26 cars at Daytona

The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season 2020 will restart this weekend at Daytona International Speedway.

The season did originally start at Daytona back in January, with the classical 24 hours race. This time is “just” 2 hours and 40 minutes, for the DPi, GTLM and GTD cars. The LMP2 cars won’t be running this weekend.

The DPi category has exactly the same competitors as back in January. There is a slight change, with the Mazda Team Joest name gone. Team Joest and Mazda have ended their collaboration back in March, so they will be known as Mazda Motorsports from now on. Multimatic, who are the manufacturers of the cars, have been involved in running the cars more and more over the past years. The two Mazda RT24-P cars will be run 100% by Multimatic from now on – with the same drivers as the past two season.

Other than Mazda, there will be two cars from Acura Team Penske, one from Mustang Sampling, one from JDC Motorsports, one from Whelen Engineering and championship leaders Konica Minolta Wayne Taylor Racing with the Cadillac #10 raced by Renger van der Zande and Ryan Briscoe behind the wheel.

GTLM will have six cars running – two from Porsche, two from Corvette and two from BMW. Risi Competizione will not be present, which wasn’t expected anyway. The Italian-American team are currently packing their Ferrari 488 GTE for the trip to Le Mans. BMW Team RLL #24 leads the championship with Jesse Krohn and John Edwards.

AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus #14
Photo Courtesy of IMSA / Richard Dole

The GTD category will have a very different look than in January. There were 18 cars back then, and 12 cars now. Some of them have left or are on pause due to the COVID-19 situation, while some of the teams are solely Michelin Endurance Cup entrants, which is the endurance races in the IMSA series.

Compared to January, we have lost Pfaff Motorsports Porsche , GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini, GEAR Racing powered by GRT Lamborghini, Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin, Precision Performance Motorsports Lamborghini, Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini, Black Swan Racing Porsche, WRT Speedstar Audi Sport and Aston Martin Racing.

On the other hand, we have gained Gradient Racing with an Acura (Till Bechtolsheimer and Marc Miller), Team Hardpoint with an Audi (Rob Ferriol and Spencer Pumpelly), and Compass Racing with a single McLaren 720S GT3 (Corey Fergus and Paul Holton).

There have been changes on the driver side too. AIM Vasser Sullivan has modified their #14 line-up. Parker Chase has left the team and will be replaced by Aaron Telitz, who will share the car with Jack Hawksworth. Telitz was part of car #12 at Daytona, as one of the endurance drivers, alongside the two full-season drivers, Townsend Bell and Frankie Montecalvo. That pairing will remain for the rest of the season.

The changes will result in just two of the five leading cars in the championship being present. Some of the teammates from Daytona will actually compete against each other. Spencer Pumpelly was teamed up with John Potter and Andy Lally at GRT Magnus Lambo, and while Potter and Lally will continue at Magnus, Pumpelly will jump into the Audi at Team Hardpoint. So the championship standings could be very different after this weekend’s race.

The GEAR Racing Lambo was supposed to be run by Katherine Legge and Christina Nielsen, but GEAR has split up by GRT Grasser Racing Team after just a single race. It’s a bit unclear exactly why, but Nielsen and Legge should be sure to continue as a pair – that’s when GEAR have found a new car, at a different team. That will hopefully happen later in the season, but it’s not likely to see the only two female racers in IMSA for the rest of July, at least.

The race is run on Saturday 4 July local time, but in Europe, the race start won’t happen until 5 July 00.10 CET – i.e. the night between Saturday and Sunday. The race can be streamed on IMSA.tv like always.

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