Audi is back in P1 but with a little twist, a debut and a farewell. If you’ve been following along ALMS and Grand-Am will merge in 2014 and with that no more LMP1 class. At the same time, Audi Sport Team Joest has entered a pair of R18 e-tron quattro’s. The debut comes as this is a first for the Audi R18 e-tron quattro, a premiere of a hybrid racecar and a first with quattro drive since 1989 in the United States. Look for Marcel Fassler, Benoit Treluyer and Oliver Jarvis in the no1 2012 car. Lucas di Grassi, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish will share the no2 2013 car.
Audi Motorsport’s competition will come from Muscle Milk Pickett Racing HPD ARX-03c, (2) Rebellion Racing Lola B12/60 – Toyota, Dyson Racing Lola B12/60 – Mazda AER and a DeltaWing LM12 – Elan.
Grand Touring is going to epic this year! Our good friends down the street, Porsche, will be on hand with two 2012 997 911 GT3 RSR’s. Porsche will do battle with two brand new BMW Z4 GTEs from BMW Team RLL. (2) Corvette Racing ZR1s, (2) Risi Ferrari 458s, (2) SRT Motorsports Viper GTS-Rs and two Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTEs round out the class.
Team Falken Tire
Bryan Sellers, Wolf Henzler and recently christened Porsche Factory driver Nick Tandy will share driving duties. Earlier in the year, Falken Tire took delivery of a new 2012 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. Falken Tire has been at it for three years strong and the 12 Hour is one race a podium finish would put them on the map. Winter testing went well for the new car and team.
Paul Miller Racing
In December, we told you Marco Holzer would be joining Bryce Miller for a full ALMS season. Richard Lietz will return for driving duties as well. That gives Paul Miller Racing two Porsche Factory drivers in its ammunition bag. Take last years Motegi Racing Whees partnership and wrap them in this years Michelin tire partnership and we could be looking at another Porsche podium.
GTC is made up of Porsche 911 GT Cup cars. There are 11 entires and when we say stacked, this class is stacked. GTC wreaks of high caliber talent!
Flying Lizard Motorsports
Dropping out of the GT ranks and into GTC with two new 911 GT3 Cup cars. The other bit of news… Patrick Long and Joerg Bergmeister are MIA but the no44 and no45 stick around. Our neighbor Spencer Pumpelly, Nelson Canache Jr. and Brian Wong will divide the twelve hours up in the no45 Porsche GT3 Cup car. Pierre Ehret, Brett Sandberg and Alexandre Imperatori will be in the no44. More details here.
Alex Job Racing
Coming into this weekend, AJR are the team to beat. On top of three victories last year an always fast Jeroen Bleekemolen joins Dion von Moltke and Cooper MacNeil. von Moltke is coming off an awesome GT win in the 24 Hours of Daytona and was on last years Sebring 12 Hour GTC winning AJR team.
Dempsey/Del Piero Racing
Another of our neighbors, Andy Lally teams up with newly formed Dempsey/Del Piero Racing. The “Dempsey” part comes from Patrick Dempsy. You may have heard him and Del Piero comes from another fella you may have heard of… Italian soccer star Alessandro Del Piero. Joe Foster joins Lally and Dempsy in the no27 with Michael Avanetti, Andrew Davis and Bob Faieta sharing the no10 car.
Another two-car entry hits the TC class and it’s a good one. Huge oneighturbo supporter, Craig Stanton is back in a Porsche! He will partner up with Ben Keating and Damien Faulkner in the no66 while Al Carter, Kevin Estre will jump in the no68. Third driver is TBD.
Always a solid effort from NGT and this year they return with two GT3 Cup’s. Look for Sean Edwards to join up with Henrique Cisneros and Marco Seefried in the no30 red/gold Porsche. Carlos Gomez, Mario Farnbacher and Kuba Giermaziak team up in the orange/silver no31 car.
Does the name Jan Heylen ring a bell? How about the VW Jetta TDI Cup series? Haylen was one of the driver coaches for the series. Jan teams up with Mike Hedlund and Jon Fogarty.
Porsche factory driver Sascha Maassen joins Lawson Aschenbach and David Calvert-Jones in the no99 911 GT3 Cup car. Do not count these three out as we could easily see this team podium in the end.
We told you this class was stacked!