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KCMG Names GTD Pro Drivers for Rolex 24 Debut

Vanthoor, Pilet, Olsen, Imperatori to line up for Rolex 24 debutant KCMG in GTD Pro…

Imag: KCMG

KCMG has announced the driver lineup for its Rolex 24 at Daytona debut later this month with a factory-supported Porsche 911 GT3 R in the new GTD Pro category.

GTD champion Laurens Vanthoor, Patrick Pilet, Dennis Olsen and Alexandre Imperatori will drive for the Hong Kong-based team in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opener on Jan. 29-30.

KCMG stated its intention to enter Daytona back in July as it aimed to add another major enduro to its Porsche GT3 program which has included outings at the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa, the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour and the Nürburgring 24 in recent years.

The Daytona entry will be co-engineered by Kai Stoerling, who was behind Manthey Racing’s Nürburgring 24 win last year, and former KCMG LMP2 crew member Adam Hardy who has most recently worked for the factory Porsche GTE-Pro squad in the WEC.

“The 2022 Rolex 24 at Daytona is an exciting and significant moment in KCMG history as it marks the team’s first entry in the last of the big 24-hour races, having previously competed at Le Mans, Nürburgring and Spa events,” said team manager Matt Howson.

“We have a fantastic driver lineup, combining youth and experience which is capable of challenging for the inaugural GTD Pro class win.

“We’re also pleased to welcome back Patrick, Laurens, Dennis and Alex, all of whom competed with KCMG previously.

“Continuing our excellent relationship with Porsche and the 911 GT3 R is an honor and the engineering combination of Adam Hardy and Kai Stoerling makes for a formidable team to support KCMG’s first program at Daytona.”

The Rolex 24 is the only confirmed IMSA entry for KCMG, although Howson indicated last year that other North American races were also of interest to the team.

KCMG finished fifth at the 2021 edition of the 24 Hours of Spa with a Pro-class Porsche driven by Vanthoor, Nick Tandy and Maxime Martin.

Vanthoor is set to return to the top class of IMSA GT competition with the team after winning the GTD title with Zach Robichon and Pfaff Motorsports last season.

The Belgian ace and Pilet both previously drove for the CORE-assisted factory Porsche team in the now-defunct GT Le Mans class, while 2019 Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli champion Olsen has made appearances with Pfaff in GTD.

Imperatori has one previous IMSA start to his name, in the form of a Daytona ride with Porsche GTD squad Muelhner Motorsports in 2014.

“It is a very exciting moment to see the team getting ready to take on the Rolex 24 at Daytona for the first time,” commented KCMG team founder Paul Ip.

“After our previous victory at Le Mans and attempts Nürburgring and Spa, we’re confident that a good result here is possible, and it is great to have Porsche on board with us once again.

“The lineup is a fantastic combination of drivers that have all competed for KCMG in the past and they are ready to be a part of the team’s first program at this historic race.

“The 911 GT3 R has performed very well for us since our relationship with Porsche began in 2020, so our main goal is to carry this into the new year and aim for the GTD Pro class win at Daytona.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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