NTT IndyCar Series driver JR Hildebrand will be part of NTE Sport’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship debut in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The 33-year-old Californian, who has previous sports car racing experience in the American Le Mans Series, will join Andrew Davis, Don Yount and Alan Metni in the team’s Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo for the Florida endurance classic.
“I can’t wait to join the guys down in Daytona and looking forward to my first Rolex 24,” said Hildebrand.
“It’s such a great way to kick off the year and I’m excited for the challenges it presents.
“Over the last few years I’ve ventured outside of IndyCar more often and every time it reminds me why I love getting behind the wheel even more.
“The IMSA calendar has so many of the iconic U.S. circuits on it, some of which I haven’t raced on since F2000 but still love, adding Daytona to my schedule this year is great and hopefully there’s more to come.”
Out of the four drivers, only Davis has previous experience of the mid-engined GT3 contender, in what will mark the veteran sports car racer’s 19th Rolex 24 appearance.
“I’m very happy to be continuing my strong relationship with Audi Sport customer racing, and I look forward to helping the team maximize performance both on and off the track,” said Davis.
“Adding to the excitement for me personally is the chance to share the experience with my long-time coaching client and friend, Alan Metni. It will be his first attempt at the race, so I’m eager to help him navigate through all the unique challenges associated with this particular race.”
The Rolex 24 will mark the Paul Mata-led team’s WeatherTech Championship debut after making selected starts in Michelin Pilot Challenge last year under the M1 Racing banner.
Daytona is so far the only confirmed race for the GTD program.
“It’s great to be able to build on our first year in the Michelin Pilot Challenge to be able to run in the GTD class this year at such an iconic event,” said Mata.
“The field looks incredibly stout, and this year’s race looks like it will be highly competitive.”
Mata’s team will field the only Audi in the 20-car GTD class, which will run in a predominately white and red livery.