Team Hardpoint makes their IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship GT Daytona (GTD) debut on the holiday weekend where co-drivers Rob Ferriol and Spencer Pumpelly will pilot the No. 30 Team Hardpoint/GridRival Audi R8 LMS GT3 during the WeatherTech 240 at Daytona International Speedway.
The event will be run on an abbreviated schedule with limited spectators and crew in attendance to comply with social distancing orders. A one-hour practice session on Friday evening, July 3, opens the weekend, followed by practice, qualifying and a two-hour, 40-minute race on Saturday, July 4th beginning at 6:10 p.m. EDT. The race can be viewed live on NBC Sports Network.
The WeatherTech 240 represents the GTD debut for Ferriol, who has climbed the IMSA ladder from Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA through the Michelin Pilot Challenge and into the WeatherTech championship in just a few short years. Ferriol teamed with Pumpelly to finish ninth in the season-opening Michelin Pilot Challenge race at Daytona in January, before the extended break.
Team Hardpoint made their GTD announcement less than two weeks ago and will continue to run in Michelin Pilot Challenge as well when that season resumes.
"We’re very honored to represent Audi in both IMSA championships," Ferriol said. "GTD has been a goal of ours from the start, and this season opened some opportunities sooner than we might have expected."
Ferriol and Pumpelly were able to shake down the Audi R8 LMS GT3 prior to the event weekend, but seat time continues to be at a premium with limited practice during the race schedule.
"We’re realistic enough to know that we’re facing an uphill battle this weekend," Ferriol said. "It’s my first race in the car, and our competitors have almost 30 hours of track time and data at Daytona already this year dating back to the Roar and the Rolex 24. But our team, from engineer John Horton to Team Manager Gary Biehl to our mechanics and crew through Spencer behind the wheel, are really experienced. We’ll do the best we can, work within ourselves, and see if we can’t surprise some people."
Sports car veteran Pumpelly recognizes the differences between a traditional visit to Daytona for the season-opening 24-hour race and this weekend’s sprint race.
"Most of my racing at Daytona has been in an endurance format where passing isn’t such a pressing issue until the later stages of the race," Pumpelly said. "But we do drive 100 percent for the entirety of the Rolex 24 so the only difference I anticipate will be the urgency will increase if we get stuck behind a slower car. The details like having clean pit stops and nailing the restarts will also be a bigger factor for us this time around."
The No. 30 Team Hardpoint/GridRival Audi R8 LMS GT3 debuts at 6:15 p.m. EDT on Friday, July 3rd, for a one-hour practice. Practice resumes for another hour at 10:15 a.m. EDT on Saturday, July 4, followed by qualifying at 1:55 p.m. EDT. The green flag for the WeatherTech 240 At Daytona is at 6:10 p.m. EDT, broadcast live on NBCSN.