A Porsche will be on track in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GT Le Mans class for 2021.
While Porsche pulled its factory effort for 2021, customer team WeatherTech Racing with Proton Competition is teaming and moving into IMSA’s GTLM class. Cooper MacNeil, Richard Lietz, Kevin Estre and Gianmaria Bruni will drive the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR at the Rolex 24 at Daytona this month.
The addition of the WeatherTech Racing, which raced in the GT Daytona class as Scuderia Corsa with Ferrari equipment in 2020, brings the GTLM class to five full-time entries for 2021. Returning to the class are two entries each from Corvette Racing and BMW Team RLL. Ferrari Risi Competizione is expected to race at the Rolex 24, but that team is focusing its season-long effort on the World Endurance Championship.
For Proton Competition and owner Christian Ried, that organization will make the move to full-time racing in North America in 2021. The team has competed in the WEC as well as the European Le Mans Series and is adding the IMSA WeatherTech Championship this year. The agreement will also see the team apply for an entry in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the GTE Pro Class.
“We have put a lot of thought into this move,” MacNeil said. “I have raced against this level of competition at Le Mans twice, most recently this year, and have felt comfortable with the added performance of the car. We are going back to running a Porsche, and I am looking forward to getting behind the wheel of the 911 RSR. It will be more pressure on me as a driver, but I am welcoming the added effort it is going to take to run GTLM in 2021.
🚨 BREAKING NEWS 🚨 WeatherTech Racing is moving to GTLM! Read more about this exciting decision.@IMSA
“We raced with Christian at Le Mans in 2016, so we have an on-track history. I am looking forward to running the Rolex 24 with Richard, Kevin and Gimmi. Proton has a great endurance racing history, and Porsche is always competitive at Daytona.”
For Christian Ried, Proton Competition owner, it will be his first full season of racing in North America’s premier sportscar series.
“We have been looking at entering the IMSA WeatherTech Championship for a few years,” Ried said. “We just didn’t feel like the time was right until now. With the factory effort leaving, that left a void for Porsche in GTLM. We were able to get together with David and Cooper (MacNeil) to keep the Porsche brand racing at the top level of GT competition in IMSA. I am looking forward to the challenge and am excited to add IMSA to our racing schedule in 2021.”
The 2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will start with the Roar Before the 24 test at Daytona International Speedway, January 22-24. The Rolex 24 At Daytona will run January 27-31.
Is the pandemic keeping you from the Rolex 24 at Daytona this month? Let us know in the comments below what you’re looking forward to in IMSA for 2021.
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