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Rockenfeller targets full-time IMSA seat for 2023

Mike Rockenfeller is targeting a full-time drive in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship on the onset of the LMDh regulations in 2023, having left Audi’s factory stable to pursue a career in endurance racing.

#48 Action Express Cadillac DPi: Mike Rockenfeller, Kamui Kobayashi, Jimmie Johnson, Jose Maria Lopez

Although best known for his exploits in the DTM with Audi, Rockenfeller has been competing in major enduros on both sides of the Atlantic for nearly two decades, winning both the Le Mans 24 Hours and the Rolex 24 in a single calendar year in 2010.

The German driver called time on his glittering DTM career after 15 consecutive seasons in 2021, which included winning the 2013 drivers' title.

Rockenfeller joined Action Express Racing for the four big IMSA enduros in 2022, driving the team’s #48 Cadillac DPi V.R. alongside Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez, and Jimmie Johnson at Daytona.

It marked the continuation of his relationship with General Motors, having represented both Cadillac and Chevrolet brands over the years in the United States.

Rockenfeller is enjoying his relationship with Cadillac, which is currently working on a Dallara-built LMDh contender. However, he did not rule out racing for a different manufacturer in IMSA’s new GTP class in 2023 should the opportunity arise.

“My goal is to drive in the IMSA next year full-time,” Rockenfeller told Motorsport.com.

“Right now I'm super happy to drive the #48 in IMSA and I would also be super happy to drive a Cadillac in the future, but the future is out of my hands."

#3 Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R: Mike Rockenfeller

#3 Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R: Mike Rockenfeller

Photo by: Art Fleischmann

The #48 Ally Racing/Action Express Cadillac had a difficult start to the IMSA season due to factors out of its control after finishing fifth and sixth at Daytona and Sebring respectively in the seven-car DPi class.

In the Daytona season opener, the #48 made contact with a GT car at Turn 3 and lost 23 laps in the pits for repairs. Meanwhile, a brake failure ruined the team’s chances of a strong finish at Sebring last month.

Rockenfeller admitted that it was hard to accept the streak of bad luck that hit the #48 crew in the opening two rounds given the raw pace of the car and the drivers.

“When you only do four races in this season’s IMSA Endurance Cup and two of those are gone, that makes things challenging,” he said. “We could have challenged for the podium in both races, but that’s racing at the end of the day.

“As a team, myself, Jimmie, Kamui and Jose Maria all get on super well and we have the pace in the car. Ally Racing/Action Express Racing always gives us a mega car, so as a team, it hurts all of us as a team, it is frustrating when things go wrong for us such as in Daytona and Sebring.

“From my side, I’m honestly happy with Ally Racing/Action Express Racing and I’m very happy with my performance. Fingers crossed luck will be on our side at the Six Hours of Watkins Glen in June.

“Let’s see what the future holds."

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