Over 50 Cars Set for IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Opener at Daytona International Speedway

Thursday, Jan 23 1384
Two late additions to the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge entry list after its initial unveil have tipped the number of race cars to more than 50 for Friday’s four-hour season opener at Daytona International Speedway.
 
The BMW Endurance Challenge entry list features 33 Grand Sport (GS) cars and 18 entries in the TCR class, with a total of 11 manufacturers represented throughout the field.
 
This will be the fourth consecutive year that the Pilot Challenge season opens with a four-hour endurance race, with the format first being rolled out in 2017.
 
The BMW Endurance Challenge goes green at 1:10 p.m. ET on Friday, January 24 and can be streamed live on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold. The NBCSN broadcast will air on Thursday, February 6 at 1 p.m.
 
Here’s a closer look at some highlights on the entry list:
 
  • There are more than 10 teams on the entry list with two or more cars entered for the race. There are also more than 15 drivers making their Pilot Challenge debut.
  • Five women are entered for Friday’s race, with four in the GS class and one in TCR.
  • Stock car star Hailie Deegan has made headlines with her entry in the No. 22 Multimatic Motorsports Ford, but there will be two women racing alongside in a pair of BMW M4 GT4s. Aurora Straus returns in the No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW and hailing from the Netherlands is BMW Motorsport Junior Beitske Visser in the No. 26 BMW for Fast Track Racing.
  • Sheena Monk is jumping up from the Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America series into a McLaren GT4, racing in the No. 3 M1 Racing car.
  • Taylor Hagler is the lone female competing in the TCR class in the No. 77 L.A. Honda World Racing Honda Civic TCR.
  • Snowboarding Olympian AJ Muss will be making his IMSA debut in the No. 74 Forty7 Motorsports Hyundai Veloster N TCR. After suffering a life-threatening medical emergency following a surgery in 2014, Muss recovered, trained and followed his dreams of competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Seoul.
  • Austin Cindric and Seb Priaulx could start up a winning streak with a victory at Daytona. The pair won the 2019 season finale at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, also in the No. 15 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Mustang GT4.
  • New number, same operation. Russell Ward and Indy Dontje have switched from the No. 33 entry to the No. 4, but still with Winward Racing in a Mercedes-AMG GT4. Their sister car, the No. 57 remains the same, although with Bryce Ward now teaming with Philip Ellis.
  • Popular Brazilian driver Atila Abreu is making his IMSA debut along with Leo Sanchez in the No. 31 MCC Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT4. The pair co-drove in the Porsche GT3 Cup Brasil series as well as Brasilian stock car racing.
 
Tickets for the weekend are available at DaytonaInternationalSpeedway.com. Follow along with Pilot Challenge on social media this weekend and throughout the year using the hashtag #IMPC.
 
Adam Sinclair

Adam has been a race fan since the first time he went through the tunnel under the Daytona International Speedway almost 30 years ago. He has had the privilege of traveling to races all across the state of Florida (as well as one race in Ohio), watching nearly everything with a motor compete for fame and glory, as well as participating in various racing schools to get the feel of what racecar drivers go through every week.  

Adam spent several years covering motorsports for Examiner.com., where he had the opportunity to see the racing world from behind the scenes as well as the grandstands. He invites everyone to follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, and looks forward to sharing his enthusiasm for all things racing with the readers of SpeedwayDigest.com.

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