With less than 90 days until the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona, and the regulations beginning to fall into place, the silly season is in full swing as teams gear up for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
Sportscar365 takes a team-by-team look at the confirmed, likely and rumored full-season entries for Prototype (DP/P2) category in 2014.
Wayne Taylor Racing – The 2013 Rolex Series DP drivers championship-winning squad returns with a single-car Corvette DP program for Jordan Taylor, who is joined by brother Ricky in the Dallara-chassied entry. Efforts to field a second car have yet to materialize and appear unlikely at this stage. (1 Corvette DP)
Chip Ganassi Racing – Having wrapped up its seventh DP teams title, the most successful squad in GRAND-AM history is set to continue with Riley Technologies-built chassis but with Ford’s new EcoBoost V6 and the Blue Oval’s bodywork package. An official announcement is expected to be forthcoming, including the possibility of a second full-time entry. (1-2 Riley-Fords)
Spirit of Daytona Racing – After a season to forget, the Troy Flis-led squad will be looking to bounce back with some changes both in the drivers strength and crew. GM factory driver Richard Westbrook is expected to again steer the VisitFlorida.com-sponsored entry, rejoined by Michael Valiante, who scored a victory with the team in his short stint as a super sub in 2012. (1 Corvette DP)
Action Express Racing – One of 2013’s top contenders, the Corvette DP squad continues to develop its plans for next year, which could potentially be with only one full-season entry. Look for Joao Barbosa to again be part of the driving strength, with brothers Burt and Brian Frisselle possibly only focusing on the four-round North American Endurance Championship in a second, part-time AXR car. (1 Corvette DP; +1 NAEC entry)
Team Sahlen – The fan-favorite squad will return with a two-car, full-season assault, featuring Dane Cameron and Wayne Nonnamaker in the lead Riley-BMW, with the father-and-son duo of Joe and Will Nonnamaker set to pilot the second car. It’s unclear if the team will upgrade to Dinan’s new powerplant, especially as they could be the only BMW-powered team in Prototype next year. (2 Riley-BMWs)
Marsh Racing – The Whelen crew steps up to DP racing in 2014 with an ex-Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP. Eric Curran and Boris Said, who drove the team’s GT-class Corvette for the past few seasons, will be pilots of the Coyote-chassied entry, which will receive technical support from the Florida-based SDR crew. (1 Corvette DP)
Extreme Speed Motorsports – The Scott Sharp-owned squad has been the first, and only, P2 team to officially commit to the Prototype class for next year. After a successful tenure with Starworks Motorsport, Ryan Dalziel moves to ESM’s lead HPD ARX-03b with Sharp, with Ed Brown and Johannes van Overbeek returning to second entry. (2 HPD ARX-03bs)
“Mystery Team” – Look for a multi-car P2 program to be announced in the next few weeks, which would add some diversity to the top Prototype ranks. (2 TBA P2 cars)
Michael Shank Racing – The GRAND-AM stalwarts are set to debut Ford’s new EcoBoost engine and bodywork package with at least one entry. However it remains to be seen what affect, if any, Ford’s to-be-announced involvement with Chip Ganassi Racing could have on the Ohio-based squad, particularly on the financial side. While there’s hope of continuity in the team’s lineup, drivers have yet to be finalized. (1-2 Riley-Fords)
Greaves Motorsport – Top contenders in Europe, the British squad is planning for a single-car full-season assault with one of its Zytek Z11SN Nissans. Greaves could link up with an existing team, with odds pointing to Dyson Racing, although not confirmed. (1 Zytek Z11SN Nissan)
Muscle Milk Pickett Racing – After winning the ALMS P1 championship, the Greg Pickett-owned squad is set for an expansion that would likely include a GT class effort. While yet to be confirmed, it appears pieces are also being put in place for a P2 program. Given the team’s close and successful ties with Honda Performance Development, a HPD ARX-03b shouldn’t be ruled out. (1 TBD P2 car)
Conquest Endurance – After being forced to sit out last season, the Eric Bachelart-owned squad is close to fielding a Nissan-powered P2 car (Oreca, Morgan or Zytek) for the entire season. More news could come later this week. Plan B for Conquest would be a part-time effort around the four NAEC races, entry permitting. (1 TBD P2 car)
DeltaWing Racing Cars – Despite a mixed debut with its new coupe model, the Elan-powered DeltaWing project is expected to march forward into 2014, with the Dave Price-led team poised to field at least one entry for the season. The car recently tested for the first time on Continental tires. (1 DeltaWing DW13 Coupe)
GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing – Despite having a grim outlook just weeks ago, it appears the “Red Dragon” will return for at least some races in 2014. Team owner Bob Stallings recently confirmed to Racer that its Corvette DP will be on the grid at Daytona, with an exact schedule still to-be-determined. (1 Corvette DP – partial season?)
Pecom Racing – Regulars in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the AF Corse-run squad, owned by Argentinean Luis Perez Companc, has been evaluating a potential move Stateside for 2014 with its Oreca 03 Nissan. It’s understood no firm decision has been made yet. (1 Oreca 03 Nissan)
8Star Motorsports – The Enzo Potolicchio-owned squad could be set for a reduced Prototype class involvement than initially expected. A green light on a potential P2 effort has yet to be given, while costly upgrades to its pair of Corvette DPs may force 8Star to focus on its PC and IMSA Lites programs unless funded drivers are found for the top class. (Corvette DPs/TBD P2 car)
Starworks Motorsport – With higher-than-expected costs to upgrade a DP car, along with some uncertainty over funding, the Peter Baron-led squad has shifted its focus to a potential P2 program and is talking to teams from Europe about running a program Stateside. But like 8Star, Starworks could end up focusing on the PC side of things as well.
Dyson Racing – The longtime IMSA stalwarts reportedly have multiple options for 2014, but it’s unclear if that could include a P2 program, with or without a possible involvement from Greaves Motorsport. There appears to be a lot of moving pieces in the program at this time. (TBD)
Other P2 Entries – It’s understood there has been interest from a number of other U.S. and European-based teams to run P2 cars, including Elton Julian’s DragonSpeed outfit. Whether any materialize at this point, especially given IMSA’s tentative 19-car cap on the class, remains to be seen.
Projected Totals (Full-Season only)
Confirmed Entries: 11 cars
Likely: + 5-7 cars
Possible: ~8-10 addiitonal cars