Multiple Team, Drivers Announcements to Start the Year
By Mark Robinson
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Heart of Racing Team is expanding to two fulltime cars for the 2022 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season – one each in the new GT Daytona Pro (GTD PRO) class and one in GT Daytona (GTD). With its single full-season Aston Martin Vantage GT3 in 2021, the team won the IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup while finishing third in the overall GTD championship and the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup.
The No. 23 Aston Martin will be the GTD PRO entry in 2022, with Alex Riberas and Ross Gunn co-drivers for the full season and Maxime Martin added for the endurance races. Roman De Angelis will drive the full GTD season in the No. 27 Aston Martin, joined by Martin for the Sprint Cup races, with Tom Gamble, Darren Turner and team principal Ian James teaming with De Angelis for the 60th Rolex 24 At Daytona that opens the season Jan. 29-30.
“After the momentum and lessons we learned in 2021, we are ready to expand the adventure,” James said. “The obvious next step for our program was to expand into the new IMSA GTD PRO class. We are excited to push our limits as a team and continue to challenge ourselves against the best teams and drivers.”
De Angelis and Gunn won three GTD races last year, at Detroit’s Belle Isle, Lime Rock Park and (with James) the Motul Petit Le Mans season finale. It was James’ ninth IMSA win but first since 2015.
Defending LMP2 Champion PR1/Mathiasen Grows to Two Cars for ‘22
PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports, winner of the past three Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) titles in the WeatherTech Championship, will field a pair of LMP2 entries for the upcoming season.
Ben Keating and Mikkel Jensen collected the 2021 overall LMP2 championship in the No. 52 ORECA LMP2 07 and, with Scott Huffaker, took home top honors in the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup. The trio returns to the No. 52 for the Michelin Endurance Cup events in 2022, with two drivers to be named taking over duties for the sprint races. Nicolas LaPierre will be the fourth driver for the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
The second PR1/Mathiasen entry in 2022 will be the No. 11 ORECA co-driven by Steven Thomas and Jonathan Bomarito for the full season, with Josh Pierson expected for the endurance races. Harry Tincknell rounds out the No. 11’s lineup for the Rolex 24.
“It’s been a long time coming for our small and tightknit team to become a two-car program,” said Bobby Oergel, team principal. “The last couple of seasons have been great with multiple championships and great programs within them. The opportunity to now grow and add the No. 11 car into our program is very unique and exciting for us in these trying times around the world.”
Keating and Jensen won three races last season, including the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts with Huffaker.
“What do you do after you win a championship? You do it again!” Keating said. “I am so excited about this team going into 2022. We had such a great ‘mojo’ as we worked through the (2021) season, and we should only be better going into 2022. Now, we all have experience in this car on these tracks. We should be able to hit the ground running.”
Thomas finished second in last year’s LMP2 championship driving for WIN Autosport. Bomarito was the endurance driver for Mazda Motorsports in the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class, helping the No. 55 post victories at the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and the Motul Petit Le Mans in the final season for the Mazda program. Pierson, a 15-year-old from Portland, will make his WeatherTech Championship debut in the Rolex 24 after spending the past two years in junior open-wheel series. Tincknell, a two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, finished third in the DPi standings driving the full season in the No. 55 Mazda.
“We have assembled an outstanding group of new drivers for the No. 11 car to compete in the 2022 Rolex 24 hours of Daytona,” said Ray Mathiasen, team principal. “They bring together the experience, youth and driving skill to compete successfully at this very difficult race. Jonathan and Harry have years of experience at this race most recently as teammates with the Mazda DPi program. Josh brings that youthful enthusiasm and energy in his first attempt at the 24-hour race. Steven was one of, if not the toughest competitors we had in our successful 2021 LMP2 championship season. I’m glad he is with us now.”
Turner Motorsport Ready to Take on 2022 with new BMW M4 GT3
The full-season lineup may be the same but Turner Motorsport has something new up its sleeve for its GTD entry in 2022: a new car. After six seasons running the BMW M6 GT3 in the WeatherTech Championship, the team is excited to debut the new BMW M4 GT3 for drivers Bill Auberlen and Robby Foley.
Joining them in the No. 96 BMW for the Rolex 24 will be Michael Dinan and Jens Klingmann.
“Turner Motorsport continues to expand our BMW racing efforts and provide our sponsors with excellent value as we welcome the BMW M4 GT3 to the Turner family,” team owner Will Turner said. “We recently opened an all-new headquarters in Newton, New Hampshire, that will support greater growth. We’ve taken delivery of the new BMW M4 GT3 and will continue our BMW M4 GT4 (IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge) program. Whilst our driver lineup is important, it must be said that our crew members cannot be overlooked. They are the unsung heroes. We are all incredibly excited for 2022 and beyond.”
Auberlen, the all-time leading IMSA race winner with 64 victories, and Foley finished fifth in the 2021 GTD standings with a pair of wins. Dinan will make his series debut in the Rolex 24 and continue with the team in the Michelin Endurance Cup races.
“The pairing of Bill Auberlen and Robby Foley is as good as anyone, so our expectations are pretty high,” Turner said. “Michael has progressed very nicely over the past season driving with Robby, and I am expecting good things from him supporting our IMSA endurance effort. Jens has raced the BMW M6 with us in past seasons, co-driving to our first M6 win at Road America in 2017. Additionally, in his role as a BMW Motorsport driver, Jens has spent a great deal of time during the development of the M4 GT3. There is a great deal of synergy in our lineup.”
Turner also announced that the team’s two-car effort returns intact for the Michelin Pilot Challenge, with Auberlen and Dillon Machavern in the No. 95 and Foley and Vin Barletta racing the No. 96.
Meyer Shank Racing Completes Rolex 24 Lineup with Indy 500 Winner Pagenaud
Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian rounded out its driver lineup for the Rolex 24 by adding Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud to the fold. The Frenchman joins full-season drivers Oliver Jarvis and Tom Blomqvist in the No. 60 Acura ARX-05, as well as four-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves, who will drive in the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup events.
Pagenaud and Castroneves are both also slated to drive the full IndyCar Series season for Meyer Shank.
“I love starting the year with one of the biggest challenges of the year in the 24 Hour at Daytona,” said Pagenaud. “It’s a race I came close to winning many times, just like the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the past. I am looking forward to racing with my new team MSR in endurance racing, which is my roots, and I have a very deep love for this series while reuniting with the Acura once again and my friends at HPD. With Oliver, Tom and Helio, we will be a strong lineup and hopefully we can give (sponsors) AutoNation and SiriusXM a victory to start off the year.”
Gradient Racing Fielding New Acura NSX GT3 for Endurance Races
Gradient Racing will enter this season’s Michelin Endurance Cup races with the No. 66 Acura NSX GT3 Evo22, the newest generation of the Honda Performance Development (HPD) GT3 car. Two-time WeatherTech Championship GTD champion Mario Farnbacher leads the driver lineup along with Till Bechtolsheimer, HPD Academy graduate Kyffin Simpson and Marc Miller for the Rolex 24 later this month.
“It’s awesome to be able to combine our regulars Till and Marc with Mario’s extraordinary knowledge of the NSX, and our newest Gradient driver, Kyffin Simpson,” team manager Andris Laivins said. “He has already had a bunch of success in the open-wheel world, and we’re eager to have him bring everything he learned in the HPD Academy to our program.”
Laivins added that a strong result at the Rolex 24 could help Gradient expand to a full-season GTD operation. For now, though, the focus is on the endurance races.
“I’ve been wanting to do the Michelin Endurance Cup, and the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in particular, since I first started competing in IMSA in 2015,” Bechtolsheimer said. “Needless to say, I’m beyond excited to be given that opportunity this year and especially to be doing it with my friends at Gradient Racing. Adding to the excitement is the incredible lineup we have this year. Mario obviously brings buckets of raw pace and a wealth of experience in the NSX, and it will be fun for me to team up with Kyffin Simpson, a true rising star in the sport. Most of all though, I’m happy to be back in the car with Marc Miller after he had to miss our last (2021) race with an injury.”
Performance Tech Names LMP3 Lineup for Rolex 24
Performance Tech Motorsports is combining a pair of experienced Rolex 24 At Daytona drivers with a pair of newcomers to drive the team’s No. 38 Ligier JS P320 Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3) for the 2022 season opener. Dan Goldburg and Garett Grist lead the lineup, to be joined by Hikaru Abe and Nico Pino. The latter two will be making their North American driving debuts in the 60th running of the Rolex 24 on Jan. 29-30.
Goldburg made his WeatherTech Championship debut in 2021, earning a pair of second-place finishes for Performance Tech and finishing seventh in the LMP3 standings. Grist was part of the BAR1 Motorsports effort that won the PC class in the 2017 Motul Petit Le Mans. The Canadian finished second in November’s Motul Petit Le Mans, driving an LMP3 for Jr III Racing, the team that he’ll drive the remainder of the 2022 season for following the Rolex 24.
Abe is a 34-year-old from Japan, while 17-year-old Pino drove an LMP3 this past season in the European Le Mans Series.
“This is a really great group of guys,” said Brent O’Neill, Performance Tech’s team principial. “This team knows what it takes to win a Rolex 24 and with such strong drivers, I think we have a really strong shot at a run for the top step this year. We’ve tested all of these drivers and I’m really impressed by what they bring to the table, I’m eager to get them all together for the Roar to see what we can get out of our Ligier.”
The Roar Before the Rolex 24 runs Jan. 21-23 at Daytona International Speedway. Rolex 24 activities run Jan. 27-30. The 24-hour race is slated to start at 1:40 p.m. ET Saturday, Jan. 29.
Previous 2022 WeatherTech Championship Team/Driver Announcements
Daytona Prototype international (DPi)
Action Express Racing: No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R, drivers Pipo Derani and Tristan Nunez (story here); No. 48 Ally Cadillac DPi V.R for IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup races, drivers Jimmie Johnson, Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Rockenfeller and Jose Maria Lopez (story here)
Chip Ganassi Racing: Two Cadillac DPi-V.Rs, drivers Earl Bamber, Sebastien Bourdais, Alex Lynn and Renger van der Zande (story here)
JDC-Miller MotorSports: No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi V.R, drivers Tristan Vautier, Richard Westbrook, Loic Duval and Ben Keating (story here)
Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian: No. 60 Acura ARX-05, drivers Oliver Jarvis, Tom Blomqvist and Helio Castroneves (story here)
Wayne Taylor Racing: No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-05, drivers Filipe Albuquerque, Ricky Taylor, Will Stevens and Alexander Rossi (story here)
Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2)
DragonSpeed: No. 81 ORECA LMP2 07 for full season except Rolex 24 At Daytona, drivers Henrik Hedman, Juan Pablo Montoya and Sebastian Montoya (story here); No. 81 ORECA LMP2 07 for Rolex 24 At Daytona, drivers Colton Herta, Pato O’Ward, Eric Lux and Devlin DeFrancseco (story here)
Era Motorsport: No. 18 ORECA LMP2 07, drivers Dwight Merriman, Ryan Dalziel, Kyle Tilley and Paul-Loup Chatin (story here)
G-Drive Racing by APR: No. 68 ORECA LMP2 07 for Rolex 24 At Daytona, drivers Rene Rast, Ed Jones, Francois Heriau and Oliver Rasmussen; No. 69 ORECA LMP2 07 for Rolex 24 At Daytona, drivers John Falb, Luca Ghiotto, James Allen and Tijmen van der Helm (story here)
Racing Team Nederland: No. 29 ORECA LMP2 07 for IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup races, drivers Fritz van Eerd, Giedo van der Garde, Dylan Murry and Rinus VeeKay (story here)
United Autosports: No. 22 ORECA LMP2 07 for IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup races, drivers Jim McGuire, Guy Smith, Phil Hanson and Will Owen (story here)
Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3)
Andretti Autosport: No. 36 Ligier JS P320, drivers Jarett Andretti, Josh Burdon, Gabby Chaves and Rasmus Lindh (story here)
AWA: No. 13 Duqueine D08, drivers Kuno Wittmer, Orey Fidani, Lars Kern and Matt Bell (story here)
Jr III Racing: No. 30 Ligier JS P320 for full season except Rolex 24 At Daytona, drivers Ari Balogh and Garett Grist (story here)
GT Daytona Pro (GTD PRO)
BMW Team RLL: Two BMW M4 GT3s, drivers to be named (story here)
Corvette Racing: No. 3 Corvette C8.R, drivers Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg (story here); No. 4 Corvette C8.R for Rolex 24 At Daytona, drivers Tommy Milner, Nick Tandy and Marco Sorensen (story here)
Pfaff Motorsports: No. 9 Porsche 911 GT3R, drivers Matt Campbell, Mathieu Jaminet and Felipe Nasr (story here)
TR3 Racing: No. 63 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO for Rolex 24 At Daytona, drivers Mirko Bortolotti, Rolf Ineichen, Andrea Caldarelli and Marco Mapelli (story here)
Vasser Sullivan Racing: No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3, drivers Ben Barnicoat, Jack Hawksworth and Kyle Kirkwood (story here)
WeatherTech Racing: No. 79 Porsche 911 GT3R, drivers Cooper MacNeil, Julien Andlauer, Matteo Cairoli and Alessio Picariello; No. 97 Mercedes-AMG GT3 for Rolex 24 At Daytona, drivers Cooper MacNeil, Maro Engle, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella (story here)
GT Daytona (GTD)
CarBahn with Peregrine Racing: No. 39 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO, drivers Jeff Westphal and Robert Megennis (story here)
Cetilar Racing: No. 47 Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo for IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup races, drivers Roberto Lacorte, Giorgio Sernagiotto, Antonio Fuoco and Alessio Rovera (story here)
Magnus Racing: No. 44 Aston Martin Vantage GT3, drivers to be named (story here)
TR3 Racing: No. 19 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO for Rolex 24 At Daytona , drivers Jeff Segal, Bill Sweedler, John Megrue and Giacomo Altoe (story here)
Vasser Sullivan Racing: No. 12 Lexus RC F GT3, drivers Aaron Telitz, Frankie Montecalvo and Richard Heistand (story here)
Wright Motorsports: No. 16 Porsche 911 GT3R, drivers Ryan Hardwick, Jan Heylen and Zacharie Robichon (story here)