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WeatherTech Championship Racing Set for Driver Shakeup in 2016

Richard Westbrook, Michael Valiante depart Spirit of Daytona…

Photo: IMSA

Photo: IMSA

The driving force behind one of this year’s IMSA championship-contending Prototype teams is set for a major overhaul, with Racing poised to feature an all-new driver lineup for the 2016 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.

Sportscar365 has learned that both Richard Westbrook and Michael Valiante will not return to the Spirit of Daytona squad, with the Troy Flis-owned operation in the process of recruiting new talent to pilot its Corvette DP next year.

Westbrook, who joined the Florida-based team in 2012, is understood to have departed in order to pursue a reported opportunity with Chip Ganassi Racing’s Ford GT program, with Canadian ace Valiante not having been retained for a third season.

The pairing had combined for three wins and 10 podium finishes since 2014, having failed to finish outside the top-three in the championship either year.

A call to Flis for comment was not returned.

It’s understood multiple European drivers, mostly with top-level prototype  experience, are in the running for the two full-season seats, although it’s unclear when the lineup will be finalized.

The shakeup comes in the wake of the team having evaluated a switch to a P2 chassis for 2016, although it’s believed SDR will continue with its Corvette DP next year prior to switching to the new DPi formula in 2017.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John


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