WeatherTech Championship 2020: Who’s Going Where?

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Filipe Albuquerque will be a part of the drive squad for the Whelen Engineering No. 31 DPi for Action Express Racing. (Sarah Weeks photo)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – IMSA teams, drivers and manufacturers got a little break this week for the Thanksgiving holiday and another one next month around Christmas, but other than that, it’s going to be flat out right up until the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 25.

There has been a fair amount of movement in the driver and team ranks with lineup changes announced for 2020. Here’s a quick look and what’s been confirmed so far:

No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi Confirms Derani, Nasr for Full Season; Albuquerque for Michelin Endurance Cup (Oct. 8)

The first announcement of 2020 plans actually came the week of the season finale, as Whelen Engineering Racing announced the return of Pipo Derani and Felipe Nasr as full season co-drivers of its No. 31 Cadillac DPi-V.R on Oct. 8.

The big news in that announcement was that Filipe Albuquerque, who was a full-time driver of the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac alongside Joao Barbosa for the previous two seasons, was joining the No. 31 team for the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup rounds in what is anticipated to be the only Action Express Racing-fielded entry for 2020.

Magnussen Exploring Other Opportunities After 16 Years with Corvette Racing (Oct. 18)

During the week after the 2019 WeatherTech Championship season concluded, Corvette Racing confirmed that one of the all-time greats in IMSA competition, Danish racer Jan Magnussen, would be moving on from the team and exploring other opportunities in 2020.

“Everyone at Corvette Racing thanks Jan for his years of dedication and professionalism during the last 16 years,” said Chevrolet U.S. Vice President of Performance and Motorsports, Jim Campbell. “Jan has been a key part of the growth and success of Corvette Racing. His experience and insight have been invaluable. We hold Jan in the highest regard and wish him well in the next chapter of his career.”

McMurry Joining Farnbacher, Meyer Shank Racing in No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 for 2020 (Oct. 30)

In a combination of 2019 WeatherTech Championship titlists, LMP2 champion Matt McMurry was announced as the new co-driver of the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 alongside Mario Farnbacher, who won the 2019 GT Daytona (GTD) title co-driving with Trent Hindman. McMurry previously drove for the team when it fielded an LMP2 car in 2015.

“It’s an honor to be selected to join the Meyer Shank Racing team again,” McMurry said. “I can’t imagine a better place to be for the 2020 season than in an Acura NSX GT3 EVO at MSR.”

“I’m excited to be back with the Meyer Shank Racing guys next year,” added Farnbacher. “We had a great 2019 season and we will head into 2020 with the same goal.”

Kyle Busch to Compete in 2020 Rolex 24 in AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RCF GT3 (Nov. 4)

At the time of the announcement, Busch only had one Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series title on his résumé. But the now two-time champion will make his Rolex 24 At Daytona debut in January.

“I’d like to thank everyone at Lexus Motorsports, AIM Vasser Sullivan and Toyota for this opportunity,” Busch said. “To have the chance to run in such an iconic race as the Rolex 24 is certainly something I’ve thought about and wanted to do. My partnership with Toyota and the history we’ve had together is incredible. I would love to continue that history and maybe get my own Daytona Rolex to add to my trophy collection.”

Era Motorsport Commits to LMP2 Entry for 2020 Rolex 24 At Daytona (Nov. 5)

Era Motorsport – which has been a stalwart of historic racing – announced plans to compete in the LMP2 class in the 2020 Rolex 24 At Daytona, fielding an ORECA entry for team principal/driver Kyle Tilley and other drivers still to be named. The program is being run in partnership with longtime LMP2 competitors, DragonSpeed.

“We’re very excited to confirm that we’ll be joining the IMSA ranks in 2020 for the Rolex 24 At Daytona,” Tilley said. “We weren’t expecting to have to confirm the news so soon, but we’re thrilled there’s such media interest in our team.”

Acura Team Penske Returns with Same Driver Lineup for 2020 (Nov. 5)

When your two cars finish first and third in the DPi championship standings, there’s no reason to change much and that’s exactly what Acura Team Penske is doing in 2020. The team confirmed via Twitter that its championship-winning driver lineup of Dane Cameron and Juan Pablo Montoya will be back in the No. 6 ARX-05 with Ricky Taylor and Helio Castroneves also returning for the full season in the No. 7 entry.

For the Rolex 24, Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts and Motul Petit Le Mans, 2019 Indy 500 winner and 2016 IndyCar champion Simon Pagenaud will return to the lineup for the No. 6, with 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi coming back to the No. 7 squad.

Corvette Racing Lineup Includes Jordan Taylor for New C8.R Race Cars (Nov. 14)

In mid-November, Corvette Racing confirmed what long had been rumored when it announced that two-time IMSA champion Jordan Taylor would be moving from the prototype ranks to team with Antonio Garcia in the No. 3 Corvette C8.R as part of the team’s two-car GT Le Mans (GTLM) class program in 2020. The team’s No. 4 entry would continue to see longtime co-drivers Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin.

“It’s a huge honor to be back with Corvette Racing for 2020 and part of the full-season lineup,” said Taylor, who won the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans with Gavin and Milner as part of the Corvette Racing GTE Pro lineup. “I’m very proud to be joining one of the most successful teams in sports car racing and to represent the Corvette and Chevrolet brands.”

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