Ferrari 488 GT3 car for the season-opener with a to-be-announced lineup. (1 car0

Possible/Unlikely Entries:

A number of past and present GTD teams continue to work to be on the grid at Daytona, although time is running out. Porsche stalwarts Alex Job Racing has yet to confirm a program after both its WeatherTech and The Heart of Racing-backed efforts will not return to the team, while Turner Motorsport is facing a similar situation with both of its 2016 funded drivers, Michael Marsal and Bret Curtis, not back.

Black Swan Racing has yet to confirm a 2017 program, although it’s understood the Tim Pappas-led squad is leaning towards PWC, potentially with a Mercedes-AMG GT3, while the future of Magnus Racing remains unclear following a challenging 2016 season for the John Potter-owned team.

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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