Rinus VeeKay will be making his debut in sportscar racing, joining reigning LMP2 winners DragonSpeed for next month’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The Dutch IndyCar Rookie of the Year will be driving the #81 ORECA 07-Gibson, with which the American team will contest the full 2021 Michelin Endurance Cup season.
The entry will be spearheaded by the duo of Rob Hodes and Garrett Grist, with VeeKay and team regular Ben Hanley joining for the Florida endurance classic.
“For my first Rolex 24 I want to compete for the win in our class and I know I can do that with DragonSpeed and this exciting driver lineup,” VeeKay said. “I want to thank Rob for making me a part of this effort and his confidence in me. I can’t wait for my IMSA debut, and the chance to fight for the top step of the LMP2 podium.”
Hodes and Grist will graduate to the LMP2 class after contesting the European Le Mans Series with Danish outfit Nielsen Racing. Grist made his LMP2 debut with Nielsen at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans while Hodes had his first taste of LMP2 machinery at Petit Le Mans last October.
“I am super thrilled to be entering my first 24-hour race with an outstanding team like DragonSpeed,” said Hodes. “My teammates couldn’t be better – it’s an honor to go racing with drivers of the caliber of my LMP3 partner Garett, Rinus, and Ben.
“I’ve got to thank Charles Crews for bringing it all together on short notice. The Rolex will be a great challenge, but I like our chances!”
Grist, meanwhile, will be making his LMP2 debut after switching from Indy Lights to sportscars in 2017.
“It’s great to be joining DragonSpeed for Daytona and the full Michelin Endurance Cup,” Grist said. “I learned a lot about LMP2 at Le Mans this year and look forward to bringing those lessons to our IMSA campaign.”
“We should have one of the strongest lineups with two Indycar drivers and Rob Hodes, who has come on incredibly strong the last few seasons, combined with the team that has won the last two Rolex 24s in LMP2. My thanks to Rob and the team for this opportunity.”
DragonSpeed has won LMP2 honours in the twice-around-the-clock enduro two years in a row and has been undefeated at Daytona since LMP2 became a separate class in 2019.
“We are very pleased to welcome Rob and Garett to the DragonSpeed family,” said team principal Elton Julian. “They have both impressed us on track in the ELMS, and we look forward to helping them make the transition to LMP2, aided by the extra seat time offered by the Michelin Endurance Cup.
“Our target is to chase podiums and score enough points to be in the hunt for the title at the end.”
“The competition in IMSA’s LMP2 category is stronger than ever, so we are delighted to add the talents of Rinus Veekay and Ben Hanley as co-drivers at Daytona.”