We continue our look at the runners slated to compete in the 2015 Rolex 24 at Daytona with the second prototype category, Prototype Challenge. Of the four classes, this is the one with the single biggest odds-on favorite.
WINNERS: No. 54 CORE autosport, Colin Braun, Jon Bennett, Mark Wilkins, James Gue
PODIUM: No. 25 8Star Motorsports, Enzo Potolicchio, Tom Kimber-Smith, Rob Huff, Michael Marsal, No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports, Raphael Matos, David Ostella, Tomy Drissi, Gabriel Casagrande, Julio Campos
POLE: No. 54 CORE autosport, Colin Braun
ROAR RECAP: CORE autosport was a regular atop the sessions with Braun, although either Bruno Junqueira (RSR Racing) or Renger van der Zande (Starworks Motorsport) made the occasional impression to top the orange-and-white No. 54.
RACE OUTLOOK: Armed with an identical lineup as last year, CORE is odds-on favorite for a repeat and is poised to do so provided they have another trouble-free run. RSR or Starworks could upset the apple cart, but if someone other than those three factors into win or podium contention, it would serve as a fairly big surprise.
WIN CONTENDERS: As mentioned above, CORE, RSR and Starworks seem the only realistic win contenders, with CORE having a sizeable advantage over the others. The other five cars entered in class have some combination of new drivers, inexperienced drivers, or race inexperience as a team.
THE REST OF THE RUNNERS: Neither 8Star nor Performance Tech had what you would deem an “all-star” lineup last year but made it to the podium via largely trouble-free races. That’s the hope here for the leftover five. Some standout drivers to watch should include a trio of Englishmen in Kimber-Smith (No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen), Martin Plowman (No. 61 BAR1) and Johnny Mowlem (No. 16 BAR1). The Performance Tech and JDC-Miller entries will be looking, mainly, to avoid staying out of trouble. Performance Tech features a quartet of drivers all making their first Rolex 24 starts.
CLASS ENTRY LIST (8 cars, all Oreca FLM09)
- 8 Renger van der Zande, Mirco Schultis, Alex Popow, Mike Hedlund, Enrique Bernoldi, Starworks Motorsport
- 11 Bruno Junqueira, Chris Cumming, Jack Hawksworth, Gustavo Menezes, RSR Racing
- 16 Johnny Mowlem, Tom Papadopoulos, Tomy Drissi, Brian Alder, BAR1 Motorsports
- 38 Jerome Mee, James French, James Vance, Sean Johnston, Performance Tech Motorsports
- 52 Mike Guasch, Andrew Novich, Andrew Palmer, Tom Kimber-Smith, PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports
- 54 Colin Braun, Jon Bennett, Mark Wilkins, James Gue, CORE autosport
- 61 Martin Plowman, Marc Drumwright, Chapman Ducote, Cody Ware, BAR1 Motorsports
- 85 Stephen Simpson, Chris Miller, Rusty Mitchell, Mikhail Goikhberg, JDC-Miller Motorsports