Tight IMSA GT Daytona points battle resumes at Detroit
The GT Daytona class is the most crowded and competitive class of the new IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship series. Heading into the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic at Detroit Belle Isle this weekend, there is a four-way tie for the Driver’s championship lead, a two-way tie for the Team title and a deadlock in the Manufacturers chase.
Motegi Racing wheels teams are in the midst of all the championship battles.
One of the many Ferrari teams that Motegi supports worldwide is Scuderia Corsa, which will enter two Ferrari 458 Italia at Detroit. In the most recent race at Mazda Raceway, the No. 63 Ferrari of Jeff Westphal and Alessandro finished seventh in GTD and the No. 64 Ferrari of Kyle Marcelli and Stefan Johansson ran as high as second before finishing 10th.
Johansson, a veteran of 109 Formula One races with two seasons spent with Scuderia Ferrari in the 1980s, has twice won at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. His second win, in 1997, came behind the wheel of a Ferrari 333SP, and he also has one overall victory and two class victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He was also recently named the Sporting Director of the Scuderia Corsa team.
“It’s an incredibly broad field, very competitive field, especially in GTD,” Johansson says. “There are a lot of good teams and good cars and really good drivers. I would say it’s probably in some ways the most competitive category and with the amalgamation of the two championships, there’s a very large number of cars.
“I think we have a very strong lineup. Our goal is to win as many races as we can and if that converts into a championship, that’s great. We’re kind of behind the eight ball because we had two bad races at Daytona and Sebring, but there is time to make up the points.”
Motegi has a strong relationship with Ferrari. Motegi Racing wheels are mounted on every new Ferrari race car built today.
“Ferrari doesn’t bolt anything on the car unless they’re 100 percent happy with the product,” Johansson says. “I think that’s a great testament to Motegi that they’ve been chosen to have the car delivered with Motegi wheels. That in itself is a huge acknowledgement of the product.”
After a 14th place finish at Mazda Raceway, AIM Motorsports teammates Townsend Bell and Bill Sweedler retained the GT Daytona points lead but lost their exclusivity and fell into a tie with Andy Lally and John Potter, who finished third at Mazda Raceway in the No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT America. They each have 87 points after three races.
Another Motegi team, the No. 22 Alex Job Racing/WeatherTech Porsche 911 GT America of Leh Keen and Cooper MacNeil, ranks third with 82 points.
“In a class that is as competitive as GT Daytona, you can’t afford to be a little bit off,” says Sweedler. “At Mazda Raceway we just couldn’t nail the setup. It was a real challenge to hang on to the car with so much oversteer, and Townsend definitely had his hands full after he was out there for so long on one set of tires. We’ll just have to put this one behind us and get ready for Detroit.”
AIM Autosport’s pair of drivers entered the race weekend at Laguna Seca as winners of the Rolex 24 at Daytona and runners-up at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in their No. 555 Ferrari 458 Italia.
Ferrari and Porsche are tied for the GT Daytona Manufacturer’s lead with 95 points apiece, one ahead of Audi.