Only 12 cars are entered for next week’s Nov. 15-16 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship test at Daytona, which owes a lot to the fact the new Daytona Prototype international (DPi) cars haven’t been revealed yet (that will come next week in Los Angeles) and a number of new GT cars haven’t yet arrived to teams.
Nonetheless there’s a handful of key entries among those 12 running. One car apiece comes from Prototype, Prototype Challenge and GT Le Mans, with the debut of PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports’ new Ligier JS P217 running alongside a single BAR1 Motorsports and BMW Team RLL BMW M6 GTLM in the other two classes.
In GT Daytona, there’s nine cars. The pair of Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3s make their public debut; Mark Wilkins and Tom Dyer join the four announced drivers of Andy Lally, Katherine Legge, Jeff Segal and Ozz Negri. Lally and Segal are paired in the No. 93 Acura with Legge and Negri – who shared Shank’s No. 60 Ligier JS P2 Honda at Detroit this year.
The Montaplast by Land Audi and EBIMotors Lamborghini are also on the grid, along with the No. 6 Stevenson Audi, Dream and Paul Miller Lamborghinis, and Sandown GT Racing’s USA Mercedes (the test chassis pictured above from 2015) make up the numbers.
The invite has been received, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. has another iRacing event on his schedule.
The NASCAR on NBC analyst tweeted Wednesday that he will make his debut in the IndyCar iRacing Challenge with Saturday’s race at Michigan Speedway. The race will be shown live on NBCSN at 2:30 p.m. ET Saturday.
The 2-mile oval was chosen by IndyCar drivers as the third track in the six-race series. Earnhardt heartily endorsed Michigan as a potential iRacing venue Monday along with Daytona and Talladega. Michigan nearly was selected by fans as the opener in the iRacing Challenge.
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Earnhardt, a longtime avid iRacing fan, had been lobbying since last Thursday that he was interested in racing with IndyCar drivers.
He has driven in the first three races of the eNASCAR Pro Invitational, finishing second to Denny Hamlin in the opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Last year, he attended his first Indianapolis 500, working as an analyst as part of NBC Sports’ inaugural broadcast of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.
“I’d love to do it,” Earnhardt said Monday about joining the IndyCar iRacing Challenge. “I think I’d love to get to know those guys.
“I had such a great time at the Indy 500 last year, and the reception that I received from other drivers there really meant a lot to me. So I know they’re all a lot of great dudes in that series that I already know that I’d love to get to know some of them even better.”
It already has been quite the week for Earnhardt, who was announced Monday as one of 15 nominees for the 2021 NASCAR Hall of Fame.
The field for Saturday’s race at Michigan should include another NASCAR driver in Jimmie Johnson. The seven-time Cup champion has driven the first two races of the IndyCar iRacing Challenge (and has plans to race IndyCar part time in the future).