Up in the air: Continental Tire Challenge ST preview

Roar testing left many unanswered questions.

Up in the air: Continental Tire Challenge ST preview
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The recent Roar Before the Rolex 24 testing at Daytona International Speedway answered a few questions about the upcoming Street Tuner (ST) class in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, which opens its season next Friday.

Look to Terry Borcheller and Mike LaMarra of Burton Racing to come out strong in defense of their ST title. Murillo Racing's pairing of Eric Foss with Jeff Mosing definitely bears watching. Close last year, this could be the season that Ryan Eversley and Kyle Gimple of Compass360 Racing take the title. BimmerWorld will return with a competitive multi-car lineup with a few major additions.

#23 Burton Racing BMW 128i: Terry Borcheller, Mike LaMarra
#23 Burton Racing BMW 128i: Terry Borcheller, Mike LaMarra

Photo by: Trevor Horn

But the Roar testing also left many unanswered questions. How competitive will the Hyundai Genesis be in its series debut? Will the Porsche Cayman be the car to beat? How strong will Team Sahlen be in its return to the series? What about CJ Wilson Racing, HART, Skullcandy Team Nissan, Freedom Autosport and TGM, who opted not to attend the Roar before the season opener?

With co-driver Mosing visiting relatives on the other side of the globe, Eric Foss made the most of his time in the No. 56 Mosing Motorcars BMW 328i. Foss led more than half of the sessions, posting a best lap of 2:05.804. Borcheller and LaMarra bounced back and forth between the two team cars, running in the No. 22 (usually raced by former BimmerWorld teammates Greg Strezoff and Connor Bloum) with their own No. 23 BMW 128i.

Tyler Cooke was fastest on the third and final day of the Roar, running 2:06.391 in the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i co-driven by Gregory Liefooghe. Dan Rogers and Seth Thomas return in the No. 82, while team owner James Clay will co-drive in the No. 84 BMW F-30 with Jason Briedis. Another pairing to watch is the team's No. 80, now driven by Corey Fergus and Kevin Gleason.

In addition to racing a new Subaru WRX-STI in the Grand Sport (GS) class, Compass360 Racing will have four Honda Civic Sis in ST. Eversley was second fastest at the Roar with a lap of 2:05.843, before turning the car over to several prospective teammates. Eversley and Gimple scored four podium finishes in 2013, missing out on the title by nine points.

Autometrics Motorsports tested two different Porsches at the Roar. It brought back last year's Boxster along with the Cayman that is now eligible for the class. Cory Friedman was third fastest in the No. 24 Cayman he co-drives with Mac McGehee. The team has yet to enter the No. 04 Boxster for the race, although Remo Ruscitti, a 19-year-old Canadian with a solid karting background, was impressive in the car at the Roar.

So much for the questions that were answered at the Roar. Now, a look at a few of the questions raised on the eve of the 2014 campaign.

Irish Mike's Racing had a trio of Huyndais at the Roar, and has yet to nominate drivers for the cars in the opener. Todd Buras was among the drivers at the Roar for the Orlando, Fla.-based team, which has tested extensively throughout the Sunshine State over the past four months.

Skullcandy Team Nissan was not at the test – with Vesko Kozarov coming back with his co-driver to be announced at Daytona in the No. 33 Nissan Altima.

Friedman showed that the Porsche Cayman was quick at Daytona. The Autometrics team will be joined by Team Sahlen and Rebel Rock Racing with new Caymans that are expected to be very strong in the opener. Team Sahlen returns to the series after running in the Rolex Series since 2004 – running a pair of DPs last year. Under various names – including Planet Earth, HRPworld.com and TheRaceSite.com – the team is the leading winner in Continental Tire Challenge history with 26 victories, in addition to seven driver and team championships.

CJ Wilson Racing has shuffled its lineup. Rally veteran Tyler McQuarrie joins Marc Miller in the No. 3, while former NASCAR driver Chad McCumbee shifts to the No. 5, joining 2013 Monticello Motor Club Rookie of the Year Stevan McAleer.

Going up and down the paddock, one thing is clear. It's going to be a very interesting – and very competitive – year in the Street Tuner category.

Tune into the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge January 24 at 6pm EST on FOX Sports 2.


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