We continue our look at the runners slated to compete in the 2015 Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway with the second prototype category; Prototype Challenge. Of the four classes, this is the one with the single biggest odds-on favorite.
WINNERS: No. 54 CORE autosport, Colin Braun, Jon Bennett, Mark Wilkins, James Gue
PODIUM: No. 25 8Star Motorsports, Enzo Potolicchio, Tom Kimber-Smith, Rob Huff, Michael Marsal, No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports, Raphael Matos, David Ostella, Tomy Drissi, Gabriel Casagrande, Julio Campos
POLE: No. 54 CORE autosport, Colin Braun
ROAR RECAP: CORE autosport was a regular atop the sessions with Braun, although either Bruno Junqueira (RSR Racing) or Renger van der Zande (Starworks Motorsport) made the occasional impression to top the orange-and-white No. 54.
RACE OUTLOOK: Armed with an identical lineup as last year, CORE is odds-on favorite for a repeat and is poised to do so provided they have another trouble-free run. RSR or Starworks could upset the apple cart, but if someone other than those three factors into win or podium contention, it would serve as a fairly big surprise.
WIN CONTENDERS: As mentioned above, CORE, RSR and Starworks seem the only realistic win contenders, with CORE having a sizeable advantage over the others. The other five cars entered in class have some combination of new drivers, inexperienced drivers, or race inexperience as a team.
THE REST OF THE RUNNERS: Neither 8Star nor Performance Tech had what you would deem an “all-star” lineup last year but made it to the podium via largely trouble-free races. That’s the hope here for the leftover five. Some standout drivers to watch should include a trio of Englishmen in Kimber-Smith (No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen), Martin Plowman (No. 61 BAR1) and Johnny Mowlem (No. 16 BAR1). The Performance Tech and JDC-Miller entries will be looking, mainly, to avoid staying out of trouble. Performance Tech features a quartet of drivers all making their first Rolex 24 starts.
CLASS ENTRY LIST (8 cars, all Oreca FLM09)
- 8 Renger van der Zande, Mirco Schultis, Alex Popow, Mike Hedlund, Enrique Bernoldi, Starworks Motorsport
- 11 Bruno Junqueira, Chris Cumming, Jack Hawksworth, Gustavo Menezes, RSR Racing
- 16 Johnny Mowlem, Tom Papadopoulos, Tomy Drissi, Brian Alder, BAR1 Motorsports
- 38 Jerome Mee, James French, James Vance, Sean Johnston, Performance Tech Motorsports
- 52 Mike Guasch, Andrew Novich, Andrew Palmer, Tom Kimber-Smith, PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports
- 54 Colin Braun, Jon Bennett, Mark Wilkins, James Gue, CORE autosport
- 61 Martin Plowman, Marc Drumwright, Chapman Ducote, Cody Ware, BAR1 Motorsports
- 85 Stephen Simpson, Chris Miller, Rusty Mitchell, Mikhail Goikhberg, JDC-Miller Motorsports