The GT Daytona (GTD) field for the 2021 Rolex 24 At Daytona became even more competitive Thursday with the addition of the TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage GT3 to the entry list.
Ben Keating and Richard Westbrook, each a past winner of the iconic 24-hour season opener for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, were named as drivers along with Charlie Eastwood, who was part of TF Sport’s winning GTE Am class this year at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Talented American Max Root fills out the lineup.
“We are very happy to be given the opportunity to race at this fantastic event,” said team owner Tom Ferrier. “Thank you to all the partners involved – Total, Rain X, Wynns and Matter – for making it possible. We have a fantastic team and driver lineup, so let’s hope we can bring a trophy home!”
The Rolex 24 appearance will be the WeatherTech Championship debut for TF Sport, which is based in the United Kingdom, with an eye toward a full-season campaign in the future. Relying on drivers with experience on Daytona International Speedway’s road course will prove pivotal to success.
Keating was a member of the winning GTD team at the 2015 Rolex 24 with Riley Motorsports, one of several times that the 49-year-old Texan drove in two cars during the race. This year, in fact, he drove for Riley in the GTD class while also turning laps for PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports in its Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) entry.
“This will be my 11th Rolex 24 At Daytona and it’s my favorite race of the year,” said Keating, who has 13 career IMSA wins. “I know that my first Le Mans experience came on the heels of me winning the Rolex 24, so why not be with TF Sport at their first Rolex 24 experience, on the heels of just winning at Le Mans?”
Westbrook has collected 16 IMSA wins in his career, among them the 2018 Rolex 24 GT Le Mans (GTLM) victory in the Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT.
“I’ve been friends with Tom (Ferrier) forever, but this will be the first time I’ve raced for TF, so it’ll be odd him being my boss,” Westbrook said “The team have done so well over the last few years and with their current form and our lineup, we’ll certainly be looking for a victory. What makes Daytona special is the atmosphere, it’s the first race of the year so everybody is excited to get going again!”
While Keating and Westbrook bring the track experience for Daytona, Eastwood brings the team and car experience. The 25-year-old from Northern Ireland has driven an Aston Martin for TF Sport since 2018 in the FIA World Endurance Championship and International GT Open.
“Really looking forward to competing at Daytona,” Eastwood said. “It’ll be the first race for the team and I in America, outside of the World Endurance Championship. After winning both the Total 24 Hours of Spa and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, it would be great to take the victory at Daytona and complete the trio, and I think we’ve got a really good chance! Even though I haven’t driven with any of my teammates before, I believe together we’re a very strong lineup and January couldn’t come soon enough.”