36 cars entered at Sebring

There will be 36 cars on the grid for round 2 of the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Sebring International Raceway.

The DPi category will have the same seven cars entered, like the opening round at Daytona. That four times Cadillac from Mustang Sampling #5, Whelen Engineering #31, Ally Racing #48 and Cadillac Chip Ganassi Racing #01.

Acura has two cars entered, split into the Championship leading team Konica Minolta Wayne Taylor Racing #10 with Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Alexander Rossi, and the Meyer Shank Racing #60 outfit.

Mazda Motorsports will run their lone #55, which finished third at Daytona.

There will be five entrants in the LMP2 category. That half the numbers compared to Daytona, with High Class Racing, Racing Team Nederland, Cetilar Racing, RWR-Eurasia and two DragonSpeed cars were guest entrants. On the other hand, there has come an addition from United Autosports #22, who joins Tower Motorsport #8, WIN Autosport #11, Era Motorsport #18 and PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports #52.

It was a non-championship round at Daytona, so the real LMP2 season starts at Sebring.

PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports #52
Photo Courtesy of IMSA / Michael L. Levitt

The LMP3 category has lost Mühlner Motorsport compared to Daytona. That round didn’t count towards their championship either, so everybody starts at zero in Sebring. That is a huge advantage for the LMP3 teams, since the cars are not used to race for a long duration at the time, but limited to two or four hour races in the European series. But the teams have gained a lot of knowledge of the cars, so they hopefully can stay out of the garages and pitlane for most of the race. Forty7 Motorsports #7 will be the only Duqueine D08 team, against Sean Creech Motorsports #33, Performance Tech Motorsports #38, Core Autosport #54, plus the two Riley Motorsports #74 and #91, which all are the Ligier JS P320 model.

Corvette Racing will once again be the favourites in GTLM, with #3 driven by Jordan Taylor, Antonio Garcia and Nicky Catsburg leading the standings, ahead of its sister car #4. They will once again be challenged by BMW Team RLL, and the WeatherTech Racing Porsche. The latter hopes to get a much better Sebring than Daytona, where Kevin Estre was punted off the track by BMW Team RLL #25, even before the cars reached the green flag, at the start of the race. That cost them 10 laps in the pits, which they never won back.

Sun Energy 1 Mercedes #75
Photo Courtesy of IMSA / Richard Dole

The GTD field has gone down from 19 to 13 cars, but we are once again talking about a lot of Daytona-only teams, making that their only round in the IMSA series this year.

The Daytona winner, Winward Racing #57 won’t enter Sebring. But that makes it possible for championship lader Maro Engel to move into the car that finished second in the race, the Sun Energy 1 Mercedes #75.

We have lost NTE Sport #42 and their Audi. Their Daytona was nothing special, and they finished far down the field. Scuderia Corsa hasn’t entered their Ferrari #63, and that is a first for many seasons, that this Ferrari team doesn’t run. This will be the first Sebring 12 Hours since 2001, where no Ferrari at all are entered, since Risi Competizione isn’t on the grid in either GTD nor GTLM.

Team TGM has downscaled their programme once again, so they will focus on Michelin Pilot Challenge, and all the other various tasks for them.

Last but not least, the TF Sport Aston Martin and GRT Grasser Racing Team have flown one car back to Europe. GRT does however still have Lamborghini #19 in the field.

On the other hand, there is an addition from Team Hardpoint EBM, that adds a second Porsche 911 GT3 R. We wrote about that the other day, in this article.

The 12 Hours of Sebring will run next Saturday 20 March, but the qualifying is already running Friday morning local time (16.15 CET). The race starts Saturday at 15.10 CET, and can be viewed on IMSA.tv.

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