Today’s release of the Roar Before the Rolex 24 entry has revealed several star names in the GT Le Mans class at several teams.
Corvette Racing’s lineup has been revealed, with the same four full-season pilots of Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen (No. 3) and Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin (No. 4) due to continue for another year in the two Corvette C7.Rs.
The surprises come in the third seats. Ryan Briscoe returns as third driver in the No. 3 car; the Australian raced with Corvette at Daytona, Sebring and Petit Le Mans last year.
Meanwhile Simon Pagenaud, now a Chevrolet driver in IndyCar with Team Penske, will join Milner and Gavin in the No. 4. Pagenaud raced for Extreme Speed Motorsports (P2-spec car) and Team Sahlen (DP) the last two years, so this will add to his arsenal and variety of different machinery.
Pagenaud is also a rarity as a Team Penske IndyCar driver running in the Rolex 24. None of Penske’s three drivers (Juan Pablo Montoya, Helio Castroneves, Will Power) ran last year; Castroneves hasn’t driven since 2008, and Power not at all.
Patrick Long, meanwhile, has joined up with Team Falken Tire as its third driver in an intriguing move.
Long, Porsche’s lone American factory driver, will share the No. 17 car with Wolf Henzler and Bryan Sellers for the team’s Rolex 24 at Daytona debut with the privateer Porsche 911 RSR.
He had been rumored to share the No. 58 Dempsey/Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT America in the GT Daytona category, but that seat went to Philipp Eng instead. Long will race with Dempsey for the entirety of the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship season.
The Roar entry list also reveals the respective BMW Team RLL lineups, which were not set when the team announced drivers last month.
John Edwards, Lucas Luhr, Jens Klingmann and Graham Rahal will share the No. 24 BMW Z4 GTE with Bill Auberlen, Dirk Werner, Augusto Farfus, and Bruno Spengler in the sister No. 25.
Risi Competizione is also listed with two drivers, Pierre Kaffer joined by Davide Rigon in the No. 62 Ferrari F458 Italia. Rigon raced the full WEC season with AF Corse in 2014; he co-drove with Kaffer and Olivier Beretta at last year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. This will mark Rigon’s Rolex 24 debut in GTLM after a GTD outing last year.
Lastly the numbers for the Porsche North America pairings have been set, with Nick Tandy, Patrick Pilet and Marc Lieb in the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR, with Jorg Bergmeister, Earl Bamber and Fred Makowiecki in the sister No. 912. Tandy, Pilet and Richard Lietz captured the GTLM class win at Daytona last year.
The two Ferrari lineups are yet to be officially confirmed, but Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander are expected in the No. 51 AF Corse entry with Risi’s drivers beyond Kaffer and Rigon still to be determined. Giancarlo Fisichella drove with Risi last year and was not listed on the Roar entry list.