Ok so in part one, I looked at the spectacular prototype classes. The remainder of the grid is made up of the GT classes, which make for some incredible racing, and are well worth following the progress of throughout the race. The GT classes comprise of two separate concepts, GT LM and GT Daytona. GT LM is effectively in line with the ACO’s GTE class, as seen in the WEC and at the Le Mans 24 Hours, whilst GT Daytona brings modified GT3 competition to the series, from 2016, full GT3 cars will be introduced in TUSCC competition.
Ferrari has two GTLM cars on the grid, run by Risi Competitizione and AF Corse respectively, Risi Competitizione’s drivers are Giancarlo Fisichella, Pierre Kaffer, Davide Rigon and Olivier Beretta, whilst AF Corse bring FIA WEC pilots Gianmarina Bruni and Toni Vilander, joined by Francois Perrodo and Emmanuel Collard. An extremely strong lineup for Ferrari representation.
Over at Corvette Racing, the C7.R enters its second year in competition, full season drivers Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia are joined by Ryan Briscoe in #3, whilst Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner are joined by Simon Pagenaud in the sister car for Daytona.
Porsche’s representation comes in the form of the factory Porsche North America entry run by CORE Autosport, with an additional entry from Team Falken tire, Porsche’s driver choices in the 2015 event are incredible.
Aston Martin meanwhile bring a single V12 Vantage for Daytona, with factory drivers of Pedro Lamy, Darren Turner, Stefan Mucke and Paul Dalla Lana, with Matthias Lauda joining the team for Daytona ahead of a full season assault with Aston Martin on the 2015 WEC.
BMW RLL has a few driver changes for ’15, Lucas Luhr joins BMW #24 alongside Jens Klingmann, John Edwards and Graham Rahal, whilst in the sister BMW, DTM pilot Bruno Spengler is a named driver for Daytona alongside fellow DTM driver Augusto Farfus, Dirk Werner and Bill Auberlen.
In GTD, the most popular car of choice is the Porsche 911 GT America, with seven teams, and nine of the nineteen class entries using the chassis. Including Alex Job racing, along with the return of the Alex Job Racing/Team Seattle partnership with Ian James, Mario Farnbacher and Alex Riberas, meanwhile Muelhlner Motorsports, Konrad Motorsport, Magnus Racing, Wright Motorsports, GB Autosport and Park Place Motorsports make the remainder of the Porsche contingent.
Audi’s representation in GTD comes in the form of the R8 LMS raced by Audi Customer racing teams, Paul Miller Racing and Flying Lizards Motorsport. The “Customer” Teams have some very familiar names involved, recently named Audi LMP1 driver; Rene Rast joins Paul Miller Racing alongside Christopher Haase and Dion Von Moltke. Whilst at Flying Lizards, 2014 Nurburgring 24 hours overall winner, Markus Winkelhock leads the teams driving entry.
Riley Motorsports, who previously ran the factory GT LM Viper team, additionally ran a privateer GTS-R Viper in GTD last season, and that relationship with a different driver combination, continues into 2015, leaving Viper representation on the TUSCC grid with two cars entered, bringing some of the drivers from the defunct factory programme into GTD. Kuno Wittmer, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Sebastian Bleekemoken, Dominik Farnbacher and Marc Goosons joining the GTD entry, alongside Ben Keating, Al Carter and Cameron Lawrence.
Aston Martin has GTD representation through the relationship with TRG, whilst Ferrari is represented through AF Corse and Scuderia Corsa. Scuderia Corsa returning, seemingly without Jeff Westphal for Daytona, according to the latest entry list available. Finally BMW is represented through Turner Motorsports, with a single entry in the class, featuring Andy Priaulx, alongside Marcus Paltalla, Michael Marsal and Boris Said.
TV Coverage of the Rolex24, comes from FOX in the USA, the first few hours of the race being shown on the main FOX network, before a combination of FOX sports 1 & 2 provide coverage of the latter hours, with overnights shown on IMSA.com. Additionally Radio coverage is available through Radiolemans, whilst in Europe, IMSA.com and MotorsTV will deliver TV coverage. See local listings for details. One Final note, on Friday before the Rolex24, is the Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge. CTSC is a fantastic series with great racing and well worth a viewing ahead of the main event.