Sports car fans! The wait is officially over!
In a matter of hours, the engines will fire, and the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship season will be underway. With the pre-season test completed a few weeks ago, we know some of the headlines making waves heading into the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Let’s take a look at some of the talking points heading into the season, as well as a few predictions as to who may find their way to a championship in 2020.
DPI Sees Reduction in Car Count, Quality Remains High
In the DPI class, the fastest class in IMSA’s top series, the departure of the CORE backed Nissan and one of the Action Express Racing Cadillac’s the full season grid is reduced to eight cars. Cadillac will be represented by one car from Action Express Racing, one from Wayne Taylor Racing and two from JDC-Miller Motorsports. Mazda and Penske Racing will return with two cars each, with Penske’s Acuras returning as defending champions.
The most intriguing driver line ups coming into the 2020 season surround the Cadillac teams. With Mazda and Penske using the same driver lineups as last season, the Cadillac teams will showcase new driver pairings for 2020. The No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac fielded by JDC-Miller Motorsports will be piloted by veteran Joao Barbosa and IndyCar legend Sebastian Bourdais. Bourdais returns to the series full time after a number of seasons running full time in the NDT IndyCar Series. With Jordan Taylor moving on to Corvette Racing, Renger van der Zande will have a new teammate as well at Wayne Taylor Racing in former Ford GT driver Ryan Briscoe. While four drivers have been announced for the Rolex 24 for the No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports car, no full season drivers have been announced.
LMP2: The More the Merrier!
While the LMP2 class was represented by two teams in 2019, the class it set to receive a boost in 2020. PR1/Mathiasen and Performance Tech will be joined by full season efforts from DragonSpeed and ERA, with Starworks running a partial season. Rick Ware Racing participated in the Roar Before the Rolex 24 test in a Riley Mk. 30 Gibson, but was withdrawn and will not participate. While the team was set for a full season effort, it is rumored that the team will shift to a full season in the GTD class.
A Huge Departure and a Long-Awaited Debut
With the departure of Chip Ganassi Racing and their two Ford GT’s, the GTLM class has been reduced to a full season car count of only six. While BMW returns in 2020 with an unchanged car, both Porsche and Corvette return with either updated or brand new machinery. Porsche enters 2020 with the new Porsche 911 RSR – 19 and fans will definitely notice that the new generation Porsche sounds quite different than the previous. Corvette Racing returns to the series in 2020 with a brand new car, the mid-engine C8.R. The car, which turned its first laps at the Roar Before the Rolex 24 earlier this month, is quite the departure from the previous generation C7.R. Joined at the Rolex 24 by Ferrari team Risi Competizione, the GTLM will look to continue its close and competitive racing in 2020.
GTD: Where The Brands Live!
Ten different brands will represent the GTD grid during the 2020 IMSA season, as Aston Martin has joined the fight with the returning Heart of Racing team. Michael Shank Racing returns to the series with two Acura NSX GT3 cars after claiming the championship in 2019. BMW will again be represented by Turner Motorsports, while Porsche will have two teams in Wright Motorsports and Pfaff. The biggest increase in cars will come from Lamborghini, as Grasser Racing Team shifts to the WeatherTech Sports Car Series full time in 2020. With three cars coming out of the Grasser stable, including the former Magnus Racing team, both PPM and Paul Miller racing will field Lamborghini Huracan GT3 cars. AIM Vasser-Sullivan will also return to the series in 2020 with two Lexus RF-C GT3 cars, while Riley Motorsports returns with 74 Ranch racing to field a Mercedes AMG GT3. The long Ferrari in the series will again be fielded by Scuderia Corsa, while Compass Racing will return for the sprint season in a McLaren 720s GT3.
2020 IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship Schedule:
2020 IMSA DPI Team Champions: Mazda
2020 IMSA LMP2 Champions: DragonSpeed
2020 IMSA GTLM Champions: Porsche
2020 IMSA GTLM Champions: Turner Motorsport
Agree with these predictions, or do you believe someone else will win? Sound off in the comments below!
Featured Image Credit: Matthew Boyce/Game Changer Sports Network
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