Spirit of Daytona Racing has confirmed its return to General Motors, with Tristan Vautier and Matt McMurry set to pilot the team’s new Cadillac DPi-V.R in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The long-awaited announcement comes weeks after Sportscar365 indicated that the Troy Flis-led squad would campaign a Cadillac DPi next year.
It will mark the team’s third different LMP2-based chassis in the span of 12 months, after starting the 2017 season with a Riley Mk. 30 Gibson prior to a mid-season switch to Onroak Automotive’s Ligier JS P217 Gibson, which delivered a maiden victory at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
The new-look team, which loses Visit Florida as its title sponsor, will also have an all-new lineup in Vautier and McMurry.
“Last season was so difficult, but even though we were on the back foot for a lot of the year, I think we learned a lot as an organization and improved as a team,” Flis said.
“Winning at Mazda Raceway was a great way to demonstrate that, and now we are focused on taking that momentum and getting a quick start with this Cadillac DPi. We just want to give our drivers a solid platform with the car to learn and just get better as the season goes on.”
Both 2017 full-season drivers Renger van der Zande and Marc Goossens will not return, with the Dutchman having been confirmed with Wayne Taylor Racing.
Open-wheel ace Vautier makes the move from SunEnergy1 Racing, where he spearheaded the team’s GT Daytona class effort in a Mercedes-AMG GT3.
“I’m honored to be joining this team, they achieved well in difficult circumstances last year so I think it is a good group,” Vautier said.
“I want to race against the best drivers and the best teams, and that is what IMSA is becoming with the DPi so I’m very excited. It is so competitive and I think it will be difficult to compare the depth of field in 2018 even to last year. As a racer that is very exciting for me.”
McMurry, meanwhile, will step up to full-time Prototype competition after making selected starts in recent years, as well as dabbing with LMP2 racing in both Europe and Asia.
“I think Tristan and I will mesh well together, we’ve got similar personalities and approaches,” McMurry said.
“We’ve also both raced GT cars so have experience being the slower traffic, so we understand what that perspective is like and hopefully we can put that to good use this year.”
The team recently took delivery of its new Cadillac DPi at Dallara’s U.S. headquarters in Indianapolis, ahead of the 2018 season.