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Sweedler, Bell Looking Forward to New Chapter with AIM

Sweedler, Bell carry TUDOR Championship GTD lead into Sebring…

Photo: IMSA

Photo: IMSA

When one door closes another one opens, and that has certainly the case for Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell.

Just one week after Level 5 Motorsports pulled out of TUDOR United SportsCar Championship competition, the Rolex 24 at Daytona GTD class-winning pair have found a new home at AIM Autosport for the remainder of the season.

As revealed by Sportscar365 on Wednesday, the Ontario-based squad confirmed its return to top-level IMSA racing today, which will initially see the duo pilot Level 5’s No. 555 Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 at Sebring before switching to AIM’s 2012 Rolex Sports Car Series championship-winning Prancing Horse for the remainder of the season.

“This is definitely a new situation, but we know that the AIM Autosport team is a high-caliber program,” said Sweedler. “I have no doubts that with AIM, Townsend and I will be able to fight for wins and for the championship.

“We have also won before at Sebring, which definitely gives us a level of comfort and confidence and since we are still riding a wave of momentum from Daytona, I’m really excited to get back behind the wheel.”

Sweedler and Bell, who head into the second round of the TUDOR Championship as the GTD points leaders, are no strangers to success on the famed Florida airfield circuit, having claimed the ALMS GTC class victory in 2012, in their first race together as co-drivers.

Now, two years later, they’ll be looking for repeat success, although in new surroundings for the second consecutive race.

“Daytona was probably the biggest roller coaster I’ve been through in my career, and it’s nice to have that behind us and to have Sebring ahead of us,” Bell said.

“AIM Autosport is a new team for us, but we have continuity with Ian Willis and with the Ferrari 458 Italia. And, while Daytona was a new experience for Bill and me, we understand what it takes to win at Sebring.

“It will be great to compete there in the Ferrari and to continue that relationship.”

For AIM, it also marks a comeback to IMSA racing after options to enter the TUDOR Championship dried up late last year.

Team co-owner Ian Willis ironically went to work for Level 5 at Daytona and engineered the class-winning No. 555 Ferrari. That connection ultimately helped lead to his team being back in business and in a championship-contending position.

“Luckily for us, we were in the right place at the right time and Level 5 Motorsports recommended AIM Autosport to Bill and Townsend,” Willis said. “We’d like to thank them for the recommendation and helping to facilitate this transition.

“Working with Bill and Townsend was a real treat at Daytona and I am looking forward to competing with them at Sebring.”

While the car will carry the No. 555 as well as Level 5’s signature black and silver livery at Sebring, Willis said the entry will likely see a more traditional AIM color scheme and number from the third round of the GTD season at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in May.

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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