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John Edwards Interview

John Edwards is back for his seventh season with BMW Team RLL, racing the M8 GTE in the GTLM class of the IMSA WeatherTech series. The 28-year old American is partnered with Finnish driver Jesse Krohn for their third year together. 2019 was tough for BMW, outside of a surprise Rolex 24 win.

BMW closed it’s WEC program after one season, but remain committed to IMSA. Augusto Farfus and Chaz Mostert join the duo for the Rolex 24. Edwards has been racing cars since age 12, and was twice a Star Mazda champion before switching to sportscars in 2010. He developed in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, before being picked up by BMW full-time in 2014.

Just before the race week began I was able to ask him some quick questions surrounding his preparations for the 2020 season.

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BMW Team RLL celebrating their Rolex 24 GTLM win last year. Photo: BMW Team RLL.

What was your off-season like and are you excited to get the season started?

This was my best off season yet since I got married the week after Petit! My wife Serena and I had a perfect day and have enjoyed our first few months of married life, but as usual I’m itching to race again and can’t wait to get the season started this week.

Describe your working relationship with Jesse Krohn?

I’ve known Jesse quite a few years as we raced together in Germany prior to him coming over to IMSA. He adapted quickly to the team and we all know he’s got speed.

In endurance racing, it’s always hard to be out of the car watching someone else drive, but Jesse and I have faith in each other so I always know he can get it done in qualifying or the race when I’m watching his stint from the pit box. It’s nice going into the new season with the same co-driver and same engineer as the prior year, as consistency should bring results.

What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of the BMW at Daytona?

Power-down traction is probably our weakest point since we are competing against mid-engine cars. But we have good straight-line speed and great handling in the high speed, so we are consistently the quickest in the bus stop, which helps us get a run to make passes in to T1.

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Edwards and Krohn are looking to improve upon a poor 2019 season, with two second places their highlights. Photo: Motorsport.com

How was the Roar test for the #24 team?

The Roar was interesting this year since Porsche and Corvette both have new cars and it was our first chance to evaluate how the compare. From our perspective, it was pretty routine as we got back in the swing of things after a few months off.

Who do you think are your main rivals in GTLM this year?

The great part about GTLM is that anyone can win on a given weekend. We have a small field but it’s deep with talent and we always have to be at our best to compete.

What are the teams expectations for the season?

We showed speed last year, but lacked consistency weekend to weekend. This year the goal is to be in the championship fight by avoiding the up and down results.

I would like to thank John for taking the time to answer my questions, and I wish both him and BMW Team RLL the best of luck this weekend! Find me on Twitter @JWjournalism if you liked this article!

Nick Boulle Interview

Nick Boulle has quickly developed into a very promising amateur driver with the IMSA WeatherTech series. He famously became the first Rolex dealer to win the fabled Rolex watch, after winning the PC class at the 2017 Rolex 24.

Since then Boulle has raced both in the top prototype division along with a year in GTD last year. His day job is with the families Diamond and jewelry business, but he still finds the time to race. He has even competed twice in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Boulle drives this year for PR1/Mathiasen along side Gabriel Aubry, Ben Keating and Simon Trummer.

Before he traveled down to Daytona for the Rolex 24, I asked him some quick questions about his prep and expectations for this years race.

Firstly, explain how the deal with PR1/Mathiasen came about?
I spoke to Bobby a while back and to be honest, I didn’t have much put together, much less plans to be racing at the 24 Hours of Daytona, but we connected in early December and thanks to several of my longtime supporters and some new ones we were able to put together a lineup I am SUPER excited about.
I’ve seen what Simon & Gaby can do through the years and I’ve long considered Ben Keating a great friend and also one of the most formidable drivers of any rating in “Pro-Am” racing scenarios out there. Being in the car with these guys for 24 hours to me, is a pretty ideal scenario.
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Boulle was part of the winning Performance Tech PC class effort at the 2017 Rolex 24. Can he win a second Rolex watch this year? Photo: Motorsport.com

Are you excited to be back in the prototype ranks?
I felt a bit behind on my personal prep at the roar, but I’m catching up and will be fit & fight ready by race time. This was essentially my first time in an Oreca and I was hugely impressed by the PR1 Motorsport’s car. Especially considering the last minute nature of it all, the car ran flawlessly.
What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of the Oreca at Daytona?
I would say the only real weaknesses of the Oreca at Daytona are the BOP settings we have to keep us behind the DPi — which is not a criticism of the rules. Compared to any manufacturer of LMP2 car at the moment it’s the only choice if you want a real shot at consistent success. After driving it, I understand why.
How was the Roar test for the #52 team?
The car ran flawlessly and it was really important, for me especially I felt, not only to find a comfortable position in the Oreca, but also to get some time under my belt. I haven’t really driven hard since July so I was shaking the dust off for sure… Simon, Gaby & Ben all performed like pro’s and we really spent time getting to know each other too. I’m even more excited after the roar for what we have put together.
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PR1/Mathiasen won the LMP2 title last year, and return with another strong line-up this year aiming to combat the rise in quality this year. Photo: Motorsport.com 

Who are your main rivals in the LMP2 class this year?
I don’t know that I could name just one… There are so many strong cars this year that I feel like every single car in our class is someone to watch. It’s great to see that for the future of the LMP2 category in IMSA!
Do you have a good working relationship with the PR1/Mathiasen team?
100%. I know how hard every guy & girl that’s a part of the PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports organization works… They aren’t here just for work, they are here to put together a winning car. It was my first time working with engineer, Tim Lewis, at the Roar Before the 24 so that was fun, but I’ve got a great rapport with everyone in the team. Now we just have to see what we can put together at the ROLEX 24!
I would like to thank Nick for his amazing answers you see here, and I wish him and the PR1/Mathiasen team the best of luck for this weekend! Find me on Twitter @JWjournalism if you liked this article!

 

Cameron Cassels Interview

Cameron Cassels and Performance Tech return to a vastly different LMP2 landscape from last year. The team were one of only two full season entries in 2019, with tweaks to the class bringing the entries up to five this season. Performance Tech were mainstays of the previous LMPC class, before switching to LMP2 with their Oreca 07.

Cassels returned to motorsport in 2015 after a long break to start a family, progressing in sportscars. He has raced primarily in the IMSA Sports Car Challenge, Lamborghini Super Trofeo USA and IMSA Prototype Challenge classes before stepping up to IMSA with Performance Tech last year.

As he begins the build up to his second Rolex 24 I asked Cassels about how his preparations are going.

Describe your off-season and does it feel good to get the season started?

Was there an offseason?  Joking of course!  This year I actually had a bit more of an offseason than usual and was able to spend some time with my family during the holiday break.

However, I was still able to keep the rust off by running the IMSA Encore event at Sebring in the LMP3 car just before the Christmas break and the first IMSA race of the season two weeks ago in the IMSA Prototype Challenge event at Daytona in an LMP3 car.

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Cassels has been a part of Performance Tech for three years now, including the teams LMP3 entry in IMSA Prototype Challenge. Photo: IMSA.com

Are you excited to be back with Performance Tech this year, and do you have a good working relationship with the team?

It is always a pleasure working with a group of individuals that are as motivated to succeed as the Performance Tech Motorsports team.  Brent and Gwenn have built a team that competes at a world class level.  I am fortunate to be able to call the owners crew friends throughout my 3 years with the team.

What are your thoughts on the Daytona circuit, are you a fan of it?

Daytona is definitely a special track on our schedule.  It poses challenges in setup and driving styles that are unique to this track with the two horseshoes, bus-stop and NASCAR banking.  The great thing is that it offers ample opportunity for exciting passes.
In 2019 we fought for nearly 24 hours finishing a respectable P2 in the Centinel Spine #38.  Unfortunately the race ended prematurely due to a deluge of rain throughout the morning, otherwise I honestly believe the win was within our grasp.
How was the Roar test for the #38 team?
The Roar is always a great opportunity to throw some setups at the car and give new driver lineups an opportunity to gel before the 24.  We made some great progress on the balance of the Centinel Spine #38 car as well as each driver getting a feel for each other before we get together again next week. It will be a bit of a reunion as Kyle Masson, Robert Masson and I team up again with, a new to Performance Tech driver, Don Yount.
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This is Cassels second year in the teams LMP2 Oreca, looking to improve upon their class podium last year. Photo: IMSA.com

Who do you think are your biggest rivals in the LMP2 class?
Honestly I think it is anybody’s race to lose.  Each of the LMP2 cars have great driver lineups in them again this year.  Even though the race is a 24 hour long endurance race; the engineering, design and technology in these modern LMP2 cars make this race a 24 hour sprint race.  The key, as always, will to be grind it out on track with zero mistakes.
What are yours and the teams expectations for the year?
2019 was a strong development year for us, as was evident when we look at the performance throughout the year as the team brought home the 2019 Michelin Endurance Cup.  We are approaching this year with a focus on not only the Michelin Endurance Cup again,  but also the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
I am excited to get the season underway in the Centinel Spine #38 LMP2 car.  With increased LMP2 car counts it should be great to watch.  As an added bonus, we won an entry into the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans at the Circuit de la Sarthe in France for 2020.  Make sure you tune in this season for some exciting racing!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Cameron for answering my questions, along with wishing him and the team the best of luck this weekend! Find me on Twitter @JWjournalism if you enjoyed this article!

Colin Braun Interview

It’s the start of a new chapter in the career of Colin Braun. He joins DragonSpeed for the Rolex 24, after his time with CORE Autosport came to an end.

Braun drove with CORE team owner Jon Bennett for five years, and enjoyed tremendous success together. Despite Bennett not being a professional driver they came three points shy of winning the 2018 IMSA title.

After a long association with CORE the move to DragonSpeed is only for Daytona at the moment. It’s widely expected however that Braun will join the team for the Le Mans 24 Hours, along with further potential drives in the European Le Mans Series.

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CORE Autosport closed it’s DPI program after the 2019 season, leaving long-time co-driver Braun without a full time drive for 2020. Photo: Motorsport.com

DragonSpeed are the defending Rolex 24 LMP2 class winners. They return with Ben Hanley, Henrik Hedman and Harrison Newey. In the build up to the race I asked Braun some quick questions about leaving CORE and his hopes with DragonSpeed.

How tough was it to leave the CORE Autosport team after so many successful years with them?

Tough for sure, CORE was a fantastic team with so many great team members and a long history together. But as they say nothing last forever!

What are the big differences between the Nissan DPI and the Oreca at Daytona?

Well the Nissan was in the DPi class and with the ORECA being in the LMP2 class it is a bit hard to compare as the regulations are different.  The LMP2 car is restricted down on horsepower and aero configurations so certainly slower on the straight away’s but in the corners the ORECA really handles well and is very comfortable to drive!

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DragonSpeed return as defending LMP2 class winners, with Braun hoping to add to his 2014 PC class win. Photo: Motorsport.com

What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of the Oreca at Daytona?

I think the ORECA is really a strong car. Very reliable and well built. I don’t think to many weakness’s with the chassis to be honest, they have run them for a few years and have so many racing around the world it is very strong! We just must protect the car on the racing and traffic side to keep all the aero bits attached!

How was the Roar test for the #81 team?

Great test. Learned a lot and for me to integrate into the Dragon Speed team was a lot of fun, such a great group of guys and they are very hungry to win!  Fantastic teammates as well in Ben, Harrison, and Henrik so I am feeling good!

Who are your main rivals at the Rolex 24 this year?

I think everyone in the class will be tough honestly, I know the Starworks lineup is quite strong but also the PR1 lineup as well… I think we can’t count out anyone!

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Braun and CORE Autosport became the dominant force in the PC class, with a Rolex 24 class win the highlight of their 2014 season. Photo: Motorsport.com

Could you describe your relationship with DragonSpeed, did you know many of the team before joining?

I have known Elton Julian for many years as we raced against each other back in the early PC days in ALMS. They run a great operation, so it is a pleasure to join!

How excited are you to be going back to Le Mans with DragonSpeed this year?

Well I am hopeful we get the invite, I know it is in the works but I would love a chance to get back to Le Mans again – last time I finished P2 so only 1 place to go from that!

Would you like to expand to compete in other major sportscar races such as the Spa 24 Hours etc?

Yes I would love to contest the Spa 24hr event, looks really challenging and fun. I had a chance to run in the Michelin Le Mans Cup series in 2018 in an LMP3 car which is all in Europe and really enjoyed that style of racing.

What are your racing plans for 2020 aside from Daytona and Le Mans?

I am hoping to be back in SRO again in the USA, that is a fun series and I always enjoy driving a GT3 car!

I would like to thank Colin for giving up the time to answer my questions, and wish both him and the team the best of luck this weekend! Find me on Twitter @JWjournalism if you liked this article!

 

Joao Barbosa Interview

The new decade brings a change of scenery for Joao Barbosa, with the move to JDC-Miller Motorsport after nine successful years at Action Express. The Portuguese driver won three Rolex 24’s along with two IMSA titles during his tenure with the team, but the loss of sponsor Mustang Sampling prompted this move.

He is reunited with Mustang Sampling at JDC-Miller, with Sebastien Bourdais signed as his team mate. Barbosa has solidified himself as top line driver in IMSA, and his experience will massively help the JDC-Miller team. Audi DTM racer Loic Duval joins them for the Rolex. With the race only a matter of days away, I quickly spoke with Joao to get his thoughts on the upcoming event.

What has the winter been like adjusting to a new team at JDC-Miller?

It’s been a busy off season for me. To make the switch from AXR to JDC took a lot of effort from everyone to make it happen. But Mustang Sampling, Cadillac, me and everyone involved really thought this could be the start of something really good.

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Barbosa (centre) celebrating his third Rolex 24 win in 2018 with Action Express team mates Christian Fittipaldi (left) and Filipe Albuquerque (right). Photo: Motorsport.com 

How tough was it to leave Action Express after enjoying so many successful years there?

We were very successful together! I have a lot to thank for the opportunity to work with such great people at AXR and learned a lot. But life moves on and I’m very excited about this new challenge.

What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of the Cadillac at Daytona?

The competition is very strong. I don’t think we have any advantage at this point. We are lacking top speed compared to our main competitors. But the Cadillac has proven to be very reliable and strong for a 24h race.

How was the Roar test for the #5 team?

The Roar was very good. It’s the first time I got to work with JDC on track. We know that there is still a lot of work to do but, we worked well together. We were competitive , on pace, compared to the other Cadillac’s. And that’s our first goal.

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It’s the same livery, just with a new team. The arrival of Barbosa will only boost the JDC-Miller Motorsport team. Photo: Motorsport.com

Who are your main rivals at the Rolex 24 this year?

Obviously Mazda and Acura have showed that they are very quick. They will be the cars to beat.

What’s it like working with Sebastien? Do you have a good working relationship?

It’s great to work with Sebastian again, now for a full season. He’s very quick and a great guy. We got along really well and his experience is always very valuable. Coming from Indy car it will take him a little bit of time to adapt to the Cadillac and the IMSA rules, but he will be up to speed very quickly.

And finally, what are yours and the teams goals for the season?

Our goal is to improve in every race and be competitive among the Cadillac’s. Would be great if we can get a couple of podiums this year!

I would like to thank Joao for taking the time to answer these questions, and wish him and the team the best of luck for the 2020 season! Follow me on Twitter @JWjournalism if you liked this article!

Tristan Vautier Interview

The Rolex 24 kicks the IMSA WeatherTech season off this weekend in style, with a 24 hour sprint race around the Daytona International Speedway. In the build up to the race I spoke with Frenchman Tristan Vautier. Vautier has built his career in America, first excelling on the Mazda Road to Indy program.

He worked his way up to Indycar, but only managed one season at the top level in 2013. Since then his focus has switched to sportscar racing. He has been racing in IMSA since 2014, along with a burgeoning international GT career with Mercedes-Benz. Vautier drove for JDC-Miller Motorsport last year, with two fifths their best results in a tough  season for the team.

The team has expanded to two cars for this year, and their Cadillac package is always competitive, especially at Daytona. After testing both cars at the Roar, Vautier was a late confirmation for the #85 crew alongside Matheus Leist, Juan Piedrahita and Chris Miller. With the race only a matter of days away, let’s see how Vautier views the teams chances.

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Vautier celebrating winning the Intercontinental GT Challenge in 2018. His role with Mercedes-Benz is expanding. Photo: Mercedes-Benz.

How happy are you to be back with JDC-Miller for the Rolex 24?

I’m super happy to be re-united with the team. Our relationship started in 2011 when we won the Star Mazda Championship together, which was a launching pad for me in my open wheel career. So it’s always special to run with them.

How much of a coup was it for the team to be running the #5 Mustang Sampling car?

The team proved last year that we could do a good job with the Cadillac considering it was our first season with the car. So I think it’s logical that it attracted some interest.

What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of the Cadillac at Daytona?

It’s hard to say, the whole field was very tight at the Roar. Mazda and Acura seemed to have an edge on straight line speed, which obviously plays a big part in the lap time around Daytona,  but the Cadillac was strong in the infield. 

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Vautier was a late confirmation at JDC-Miller, but returns to the team he drove for last season. Photo: Michael Levitt/Jake Galstad via IMSA.

How was the Roar test for the #85 team?

The Roar was very good for the whole team. We unloaded strong and started at a much better place than last year. Action Express seemed to still have a slight edge on us but we were close.All 4 of us were happy with the car balance and we were all relatively strong pace-wise, so we are setting higher goals for ourselves this year for sure.

Who are your main rivals at the Rolex 24 this year?

The field is so competitive, there isn’t a single car that you can’t discount. We’ll just focus on ourselves and try to execute a good race, and see where that puts us.

Are you likely to do more endurance rounds with JDC-Miller this year?

 

That’s our common goal but nothing is sure at the moment. The only thing I can control right now is my performance at Daytona. After that, we’ll see.

Are you likely to be back in GT3 racing this year and what series are you likely to focus on?
I should be back in GT3 in Europe, I’m just not sure yet what my program will be exactly.
I would like to thank Tristan for taking the time to answer these questions and wish him the best of luck for this weekend. Find me on Twitter @JWjournalism if you have any comments on this piece.

 

2020 Rolex 24 GTD Preview Part Two

This is the second half of my preview for the GTD class of the 2020 Rolex 24, if you want to see part one you can find it here. If you want to view my other previews, the DPI preview is here, LMP2 is here and GTLM is here.

It’s easy to say this about every class in the IMSA WeatherTech series as it’s so competitive, but GTD is super competitive. Almost every car has a good chance of victory, with the best GT3 drivers on the planet converging on Daytona. Let’s review the final half of this years entry.

#54 Black Swan Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R: Jeroen Bleekemolen/Trenton Estep/Sven Muller/Tim Pappas 

Black Swan Racing have been mainstays of IMSA, but return after a truncated 2019 season. Team owner Tim Pappas was sidelined for eight months with injuries suffered at the Bathurst 12 Hours. The team are likely to contest the Michelin Endurance Cup, with their Porsche.

Pappas is joined by former team mate Jeroen Bleekemolen, a driver who has enjoyed large success with Ben Keating. Porsche factory driver Sven Muller is the hired gun, with Trenton Estep completing the quartet.

The team enjoyed a good Roar test, running consistently with flashes of pace. The team were able to give Pappas and Estep plenty of track time, getting them comfortable for the race. The car also ran in the top ten which shows encouraging pace. Estep earning 7th in the qualifying session in his first time in the car after taking a year out of racing is particularly impressive. This team can be a dark horse for at least a podium.

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#57 Heinricher Racing with Meyer Shank Acura NSX GT3 Evo: A.J Allmendinger/Misha Goikhberg/Trent Hindman/Alvaro Parente

Meyer Shank and Heinricher Racing impressed in 2019, garnering plenty of support with their all-female line-up. Sadly because of a lack of sponsorship they have moved on, but the core team remains. Meyer Shank and the Acura NSX won the title last year with the sister #86 car, so the overall package is competitive.

The team have an all new full season line-up, with experienced GT racer Alvaro Parente joined by Misha Goikhberg. Goikhberg has raced with JDC-Miller in DPI the last several years. 2019 GTD champion Trent Hindman moves across for the endurance rounds, with A.J Allmendinger the final driver.

The car was quick throughout the seven test sessions, especially in the hands of Hindman and Parente. Fourth in the Rolex last year shows the car can be competitive at Daytona.

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#63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo: Alessandro Balzan/Cooper MacNeil/Toni Vilander/Jeff Westphal

Scuderia Corsa are titans of the GTD class, with back-to back titles for the team in 2016 and 2017. The team debut the new Evo spec Ferrari 488 GT3 car, aiming to rebound from a tough Rolex 24 last year.

Cooper MacNeil and Ferrari factory ace Toni Vilander are back, along with Jeff Westphal  for the endurance rounds. Double champion Alessandro Balzan returns to the team after a year away in 2019.

The team would love to win the Rolex 24, and looked very solid at the Roar. The new car ran without problems, completing 135 laps across the three days. The car also ran consistently in the top ten, a good sign for the race. Sixth in qualifying for Westphal also shows the team have a very consistent driving crew.

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#74 Mercedes AMG Team Riley/Robinson Racing Mercedes AMG GT3 Evo: Lawson Aschenbach/Felipe Fraga/Ben Keating/Gar Robinson

Riley Motorsport have been ever present in the IMSA series, primarily running a program for keen Am Ben Keating. He has now stepped into the WEC, but the team have put a program together to return without him. The team are running the Evo spec Mercedes AMG GT3 for it’s IMSA debut.

Lawson Aschenbach and Gar Robinson are the full season duo, with Keating and Felipe Fraga joining for the Rolex 24. Fraga has solidified himself as an emerging star of GT3 racing, with Keating one of the quickest amateurs in this class.

The team were in the lower half of the times at the Roar, but they could have been focusing on consistent lap times over one lap pace. The team have plenty of experience and this is a solid package.

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#86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3 Evo: Mario Farnbacher/Jules Gounon/Matt McMurry/Shinya Michimi

This #86 team enter the season as defending champions, after a stellar 2019. The team were consistent and gave Acura their first major GT3 title with the NSX. The team are well proven in IMSA and will be tough to beat.

Mario Farnbacher returns to defend his crown, now with Matt McMurry for the season. McMurry has a wealth of prototype experience and knows the NSX well from his Blancpain Endurance stint last year. Bentley factory racer Jules Gounon is a big addition, with Shinya Michimi completing the team.

The team will be pleased with their running at the Roar, despite missing the majority of Sunday’s two sessions. The team ran some quick consistent laps, always placing in the top ten. McMurry did an outstanding job to secure second in the qualifying session, giving the team a preferential pit box and garage for the race.

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#88 Audi Sport Team WRT Speedstar Audi R8 LMS Evo: Mirko Bortolotti/Rolf Ineichen/Daniel Morad/Dries Vanthoor

World renowned Team WRT return with support from Speedstar and Audi Sport Canada for another tilt at the Rolex 24. Their #88 car is the only Audi R8 on the grid at Daytona, a surprise given the enormous international success the car has enjoyed. The team scored a podium on their debut last year.

Mirko Bortolotti and Dries Vanthoor will headline this entry as Audi factory stars, with Bortolotti a double winner with Lamborghini in 2018-19. Rolf Ineichen has also moved to the German marque, with Canadian Daniel Morad completing the driving talent. Strangely enough, Vanthoor is the only driver in this team not to have won this event before.

Bortolotti and Morad did a majority of the laps at the Roar, with both showing flashes of real speed. Morad did well to secure a top eight spot in qualifying. The team is a very strong, and can be a contender if the Audi package can be competitive.

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#96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3: Bill Auberlen/Robby Foley/Jens Klingmann/Dillon Machavern

2019 was a outstanding year for Turner Motorsport, securing second in the standings for the sole BMW on the grid. The team also secured a brilliant Petit Le Mans win to finish on a high.

Longtime former BMW factory racer Bill Auberlen is joined by Robby Foley once again, with factory driver Jens Klingmann loaned to the team for Daytona. Dillon Machavern completes the line-up.

The team completed some good running at the Roar, with fluctuating pace during the three days. The team were likely running different programs during the sessions. Foley did a superb job with third in qualifying, with Klingmann and Auberlen consistently putting the car in the top ten.

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#98 Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3: Ross Gunn/Pedro Lamy/Mathias Lauda/Andrew Watson

This #98 entry is the first factory Aston Martin effort at the Rolex 24 since 2017. The team has been shrouded in mystery however, with amateur driver Paul Dalla Lana forced to pull out earlier this month because of a skiing injury. This meant the team only did very limited running on the Sunday at the Roar, severely hampering their preparations.

The team have factory driver Ross Gunn partnered with Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda for this race. Lamy and Lauda have been co-drivers with Dalla Lana since 2015, and have won the GTE Am class in the WEC three years ago. Andrew Watson has been drafted in as a late replacement for Dalla Lana.

Given the teams truncated running at the Roar, their preparation has been far from ideal. The team do have a great line-up, and with this being a one-off race  they can go all guns blazing to secure the win.

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That wraps up not only my GTD preview, but also my previews for every class at this years Rolex 24. Thank you to anyone who has read any of the five preview blogs I have posted, I really appreciate the support. If you have any thoughts on this race I would love to hear from you either comment below or find me on Twitter @JWjournalism. Finally, a massive thank you must go to IMSA.com, Motorsport.com and Dailysportscar.com for the incredible images you see in this post!