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VisitFlorida.com Racing Announces 2017 Driver Lineup

Last week, VisitFlorida.com Racing announced their intentions to field the new Riley Mk. XXX chassis with the Gibson V8 engine in next year’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (last year’s Chevrolet Corvette DP is pictured above).  That cleared up just one aspect of the team’s direction.  Monday shored up part of the driving lineup.

VisitFlorida.com Racing has announced that Marc Goossens will return to the wheel of the No. 90 Riley Mk. XXX-Gibson full-time in 2017.  However, he will not be joined by Ryan Dalziel.  Dalziel was splitting time between VisitFlorida.com Racing in IMSA and Tequila Patron ESM in the FIA World Endurance Championship.  However, it appears that Dalziel is going to stay with Tequila Patron ESM as they return to IMSA full-time.

Dalziel will be replaced by Renger van der Zande, who will be a rookie in a full-fledged prototype, but has years of experience racing in Prototype Challenge.

Van der Zande feels that he’s up to the challenge.

“I cannot wait to see our new car soon – it’s just great to have the opportunity to race for overall victories and be right there for a new era with the DPi class,” van der Zande stated.  “The competition is very strong and I am ready to do battle with my VISIT FLORIDA Racing team. Marc (Goossens) is a great guy. We raced against each other when I made my first outings in GT racing. We speak the same language in two ways – we both speak Dutch but also have a great understanding between us. It’s an advantage to have a guy like Marc alongside me who has been with the VISIT FLORIDA team for a year and has tons of racing experience.”

Van der Zande comes to VisitFlorida.com Racing after spending the last four seasons in Prototype Challenge, first with DragonSpeed Mishumotors, then three seasons with Starworks Motorsport.  In the three years with Starworks, van der Zande has nine class victories and 18 podiums.  He’s coming off of the PC class title with co-driver Alex Popow, won in a tiebreaker over PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports’ Robert Alon and Tom Kimber-Smith thanks to four victories (Belle Isle, Watkins Glen, Lime Rock and Circuit of the Americas).

Goossens is happy to be back with VisitFlorida.com Racing and to have van der Zande as his new teammate.

“I’ve known Renger (van der Zande) for quite some time – we raced for the same team in BRL V6 in The Netherlands back in 2009 but we were in separate cars,” Goossens stated.  “I’ve kept an eye on him ever since, and I do rate his talent very highly. I am very happy to be back with VISIT FLORIDA Racing. Continuity is very often a key to success and I’m feeling very positive about the new prototype. It is a new platform for everybody, so everyone essentially starts from scratch. And of course it goes without saying that I am looking forward to driving a Riley-built car again. I’ve worked with Bill and Bob Riley for over 15 years and I know that they will supply us with a very competitive chassis. This combined with the global-spec Gibson engine should be a strong package when we start the season at Daytona.”

Goossens is coming off of a season in which he finished fifth in points.  He failed to win a race, but finished third in class at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and second at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

Unfortunately for Goossens and van der Zande, the team still does not have possession of the new Riley chassis as of yet.  As a result, they will miss this week’s open test at Daytona International Speedway. It is scheduled to arrive in Daytona next month in time for the next test.

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