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2015 Silly Season Update 1: P/PC

An early look into the 2015 TUDOR Championship P/PC grid…

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 on-track activities for the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona less than 100 days away.

Sportscar365 takes a look at the confirmed and possible entries for the Prototype and Prototype Challenge classes.

Prototype:

Action Express Racing – Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi will return to the No. 5 Corvette DP in defense of the drivers’ championship, while the Gary Nelson and Elton Sawyer-led team is reportedly expanding to a second, full-season entry under the Whelen Engineering banner, a car that had previously been run by Marsh Racing. (2 cars)

Wayne Taylor Racing – Brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor are set to return to the Konica Minolta-sponsored Corvette DP, with a relatively unchanged effort. Hopes of fielding a second car have so far failed to materialize. (1 car)

Spirit of Daytona Racing – Plans are in place for Richard Westbrook and Michael Valiante to again be back behind the wheel of the No. 90 Corvette DP. The Troy Flis-led squad is likely to be known as VisitFlorida.com Racing in 2015. (1  car)

Chip Ganassi Racing – GRAND-AM’s most successful team will continue with at least one full-season Riley-Ford DP next year. Although not yet announced, it would seem logical for both Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas to return as drivers. (1 car)

SpeedSource – The lone full factory team in Prototype is currently the only confirmed full-season P2 entry, with its pair of Lola-based Mazda SKYACTIV-D cars set to return and build on its first season of development. No official word has been given on driver lineups, but no major changes are expected. (2 cars)

DeltaWing – The Don Panoz-owned group is set to return, with significant off-season developments planned for the Elan-powered prototype. It’s unclear if a full season is in the cards, and there could be a shakeup in the driver lineup, with Andy Meyrick likely to concentrate on his full-season commitments with Bentley. (1 car)

Michael Shank Racing – Some uncertainty rests over this team, with no confirmed 2015 program as of yet. However, a number of options are being explored, including a return with a Riley-Ford for the Rolex 24 before switching to a Ford EcoBoost-powered P2 car later in the season. A Ligier JS P2 appears to be the leading option should the Ohio-based team go that route. (1 car possible)

Extreme Speed Motorsports – The Scott Sharp-owned team has yet to announce its 2015 program but it appears unlikely to include a full season campaign in the TUDOR Championship. ESM’s new HPD ARX-04bs, however, are expected to contest the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup rounds, at a minimum, with an unchanged core driver lineup from 2014. (2 cars – partial season)

Starworks Motorsport – Peter Baron’s squad is working to re-enter the P class full-time with a HPD ARX-04b car. An option also exists for a possible return of its Riley DP, but with BMW-based Dinan power. Both Alex Popow and Scott Mayer are among the mix of drivers. (1-2 cars possible)

8Star Motorsports – After a breakout second-half of the PC season, the Enzo Potolicchio-owned team is targeting a move back to the top class with Luis Diaz and a to-be-determined co-driver. Multiple P2 chassis and engine options are being considered, although the HPD ARX-04b is the front-runner. (1 car possible)

OAK Racing – A return for Daytona and Sebring appears likely for its Ligier JS P2 Honda, if not a full-season should the necessary budget materialize. The French squad, which has previously vowed not to race against its customers, recently reversed that philosophy for the all-pro TUDOR Championship P class. Gustavo Yacaman is among the possible drivers. (1 car possible)

Krohn Racing – The first American customer to commit to the Ligier JS P2, Tracy Krohn is set to contest a minimum of the Patron  Endurance Cup races, as well as possible additional events. Nic Jonsson will return as co-driver, with a to-be-announced third pilot for the enduros. (1 car – partial season)

Rahal Letterman Lanigan – With an uncertain future in fielding BMW’s factory entries in GTLM, Bobby Rahal is working to finalize a Riley-Dinan DP program, for either the full or partial season. Bobby’s son Graham is expected to be part of the lineup for the endurance races, should there be no clashes with IndyCar. (1 car possible)

RG Racing – A new Ohio-based group is planning to enter an ex-Michael Shank Racing Riley DP, now fitted with a Dinan powerplant, in the Patron Endurance Cup races. Few details have been revealed at this point. (1 partial season)

RSR Racing – The Paul Gentilozzi-owned squad could step up to the P class with Chris Cumming in a leased Oreca 03 Nissan. However, it’s only be one of the options for the team, which include a return to PC or move to the FIA WEC or ELMS. (1 car possible)

Estimated Car Count: 8-14 full season entries
Partial Season: 4-5 entries

Prototype Challenge:

CORE autosport – Jon Bennett and Colin Braun are set to defend their title in the No. 54 entry, in an expected identical program to 2014. While not completely discounting an expansion, there are no plans to field a second entry. (1 car)

8Star Motorsports – In addition to a likely return to the P class, the Florida-based squad is looking to return to PC with as many as two Oreca FLM09s. 8Star proved to be the hottest PC team in the second half of the season, claiming victories in two of the final three races. (1-2 cars possible)

Starworks Motorsport – A return with at least one car is likely, with customers Mirco Schultis, Martin Fuentes and Adam Merzon all in the mix. The team has the capacity for up to three full-season entries, between the P and PC classes. (1-2 cars possible)

BAR1 Motorsports – After a rough season, the Brian Alder-led team is likely to return to a full-season two-car operation with many of the drivers seen at the wheel of the Ohio-based team’s entries at Petit Le Mans (2 cars likely)

PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports – Despite a disappointing 2014 season, the Bobby Oergel-owned squad is targeting a return and have been actively testing drivers, while also pursing an undisclosed additional program. (1 car likely)

Performance Tech Motorsports – The Brent O’Neill-led group will return with its single-car entry. Jerome Mee, who made his PC debut at Petit Le Mans, has already been signed for the Patron Endurance Cup rounds, while the team is working to keep David Ostella and James French together for the full season. (1 car)

JDC/Miller Motorsports – The first-year PC team is likely to return, with the ride potentially being a landing spot for newly crowned Prototype Lites champion Mikhail Goikhberg, who drove for JDC in the IMSA development series and made his TUDOR Championship debut at Petit Le Mans. (1 car likely)

RSR Racing – Multiple options are being explored for next year, with a return to PC being one of them. (1-2 cars possible)

Estimated Car Count: 6-12 full season entries

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

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