The season opener for the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Friday (Jan. 24) at Daytona International Speedway has 51 teams entered. This is an increase of 18 teams from the ROAR Before the 24 (the ROAR was not a mandatory test for Michelin Pilot Challenge teams) and two more than last year’s race.
The Grand Sport class has a massive 33-car entry with plenty of notables. Multimatic Motorsports has three Ford Mustang GT4s at their disposal. They’re also running their development drivers as well. Likely the driver that will have the most pressure this weekend is Hailie Deegan, who will make her series debut in the No. 22 alongside Xfinity Series regular Chase Briscoe. Briscoe and Deegan will also be running this special scheme that commemorates Lyn St. James’ Ford Mustang from 1985:
— Ford Performance (@FordPerformance) January 17, 2020
M1 Racing has entered the No. 3 McLaren 570S GT4 and acquired the services of Sheena Monk to drive alongside Corey Lewis. Monk was originally going to drive for RENNTech Motorsports in their No. 90 Mercedes-AMG GT4, but Monk had an incident at the ROAR and damaged the car, resulting in RENNTech Motorsports changing their plans for this weekend. They are not entered.
Bryce and Russell Ward have confirmed their purchase of HTP Motorsport, the team that they have partnered with in Michelin Pilot Challenge over the past couple of years. The team is now officially known as HTP Winward Motorsport. The team will continue to run two Mercedes-AMG GT4s, but the No. 33 has changed numbers since the ROAR to No. 4. No reason was given for the switch.
KohR Motorsports, which did not travel to the ROAR, has switched their No. 60 to an Aston Martin for 2020. The team has retained their lineup of Kyle Marcelli and Nate Stacy. They are still responsible for a Ford Mustang GT4 with Rich Golinello and Bob Michaelian this weekend as well.
Turner Motorsport has expanded to two full-time BMW M4s for 2020. Aurora Straus and Connor Bloum, who were teammates at Rennsport One in 2017, have reunited to run the No. 95 BMW. Meanwhile, Robby Foley will continue doing double-duty with the team in the No. 96 in both Michelin Pilot Challenge and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. He’ll be joined by Bill Auberlen and Vin Barletta.
The TCR class has 18 entries, the most since the class was introduced in 2018. Bryan Herta Autosport is now running three Hyundai Veloster N TCRs after their successful debut last year. They’ll be joined by two more Velosters from Forty7 Motorsports.
Bryan Ortiz was originally confirmed as the first driver guaranteed of a ride in a Mazda3 TCR. That is not going to happen this year. For Daytona, Ortiz will race a Honda Civic Type-R TCR for Atlanta Speedwerks.
Speed Syndicate Motorsports, previously known as Fast MD Racing, has expanded to two Audi RS3 LMS Club Sports for 2020. James Vance returns in the No. 23, but with Max Faulkner as his teammate since Nick Galante left the team to return to BimmerWorld Racing. The second car (No. 32) will be shared by William Tally and Mikey Taylor.
Michelin Pilot Challenge on-track activity kicks off Wednesday with practice at 1:30 p.m. The race, which will be four hours in length, will go green Friday at 1 p.m. and be streamed live on NBC Sports’ TrackPass service.
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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