The next round of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is America’s oldest professional sports car endurance race, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida set for Saturday, March 18.
And while IMSA competitors are still basking in the glory of a successful season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona last month, they’re also ready to get back to business. They’ll get that chance the end of next week in a two-day IMSA-sanctioned test at Sebring International Raceway on Thursday and Friday, Feb. 23-24.
According to the entry list released from IMSA, 34 cars are expected to participate in the test across the four classes. The Prototype class has a 10-car entry, including Rolex 24 winners Jordan and Ricky Taylor in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPI-V.R. The Taylor brothers will be joined by their new endurance racing teammate, Briton Alex Lynn, who replaces the newly retired Max Angelelli. Of course, retired NASCAR superstar Jeff Gordon also was part of the Daytona-winning lineup.
Also entered in the Prototype class are both Tequila Patrón ESM Nissan DPi entries. The team won last year at Sebring with drivers Pipo Derani, Scott Sharp, Johannes van Overbeek and Ed Brown sharing the same car. This year, Derani and Sharp are sharing the team’s No. 2 entry with Ryan Dalziel, while Brown and van Overbeek are paired with FIA World Endurance Champion Brendon Hartley in the No. 22.
Both Mazda DPi cars are entered for the test, as are the Cadillac DPI-V.Rs of Whelen Engineering and Mustang Sampling, both running under the Action Express banner.
There are eight GT Le Mans (GTLM) class entries for the test, including reigning Rolex 24 and 24 Hours of Le Mans champions Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 66 Ford GT from Ford Chip Ganassi Racing; as well as 2016 Sebring GTLM winners Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Marcel Fassler in the No. 4 Corvette Racing C7.R. In addition to both cars from Ford Chip Ganassi Racing and Corvette Racing, BMW Team RLL will have two cars, with Risi Competizione and Porsche GT Team each having one.
A 15-car GT Daytona (GTD) class field is entered, which includes Daytona winners Carlos de Quesada and Daniel Morad in the No. 28 Alegra Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R. De Quesada and Morad will be joined for the test by Spencer Pumpelly, who played a pivotal coaching role for the team at Daytona.
Michael Shank Racing will have both the team’s Acura NSX GT3 cars on hand, while Lamborghini, Lexus, Mercedes and Audi will also be represented.
A single Prototype Challenge class entry has been filed, the No. 20 ORECA from BAR1 Motorsports for co-drivers Chapman Ducote and Gustavo Yacaman.
The event is opent to fans for a cost of $10 per day (no overnight camping). Admission is free for those who purchased a ticket to the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled By Fresh From Florida.