8Star Motorsports has finalized its driver lineup for the Rolex 24 at Daytona, while also targeting an expansion in the Prototype Challenge ranks, potentially by as early as second round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season.
Enzo Potolicchio confirmed to Sportscar365 Wednesday evening that former WTCC champion Rob Huff has joined the Florida-based squad for the season-opener and will share the wheel of the No. 25 Oreca FLM09 with Tom Kimber-Smith, Michael Marsal and the Venezuelan team owner/driver.
Huff moves to 8Star after completing the Roar Before the Rolex 24 with Starworks Motorsport. The 34-year-old Englishman won December’s Thunderhill 25 Hours and is fresh off a podium finish in the Dunlop 24 Hours of Dubai.
“I think we have a really good chance of winning this race,” Potolicchio told Sportscar365. “We have a great team. They did very well coming from a strong finish at Petit Le Mans. We already know the car well, and we’ve been fast every time.
“Tom Kimber-Smith brings a lot of experience in endurance racing. Rob Huff is a quick guy with a lot of recent success, having done the Dubai 24 Hours. Mike Marsal brings his Silver talent. He did a few laps in car [at the Roar] to get comfortable. Myself, I felt really good at the November test we did.
“We have a strong and experienced lineup. That’s going to pay off in the end and that’s what we’re looking for. We definitely have everything to get our first win.”
Potolicchio said that both Kimber-Smith and Marsal, teammates in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge with Turner Motorsport, are confirmed for the four-round Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup.
Additionally, the team is in conversations with an undisclosed driver, who is finalizing his IMSA race license, to complete the season in the No. 25 car beginning at the Twelve Hours of Sebring in March.
There is also a potential for 8Star to expand into a two-car PC operation by the second round. Potolicchio confirmed they’ll be taking delivery of a refurbished Oreca FLM09 on Monday, with the potential to run it later in the season, entry permitting.
“We’re searching for drivers but we already have people that want to test to get ready for 2015,” he said. “If the series lets us put the car on the grid from Sebring-on, I think we have the customer to do that, so we’re really looking good for the year.”
Potolicchio, meanwhile, hasn’t ruled out one of 8Star’s Corvette DPs from returning to competition later in the year either, if the right sponsorship is found. The team has yet to upgrade its pair of Coyote-chassied prototypes to 2014 specification.