The second team that will run an Audi R8 LMS in the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship has been announced on Thursday, with news that Stevenson Motorsports will run two cars next season in IMSA’s GT Daytona class.
As Sportscar365 hinted last week, Stevenson was among the teams linked to potential Audi programs for 2016.
Once the team takes delivery of its new Audis, its first test will come at the Roar Before the Rolex 24.
The longtime General Motors squad marks its return to the top level of the sport for the first time since 2013, when Stevenson ran previous generation Camaros in the GRAND-AM Rolex Series GT class.
Stevenson re-enters fresh off its championship season in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, when Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell took the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R to the GS class title.
The title was the first for team owner John Stevenson and wife Susan, who’ve spent nearly a decade in the sport and have a fleet of successful automotive dealerships.
“This is very exciting news for us as a team, and I think that there will be a very high level of competition in the WeatherTech GTD class next year,” Stevenson said.
“It was very gratifying to clinch the Continental Tire championship with the Camaro last year and now we will look for those kinds of results in GTD.
“We’ve got some outstanding drivers, and Mike Hoffman (team manager) and Mike Johnson (strategy) do a fabulous job for us so I am happy to have everything in place so we can focus on coming out of the gate strongly at Daytona.”
That said, drivers were not revealed in today’s announcement and will come at a later date.
Team manager Johnson told Sportscar365 he hoped to retain the four Continental Tire Challenge drivers – Liddell, Davis, Lawson Aschenbach and Matt Bell – for next year.
But that appears to be compromised with Davis having been moved back from a Silver to a Gold rating; both Davis and Bell were Silver-rated in 2015 and thus could have fulfilled the lineup to the regulations.