IMSA News Roundup: March 10, 2016

Please see attached press release, below is a text-only version.

IMSA News Roundup: March 10, 2016

Notebook Items Include: Pruett’s Switch To Whelen Corvette; Change Racing Adds Second

Lamborghini For Defending GTD Champs; Team TGM Steps Up To GS With Clubsport

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 10, 2016) – Driving both of Action Express Racing’s Corvette DPs in the recent IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship test at Sebring International Raceway was an eye opener for Scott Pruett. The 60-time race winner in major North American sports car competition recently tested to prepare for the 64th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida on Saturday, March 19.

“Now I understand why we were beaten so badly by them,” said Pruett, who finished fourth last year at Sebring for Chip Ganassi Racing. “I drove both of the team’s cars, and was incredibly impressed.”

Action Express Racing is the defending winner of the event, with Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa returning in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette DP, to be joined by Filipe Albuquerque.

After finishing fourth in the No. 5 Corvette DP in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Pruett switches to the team’s No. 31 Whelen Engineering/Team Fox Corvette DP for Sebring, joining Eric Curran and Dane Cameron.

“It’s a pleasure to drive either of their cars,” Pruett continued. “Sebring is difficult to drive – being as rough as it is – and the guys at Action Express definitely know what they’re doing. I think we’ve got a good shot at winning. They were incredibly fast last year, and do exceptionally well at Sebring. They may not have the fastest overall blistering speed, but their pace throughout a full fuel run will be the one to beat.”

After Sebring, Pruett is looking forward his first test in the new No. 14 F Performance Racing Lexus RC F GT3 and hoping for a mid-season competition debut. Sage Karam will co-drive.

“I saw the car last Friday in Lansing, (Michigan), where we had two wonderful days of meetings,” Pruett said. “We’re just waiting on suppliers to deliver the goods so we can get the car and the engines together. We’ll hope to have our first test by the beginning of May. I plan to be at both Long Beach and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, but it’s certainly not going to be the same watching it.”

Benton Adds Second Lamborghini For GTD Champs To Change Racing Lineup

Defending GT Daytona (GTD) champions Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell suddenly found themselves without a ride when O’Gara Motorsport withdrew from competition following the Rolex 24.

Fortunately for them, team owner Robby Benton quickly stepped up, expanding his operation to two cars. His team, Change Racing, now will field the No. 11 Robert Graham Lamborghini Huracán GT3 for Bell and Sweedler, in addition to the No. 16 Pertamina/Monster Energy Huracán GT3 for Corey Lewis and Spencer Pumpelly.

“Tom O’Gara is a close friend and I’m happy he turned to us to continue what he started,” Benton said. “It took a tremendous amount of effort and planning for us to prepare and be ready for the move up to IMSA WeatherTech with our own team, but a lot of that work actually put us in a good position to be able to grow to a two-car team like this.

“To have the defending champions join us reflects well on our organization, and having guys of that caliber to build on a great driver roster that we have with Spencer and Corey puts us in a very advantageous position. Lamborghini has done an outstanding job to help us with this transition as we ramp up and we are very focused on executing and delivering all year long.”

Posey To Join Sebring Hall Of Fame

Sam Posey, overall winner of the 1975 Sebring race, will be inducted into the Sebring Hall of Fame at a special luncheon at the Chateau Elan Hotel and Conference Center on Friday, March 18.

Posey competed in Formula One, IndyCar, Can-Am, Trans-Am and several other series during a 26-year driving career. He won the 1975 12 Hours of Sebring 12-hours driving a BMW CSL. As a network commentator, he covered a variety of sports, winning an Emmy in 1989. Posey is also a noted author, artist and designer.
Joining Posey in the class of 2016 are Alex Job Racing, 10-time Sebring-winning team; six-time overall Sebring winner Tom Kristensen; Dick Smothers, two-time class winner; Tres Stephenson, president of Sebring Raceway for more than three decades; and former Tampa Tribune Sports Editor Tom McEwen.

The Sebring Hall of Fame luncheon is open to the public, but tickets are very limited. Admission is a $200 contribution to the Sebring Hall of Fame (a 501 3(C) Florida not for profit corporation). Teams and sponsors may purchase individual tables. For more information and reservations please call Ariel Starling at 863-655-1442 or 655-7721.

Five Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsports Entered For Sebring 150

The new Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport will be well represented in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Sebring 150 on Friday, March 18. While two of Porsche’s new turn-key race cars competed in the Grand Sport (GS) class at the season opener in Daytona, five are entered in Round 2 at Sebring.

CJ Wilson Racing and Team TGM have each entered a pair of Cayman GT4s, with Bodymotion Racing entering one car. CJ Wilson Racing doubles its effort after capturing the TOTAL Pole Award and finishing third at Daytona with Daniel Burkett and Marc Miller in the No. 33 ONE Capital Management/MotorOilMatters.org entry.

No drivers have been named for the team’s No. 35 entry. Team TGM has car owner Ted Giovanis and David Murry listed on both its No. 46 and No. 64 JKTG Foundation/Camp Boggy Creek entries, with the team expected to race one car in the event.

“We tested the new Clubsport at both Sebring and Road Atlanta, and once you make some adjustments to it, it will be a decent-running car,” Giovanis said. “We won’t know until we get more hours on the track whether it will be on the top step of the podium, but it’s in the right direction.”

Giovanis is making the move to the GS class after competing in Street Tuner (ST) since 2006. He scored his best professional finish at Sebring last year, joining Murry in placing second co-driving a BMW 328i.

End Quote:

Jan Magnussen, Driver of the No. 3 Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R: “I always like going to Sebring. It’s a classic, old-school track and one you can’t find anywhere else in the world. In a lot of ways you really like Sebring and you really dislike it, too. It’s great because the event is fantastic and we always have good support from the fans and Corvette owners. But it beats you physically like no other track. Your neck, arms, hands, knees… they’re incredibly sore after the race week. But winning there is worth it. I’m hoping we can repeat and give Corvette Racing our 10th Sebring win.”

Contact:
Nate Siebens
Senior Manager, IMSA Communications

(386) 310-6568

nsiebens

IMSA Roundup_3-10.pdf

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