Mars and Michaelian Return in the No. 59, with Mars Also Slated for VP Racing Challenge Competition
KohR Motorsports announced that Luca Mars and Bob Michaelian will return for the 2024 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season, where they will co-drive the new No. 59 Ford Mustang GT4. Mars and Michaelian partnered for nine races in 2023, with a best finish of second place at Road America.
Sponsors JOMAC Aluminum Truck Bodies and Cranes, Race for RP and Forgeline Wheels all return for the new season as well. In addition, the KohR crew returns almost completely intact, with some former KohR crew stalwarts back home as well, solidifying the effort on both sides of the pit wall.
The 2024 season opens with the BMW M Endurance Challenge at Daytona International Speedway on Jan. 26.
“It has been a few years since I’ve been this excited to get back to Daytona,” KohR team owner Dean Martin said. “I’m looking forward to having the same great driver lineup we had last year. But this year we’re going to have a better weapon to race with in the new Mustang GT4, and we’ve made improvements within our crew also. I’m counting down the days to Daytona.”
The KohR Motorsports team and drivers had the chance to get a taste of the new machinery at a December test at Daytona with Ford and couldn’t wait to get their hands on chassis No. 0001. While the team put together an amazing run over the second half of the season, scoring more championship points than all but one Grand Sport (GS) class competitor, running the oldest car in the field presented competitive and reliability issues that kept everyone on their toes.
Optimism is high with the new car and returning driver lineup.
“I am excited to be partnering with Luca for a second straight year in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Series,” Michaelian said. “Luca showed amazing growth and maturity as he took on the increased role of being the finishing driver and leading us to a podium and multiple top-10 finishes. With the addition of the new Ford Mustang GT4 and the strong leadership of Dean and the KohR Motorsports Group, we all have aspirations to make a strong run for the championship.”
For Mars, who has moved quickly up the motorsports ladder, this marks the first time he has the opportunity to return to a familiar series/team/teammate role since his karting days. Looking to capitalize on the momentum and opportunity, KohR will expand the testing/racing program with the 17-year-old to include contesting the IMSA VP Racing SportsCar Challenge in addition to the Michelin Pilot Challenge calendar. They will kick off the VP Racing Challenge season with the doubleheader race weekend Jan. 19-21 during the Roar Before the Rolex 24 weekend.
“Super excited to be back for another year with KohR Motorsports and Bob Michaelian in IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge in the new Mustang GT4,” Mars said. “I’m looking forward to getting the new car on track at the Roar and learning what we can do with it. After our success in the last half of the season last year, I’m really looking forward to getting some podium results and running up front a lot this year.”
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