New team to the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge set for full season effort.
Caledon, Ont. - The car is prepared, the trailer is packed, and the team is ready to go as Mantella Autosport looks forward to its first official IMSA outing this weekend for the Roar Before the 24 test at Daytona International Speedway.
Mantella Autosport drivers Anthony Mantella and Mark Wilkins will share the driving duties all year long, and the testing sessions this weekend will be the first chance for the duo to work together to find the sweet spot with the set up on the No. 8 Mantella Autosport Aston Martin entry.
Mantella, who is moving up the IMSA ladder after two seasons of competition in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada, is looking to put a good foot forward in his first IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge visit to Daytona International Speedway, hailed as the “World Center of Racing.” The 3.56-mile circuit utilizes both the high speed sections of the fabled oval, with an infield road course section adding to the 12-turn layout of the track that will also play host for the Rolex 24 At Daytona at the end of the month.
"I have really been working on and improving on learning the tracks,” said Mantella. “As a rookie it's difficult to know where the track is going. So with the help of some simulator time I have been doing better, and that is key. Learning this new car is going to be another challenge, to find what the limits are, and that’s something that I want to just keep getting more comfortable with. Having a good team and good co-driver I think are going to be very important parts of that and I’m happy to be heading down to Daytona!”
The team, which has also developed technical and marketing partnerships with Powered by Spyder, Gulf Lubricants, Liquid Image, Aston Martin Racing, and Prodrive to support the effort, is hoping to learn a lot about the Aston Martin this weekend as every lap turned provides new data for the engineers to review.
“We are definitely going to the test with a lot of things we are looking to develop,” said Mantella Autosport technical director Andrew Wojteczko. “As far as goals for the test, we want to continue with Anthony's (Mantella) familiarization with the platform and rely on the experience of Mark (Wilkins) to give quick and accurate feedback on changes we are looking to evaluate. As with any event, track time is always limited, but with a consistent shoe like Mark I know we will be able to get the information back on the changes we are evaluating and make sure we are going in the right direction."
“The race weekends of course are very exciting, but I think for Mantella Racing there is a lot of enthusiasm about the test as it is our first chance to get out there and work together,” said Wilkins. “The team has worked very hard to be this prepared, and we are eager to get down there, get to work on our test plan, and just keep making progress. It has been a good holiday season, but with this new car and new team I think Anthony and I really consider this to be more like Christmas to get down there and get going!”