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Old 12-11-2018, 10:45 PM
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WeatherTech Racing adds Vilander to GTD program

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By: Marshall Pruett 14 hours ago Finnish Ferrari ace Toni Vilander has been signed as Cooper MacNeil’s new teammate in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa/WeatherTech Racing Ferrari 488 GT3. Vilander’s return to IMSA, where he starred in Risi Competizione’s GT Le Mans Ferraris, comes after a successful foray in the Pirelli World Challenge series.With MacNeil and Vilander set for full-season duty, the team will rely on Dominik Farnbacher and Jeff Westphal to round out its Rolex 24 at Daytona roster.

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“It was a short off-season for me,” MacNeil said. “We just finished up the Ferrari Challenge season in Italy where I won the championship and now, we are off to Daytona to prepare for the 24. It is great to have Toni in the WeatherTech car for the season. He is a great asset in regard to set-up and, of course, speed behind the wheel. Dominik and Jeff will be great to have for the Rolex 24 and our goal is win it. There will be a lot of good cars with great drivers. We’ve come close in the past, but I really like our chances this year.”

Competing in IMSA’s GT Daytona category on a regular basis will be the only new aspect of Vilander’s 2019 plans.“I have run the Rolex 24 hours ten times,” he said. “It has been a tough race for me as far finishes go. In those ten starts I only have one podium, a third place in the GTLM class. It is nice to join the WeatherTech Racing team. I have driven with Scuderia Corsa before, so I am familiar with the team. The competition in the GTD class is very strong. There are a lot of good teams and driver line-ups. I am looking forward to having good preparation and a strong race next month.”
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Old 12-11-2018, 10:46 PM
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Lally, Pumpelly reunited in Magnus Lamborghini for Rolex 24

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By: J.J. O'Malley 11 hours ago Andy Lally confirmed on Tuesday that he will co-drive with long-time Atlanta buddy Spencer Pumpelly in the new No. 44 Magnus Racing Lamborghini Hurcan GT3 EVO for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.“The last time we were teammates at Daytona, we won the 2011 Rolex 24,” said Lally, a five-time class winner of the event. “In fact, that was the last time we co-drove together.”
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Lally and car owner/co-driver John Potter were testing their new Lamborghini at Daytona for the first time in preparation for a full season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Daytona class.“Today was a very important day for us,” Lally said. “It was great to be able to roll out the new Lamborghini at a low-pressure setting, and slowly get up to speed without being out there with 50 other cars, worrying about lap times and trying to break in other drivers. We’ve got a good group that’s been working hand-in-hand with Lamborghini since before we even took delivery of the new car. It made for the first few laps to be very easy. It took me about three laps to be comfortable in the car.”

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While he admits that the Lamborghini has a similar feel to the Audi the team campaigned last year, the new car comes with a special mystique.“It’s quite an impressionable name,” Lally said. “Over the years, I’ve raced for Porsche; I’ve raced for Audi; different prototypes and stuff, and when you say the name, people say, ‘cool.’ But when you respond with ‘Lamborghini,’ it’s always an eyebrow raiser. I learned what a Lamborghini was when I watched ‘Cannonball Run’ when I was five, so I always thought that was pretty cool. So to actually race a Lamborghini in the IMSA WeatherTech Championship is very cool. I was very fortunate to race with Robby Benton and Change Racing in 2015 in my first taste of a Lamborghini, and it was a success. I’m looking to have a similar finish with a different team in the 2019 Rolex 24.”
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Old 12-11-2018, 11:10 PM
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Hardwick joins PMR for IMSA GTD

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By: Marshall Pruett December 10, 2018 6:05 AM Paul Miller Racing will return to defend its 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Daytona title with team veteran Bryan Sellers, newcomer Ryan Hardwick and endurance racing ace Corey Lewis. The same No. 48 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 that led Sellers, Lewis, and former teammate Madison Snow to the GTD crown will be utilized, albeit in an updated EVO configuration.Hardwick, the Lamborghini Super Trofeo North American and world champion, comes to PMR with considerable experience racing the Italian machines, and with the addition of 1st Phorm International as the team’s new primary sponsor, team owner Paul Miller says heading back to IMSA to defend its championship was his primary goal.

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“Ryan brings a lot of talent, success, and determination to our team and will be a big asset to Paul Miller Racing,” Miller said. “In the coming season, we expect he will be a big help to us in defending our title! Having driver champion Bryan Sellers back as our team leader is also very exciting for our whole team.”For Sellers, who worked hard to keep PMR moving forward with as few changes as possible, having Hardwick on board should ease the departure of Snow.“I’m very honored to be returning to Paul Miller Racing for my fourth season,” Sellers said. “This will be a new program for us and I am extremely excited about pairing with Ryan Hardwick for the season. I was able to watch him race in Super Trofeo last season, and his growth and commitment through the year was impressive. He will be a great fit within our team.”With Hardwick, who brings the 1st Phorm International sports nutrition brand to the program, the chance to plug into the GTD title-winning team ranks as the greatest opportunity he’s received in the sport.“I could not be more excited about moving up to the IMSA WeatherTech Championship and joining Paul Miller Racing in 2019,” Hardwick said. “When I started my journey into racing sports cars, my goal was to one day compete in IMSA. I am honored to have the opportunity to realize that goal by joining such an accomplished team with Paul Miller Racing.“I’m also extremely grateful for the opportunity to drive with, and learn from Bryan Sellers. None of this would be possible without confidence that Mr. Miller and Lamborghini Squadra Corse have put in me, and I’m dedicated to helping defend their class championship from last season.”Maintaining PMR’s all-American line-up by keeping Sellers in place as the team pro and driver coach, adding Hardwick as a rising amateur, and continuing the relationship with a proven pilot like Lewis should bode well for the Georgia-based outfit.“I am honored to be back with Paul Miller Racing for all endurance rounds for the 2019 IMSA championship,” Lewis said. “I want to extend a big thank you to Mr. Miller for the opportunity! The team is still cruising on a high from their driver, team, and manufacturer championships, and I look forward to helping to carrying that momentum to help achieve the same success.“It’s great to be working with the duo of reigning GTD champ Bryan Sellers and Lamborghini Super Trofeo Am U.S. and world champion Ryan Hardwick to help them get the overall drivers title! I just can’t wait to get to work with all the crew and engineering staff at Paul Miller Racing.”The new-look PMR team, minus Sellers, will turn its first laps during this week’s one-day Michelin tire test at Daytona International Speedway.
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Old 12-13-2018, 07:44 PM
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Default Daytona an eye-opener for AIM Vasser Sullivan

Daytona an eye-opener for AIM Vasser Sullivan

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By: J.J. O'Malley | December 11, 2018 1:45 PM It’s going to be hard to miss the new AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3s when the team returns to Daytona for the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona.The team’s two cars will carry striking bright day-go yellow liveries, making them easy to spot, both on and off the racetrack.

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“We want to come in with a strong identity,” said veteran sports car owner Andrew Bordin, whose AIM Autosport is partnering with winning IndyCar owners Jimmy Vasser and James “Sulli” Sullivan. “We want to make a statement with the new team, and we think we will achieve that. We’re excited to be here with the new Lexus.”To finalize the livery, the team ran a unique double-sided paint scheme for drivers Jack Hawksworth, Townsend Bell and Frankie Montecalvo, joined at Tuesday’s Michelin test by Richard Heistand. The car was painted black and yellow on one side (below), and silver and yellow on the other. Following the test, while the team engineers study the test data, their marketing folks will analyze which of the two schemes look best.

The drivers were happy with the car, which tested for the first time on Tuesday.“It’s a very comfortable car to drive,” said Bell, who will join Montecalvo in the No. 12 Lexus. “I like the seat position a lot, and I’m looking forward to coming back to the Roar and taking everything we’ve learned here and see if we can continue to tweak it to get it even better. It’s a winning car; it’s a fast car. I’m excited to get settled in with everyone, finally getting the car on track for the first time.” Hawksworth and “TBA” will co-drive the No. 14.Bordin’s AIM Autosport has logged many laps competing in the Rolex 24, running both a Daytona Prototype and Ferrari 458 in the GT category. Vasser has driven six times in the event, finishing second in 2008 for GAINSCO co-driving with Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty and Jimmie Johnson. A veteran of open-wheel competition, Sullivan has never competed at Daytona.“Before this, we considered the Indy 500 an endurance race,” Sullivan said. “This is a new experience for us – and the first hurrah for this piece.”
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Old 12-13-2018, 07:46 PM
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Risi confirms Rolex 24 Ferrari GTLM entry

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By: Marshall Pruett 15 hours ago Risi Competizione will be back for another shot at the Rolex 24 At Daytona using its familiar Ferrari 488 GTE in IMSA’s GT Le Mans category. Spain’s Miguel Molina is the only driver confirmed so far for the Houston-based endurance racing outfit.“We are pleased to return to Daytona for another 24-hour race,” said team principal Giuseppe Risi. “We’ve been coming here nearly every year since the team started in 1998, except for the years we focused on ALMS, and it is always an important endurance race. We’ve yet to win this one, although we’ve been on podium a few times, so that’s a goal we’d like to accomplish.”

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The team undertook an abbreviated WeatherTech SportsCar Championship bid last season as it filed entries at Daytona, Sebring, and Petit Le Mans while continuing its search for the funding to return to its normal full-time status.Unlike 2018 where Risi added a GT Daytona Ferrari to its effort, the team will concentrate solely on GTLM at the Rolex 24.
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Old 12-25-2018, 10:11 AM
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Default 47 cars on Roar Before The Rolex 24 provisional entry list

47 cars on Roar Before The Rolex 24 provisional entry list

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By: IMSA Wire Service | December 21, 2018 12:01 PM IMSA’s 50th anniversary season will get off to a ‘Roaring’ start on the first weekend of January with 47 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship entries slated to participate in the annual Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona three-day test session on the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road course.Of the 47 cars on the provisional Roar entry list released today, 37 have confirmed plans to compete full-time in the 2019 WeatherTech Championship as season-long, “premium” entries. Today’s provisional entry list includes all teams and cars that have been entered for the Roar. An updated entry list with driver lineups will be released on Jan. 2.Entry listThe Roar test on Jan. 4-6 is mandatory for any team expecting to compete in the 57th Rolex 24 At Daytona on the weekend of Jan. 24-27.The premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class features 11 entries from four different manufacturers: Cadillac (6), Acura (2), Mazda (2) and Nissan (1). Leading the way is the defending Rolex 24 champion No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R. The team announced this week that the car will be shared by 2018 co-drivers Joao Barbosa, Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi – who will retire from driving after the 2019 Rolex 24 – and FIA World Endurance Championship ace Mike Conway.The No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R that won the 2018 WeatherTech Championship Prototype title with co-drivers Felipe Nasr and Eric Curran also returns at the Roar. In September, the team announced that Curran is shifting his driving focus to the four IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup rounds in 2019, with Brazilian racer Pipo Derani – a 2016 Rolex 24 At Daytona overall winner – stepping in as Nasr’s new season-long teammate.The GT Le Mans (GTLM) class features nine race cars from five manufacturers: Chevrolet (2), BMW (2), Ford (2), Porsche (2) and Ferrari (1). Ford Chip Ganassi Racing, which has won each of the past two Rolex 24s in the GTLM class, returns with its familiar pair of entries.The No. 66 Ford GT – which took the 2017 Rolex 24 victory as well as a win in the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans – is back as well as the No. 67 entry that won the 2018 Rolex 24. The No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, which won both of the past two WeatherTech Championship GTLM season-long titles, leads the two-car effort for the Corvette.The GT Daytona (GTD) class again boasts the largest number of entries with 23 international GT3-spec race cars on the list from eight different manufacturers: Lamborghini (5), Audi (4), Porsche (4), Ferrari (3), Lexus (2), Mercedes-AMG (2), Acura (2) and BMW (1). In a new-for-2019 change, GTD cars only will participate in the first two days of testing – Jan. 4-5 – at the Roar.Back to defend its 2018 Rolex 24 GTD victory is the No. 11 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracán GT3. Also returning are 2018 WeatherTech Championship GTD champions Paul Miller Racing. The team recently announced that driver Bryan Sellers, who won the 2018 GTD season championship with Madison Snow, now will share the No. 48 Lamborghini on a full-time basis with 2018 Lamborghini Super Trofeo AM class world champion Ryan Hardwick.Corey Lewis also returns to the No. 48 driver lineup for the four IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup rounds. He teamed with Sellers and Snow, to win the 2018 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts.The LMP2 class for Pro-Am prototype driver lineups, features a four-car entry list. All four are ORECA chassis powered by Gibson V8 engines.On-track testing for WeatherTech Championship machines at the Roar begins at 11 a.m. ET on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019. The DPi, GTLM and LMP2 classes will have a total of seven practice sessions between Jan. 4 and Jan. 6, with five practice sessions set for the GTD class on Jan. 4-5.As was the case for the first time in 2018, qualifying for garage allocations and pit lane assignments again will take place for all classes in 2019. The 15-minute GTD qualifying session starts Saturday, Jan. 5 at 4:30 p.m. ET. GTLM qualifying runs from 11:50 a.m. to 12:05 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 6, followed by DPi and LMP2 qualifying from 12:15 to 12:30 p.m. ET.In addition to WeatherTech Championship testing, the Roar also includes six test sessions for the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge throughout the three days of on-track activity. Also, the IMSA Prototype Challenge opens its 2019 season with the three-hour Scouts of America race beginning at 12:15 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 5. The race will be streamed live on IMSA.com.All three days of the Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona are open to the public, with free admission for 2019 Rolex 24 At Daytona ticket holders.
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Old 12-25-2018, 10:30 AM
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#MISSION8
Alex Zanardi drives the BMW M8 GTE - BMW M Motorsport.

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BMW M Motorsport driver Alex Zanardi does a lap at Daytona International Speedway with the BMW M8 GTE. #MISSION8 More information: bmw-motorsport.com
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Old 12-26-2018, 11:57 AM
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Default British F3 champ Lundqvist set for PPM GTD Lamborghini effort at Rolex 24

British F3 champ Lundqvist set for PPM GTD Lamborghini effort at Rolex 24

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By: Graham Goodwin | December 21, 2018 9:41 AM Reigning British F3 champion Linus Lundqvist is set to join Precision Performance Motorsports’ Lamborghini Huracan GTD effort for the 2019 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, a prize drive after the Swede won the points chase to take the 2019 Sunoco Whelen Challenge, a joint venture between Whelen Engineering and AAOC, UK distributors for Sunoco Racing Fuels.Lundqvist’s PPM drive marks a shift in emphasis for the prize winner away from the premium Prototype class with all of the past winners racing in first Daytona Prototype and more recently DPi machinery.For 2019, Lundqvist sees the prize drive in the GTD Pro-Am category aboard PPM’s new Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo.

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“I am really excited to have everything confirmed; I can’t wait to get on that plane and fly across the Atlantic to race in the States for the first time,” said Lundqvist.“It’s going to be a real adventure. I’m super happy to be given the trust and opportunity to drive the Lamborghini GT3 Evo for Precision Performance Motorsports at Daytona! It will be a lot to learn considering it will be my first endurance race but I’m going to do my best and try to learn and enjoy it as much as possible.”“Having a talented young driver like Linus join our Rolex 24 driver line-up is a massive win for PPM and complements our focus on driver development, and of course it’s an honour to campaign the long-standing Sunoco Whelen Challenge program,” said Precision Performance Motorsport team manager Sunny Voelker. The decision to bring Lundqvist to PPM marks a shift in class for the Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner.“For the last four years, thanks to support from Sonny Whelen of Whelen Engineering, we have been placing the Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner in the No.31 Whelen-sponsored Action Express run Cadillac DPi race car,” said AAOC managing director Anders Hildebrand.“However, with the increasing level of competitiveness in the top class we feel that the pressure imposed on our winner will take out the enjoyment of this, maybe once in a lifetime experience. Sonny and I therefore decided for 2019 that we should place our winner in the GTD (GT3) class which has a mix of PRO and AM drivers and a class that would really make our Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner shine.”The Sunoco Whelen Challenge is in its 10th season, conceived to help raise the international profile of the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, with a unique prize on offer to drivers in UK National competition that has given a range of talented Pro and Gentlemen drivers the opportunity to gain a free seat in the IMSA season opener in a car with real potential for success.It has attracted real talent, with past winners including current Aston Martin works driver Jonny Adam, current Lamborghini Squadra Corse factory man Phil Keen, and former F1/current IMSA DPI driver Felipe Nasr.“When the first Sunoco Daytona Challenge was put together it was thanks to the support of Jim France who wanted to increase the international awareness of the Rolex 24 At Daytona,” Hildebrand said.“Today, ten years later it seems ridiculous that the Rolex 24 star-packed grid has not always been a massive international race on the bucket list of every racing driver.“The Sunoco Daytona and Whelen Challenge winners have brought talent, speed and excitement to the race and not disappointed the teams they raced for. 2018 Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner Stuart Middleton bettered Felipe Nasr’s Challenge winners’ previous third place record by taking the checkered flag in second overall — quite a feat!
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Old 01-02-2019, 01:38 PM
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Default Prototype Challenge set for three-hour enduro at Daytona

Prototype Challenge set for three-hour enduro at Daytona

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By: IMSA Wire Service | 4 hours ago While teams and drivers in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge descend upon Daytona International Speedway this week for the annual Roar Before the Rolex 24 test days, it’s the IMSA Prototype Challenge that takes to the track’s famed high banks for the first IMSA race of its highly anticipated 50th anniversary season in 2019.A total of 19 LMP3 prototypes are entered for the season-opening race that will go green on Saturday, Jan. 5 at 12:15 p.m. ET. The race will be streamed live on IMSA.tv and can be heard on IMSARadio.com and RadioLeMans.com.For the second consecutive season, the race at Daytona continues to evolve with a new look for the rapidly growing series and its popular LMP3 platform. Among the enhancements made to the IMSA Prototype Challenge in 2019 is the evolution of the endurance racing format that debuted at Daytona in 2018.One year after shifting from two 45-minute sprint races per weekend to a single one-hour, 45-minute endurance race, the series will extend to a three-hour race format for select events this season, including Daytona. Teams are required to have two drivers for endurance races with the option of using a third driver.The IMSA Prototype Challenge also moves to Michelin tires and LMP3 cars exclusively in 2019 with many of the top drivers and teams from the longstanding MPC class moving to the LMP3 class.Among the teams and drivers moving from MPC to LMP3 is ONE Motorsports – which won at Sebring one year ago with Dave House – and defending MPC driver champion Jon Brownson, who drove for ANSA Motorsports in the offseason IMSA Michelin Encore at Sebring and recently took part in a Michelin on-track opportunity with the team at Daytona.“IMSA has done such a remarkable job bringing the coming season’s format to the Prototype Challenge series, with the Encore at Sebring and the Michelin on-track opportunity,” said Brownson. “The depth of experience, professional dedication and enthusiasm in the drivers coming to this series is truly awesome. I think it’ll all look just great from the podium this season.”Teams making their LMP3 debuts at Daytona include Robillard Racing and a partnership from existing teams Alianza Motorsports and Gilbert Motorsports. Both teams will campaign Norma M30s, joining a trio of Forty7 Motorsports prototypes as the field’s Norma M30 contingent.Simraceway Motorsports and Sean Creech Motorsports are also set to make their debuts, as will former IndyCar and American Le Mans Series team Conquest Racing. They will join a strong field of Ligier JS P3 prototypes fielded by ANSA Motorsports, Performance Tech Motorsports, Polestar Motor Racing, K2R Motorsports, Wulver Racing and P1 Motorsports.All three days of the Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona are open to the public, with free admission for 2019 Rolex 24 At Daytona ticket holders. Tickets are available now at DaytonaInternationalSpeedway.com.
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Davis set for 17th straight Rolex start

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By: J.J. O'Malley 3 hours ago Quick, which driver has the longest streak of consecutive starts in the Rolex 24 At Daytona?If you said Andrew Davis, you’re correct. Davis will race in the event for the 17th straight year when he pilots Moorespeed’s Audi R8 LMS GT3 in the endurance classic on Jan. 26-27.The 17-year streak ties Hurley Haywood for second on the all-time Daytona list, trailing only Boris Said, who raced in the event for 18 straight years.

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“Running in the Rolex 24 for the 18th time – my 17th in a row – is an astonishing stat for me,” said Davis, 41, who has taken part in the event since 2003 after making his debut in 2001. “I remember watching the Camel GT series as a 5-year-old kid. Now to be here and part of this for so long means a lot.”Davis will join Will Hardeman, Alex Riberas and Markus Winkelhock in the No. 19 Moorespeed Audi in the GT Daytona class for the four races in the Michelin Endurance Cup. Davis and Winkelhock raced a Magnus Racing Audi in last year’s Rolex 24, finishing sixth in GTD.“This Moorespeed opportunity is great,” Davis said. “Our test here last month went really well, we were running things in. I think we’ve got a great lineup, with a lot of familiar faces and a familiar ride.”Davis made his Rolex 24 debut in 2001, driving a Nissan Lola for Mike Johnson’s Archangel Motorsports in the SRP II class. He drove a Porsche for The Racers Group in 2003, and has been an event regular ever since.“I remember being on the grid as a young guy in the open-cockpit Lola [in 2001], and thinking to myself, ‘What in the world am I doing here?’ Now, 20 years later, I’m still doing it. The fan base keeps getting bigger and bigger. This is a very big international race, and a who’s who is here. The driver field this year is amazing.”Davis’ favorite memory was finishing third in GT in the 2012 event, co-driving the No. 59 Brumos Porsche with Haywood, Leh Keen and Marc Lieb.“Standing on that podium with Hurley Haywood in the Brumos car, to share the podium with Hurley in his last race,” Davis said. “I finished second with Leh in Alex Job’s WeatherTech car three years later, but nothing is going to compare to standing on that podium with Hurley.”
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