2015 IMSA Champions Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell have joined Change Racing to contest the remainder of the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech championship.
The duo will co-drive the No. 11 Change Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 as they look to successfully defend their 2015 IMSA GT Daytona championship. The program marks an expansion for Change Racing, which will grow to a two-car effort in tandem with the established No. 16 Change Racing Huracán GT3 effort of Spencer Pumpelly and Monster Energy athlete Corey Lewis.
The 2016 IMSA WeatherTech effort is the first for Change Racing, which is building on a championship-winning program in IMSA Lamborghini Super Trofeo competition.
Sweedler and Bell are already familiar with the Lamborghini Huracán platform, having raced with the GT3-spec machine in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, leading the race early before an electrical issue cost the effort track time. The move to Change Racing follows the cessation of racing activity for their previous team.
“Tom O’Gara is a close friend and I’m happy he turned to us to continue what he started. It took a tremendous amount of effort and planning for us to prepare and be ready for the move up to IMSA WeatherTech with our own team, but a lot of that work actually put us in a good position to be able to grow to a two-car team like this,” said Change Racing team principal Robby Benton. “To have the defending champions join us reflects well on our organization, and having guys of that caliber to build on a great driver roster that we have with Spencer (Pumpelly) and Corey (Lewis) puts us in a very advantageous position. Lamborghini has done an outstanding job to help us with this transition as we ramp up and we are very focused on executing and delivering all year long.”
Change Racing impressed in its first-ever WeatherTech start at Daytona International Speedway, showing resilience after rebounding from a pair of on-track setbacks to lead in its first-ever Rolex 24 start on the way to taking the checkered flag on Sunday afternoon.
“While the situation that precipitated the new deal with Change Racing is highly disappointing in principal, Townsend (Bell) and I determined during pre-season testing that Robby Benton’s leadership at Change Racing was going to make it a serious contender based on his significant background in NASCAR and his desire to win,” said Sweedler.“This deal could not have been possible without our friends at Lamborghini Squadra Corse, Boardwalk (Lamborghini Dallas), as well as personal support from Tom O’Gara.”
“I feel lucky to be surrounded by a group of people who have pulled together, during difficult circumstances, to make sure Bill (Sweedler) and I have a chance to defend our championship,” added Bell. “A big thank you to Eddie Littlefield, Boardwalk (Lamborghini Dallas) and Lamborghini Squadra Corse is in order for working together to make this happen. I’m excited to get back to work at Sebring next week.”
The debut outing for the two-car Change Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 effort will be the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring. Last season saw Change Racing driver Corey Lewis earn a Lamborghini Super Trofeo World Championship at Sebring International Raceway, and Spencer Pumpelly has two career podiums in the 12 Hour. Sweedler and Bell finished third in the 2015 Mobil 1 Sebring 12 Hour, and won the 2012 edition of the fabled Florida race.