Tuesday, January 26, 2021

2021 Daytona 24 Hours - GTLM Class Preview

We're back! Er, I'm back. And probably the rest of the guys, too. Anyway,  it's the last week of January, so you all know what that means: time to abandon those New Year's resolutions! Wait....no, everybody's second favorite late-January tradition:




That's right. Kind of.  You see, the staff here at GBS have enough kids to field a full baseball squad, and a multitude of duties of all sorts, so it might be a bit of a lean year here, but we'll see if we can keep some of the traditions going. First up: my incredibly bad Daytona 24 Hour class previews, complete with bad odds for every car! First up, in my traditional order of "least interesting class (to me)" to "most interesting class (to me)", it's our backmarker: GTLM. This year, the new LMP2 class took the honors in going first, but seeing as how they've increased LMP2 car count from six cars to ten, LMP2 no longer rides caboose at GBS! Taking that honor this year is the depleted GTLM class, down from last year's seven cars to this year's six cars. Gone: the factory CORE Porsche team. In its place: the WeatherTech/Proton Porsche team. Let's get to it.

I Don't Think So


#79 WeatherTech Porsche 911 RSR-19 - The only Porsche in the class is now being run by a team that isn't a typical Daytona entrant (Germany's Proton Competition), and while they do have Porsche factory drivers Gianmaria Bruni, Kevin Estre and Richard Lietz, they're also the only team with even a single driver ranked below Gold (Cooper MacNeil, a Silver). While Cooper is a capable driver, it's hard to see how they can stay with the leaders for 24 hours, if any of the other five cars has a trouble-free run (and I think somebody will).  Odds - 8 to 1.



The Pack


#62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE - The only Ferrari in the field is loaded with Ferrari factory drivers, and it should be fast. However, as a part time entrant, I just think that the four full-on factory cars will be too hard to beat. Odds - 7 to 1.


 #24 BMW Team RLL BMW M8 GTE - The BMWs were seriously fast here last year, and did manage to win the race in the GTLM class, but that was also the very first race for one of the other cars in this class. I think that after a year of battle hardening, that other car is going to be too hard to beat. Odds - 5 to 1.


#25 BMW Team RLL BMW M7 GTE - See above. Odds - 5 to 1.



The Favorites


 #4 Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R - With two new drivers to the Corvette team (Nick Tandy and Alexander Sims, in addition to returnee Tommy Milner), I think this Vette is the minor underdog in the intra-team battle. But it wouldn't be a shock to see it in Victory Lane on Sunday afternoon. Odds - 4 to 1.


#3 Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R - Full season drivers Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor are back this year, with ace enduro driver Nicky Catsburg joining them. Not exactly going out on a limb here, since they won the IMSA GTLM Championship last year, but these guys have to be the favorites. Odds - 7 to 2.


And just like that, we've got one class down! Four to go!

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