Race Weekend Central

Reinvigorated Grand Sport Class Highlights 40-car CTSC Daytona Entry

On Wednesday, IMSA released the official entry list for next Friday’s IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge season opener, the BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona.  Unlike the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, attendance at the Roar Before the 24 was not required.

Rule changes in the offseason that moved the Grand Sport class to full GT4-spec has resulted in a much higher car count.  40 cars are entered for the first of two four-hour races on the schedule.  This is more than any CTSC race in 2016.  Also of note, teams are allowed to have three drivers in the four-hour events.  For the regular two-hour races, only two drivers are allowed.

Last year, only three Grand Sport teams ran in all ten races.  It is more than likely that the number will increase this season.  Defending champions Multimatic Motorsports are back, but 2016 co-champion Billy Johnson is not.  Platinum-rated drivers are no longer allowed to compete in the series, so Johnson is out and Jade Buford returns to the team in the sole Ford Mustang GT4.  Despite the new car, Buford and teammate Scott Maxwell were fast out of the box.

CJ Wilson Racing is back with two Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsports with revised lineups.  Marc Miller is back in the No. 33 with Till Bechtolsheimer moving over from the No. 35 to replace Danny Burkett.  Irishman Damien Faulkner is in the No. 35 with rookie Russell Ward.  Rennsport One has also made the move up to Grand Sport with a new Cayman GT4 Clubsport for Dillon Machavern and Dylan Murcott.  Finally, GMG Racing has returned to IMSA after two years away to run two Cayman GT4 Clubsports.

Automatic Racing is back with two different efforts.  They have entered two Aston Martins (Nos. 09 and 99), but are also running two new McLaren 570S GT4’s in a joint venture with VOLT Racing.  Finally, Compass360 Racing has made the switch from Ford to McLaren and will field two 570S GT4’s.  One will be for Paul Holton and the returning Matt Plumb, while the other has Nico Rondet and Matthew Keegan.

In Street Tuner, there are a few less teams on the grid at Daytona and less variety of makes.  There are no Hondas on the grid for the first time in recent memory as HART (Honda of America Racing Team) has not entered.  Nine of the 20 entrants are fielding Caymans.  Murillo Racing has switched their No. 65 entry to a Cayman from a E90 BMW 328i.  In addition, they fully acquired the ALARA Racing entry.  That team will also be racing a No. 43 Cayman.

2016 ST runners-up Stevan McAleer and Chad McCumbee are back for more in their Mazda MX-5. (Credit: Phil Allaway)

Driver changes include James Vance returning to MINI JCW Team’s No. 37 after being dropped last July.  Rennsport One has kept Nick Longhi on from the Roar to partner up with Aurora Straus and Connor Bloum in the No. 18 Cayman.

Rebel Rock Racing has a number of changes for the season.  They have changed what was the No. 7 entry to the No. 6, a number they used on a Porsche 911 in a one-off last year at Road Atlanta. Shane Lewis is currently entered in the No. 6 with a teammate to be announced.

The No. 8 Porsche will be driven by Dion von Moltke, who spent some time with it last weekend.  As of right now, von Moltke does not have a teammate listed for the car.

The top lineups (Nick Galante and Spencer Pumpelly at Rennsport One; Stevan McAleer and Chad McCumbee at Freedom Autosport; Eric Foss and Jeff Mosing at Murillo Racing) return unchanged for 2017.

2017 BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona Entry List

Grand Sport09 - Automatic RacingRamin Abdolvahabi
Chris Beaufait
Max Bladon
Aston Martin Vantage GT4
Grand Sport2 - Automatic Racing/VOLT RacingAlan Brynjolfsson
Chris Hall
McLaren 570S GT4
Grand Sport3 - The Racers GroupCraig Lyons
Kris Wilson
Aston Martin Vantage GT4
Grand Sport4 - TeamTGMGuy Cosmo
Ted Giovanis
Hugh Plumb
Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport
Street Tuner6 - Rebel Rock RacingTrevor Knight
Shane Lewis
Porsche Cayman
Grand Sport7 - Automatic Racing/VOLT RacingAlan Brynjolfsson
Chris Hall
McLaren 570S GT4
Street Tuner8 - Rebel Rock RacingDavid Roberts
Dion von Moltke
Porsche Cayman
Grand Sport11 - GMG RacingMatt Halliday
Elias Sabo
James Sofronas
Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport
Grand Sport12 - Bodymotion RacingCameron Cassels
Trent Hindman
Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport
Grand Sport15 - Multimatic MotorsportsJade Buford
Scott Maxwell
Ford Mustang GT4
Street Tuner17 - Rennsport One (RS1)Nick Galante
Spencer Pumpelly
Porsche Cayman
Street Tuner18 - Rennsport One (RS1)Connor Bloum
Nick Longhi
Aurora Straus
Porsche Cayman
Grand Sport21 - Muehlner Motorsports AmericaCameron Lawrence
Kyle Marcelli
Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport
Street Tuner22 - Rebel Rock RacingLeh Keen
Kris Wright
Porsche Cayman
Street Tuner25 - Freedom AutosportStevan McAleer
Chad McCumbee
Mazda MX-5
Street Tuner26 - Freedom AutosportAndrew Carbonell
Liam Dwyer
Mazda MX-5
Street Tuner27 - Freedom AutosportBritt Casey, Jr.
Robby Foley
Mazda MX-5
Grand Sport28 - Rennsport One (RS1)Dillon Machavern
Dylan Murcott
Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport
Street Tuner31 - Bodymotion RacingDevin Jones
Drake Kemper
Porsche Cayman
Grand Sport33 - CJ Wilson RacingTill Bechtolsheimer
Marc Miller
Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport
Grand Sport35- CJ Wilson RacingDamien Faulkner
Russell Ward
Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport
Grand Sport38 - BGB MotorsportsJames Cox
John Tecce
Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport
Street Tuner37 - MINI Team JCWMike LaMarra
James Vance
Street Tuner43 - Murillo RacingChristian Smyzczak
Christopher Stone
Porsche Cayman
Street Tuner44 - CRG-I Do BorrowSarah Cattaneo
Owen Trinkler
Nissan Altima
Grand Sport46 - TeamTGMGuy Cosmo
Ted Giovanis
Hugh Plumb
Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport
Street Tuner52 - MINI JCW Team (LAP Motorsports)Nate Norenberg
Mark Pombo
Street Tuner54 - JDC/Miller MotorSportsMichael Johnson
Stephen Simpson
BMW 228i
Street Tuner56 - Murillo RacingEric Foss
Jeff Mosing
Porsche Cayman
Grand Sport59 - KohR MotorsportsDean Martin
Cameron Magueri
Ford Mustang GT4
Street Tuner65 - Murillo RacingBrent Mosing
Justin Piscitell
Tim Probert
Porsche Cayman
Grand Sport68 - MIA/Pfaff McLaren/GARAGARod Randall
Kenny Wilden
McLaren 570S GT4
Grand Sport69 - MIA/Pfaff McLaren/GARAGAChris Green
Jesse Lazare
McLaren 570S GT4
Street Tuner73 - MINI JCW Team (LAP Motorsports)Derek Jones
Mat Pombo
Street Tuner75 - Compass360 RacingRoy Block
Pierre Kleinubing
Audi S3
Grand Sport76 - Compass360 RacingPaul Holton
Matt Plumb
McLaren 570S GT4
Grand Sport77 - Compass360 RacingMatthew Keegan
Nico Rondet
McLaren 570S GT4
Street Tuner81 - BimmerWorld RacingAri Balogh
Greg Liefooghe
BMW 328i
Street Tuner84 - BimmerWorld RacingTyler Clary
James Clay
Tyler Cooke
BMW 328i
Grand Sport88 - GMG RacingAndy Lee
Alec Udell
Carter Yeung
Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport
Grand Sport99 - Automatic RacingAl Carter
Rob Ecklin, Jr.
Charles Espenlaub
Aston Martin Vantage GT4

About the author

Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.

Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.

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