This weekend marks the first regular length sprint race of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season. 36 teams will do battle on Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course’s 2.25-mile configuration on Sunday (May 5). There are a number of changes in play this weekend, partially due to the fact that the FIA World Endurance Championship racing Saturday at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.
In the Prototypes, Harry Tincknell will not race due to his commitment to Ford Chip Ganassi Racing WEC. INDYCAR veteran Ryan Hunter-Reay will share the No. 55 Mazda with Jonathan Bomarito in his place. Hunter-Reay has never raced the Mazda RT24-P. His previous DPi experience has been with Wayne Taylor Racing in their Cadillac.
Juncos Racing originally did not have a second driver entered alongside full-time racer William Owen. Earlier this week, the team announced that Kyle Kaiser would be back in the car for the second straight race. Kaiser led 14 laps at Long Beach last time out via an alternate pit strategy.
In LMP2, Gabriel Aubry will not be in the PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA 07-Gibson due to WEC commitments. He has been replaced for the weekend by Eric Lux. There are still only two entries in the class.
GT Le Mans is unchanged from Long Beach. The plan was for Joey Hand to be back in the No. 66. Unfortunately, he’s been fighting some illnesses lately. He explained his situation in this Twitter post.
— Joey Hand Racing (@JoeyHandRacing) May 1, 2019
As a result, Sebastien Bourdais will be back in the No. 66 Ford this weekend. Unlike Long Beach, Bourdais will not be doing double-duty.
In GT Daytona, this weekend marks the first race for the WeatherTech Sprint Cup, the championship-within-a-championship for GT Daytona teams. There are two part-time operations that have joined up. One is Lone Star Racing, which returns to the series for the first time since 2017. Pirelli GT4 America Sprint regular Gar Robinson (fresh off of a win last weekend at VIR) will share the re-numbered No. 74 Mercedes-AMG GT3 with Lawson Aschenbach.
Aschenbach moves over to the team after running at Sebring for Precision Performance Motorsports. That team has chosen not to enter this weekend’s race.
The other new effort is the long-awaited debut of Compass Racing’s new McLaren 720S GT3 with Matt Plumb and Paul Holton driving. The plans were announced nearly five months ago and now it’s time to see what the McLaren can do.