Starworks Motorsport Announces IMSA Full Season Lineup
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (January 7, 2016) – In preparation for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s first series-wide test, the Roar Before the 24, Starworks Motorsports has announced its full season lineup for the 2016 season. The Pompano Beach, Florida based team will return to compete in the Prototype Challenge (PC) class, running the No. 8 and No. 88 Oreca FLM09s.
“We’re confident 2016 will be a strong year for Starworks,” said Team Owner Peter Baron. “For the first time since the new integrated series, we have been able to get our programs sorted for the season with two cars before the holidays. This has allowed us to plan and prepare for the upcoming season, which has been a weakness of ours for the last two seasons.”
Starworks veterans Renger van der Zande and Alex Popow will return as the two full-season entries for the No. 8 car, with Jack Hawksworth and Chris Cumming joining the team for the 24 Hours of Daytona. Hawksworth, who will run 2016 in IndyCar with AJ Foyt Racing, and Cumming were previously teammates, winning the IMSA Brickyard Indianapolis race in the LMPC class in 2014. No stranger to endurance podiums, 24 Hours of Le Mans winner and WEC Championship winner David Heinemeier Hansson will join van der Zande and Popow for the 12 Hours of Sebring in March and Petit Le Mans at the end of the season.
After most recently competing in the Ferrari Challenge, Mark Kvamme joins the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship as the only full season driver for the No. 88.Coming off a highly successful 2015 season where he claimed FIA F3 European Championship,Felix Rosenqvist will come on board for the 24 Hours of Daytona. After winning the 2012 IMSA GT3 Cup Callenge in 2012, Sean Johnston took his talents overseas to Europe where he went on to finish 2nd in the 2015 Blancpain Endurance Series’ 6 Hour at Paul Ricard, then winning the 24 Hours of Barcelona overall. FIA GT Cup 2015 World Champion Maro Engel and Johnston will join Kvamme to compete in the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup (NAEC), the four endurance races on the 2016 calendar: The Rolex 24 at Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring, Six Hours of the Glen, and Petit Le Mans. For the remaining seven sprint races of the season, Kvamme will be joined by Ashley Freiberg, BMW of North America Scholarship Driver. In 2014, Freiberg became the first woman to win a race in the Continental Tire Sportscar Championship, at Daytona International Speedway.
During the winter, two more significant additions were made to the team lineup. Tom Brown, previously an engineer from PC and GT Le Mans team CORE Autosport joined the Starworks ranks, along with Kent Holden, who had previously been the crew chief at Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates since the team’s inception.
“We have fantastic line ups all year in both cars, and have made massive improvements with the team in the off season,” concluded Baron. “With all that we have accomplished in the winter months, I strongly feel we are now the team to beat in 2016.”
Renger van der Zande // Full Season // No. 8
I am delighted to go racing again under the Starworks banner. I have built a great relationship with Peter and the whole crew. I feel that the last two seasons flew by and we are ready for a lot of success together in 2016. The Daytona 24 Hour line up is very solid and all the drivers seem in line with the same approach to attack this amazing event. To be racing together with Alex for the rest of the season is making me very excited as well. The races that I raced with Alex were a win or a podium so that is a good track record to keep up.
Alex Popow // Full Season // No. 8
Not available for comment.
Jack Hawksworth // 24 Hours of Daytona // No. 8
I am really excited to be joining the Starworks team and be returning to the IMSA paddock and the Daytona 24. I know the preparation will be top draw and all the ingredients will be there for us to have a real run at winning this thing. I’m also looking forward to racing alongside Chris (Cumming) again who I have driven with on multiple occasions for the past two years, and joining Renger and Alex both of whom I have competed against. I can’t wait to get back to work this coming week at the Roar.
Chris Cumming // 24 Hours of Daytona // No. 8
When Peter and I began talking about this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona and the driver lineup he was putting together, I think I needed about five seconds to say yes! Renger, Jack, and Alex are all the strongest teammates a person could ask for, and with Peter and the rest of the Starworks team behind us, I think we’re going to be one of the cars to contend with.
David Heinemeier Hansson // Sebring, Petit // No. 8
It’s a real pleasure to join Peter’s Starworks squad alongside Alex and Renger for Sebring and Petit. I’ve been on the podium at Sebring three times, but have yet to win, so getting another crack at it with a strong line-up is a treat. I’m really looking forward to driving the revised LMPC car as well. Especially pleased about seeing 30 pounds disappear from the engine. After a whole season battling a heavy engine affecting balance, I’ve intimately aware of just how much better a car can drive when weight is taken out up high.
Mark Kvamme // Full Season // No. 88
I am honored and a bit nervous to be on such a fabulous team so early in my racing career. Peter has assembled a group of professionals that are focused on one thing and one thing only – winning!
Felix Rosenqvist // 24 Hours of Daytona // No. 88
Daytona has always been a dream for me to drive since I’d visited the year years ago. It will be something completely new for me, but I think it’s the absolute best way to kick off the year. The race is so intense, and you really have to keep your eyes open all 24 hours. I think we can go for the Rolex as we have a strong driver line-up and winning mentality in the team!
Sean Johnston // NAEC Races // No. 88
It’s with great excitement that I’ve been able to put together a deal with Peter and the Starworks team for the 2016 NAEC Season. After three seasons of racing primarily over in Europe, I’m ready to come back to the U.S. and show everybody what I’ve learned! I raced at Daytona in an LMPC car last year, and am stoked to have a full season in front of me in this equipment. And to be able to do this with Maro Engel, (my Blancpain Endurance Series teammate last year) is awesome, and I’m looking forward to getting to know and working with Mark Kvamme as well. This feels like a really strong lineup to me, and I’m excited to see what kind of results we can produce together this season!
Maro Engel // NAEC Races // No. 88
Racing at the Daytona 24h has always been something I’ve wanted to do, and to be able to do it with Starworks and Peter Baron is a great feeling for me as their success speaks for itself. I am already looking forward to getting to work with the team and my team mates to hopefully add to the team’s successes. I would also like to thank Mercedes-AMG for allowing me to take this opportunity. I have heard so much about American racing and the fan culture that I can’t wait to get a taste of it myself now.
Ashley Freiberg // Sprint Races // No. 88
I am thrilled to be able to drive with Mark Kvamme in the Starworks PC car for the sprint races this year! I had spent time with Mark last summer while he was racing in Ferrari Challenge, and I think he will surprise some people this season! To also be a part of a team as top-notch as Starworks is very exciting to me and I look forward to working with everyone this year!
About Starworks Motorsport
Established in 2010 by Peter Baron, Starworks Motorsports is a sports car racing team based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The team entered the history books in 2012 by becoming the first LMP2 Champions in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the first North American team to win an FIA World Championship in 46 years. The team also won the 2012 GRAND-AM North American Endurance Championship and led with the most laps in a Daytona Prototype. These milestones concluded an incredible Rolex Series season, with victories at the 12 Hours of Sebring, 24 Hours of Le Mans, the first Rolex Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, plus a second place finish at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, and a third in the Six Hours of the Glen. Alex Popow won the Jim Trueman Award by a landslide and the team was crowned Sports Car Team of the Year by the SPEED Channel. The team came fourth in the 2013 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series (DP) and also competed in two ALMS races (one as RSR Racing) in the LMPC category.