IMSA Daytona Test Entry List

IMSA published a preliminary pre-event entry list with several drivers associated with cars.  It is on the IMSA website and available here.

There will certainly be more gaps filled in before wheels turn and there is a lot of news coming out of Daytona today.  In some cases, like Ganassi Racing, the driver line-up is shown as TBD, but the identities are becoming an open secret.

 

“722” Mercedes 300 SLR

Excellent story by John Brooks at Driving Line on the iconic Mercedes 300 SLR and, in particular, the car that won the 1955 Mille Miglia in the hands of Stirling Moss and navigator Denis Jenkinson.   The car was displayed at this year’s Techno Classica in Essen, Germany.  The “722” nomenclature comes from the departure time for the car at 7:22am.  As they say, read the whole thing.

The car enjoys a privileged place in the Mercedes Museum in Stuttgart.  Perhaps not fine photography, but the photos below from a November 2008 visit to the museum shows 722 nestled among many other iconic cars from Mercedes motorsport history.

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2016 Sports Car Racing Calendar

Having trouble keeping up with the schedules of the dates, venues and series in 2016?  The team at Dailysportscar has you covered.

The 2016 calendar by date is posted here.  The 2016 calendar by series is posted here.  Both calendars are always posted on the Dailysportscar.com website on the right side of the page.  These are incredibly helpful to keep track of what is happening, when and where.

Thanks much to Graham at DSC!

Audi IMSA news and Ford GT development

Yet another day of IMSA GT news.  Stevenson Motorsports confirmed their move to a two car 2016 IMSA GTD entry with customer Audi R8.  That’s a major move for a Continental Tires support series team to move up to the big show and move from GM to Audi.  At the same time, Magnus Racing announced its move from Porsche to a customer Audi R8 program.  Magnus also confirmed that some guy named Andy Lally – noted possum killer– will continue to drive for them.

As Audi Sport’s Brad Kettler says to Marshall Pruett in Racer Magazine: “Wait until teams get a hold of this bullet.”

Marshall Pruett also reports on the continuing development of the Ford GT platform by the Ganassi Racing team.  As vintage Dave Letterman would say, for those of you scoring at home or even for those of you who are alone, Ganassi is scheduled to have two cars at the upcoming IMSA test in Daytona.

Did you see the new Audi R8 that was on display and won at the 24 Hours of Nurburgring?

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IMSA November Test Entry

IMSA will be hosting an open test at Daytona on November 17-18.  Want to see the schedule and regulations for the test?  They’re posted on the IMSA website in the competitor’s section here.  Want to see the preliminary cars entered and the inspection schedule?  That’s posted on the IMSA website here.  Check back for updates before the test gets underway.

The prototype class has some of the usual suspects, but some have new driver line-ups.  Action Express has two cars and VisitFlorida (Flis) has one car.  The Mazda program will have one car entered along with the Delta Wing.  Michael Shank will bring a Ligier with a new chassis. The PC class shows 5 entries – two from BAR1, and one each from Starworks, Core and JDC.

20150514-140854351Perhaps the most interest revolves around the GT cars.  Factory entries with brand new GT3 models will be represented from Audi and Mercedes.  Customer teams have not yet taken delivery of their models.  Similarly, a Lamborghini GT3 will be present, although teams haven’t received their cars either.  Ganassi will have two new Ford GT examples, Riley will have a Viper, TRG will have an Aston Martin, and Turner will have a new M6 GT3.  Dragonspeed is bringing two Mercedes SLS cars in hopes of being able to run them at the Rolex 24, even though manufacturer “support” fees haven’t been resolved with IMSA yet.  There is a single Porsche 997GT3 from Autometrics Motorsports.  In GLTM, Corvette will have two cars and BMW will have a brand new M6.

20150514-140855012Ferrari’s new 488 cars are being tested in Italy and haven’t been delivered to customers yet.  Porsche has only started making deliveries of the new 991GT3R. There will be more Audis and Lamborghinis on the Rolex 24 grid, so teams are just getting to know the factory cars at this point rather than running their own mounts. It seems unlikely that we’ll see a Mercedes AMG GT3 at Daytona, but the fact that Mercedes is bringing a factory car to Daytona is a good sign – perhaps only for the longer term, but a good sign.

A summary story has been posted on Sportscar365 as well.  Stay tuned for more…

Alex Wurz to Retire

Driver Alex Wurz announced his retirement from top-line professional motor racing this week.  Wurz has been a particular favorite of fans, media and fellow drivers.  He is a two time LeMans winner (1996 with the Team Joest Porsche and 2009 with the factory Peugeot).  He also has extensive experience in the Formula One ranks with Benetton and Williams (and test driver with Brawn GP).

Wurz will complete his WEC commitments to Toyota in the 6 hour race at Bahrain. Dailysportscar put together an impressive story and career overview which is available here.

Judging from the outpouring of congratulations on social media, Wurz is very popular with a lot of people.  Hopefully, he won’t be far from the track in some capacity in the future.  Congratulations to Alex.

20140612-121858451 Canon 5D Mark III, 420mm, ISO100, 1/1250 sec,  f/6.3
June 12, 2014
LeMans 24 practice
Alex Wurz driving the #7 Toyota P1 entry

Speed limits lifted at the Nurburgring

After proposals were made in August, the improvements that are expected to enable racing at the Nurburgring for the next three years without speed limits.  Most changes will affect spectator safety, but some spots on the track will be “smoothed” .  The changes are subject to final FIA approval, but presumably they would not be announced unless the track had a good sense that approval will be granted.

For those that can read German, the announcement is posted on the Nurburgring web page here.  Dale Lomas has translated and added a very helpful map to illustrate on his Bridge to Gantry website.  Additional story on Dailysportscar here.

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Canon 5D MarkIII, 70mm, ISO250, 1/1000 sec, f/2.8
May 14, 2015
Nurburgring, 24 hour race practice
Crowd favorite Opel Manta in the Karussell

Veterans Day 2015, Meuse Argonne

The fallen from the final push by the US military to end World War I in north eastern France lay in the largest US cemetery in Europe – Meuse Argonne.  Located north of Verdun and under an hour’s drive from the Belgian border, there are 14,246 headstones and another 954 missing with names inscribed on memorial walls.
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It is amazing to think of how much World War I was fought for so long across so much territory before coming to an end here.  When you visit, you can follow the front on the last days before the armistice.  The fight involved over a million US soldiers and the dead and wounded counted over 117,000.  The cost to end the war was terrible.  Overwhelming strength was the only way to end the war and those that fought paid the price to bring the peace.

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A pdf visitor’s pamphlet for the cemetery is available here.

Another day, more IMSA GT3 and GTLM news

The pieces of the 2016 IMSA GT3 puzzle continue to fall into place.  Fan favorite Bryan Sellers was announced today as driver along with young hot-shoe Madison Snow at Paul Miller Racing in a Lamborghini Huracan.  Bryce Miller will join the team for the endurance races.  The team leaves its 2015 IMSA customer Audi program and former drivers, so it is changing both car platform and pilots.   Paul Miller Racing hasn’t taken delivery of its new Lamborghini yet, but got track time at Road Atlanta in the factory test car (albiet in mixed conditions) and will get more time at the IMSA test at Daytona coming up on Nov 17-18.

In other Lamborghini news, O’Gara Motorsport formally confirmed its new drivers of Townsend Bell and Bill Sweedler who will run in the IMSA GTD class in 2016.   Bell and Sweedler won the GTD championship in the Scuderia Corsa Ferrari and visibly gained momentum and strength through the season.

20150626-261656281Meanwhile, the Risi Ferrari team is getting a closer look at the new 488 turbo which is getting testing miles in Italy.  Marshall Pruett reports that the team will skip the IMSA test in order to send staff to Italy.  The team is looking forward to getting a new 488 and would like to run the car in the 2016 IMSA season, but it doesn’t know yet whether they will take delivery in time for the Rolex 24. 20150626-261658432
June 26, 2015
Watkins Glen IMSA 6 hours, pre-race warm-up

Buying a race car direct from the Mercedes Museum?

With a hat tip to Jalopnik for the pointer, did you know that you can buy a Mercedes directly from the museum?  Did you know that you can by a 1998 Mercedes CLK-LM race car that was used in pre-qualifying at LeMans?  Chassis 001?  Yikes. Of course, the price is available upon request, but you’d probably show up with a bucket full of Euros or Deutschmarks.   The website is Alltime-stars.com and has other cars for sale and more to come.  The cars are varied in their history and condition.  For the Mercedes Benz fan, this may be a site to keep an eye on.  For the auto racing fan, a look at a CLK-LM is a rare treat.  With that, have a look at some favorite photos from the site – there are 53 total photos, so have a look at the rest if you’re interested. Enjoy!

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