The Riley Motorsports Entry Led at Every Points-Paying Stage of the Rolex 24
By Mark Robinson
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – In addition to being the opening race of the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, the Rolex 24 At Daytona provided the first opportunity for drivers, teams and manufacturers to garner points toward the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup title.
The Endurance Cup rewards competitors with points at designated junctures in each of the WeatherTech Championship’s four endurance events: the Rolex 24, Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts, Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and Motul Petit Le Mans. It creates a championship within the championship for all five classes.
Endurance Cup points are accumulated separately from those earned toward the WeatherTech Championship for all races. In the Endurance Cup, the class leader at each juncture earns five points, second place nets four points, third place gets three points and all other competitors in the class earn two points.
At the Rolex 24, Endurance Cup points were awarded after six, 12 and 18 hours of the race, as well as the conclusion. One entry, the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier JS P320 in the Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3) class, walked away with the maximum available points. Leading at each race juncture, the car driven by Gar Robinson, Spencer Pigot, Scott Andrews and Oliver Askew totaled 20 Endurance Cup points.
Other Endurance Cup leaders following the Rolex 24 are, by class:
Daytona Prototype international (DPi): The race-winning No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-05 shared by Filipe Albuquerque, Ricky Taylor, Alexander Rossi and Helio Castroneves scored 18 points. The No. 10 led the race at 12, 18 and 24 hours, and was in third place after six hours. It holds a five-point advantage over the No. 01 Cadillac Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R.
Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2): The No. 8 Tower Motorsport ORECA LMP2 07 hauled in 16 points to lead in Endurance Cup, on its way to a second-place class finish in the race. The car co-driven by John Farano, Gabriel Aubry, Tim Buret and Matthieu Vaxiviere led at just one juncture, after 18 hours. The No. 8 has a three-point edge on the No. 18 Era Motorsport ORECA that won the LMP2 race.
As a side note, no season-long championship points are awarded in the Rolex 24 for LMP2 or LMP3.
Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3): Following the No. 74 Riley entry in Endurance Cup points was the No. 33 Sean Creech Motorsport Ligier that finished second in the race. Drivers Lance Willsey, Joao Barbosa, Wayne Boyd and Yann Clairay captured 15 Endurance Cup points.
GT Le Mans (GTLM): The No. 4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R with drivers Tommy Milner, Nick Tandy and Alexander Sims led the class at the first three Endurance Cup stages and totaled 19 points to lead following the Rolex 24. The only stage that the No. 4 didn’t lead was at the checkered flag, with its sister No. 3 Corvette taking honors then and giving drivers Jordan Taylor, Antonio Garcia and Nicky Catsburg a sum of 17 Endurance Cup points in addition to the Rolex 24 victory.
GT Daytona (GTD): The No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 that won its class in the race also topped the class with 16 Endurance Cup points. Drivers Indy Dontje, Maro Engel, Philip Ellis and Russell Ward led in GTD at the halfway point and the race finish. The No. 21 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 totaled 13 Endurance Cup points to sit second in class.
FCP Euro Joining IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Beginning at Mid-Ohio
FCP Euro announced Thursday that it will field a Mercedes-AMG GT4 in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge beginning with the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course round in May. The No. 11 Mercedes will be driven by Michael Hurczyn and Nate Vincent.
The team began competing in 2016 in the American Endurance Racing series, before moving to SRO Motorsports TC America, where it won the team and driver championships in 2019 with Hurczyn finishing first and Vincent second. Both drivers are revved up over the chance to compete in the Pilot Challenge’s Grand Sport (GS) class.
"After following IMSA for most of my life, it is a dream come true to be able to compete against some of the best race car drivers in the world," said Hurczyn. "As we have been working through the planning, it has become clear that everyone on the team will be expected to compete at a much higher level than we have ever done in the past. We have a remarkable team that has built an incredible business, with proven success on and off the track. We know 2021 will be a year for learning, but people who know FCP Euro should expect nothing less than a highly competitive and organized program that intends on running up front."
While excited, Vincent realizes the challenge ahead.
"It’s a big step for our FCP Euro team to jump into a series with so much potential, and to a class that is as closely contested as the GS class," he said. "I have found that often the defining factors in a race car’s performance is determined by all the little things, and I think that the Mercedes AMG-GT4 is one of the best GT4 cars in the world."