The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is wrapping up its four day, pre-season homologation test at Daytona International Speedway Saturday. Forty-two cars took part, including all the factory-backed GTP cars, plus a complement of LMP2, GTD PRO and GTD teams. The first day featured GTP and LMP2 only, while all cars participated in the second day. Days three and four were reserved for GTD PRO and GTD while the series conducted targeted performance testing to help set the Balance of Performance for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

New cars

Testing featured the IMSA-sanctioned debut of the new Ford Mustang GT3 (run by Multimatic Motorsports) and Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3.R (fielded by Corvette Racing by Pratt Miller Motorsports). Both cars logged a lot of miles, although the No. 4 Corvette shared by Nicky Catsburg and Tommy Milner suffered a fire due to a refueling rig problem. Damage to the car was minimal, but did require a substantial amount of cleanup of fire bottle residue.

The Mustangs were quick, keeping near the top of the unofficial time sheets, although the No. 1 Paul Miller BMW M4 GT3 was consistently at the top, despite the BMW’s Daytona struggles in the past two Rolex 24s.

Heart of Racing had one car at the test, the new Aston Martin Vantage GT3 Evo, although Aston Martin is still playing with cards close their chest with the car. It was shared by Roman De Angelis – whose full-season co-driver in GTD has yet to be named – and the GTD PRO squad of Ross Gunn, Alex Riberas and Mario Farnbacher.

Lamborghini SC63 North American debut

The Lamborghini SC63 LMDh car that will compete in WeatherTech Championship Michelin Endurance Cup races beginning at Sebring made its North American testing debut at Daytona, and was quick from the start with Andrea Calderelli posting a fast time on the first day. Other GTP-class cars were quicker on Saturday, but the Lambo remained within a second of the fast time. In addition to Caldarelli, Mirko Bortolotti, Romain Grosjean and Daniil Kvyat were on hand to test the car.

Targeted Performance testing

As noted in Marshall Pruett’s explanation of new Balance of Performance testing procedures taking place at Daytona

, several teams were committed to a prescribed program set forth by IMSA to nail down BoP parameters, particularly as they are applied to the unique DIS road course with long, high-speed sections on the oval and a tight infield section.

Each manufacturer nominated a team and driver to carry out its testing; Bryan Sellers and Paul Miller Racing were the nominations from BMW, and Mercedes AMG put Adam Christodoulou into the No. 32 Korthoff/Preston Motorsports Mercedes AMG GT3 for example. Each participating team had to complete three runs each of a five-lap qualifying simulation and a 28-lap full stint. Once those were completed, teams could continue with their own testing program. Teams not involved in the performance testing were able to run their own tests concurrently.

“I think this BoP testing is awesome for Daytona because it is unique,” said Turner Motorsport principal Will Turner. “I think IMSA realizes that they had to do something to try to make the cars more equal for Daytona. I think they did a great job at the rest of the tracks – they’re doing better and better every year getting the cars closer and closer. But Daytona has always been where the widest gap is from the fastest car to the slowest car, so this is an awesome idea. I hope that data they collect is constructive and all the cars have a chance to win this year.”

Porsche GTD teams still working on 2024 plans

The KellyMoss With Riley No. 92 Porsche 911 GT3.R, slated for GTD PRO in the original pre-season entry list, has reverted to GTD. Drivers have not been named, but David Brule and Alec Udell, full-season partners in 2023, were in the car for testing.

Wright Motorsports has not named its drivers for 2024, but Adam Adelson and Elliot Skeer, who teamed together in GT World Challenge America competition in 2023 to finish second in the Pro-Am category, were in the No. 120 Porsche 911 GT3.R, along with Wright regular Jan Heylen.