IMSA: 44 Entries Make Up IMSA Event at Road America for 2016 WeatherTech Championship

RaceChaser Staff Featured, Midwest, Road Racing, WeatherTech 0 Comments

44 entries headline the IMSA Sportscars stop at Watkins Glen. (IMSA photo)

44 entries headline the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscars Championship stop at Watkins Glen. (IMSA photo)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — All four classes of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship return to action in the Aug. 7 Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America.

IMSA released a 44-car entry for round nine of the 2016 WeatherTech Championship. The lead Prototype class – which sat out the recent round at Lime Rock Park – is back in action, joining the GT Le Mans, Prototype Challenge and GT Daytona classes.

With only three Prototype races remaining, the event could play a key role in determining the eventual champion.

“Our goal going into Road America is to protect our championship lead by winning races,” said Joao Barbosa, looking for his third consecutive Prototype title with Christian Fittipaldi in Action Express Racing’s No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette Daytona Prototype. “We are in a great position for the championship.”

“If we are in a position where we can’t win, our goal is to finish in front of our competitors in an effort to capture as many points as we possibly can to maintain our lead.”

Barbosa and Fittipaldi enjoy a slim, four-point lead, 220-216, over Action Express Racing teammates Dane Cameron and Eric Curran, the defending winners of the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Corvette DP. Corvette DPs also hold the next two positions in the standings, the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP of brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor, and the No. 90 Visit Florida Racing Corvette DP of Marc Goossens and Ryan Dalziel.

While Corvette DPs currently hold the top four positions in the championship, Road America’s high-speed 4.048-mile layout could favor a P2-style Prototype – such as the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Honda Ligier JS P2 of Ozz Negri and John Pew or one of the two Mazda Prototypes driven by Tristan Nunez, Jonathan Bomarito, Tom Long or Joel Miller – or the No. 0 DeltaWing Racing Coupe of Katherine Legge and Sean Rayhall.

Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin scored the 100th victory for Corvette Racing at Lime Rock, ending Ford Chip Ganassi Racing’s three-race GTLM class-winning streak in the process. The drivers of the No. 4 Corvette C7.R hold a 10-point lead, 228-218, over Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook in the No. 67 Ford GT.

Both teams will field two cars at Road America. Lime Rock runners-up Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen share the No. 3 Corvette C7.R, while Le Mans class winners Dirk Mueller and Joey Hand are in the No. 66 Ford GT.

Porsche finished 1-2 in the 2015 Continental Tire Road Race Showcase, with defending winners Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet returning in the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR. They will be joined by Earl Bamber and Frederic Makowiecki in the No. 912 entry.

Other GTLM contenders include Risi Competizione, which finished third at Road America last year with Giancarlo Fisichella, who will be joined by Toni Vilander in the No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTE. BMW Team RLL’s two-car entry includes Bill Auberlen and Dirk Werner in the No. 25 IHG Rewards Club BMW M6 GTLM, with Lucas Luhr and John Edwards in the No. 100 BMW.

Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen return as defending GTD class winners in the No. 33 ViperExchange.com/Cruising with the Monkey Dodge Viper GT3-R. Boosting Dodge’s presence in the event is the addition of the No. 80 Lone Star Racing Viper of Dan Knox and Mike Skeen.

Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan, drivers of the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3, enter the event with a 13-point lead atop the GTD standings, 212- 199.

Andy Lally and John Potter won their second race of the season last weekend at Lime Rock in the No. 44 Magnus Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 to take over second in the standings, followed by No. 23 Alex Job Racing/Team Seattle Porsche 911 GT3 R drivers Alex Riberas and Mario Farnbacher. The 17-car GTD entry also includes representatives from Lamborghini and BMW.

Starworks Motorsport has won three of the last four PC rounds, with Alex Popow and Renger van der Zande – drivers of the No. 8 ORECA FLM09 – increasing their lead to 17 points, 267-250, over No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports drivers Robert Alon and Tom Kimber-Smith. Starworks will field three cars at the event, with the No. 7 of Gustavo Yacaman and Jose Gutierrez joining the No. 88 Popcorn Sutton entry of Mark Kvamme and Richard Bradley.

BAR1 Motorsports will expand to two cars for Road America. Defending class winner Bruno Junqueira joins Matt McMurry in the No. 20 Gas Monkey Energy/Southwest Funding/Top 1 Oil ORECA, while Johnny Mowlen joins Don Yount in the No. 26 entry.

Other PC entries include Kyle Marcelli and James French in the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA; Jon Bennett and Colin Braun in the No. 54 CORE autosport entry; and Misha Goikhberg and Stephen Simpson in the No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports ORECA.

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