Former Michelin Pilot Challenge team NTE Sport will make its IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship debut in the Rolex 24 Hours, with IndyCar part-timer J.R. Hildebrand leading its four-driver lineup.
Paul Mata’s Dallas, TX.-based team will run the #42 Audi R8 LMS in the GT Daytona class, just a year after making its debut in IMSA’s Michelin Pilot Challenge.
Alongside Hildebrand will be Alan Metni, Andrew Davis and Don Yount.
Said Mata: “It’s great to be able to build on our first year in the Michelin Pilot Challenge to be able to run in the GTD class this year at such an iconic event. The field looks incredibly stout, and this year’s race looks like it will be highly competitive.”
Hildebrand, the 2009 Indy Lights champion, has started 65 IndyCar races and scored three podium finishes. He has started the last 10 Indianapolis 500s, finishing a close second on his debut in 2011.
Outside of IndyCar, Hildebrand raced in the American Le Mans Series with Genoa Racing, competing in the 12 Hours of Sebring and Long Beach Grand Prix, earning podium finishes in both races. More recently, he finished second in the 2018 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, racing a Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport.
“I can’t wait to join the guys down in Daytona and looking forward to my first Rolex 24,” said Hildebrand. “It’s such a great way to kick off the year and I’m excited for the challenges it presents.
“Over the last few years I’ve ventured outside of IndyCar more often and every time it reminds me why I love getting behind the wheel even more. The IMSA calendar has so many of the iconic U.S. circuits on it, some of which I haven’t raced on since USF2000 but still love
“Adding Daytona to my schedule this year is great and hopefully there’s more to come.”
Andrew Davis is a sportscar stalwart with 20 years of racing under his belt, and 20 wins. In 2020, he competed in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD class, Pirelli GT4 America SprintX championship, and the Michelin Pilot Challenge. By racing for both Team Hardpoint and Moorespeed, he is the only driver on the team who has previously raced the Audi R8 LMS.
“This will be my 19th start in the grueling twice around the clock race, and my fifth time behind the wheel of the Audi R8 GT3 LMS,” said Davis. “I’m very happy to be continuing my strong relationship with Audi Sport customer racing, and I look forward to helping the team maximize performance both on and off the track.
“Adding to the excitement for me personally is the chance to share the experience with my long-time coaching client and friend, Alan Metni. It will be his first attempt at the race, so I’m eager to help him navigate through all the unique challenges associated with this particular race.”
Metni earned six podiums and one win in his 16 IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup races last season, finishing fourth in the overall championship standings.
“I am looking forward to my first Rolex 24 At Daytona,” he said. “I am happy to be racing it with my coach and friend Andrew Davis, who has been coaching me since the Porsche Club of America. I appreciate the help and support of Audi Glenwood Springs.”
Yount, more commonly associated with racing prototypes, added: “Paul Mata at NTE Sport has done a great job getting this program together, and I think we have a strong lineup heading into the Roar and Rolex.
“The competition will be tough, but we’ve been working hard to make sure we execute well and have a chance to fight for that win.”
Latest entry list for 59th Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona