Connect with us

WeatherTech Championship

2015 Silly Season Update 1: GTLM/GTD

A look at the confirmed and possible GTLM/GTD entries for 2015…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

While the inaugural TUDOR United SportsCar Championship may still be less than two weeks in the books, teams are already planning for the future, with the 2015 season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona less than 100 days away.

READ: 2015 Silly Season Update: P/PC

Sportscar365 takes a look at the confirmed and possible entries for the GT Le Mans and GT Daytona categories.

GT Le Mans:

Corvette Racing – The Pratt & Miller squad are planning to return with its pair of factory Corvette C7.Rs. Drivers have not been announced, although it would seem logical for Tommy Milner, Oliver Gavin, Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen to all continue. (2 cars)

Porsche North America – The CORE autosport-run factory squad is confirmed for 2015. Driver lineups for the two Porsche 911 RSRs have yet to be determined but likely to include the usual suspects, including Patrick Long, Michael Christensen and Nick Tandy. (2 cars)

BMW – With BMW’s contract with Rahal Letterman Lanigan up at the end of this year, the big question is whether the Bobby Rahal-led squad will continue to operate the German manufacturer’s factory Z4 GTE program. Andretti Autosport and Chip Ganassi Racing have reportedly placed bids, along with another top-level sports car team showing interest. BMW will announce its 2015 program in early December. (2 cars)

Team Falken Tire – Derrick Walker’s privateer Porsche squad will return with a relatively unchanged program, with Wolf Henzler and Bryan Sellers expected to be back in the blue and turquoise-liveried entry. Walker has ruled out an expansion to a second car. (1 car)

Risi Competizione – Despite having had an expensive start – and end – to its 2014 season, it’s understood the Houston-based squad is planning a return with its Ferrari F458 Italia. Giancarlo Fisichella and Pierre Kaffer, who combined for two victories, would seem to be likely candidates to again share the wheel of the Prancing Horse. (1 car likely)

AIM Autosport – After a season in GTD, the Canadian squad is planning a move to the GTLM class with Bill Sweedler’s Ferrari F458 Italia that he ran under the AJR banner in 2013. While working towards a full-season effort, Swedler and co-driver Bell are expected to compete in a minimum of the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup races. A fallback option would be a return to GTD. (1 car likely – partial season)

Aston Martin Racing – The factory Prodrive squad could field up to three Aston Martin Vantage GTEs in the Patron Endurance Cup, one likely for Paul Dalla Lana. A strong possibility exists of an all-pro lineup in one of the cars as well. (1-3 cars likely – partial season)

TBA – At least one undisclosed team is looking at a potential full-season GTLM entry with an Am driver, although it has yet to secure the necessary budget. (1 car possible)

Estimated Car Count: 7-8 full-season cars
Partial Season: 2-4 cars

GT Daytona:

Alex Job Racing – The Porsche stalwarts are expected to again field two 911 GT Americas, with its Team Seattle-backed effort for Mario Farnbacher and Ian James already confirmed. Plans, meanwhile, are being put in place for the WeatherTech entry of Cooper MacNeil and Leh Keen to return as well, but not yet 100 percent confirmed. (2 cars likely)

Scuderia Corsa – One full-season Ferrari 458 Italia is confirmed for the Giacomo Mattioli-led group, likely again with Alessandro Balzan and Jeff Westphal, while a second Prancing Horse is defendant on customer interest. (1 car)

Riley Motorsports – Despite the demise of the factory program, Bill Riley is still planning to field Ben Keating’s Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R. A second Viper is possible for Daytona. Jeroen Bleekemolen has been confirmed as Keatin’s co-driver again. (1 car)

Park Place Motorsports – The John Horton-led group are planning to return with up to two full-season Porsche 911 GT Americas. Patrick Lindsey will again pilot one car with a to-be-determined pro co-driver, with work ongoing to fill the second car. (2 cars likely)

GB Autosport – A full season effort for at least one car and another entry centered around the Patron Endurance Cup races appears likely for the Michael Avenatti-led squad. While the team is evaluating a change of car, Damien Faulkner has been confirmed to return to one of the Tully’s sponsored entries with the second pro driver expected to be confirmed in the next ten days. (2 cars)

Magnus Racing – While evaluating a move to the FIA WEC, a return to GTD with its Porsche 911 GT America seems to be the most logical short-term option for John Potter, who is likely to retain Andy Lally as a driver. (1 car likely)

Paul Miller Racing – While having been the highest-placed Audi in 2014, the team has yet to confirm its return. A move to Pirelli World Challenge is reportedly an option, as well as an expansion to a two-car effort, should the right pieces fall into place. (1-2 cars possible)

TRG-AMR – The Kevin Buckler-owned squad could field up to three Aston Martin Vantage GT3s for the Rolex 24 and Patron Endurance Cup races, although prospects of a full-season effort have yet to materialize. (1-3 partial season cars)

Muehlner Motorsports – The Bernhard Muehlner-run group is working hard to finalize a two-car Porsche GT America program, but only if they have two full-season drivers committed per car. A decision will be made by November. An expansion to the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama is also planned. (2 cars possible)

Vita4One Racing – The veteran German squad, owned by Michael Bartles, is planning a multi-race program with its BMW Z4 GT3, which is likely to include Daytona and Sebring. A full-season entry appears unlikely at this stage. (1 car likely – partial season)

Turner Motorsport – Despite winning the Drivers’ and Teams’ Championship, there are currently no plans for a return to GTD in 2015. The team announced Monday a two-car BMW Z4 GT3 program for Pirelli World Challenge. (unknown)

Flying Lizard Motorsports – The IMSA stalwarts could be off to Pirelli World Challenge next year, while scaling back its TUDOR Championship involvement. The Lizards remain committed to its Audi R8 LMS cars, which may be put into action in the Patron Endurance Cup. (2 cars possible – partial season)

Dempsey Racing – The future is uncertain for the Georgia-based crew. While the team name may live on in another series, it’s unclear if a GTD program can be put together for 2015. (unknown)

Fall-Line Motorsports – The Mark Boden-owned team is evaluating a return, although much of it will depend on the Audi R8 LMS’s Balance of Performance, as well as Charlie Putman’s recovery, which forced the team to sit out the final two races. (1 car possible)

Risi Competizione – A customer effort is being evaluated for 2015, which could see a Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 being fielded in addition to its expected full-season GTLM Prancing Horse. (1 car possible)

Lamborghini – The new Lamborghini Huracan GT3 could make its debut mid-season with at least one customer squad known to be evaluating the all-new car. (1 car possible – mid-season)

Aston Martin Racing – One Patron Endurance Cup entry is possible from the British manufacturer, although not yet confirmed. (1 car possible – partial season)

Estimated Car Count: 6-10 full-season cars
Partial Season: 10 cars

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

35 Comments
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

More in WeatherTech Championship