Dan Knox and his Lone Star Racing No. 80 ACS Manufacturing Dodge Viper GT3-R team are currently reviewing 2016 options and making plans to compete in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship after a successful GT Daytona debut in September at Circuit of The Americas .
Knox and co-driver Marc Goossens co-drove the No. 80 ACS Viper GT3-R to a seventh place finish at COTA in what was the first IMSA race for Knox and team.
The weekend was an encouraging home-state debut for Knox and Lone Star Racing, which is based at Motorsport Ranch in Cresson, Tex. in the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area.
“We are still a young team, and have only been racing together for two years, but our IMSA debut at Circuit of the Americas certainly gave us something to build on,” said Knox, a resident of Pilot Point, Texas.
“We want to become a premier racing team in Texas and a regular fixture in the IMSA GTD class, which is shaping up to be a very competitive division for next year. We want to be in on the action and are currently evaluating several endurance and sprint race options for 2016.”
Lone Star Racing team manager and engineer AJ Petersen is leading the team’s 2016 planning efforts.
“2015 was definitely a year of transition for Lone Star Racing,” Petersen said. “It has been another building year for this team and we transitioned our focus from solely Pirelli World Challenge to include IMSA GTD.
“We had a great debut at COTA in the series with the help of some great people, have been blessed with the opportunity to choose where to race and look forward to 2016.”
Knox and his team have no doubts the WeatherTech Championship is where they want to be in 2016.
“The format is different from what we have done before, much more exciting and in line with traditional sports car racing with longer races, multi-classes and multiple drivers,” Knox said.
“In-race pit stops are also a new thing for us and it all happens in front of larger crowds than what we saw in World Challenge. Our COTA debut was a great experience and we expect more of the same in 2016.”
Silver-rated Knox will drive for his team again in 2016 while several potential full-season and endurance-race teammates have expressed a recent interest in Lone Star Racing.
Goossens has signed with top Prototype team VisitFlorida.com Racing, but other drivers, of various ranking levels from both the U.S. and overseas, have inquired about competing with Lone Star Racing in 2016.
Petersen attended last week’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship test session at Daytona International Speedway while the team is focusing on its own December testing schedule.
“We did not participate in the tests at Daytona and have a testing plan for December, which will include some driver evaluations,” Petersen said.
“The plan currently is to run sprint events with IMSA in 2016 but we are working to put the car on the grid for the Rolex 24 Daytona event and other North American Endurance Cup events.
“All of our car and team preparation has this as our focus but we can’t do it alone. We are looking for partners to join us in the effort, either drivers looking for a solid race platform or corporate partnerships.”
Lone Star Racing has raced a Dodge Viper GT3-R since the model made its international competition debut in 2014.
“We have a proven package with the Dodge Viper GT3-R,” Petersen said. “Dodge Mopar and Riley Technologies have done an excellent job developing the Viper GT3R and their results are proven. Riley Motorsports is a very good race team and they also deserve credit for results as well.
“However, the other competition in GTD will be coming from new GT3 models and from teams that will be soon taking delivery of their cars. It’s tough to race and learn a car at the same time, we have been in that position before in 2014, but that will not be a concern for us in 2016.”