VisitFlorida.com Racing will revert back to its Spirit of Daytona Racing name, and will field an all-new driver line-up in a Cadillac DPi-V.R in the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The team has switched away from the Ligier JS P217 they ran in 2017 and took to a victory at Laguna Seca, and with Renger van der Zande having switched to Wayne Taylor Racing, the decision was made to partner Matt McMurry alongside Tristan Vautier in 2018.
“Last season was so difficult but even though we were on the back foot for a lot of the year, I think we learned a lot as an organization and improved as a team,” said Troy Flis, the team owner of Spirit of Daytona Racing.
“Winning at Laguna Seca was a great way to demonstrate that, and now we are focused on taking that momentum and getting a quick start with this Cadillac DPi. We just want to give our drivers a solid platform with the car to learn and just get better as the year goes on.
“The big thing is the opportunity to work with some of the same folks that we were so successful with when we were racing the Corvette DP. Hopefully that will help us get up to speed with this car quickly. IMSA is going to be even more competitive in 2018 and we are really looking forward to being a factor this year with our new package.”
McMurry, who has experience in Asian and European Le Mans Prototypes as well as previous experience in IMSA GT, is excited to join the Prototype team, and he feels he should gel well with Vautier.
“The Prototypes have so much grip, these cars are really amazing to drive and I cannot wait to see what this Cadillac is like,” said McMurry. “IMSA is so competitive and I’m very excited to be stepping up into Prototypes with a winning team like Spirit of Daytona.
“I think Tristan and I will mesh well together, we’ve got similar personalities and approaches. We’ve also both raced GT cars so have experience being the slower traffic so we understand what that perspective is like and hopefully we can put that to good use this year.”
Vautier, who was a podium finisher in GT Daytona class in 2017, admits he is honoured to be joining the Spirit of Daytona team, and is looking to have a strong and competitive season in the Prototype class.
“I’m honored to be joining this team, they achieved well in difficult circumstances last year so I think it is a good group,” said Vautier. “I want to race against the best drivers and the best teams, and that is what IMSA is becoming with the DPi so I’m very excited.
“It is so competitive and I think it will be difficult to compare the depth of field in 2018 even to last year. As a racer that is very exciting for me. I’m also very happy to be working with Rick (Cameron, Spirit of Daytona engineer) again because we have a good history together and hopefully Matt and I can continue that this season.”