Busy, busy in North America this weekend (and next)

Thursday, January 19, 2023


We have all seen that there is certainly plenty going on this weekend over the Atlantic with two American race series opening their 2023 accounts – one with an opening sixteen-hour total affair from the Nola Motorsports Park and the other with three official tests and an opening race weekend for the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship trilogy of series.

Starting with the former sees the World Racing League quickly back into action this month with their first weekend of club sport style endurance racing with a nine and then a seven-hour race over the weekend from Nola.

Being a series to very much keep an eye on later into the year when the new variant Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT4 runners come online, sees one half of the Automatic Racing team take a breather from the shenanigans of the Roar before the 24 Official test from Daytona to field an older, normally aspirated V8 Vantage GT4 #909 car within the WRL.

Never keen on the Roar, sees the Stoner Car Care crew of Rob Ecklin, Ramin Abdolvahabi and Brandon Kidd get back up to speed ahead of their expected IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Series endeavours in similar machinery with the 9+7-hour event that the WRL offers before reporting for duty at Daytona in time for the opening round of the Michelin Pilot Challenge next weekend.

Then at Daytona itself, we of course have the Weathertech Sportscar Championship official test with the mandatory attendance for the sixty-one multi-class grid that sees a healthy four AMR Vantage GTD entry for next weekend’s Rolex 24.

Last season’s GTD Champions, the Heart of Racing team again field two such cars for Ross Gunn, Alex Riberas and David Pittard aboard the #23 GTD Pro entry alongside their #27 championship winning car of Roman de Angelis, Marco Sorenson, Darren Turner and Ian James. Joining then again is the #44 Magnus Racing car of John Potter, Andy Lally, Spencer Pumpelly and late announcement Nikki Thiim as well as a one off (so far) entry from the Team TGM crew of Ted Giovanis, Owen Trinkler with brothers Hugh and Matt Plump with their TF Sport supported entry.

It will be a busy couple of weeks for the Team TGM crew as piloting a GTD entry within the main IMSA event as well as new AMR Vantage GT4’s within the Michelin Pilot Challenge Series.

Whereas that series mandates their attendance at the Roar, it is not the same for the Michelin Pilot Challenge or Sportscar Challenge (as mentioned above) but seven AMR Vantage GT4 crews are still in attendance at the Michelin Pilot Challenge sequence of test sessions as well as a further two due to compete within the new GSX class of the Sportscar Challenge.

As mentioned before, we welcome a number of new teams and crews to the AMR brand this season as well as a healthy number of returning partnerships. Automatic Racing split their resources this weekend supporting not only the WRL attendee but also a new client within the #9 car of Tom Long, Jim Jonsin and Brett Sandberg.

Van der Steur (Rory Van der Steur, Austin McCusker and Wyatt Brichacek) and Team TGM (see above) are also new clients to AMR with Paul Kiebler and Jon Branam returning to the brand after a year out albeit with another supporting team in TR3 Racing as well as Todd Coleman switching from Toyota to AMR with Conrad Grunewald aboard their #88 Archangel prepared car.

Moisey Uretsky and Justin Piscitell and their #44 Baby Bull Racing AMR are the only returning AMR crew from last season for the Roar as they now commit to a part dual IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge and Sportscar Challenge season alongside their SRO derived series of racing.

Coleman joins Uretsky as two solo entries for the new sprint series that now makes up the Sportscar Challenge which don’t only test but race their first races this weekend.

It’s going to manic – it’s going to be busy and it’s still only the second race weekend of the year!!!

Photo credits – Teams


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