Spirit of Daytona Racing with a clean sheet of paper

Spirit of Daytona Racing will start with a clean sheet of paper, when the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship 2018 starts.

The team has been known as Visit Florida for the past few seasons, will return to their old team name, plus changing the car and both full seasons drivers.

They started out the 2017 season with a Riley MK30 Gibson LMP2 car, but later went on to race a Ligier JS P217 Gibson LMP2 car. That was only after they had changed the MK30 chassis once already, after accident damage in Long Beach.

The choice for 2018 is the Championship winning Cadillac DPi-VR chassis, based on a Dallara. The team has previously raced a Corvette Daytona Prototype from the GM family, but they wanted to try something else in 2017. When the opportunity to return to GM arrived, they chose to say yes to that.

The team has made a full season contract with Tristan Vautier and Matt McMurry, and they will announce the full endurance line-up ahead of the ROAR test on 5-7 January.

Cadillac DPi-VR Spirit of Daytona
Graphics: Spirit of Daytona Racing

Vautier is 28 years old, born in France. It’s been ten years since he last participated in a French Championship full time. He went to the USA in 2010, where he started racing in the Star Mazda Championship, which he won in his second season ahead of drivers like Connor De Phillippi, Sage Karam and Gustavo Menezes. He moved on to race Indy Lights, which he won in the first go, beating Esteban Guerrieri, Gustavo Yacaman, Sebastian Saavedra and Oliver Webb and others. That Championship gave him some prize money so he could do a full season of IndyCar for the Schmidt Peterson Hamilton HP Motorsports, but sadly without having any major results. He only made one start in IndyCar in 2013, at the Indy 500, plus selected rounds in 2015. His best finishing position in IndyCar is a 4th place in Detroit during the 2015 season for Dale Coyne Racing.

He has been flirting with sportscars and IMSA before, and was a driver for Mazda and their LMP2 Diesel car in 2014. More recently he has been racing Mercedes GT3 cars, racing for Team SunEnergy1 in the GTD category.

Matt McMurry is only 20 years old, but he already has a CV that many other racing drivers can be quite jealous about. He made his debut at Le Mans in 2014, aged only 16, becoming the youngest ever starter in the race. He was back at Le Mans again in 2017, but has compete in ELMS and doing various IMSA stuff in the Prototype category, the PC category and the GTD category.

It is two lightning fast drivers for Spirit of Daytona Racing, but with at least 14 other full season competitors in the Prototype category alone, they really have to get the elbows out to get even close to a podium position in the races, let alone in the Championship.

The first race for the new constellation will be the Daytona 24 Hours on 27-28 January.

Related Posts