When the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship returns to racing at Daytona International Speedway on July 4, fans will spot a new car on the grid.
On Wednesday, Team Hardpoint revealed its decision to double down on its IMSA efforts with Audi, announcing a 2020 WeatherTech Sprint Cup campaign in the GT Daytona (GTD) class, alongside its IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge entry in the Grand Sport (GS) class that began earlier this year.
Rob Ferriol and Spencer Pumpelly will share co-driving duties in both the No. 30 Audi R8 LMS GT3 during the seven-round WeatherTech Sprint Cup and the No. 31 Audi R8 GT4 in Pilot Challenge, which resumes at Sebring International Raceway on July 16-18.
"The WeatherTech Championship has been a stretch goal of ours since we started Team Hardpoint late last year," Ferriol said. "We initially eyed 2021 to make the jump into GTD, but as with most things in racing, timing is everything. The temporary pause in the 2020 season, while difficult, has allowed us to continue refining our team, but also put us in a position to react when the door opened to expanding our partnership with Audi.
"We have a lot to learn, but I’m excited to be able to move into yet another car with Spencer as co-driver, continue growing our relationship with Audi, and see our team rise to the challenge. It’s a challenge that we’ve thought a lot about and are all looking forward to."
It’s the latest move up the IMSA ladder for Ferriol, who made his debut in the 2018 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama – finishing runner-up in the Gold class standings – with Pumpelly as his driver coach. The duo scored a pair of fourth-place results in the three Pilot Challenge races they contested at the end of 2019 and finished ninth in the series’ 2020 season opener in January.
"What better team to partner with, than Audi Sport customer racing and their family of IMSA-ready cars across TCR, GT4, and GT3?" said Ferriol. "From the Hardpoint Paddock Foundation that we started to assist crew workers during the COVID-19 economic downturn, to campaigning a brand-new car in GTD, we really have set a goal to lean in and help bring some resiliency to this sport. We plan to be involved for a long time, and we’re thankful we’re in a position to enter the WeatherTech Championship even sooner than we had originally planned."
The two-hour, 40-minute IMSA WeatherTech 240 At Daytona will restart the IMSA season with a green flag time of 6:05 p.m. ET on NBCSN.