Wednesday, January 22, 2020

2020 Daytona 24 Hours - GTLM Class Preview

So, we hit the LMP2 class earlier in the week, and Mike hit up the DPi class yesterday (which, really, should probably have been the end of the line for any GBS 24 Hours of Daytona class previews, because I think we all know that'll bear out to be the most accurate set of predictions ever seen on this website), now it's time to venture forth and proceed with my class previews. Next up: GTLM. It grabs the #3 spot for "most interesting class (to me)", for only one reason: car count. With the deletion of the Ganassi Ford GTs from the field, we're down to just seven GTLM cars. BUT, the good news is that this should still be a fantastically competitive class.

In seasons past, I've totally copped out and given all cars in this class an equal chance to win. But, with my new-for-2020 picks system, I can't do that unless I'm projecting that they finish in a seven-wide dead heat for the win. Even I am not the sort of maniac who'd do such a thing. So, let's get to it.

7th Place - #25 BMW Team RLL BMW M8 GTE

The effective defending champs of this race should be one of the favorites to win again, right? That's why I'M ZAGGING (when I should probably just "zig" and predict another podium) and predicting that they hit early trouble.

6th Place - #4 Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R

The only brand new cars in the class should be fast. But, unlike when the Corvettes went from the C5R to the C6R, and then the C6R to the C7R, the team could at least fall back on the throughline consistency of having the same front engine/rear drive layout. Now, with the engines behind the drivers, I can only imagine that there are a whole new set of headaches for the last remaining "American" GTLMs (in quotes, because the rest of the cars in class are run by American teams, just with cars from abroad). For sure, one of the cars will finish outside of the top-5, right?

5th Place - #62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE

Yes, these guys were incredibly fast when they actually raced last year, finishing 2nd at Daytona and actually winning the GTLM class at the last race of the 2019 season at Petit Le Mans. But, something tells me that 2020 won't be quite such a charmed effort in IMSA for the Risi guys.

4th Place - #24 BMW Team RLL BMW M8 GTE

No other reason for picking the other BMW to finish off the podium than that I think the teams that are going to finish on the podium will essentially have a magical run.

3rd Place - #3 Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R

Yep, I totally picked one of the Corvettes to hit trouble but then the other one to run basically unscathed to the end, maybe with just a minor issue or two that'll knock them down to the bottom step of the podium. Really, the subplot of the brand new Corvettes is the story of the GTLM class for me this year.

2nd Place - #911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR-19

The Porsches basically had their way with the GTLM class for the bulk of 2019, and with their cars winding up 1-2 in the last practice session of the Roar Before test, I think that semi-domination carries over to the race. Look for at least one Porsche to make the podium, and probably both.

1st Place - #912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR-19

This Porsche gets the nod this year, because teamed up with endurance driver Mathieu Jaminet are the team's regular drivers Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor. Or, BAMTHOR. The best bromance nickname in motorsports will always win out.

Halfway there! Join us later in the week for the last two class previews! Or don't (and probably be just as well informed)!

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