DragonSpeed will enter its new Oreca 07 Gibson in the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona with a driver lineup of four race debutants, ahead of entering two cars in next year’s European Le Mans Series season.
The team’s 2016 ELMS race-winning lineup of Nicolas Lapierre, Ben Hanley and Henrik Hedman will be joined by ex-Audi LMP1 factory driver Loic Duval for the opening round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Team owner Elton Julian stated: “Daytona is the start of an exciting new direction in sportscar racing, thanks to IMSA’s introduction of the DPi class alongside the LMP2 cars we run in the ELMS and WEC.
“With new cars for everybody, the race will be wide open. We’re targeting the win, not just for the prestige IMSA’s flagship event carries, but also with an eye on our goal of racing at Le Mans in 2017.”
It will mark all four drivers’ Rolex 24 debuts, and will reunite Duval and Lapierre in a car for the first time since their victory in the 12 Hours of Sebring in 2011 in an Oreca-run Peugeot 908.
“It will be great to team up with [Nico] for the first time since we won Sebring together and to renew my long relationship with ORECA as well,” Duval said. “I raced against Ben back in my karting days and know how competitive he is, so I’m very happy to have him on our side for Daytona. And I am really looking forward to working with Henrik, with his fantastic commitment and passion for winning.”
Lapierre added: “After such a successful season with DragonSpeed, we are coming to Daytona with great expectations. We already have a great driver combination, and with the addition of Loïc for Daytona, we have a very strong extra card to play.”
The team will miss next month’s IMSA-sanctioned test at Daytona but will be present at the Roar Before the Rolex 24, Jan. 6-8.