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TF Sport to Make IMSA Debut at Daytona with GTD Aston

Le Mans GTE-Am winner TF Sport to contest Rolex 24 with Aston Martin GTD entry…

Image: TF Sport

Reigning 24 Hours of Le Mans GTE-Am class winner TF Sport will make its IMSA debut next month contesting the Rolex 24 at Daytona with an Aston Martin Vantage GT3.

The British squad has revealed plans to take part in the opening round of the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship as a guest entry in the GT Daytona category.

Its drivers for the race on Jan. 30-31 will be Richard Westbrook, Charlie Eastwood, Maxwell Root and Ben Keating.

TF Sport is one of a growing number of FIA World Endurance Championship teams committing to Daytona with Racing Team Nederland, Cetilar Racing, Inter Europol Competition and High Class Racing all signed up in LMP2 and Proton Competition showing interest in a GT Le Mans bid.

Tom Ferrier’s team won Le Mans on its way to finishing second in the 2019-20 WEC GTE-Am standings with an Aston Martin Vantage GTE driven by Eastwood, Jonny Adam and Salih Yoluc.

Daytona is a new event for the team, which has only raced in the U.S twice before when the world championship visited Sebring last year and Circuit of The Americas in February.

While the Rolex 24 appearance is a one-off, TF Sport stated in its entry announcement that it holds an interest in “running full-season IMSA campaigns in the future”.  

“We are very happy to be given the opportunity to race at this fantastic event,” said Ferrier, whose team is also a class winner at the Total 24 Hours of Spa.

“Thank you to all the partners involved – Total, Rain X, Wynns and Matter – for making it possible. We have a fantastic team and driver line up, so let’s hope we can bring a trophy home.”

Keating, who drove a Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR against TF Sport in the WEC last season, will be the designated Bronze-rated driver for Daytona.

The Texan recently told Sportscar365 that he is looking to once again perform ‘double-duty’ in two different cars at the Rolex 24, in addition to targeting full-season programs in both IMSA and the WEC.

“This will be my 11th Rolex 24 at Daytona and it’s my favorite race of the year,” said Keating.

“I know that my first Le Mans experience came on the heels of me winning the Rolex 24, so why not be with TF Sport at their first Rolex 24 experience, on the heels of just winning at Le Mans?

“I have never driven the Aston Martin, but I competed against them all year long and was very impressed with the GTE car – I expect that the GT3 car will handle similarly.”

Eastwood is the only driver in TF Sport’s Daytona lineup to have represented the team before, with Westbrook and Root both joining Ferrier’s organization for the first time.

Westbrook made his Aston Martin debut at Le Mans this year, finishing third in the GTE-Pro class, and returned for the 8 Hours of Bahrain last month as a replacement for Alex Lynn who was forced to miss the WEC season finale after contracting COVID-19.

Westbrook had his maiden GTD outing this year, joining Lamborghini squad GRT Grasser Racing for IMSA’s six-hour enduro at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

Root, meanwhile, is set for his debut in the IMSA GTD category off the back of an Am Cup title-winning campaign in GT World Challenge America powered by AWS driving a Porsche 911 GT3 R, which represented his graduation from the single-make ranks.

The 21-year-old also contested Le Mans with Ferrari GTE-Am squad JMW Motorsport.

“After competing at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, I am incredibly humbled to now to be running America’s great endurance race for TF Sport with Ben, Richard and Charlie, after battling against them all earlier this year,” said Root.

Westbrook added: “I’ve been friends with Tom forever but this will be the first time I’ve raced for TF, so it’ll be odd him being my boss!

“The team have done so well over the last few years and with their current form and our line-up, we’ll certainly be looking for a victory. What makes Daytona special is the atmosphere, it’s the first race of the year so everybody is excited to get going again.”

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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