The newly formed DIME Racing team is set to take on Pirelli World Challenge this year with an ambitious three-car GT class effort, which will include the North American race debut of the Mercedes-AMG GT3 as well as featuring the 2015 GTA class driver’s champion in its lineup.
The Irvine, Calif.-based organization, which specializes in automotive R&D, such as engine development, emissions testing and ECU calibration, has expanded into the motorsports scene, with an all-new in-house program headed up by Rod Shegem.
“This is a good time for us to grow,” Shegem told Sportscar365. “We have good funding from our own facility and manufacturing. We want to go into racing.
“We’re not depending on any sponsors or anything. We figured the best way to show our commitment to AMG and the products we build is to start racing with our name.”
It will begin with a multi-car entry in PWC with two brand-new Mercedes-AMG GT3s, which the team is still awaiting delivery on.
Shegem said former Atlantic and Champ Car ace Ronnie Bremer, as well as an AMG factory driver — most likely Jan Seyffarth — will pilot the two new-generation Mercs, with defending GTA class champion Frankie Montecalvo bringing his Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 to the team.
They’re also discussions with Kyle Marcelli for a possible seat, Shegem said.
While Montecalvo’s entry will run beginning in next weekend’s season-opener at Circuit of The Americas, Shegem said they’re unsure if the Mercedes-AMG GT3s will be delivered in time for the Texas round, or instead debut the following weekend at St. Petersburg.
“That’s why we registered them either way,” he said. “Because if they show up in the next couple of days or next week, we’ll take them [to COTA].”
The former DragonSpeed driver has also brought his engineer, Mark Schomann, to DIME Racing. Schomann is expected to oversee all three entries on the engineering front.
The team will also receive factory support from AMG, with Shegem having attended the Mercedes-AMG GT3’s test at Daytona last November.
“We’re fully dedicated with AMG and will have good support from them as far as engineering with HWA,” Shegem said. “We’re going with the program and are fully committed with them.
“We’re one of the only teams running the AMGs, so we want to make sure people start buying them to race them.”
Shegem said they plan to order an additional two Mercedes-AMG GT3s by the middle of this year for a planned expansion into the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for either late this season or in 2017.
Mercedes is currently not represented on the GT Daytona class grid but the car has taken part tests at Daytona and Sebring.
The German manufacturer, or another party, would need to commit to IMSA’s Automotive Partnership requirement in order for the car to be eligible.