Wednesday, December 21, 2022 by Philippe Brasseur
The Ontario team AWA will be back for a second season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar LMP3 class in 2023. two Duqueine D08-Nissan prototypes throughout the season.
This Wednesday, AWA announced its drivers who will compete in the next 24 Hours of Daytona. Among the 8 selected, only two are Canadian and almost all of them have more experience in GT than in prototype. On car No.13, owned by Orey Fidani and in the colors of Orlando Corporation, we will of course find the 36-year-old Ontarian who will be supported as this year by the German Lars Kern (35) and the Briton Matt Bell (37 years old). The choice of the 4th driver is somewhat surprising since the team will trust Moritz Kranz, a 35-year-old German little known outside its borders (announced under the name of Mortiz Kranz by the team!) and who, like Kern , is also a driving instructor but most of his career has been spent on the Nürburgring circuit and at the wheel of Grand Touring cars.
To drive the second car, the No.17 bearing the colors of Agritainer and owned by Anthony Mantella, the 4 drivers entered at Daytona will be American Thomas Merrill, Argentinian Nicolas Varrone, Englishman Wayne Boyd and of course Mantella himself.
The 52-year-old Canadian amateur driver has surrounded himself with teammates of recognized talent knowing that Merrill (36) has several victories in Trans Am and finished second in the GTE Am class (in a Porsche 911 RSR) on his debut. at the 24 Hours of Le Mans last June, Wayne Boyd (32) has experience of LMP2 and LMP3 prototypes in Europe, and Nicolas Varrone (22) represents one of the most serious hopes in Argentine motorsport.
Apart from the situation of Mantella, which is making its debut at the 24 Hours of Daytona, the crew of the No.17 seems by far the best equipped to feature well in the classification of a category, LMP3, which will have 9 cars entered out of the 60 admitted to the departure (for the complete list of teams admitted to this 61st edition click here).
For Andrew Wojteczko, “the opportunity to race two cars in the 24 Hours of Daytona is truly a privilege, and I am very grateful for the confidence placed in our team to carry out this task. We have two competitive rosters, and I’m really looking forward to kicking off the event in a few weeks. »
Visibly very optimistic after a first season in LMP3 where he sometimes struggled to find the right rhythm, Orey Fidani said: « We learned a lot after our successful first LMP3 campaign last year, and I’m delighted to be part of my second season in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar. We now have a year under our belt and the learning curve won’t be as steep. We are here to aim for the title. With this in mind, I am delighted to participate in my second 24 Hours of Daytona. Last year was great, and this year we have a competitive line-up to get us on the podium and seal the win.”
As for Nicolas Varrone, who should be the fastest of the 8 drivers and thus show the rhythm to adopt to his teammates, he indicates: « First of all, I am really happy and grateful to join AWA for the 24 Hours of Daytona and for this season in Endurance. It’s a dream for me to compete in this fantastic race, and I can’t wait to be on the track. I am proud to join this great team with Anthony and Thomas. They did a great job last year in IMSA. I’m also thrilled to be partnering with Wayne. I raced against him in Europe and I know he is an incredibly fast rider. I think we have a lot of potential to get a great result at Daytona, I can’t wait for the season to start”.
The confirmation of the crews for the sprint races of the 2023 season has not yet been communicated by AWA but we can expect Anthony Mantella and Nicolas Varrone to team up on the Duqueine No.17 while Orey Fidani and Matt Bell should share the wheel of the No.13.