Felipe Massa is in the fame for a seat with Riley for January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, having recently tested with the team in LMP3 machinery.
Sportscar365 has learned that the ex-Formula 1 and Formula E star turned laps in one of Riley’s Ligier JS P320 Nissans in a test at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta two weeks ago, with an eye towards being part of the lineup in its new LMP2 effort.
So far, Gar Robinson and Felipe Fraga have been confirmed as full season drivers of Riley’s Oreca 07 Gibson, with Josh Burdon for the Michelin Endurance Cup races.
Massa is currently being lined up for the fourth seat in next year’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener.
The 42-year-old Brazilian, who has been most recently active in the Brazilian Stock Car Pro series competition, would be making his sports car racing debut.
“We definitely saw a historical pattern between Formula 1 drivers, like Robert Kubica and people like that, and being extremely fast in LMP2 cars,” Robinson Racing manager John Donovan told Sportscar365.
“It piqued our interest. Felipe Massa and Fraga obviously run in Stock Cars together, they’re Brazilian, they’re both very special guys down there.
“It was just an opportunity we had to pursue. We had him here in Atlanta with the LMP3 car.
“We couldn’t say more about how great of a guy he is. He’s one of the nicest guys we’ve run. We’re really trying to see what we can put together for the future, specifically Daytona.”
Donovan and team principal Bill Riley indicated that Massa is likely to again test the team’s LMP3 car at Daytona next month, prior to making a final decision.
“Our intentions are to continue pursuing the relationship with [Felipe] Massa,” Donovan added. “I think it’s got to be a mutual thing.
“We can’t say that he’s our fourth [driver] at this point yet. But I think we’d all hopefully turn in that direction.”