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International Motor Sports Association

Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona – Sunday Notebook

 
January 5, 2020
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Pla, No. 77 Mazda Unofficially Breaks Daytona Track Record in Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona Garage and Pit Qualifying; Calado Fastest GTLM Qualifier in No. 62 Ferrari.

 
A year ago, there was much fanfare surrounding Oliver Jarvis and the No. 77 Mazda Team Joest RT-24P at the end of Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona qualifying for garage and pit stall selections in the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class.

 
The reason for the fanfare was the fact that Jarvis had just unofficially broken PJ Jones’ 26-year-old track record of one minute, 33.875 seconds. When he returned for the race three weeks later, Jarvis officially claimed the track record with a lap of 1:33.685 en route to the Motul Pole Award.

 
On Sunday, Jarvis’ new-for-2020 endurance racing teammate Olivier Pla unofficially toppled the not-quite-year-old record with a lap of 1:33.324 (137.321 mph). As a result, the No. 77 team, which includes co-drivers Pla, Jarvis and Tristan Nunez, will – for the second consecutive year – have first choice of garage location and pit stall for the 58th Rolex 24 At Daytona on the weekend of Jan. 23-26.

 
“We knew this morning that the conditions would probably be fast with the cold air temperature but some sun, so we were expecting a fast lap time,” Pla said. “I’ve been told to push and to push hard so that’s what we did. I have to thank my team for allowing me to because the car was really good. We’ve been working always really hard. We are pleased with that. It doesn’t mean anything, but I think it just showed a continuity of last year.”

 
The race kicks off the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the four-race IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup. Pla moves over to the No. 77 after sharing the team’s No. 55 Mazda with Jonathan Bomarito and Harry Tincknell, who now have 2012 IndyCar champion and 2014 Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay as their co-driver.

 
Pla led a total of five drivers to post speeds faster than the track record, which can be set officially in qualifying on race weekend. Ricky Taylor was second fastest in the No. 7 Acura Team Penske ARX-05 at 1:33.543 (137.000 mph), followed by 2019 WeatherTech Championship DPi champion Juan Pablo Montoya in the No. 6 Acura DPi at 1:33.565 (136.967 mph).

 
Felipe Nasr was fourth fastest in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R at 1:33.652 (136.840 mph) and Bomarito rounded out the top five at 1:33.660 (136.828 mph).

 
In the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class, James Calado led an extremely close session, posting the fastest time of 1:42.685 (124.803 mph) in the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE he is sharing this weekend with Daniel Serra. Calado and the team are coming off a victory in the 2019 WeatherTech Championship season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta last October.

 
Calado’s time was 0.001 seconds faster than Nick Tandy’s second-fastest time in the session of 1:42.686 (124.801 mph) in the No. 911 Porsche GT Team RSR-19. The entire GTLM field was covered by just 0.446 seconds.

 
“The difference this year, especially this year, is that everyone has upped the ante in the Roar,” Calado said. “It’s not like previous years where people would hold back. I think it’s pretty equal at the moment and I think that puts us in good stead for a good race.

 
“I think over the last couple years we’ve had good races as well. We know how competitive GTLM is and the whole of GT to be honest. Looking forwarding to battling with all these guys and having a good race. It’s 24 hours, anything can happen, conditions change especially here, so fingers crossed.”

 
Tommy Milner led much of the session before ending up third in the new No. 4 Corvette Racing C8.R at 1:42.793 (124.671 mph). Jesse Krohn was fourth in class at 1:42.844 (124.610 mph) in the No. 24 BMW Team RLL M8 GTE, followed by defending WeatherTech Championship GTLM champion Laurens Vanthoor in the No. 912 Porsche. Vanthoor’s best time was 1:42.903 (124.538 mph).

 
On-track activity for the 58th Rolex 24 At Daytona begins Thursday, Jan. 23 with practice and qualifying. NBC will have live network coverage of the start of the race beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 25, and also will televise the race finish beginning at 12 p.m. ET on Sunday, Jan. 26 as part of NBC Sports’ complete coverage of the event that includes windows on NBCSN and the NBC Sports App and TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.

 
IMSA Radio also will have live coverage throughout race weekend on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com, with complete race coverage also airing on SiriusXM Radio.

 
Tickets for the 58th Rolex 24 At Daytona are available on DaytonaInternationalSpeedway.com.

 
Kyle Busch Settling in to IMSA as the Roar Before the Rolex 24 Comes to Close
In his final media availability of the Roar Before the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway, reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch discussed the differences he has experienced in braking and passing etiquette during his weekend in a sports car.

 
And in a light-hearted moment, also fire suit pant cut.

 
While being asked about the ribbing that his teammate in the No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 Jack Hawksworth doled out, Busch said the other drivers’ fire suits “looked like underwear, long johns,” whereas his looked like “a pair of pants, I’ve got the regular boot cut…NASCAR-style.”

 
“Theirs are all wrong, mine’s right.”

 
When it got back to the more serious matter of differences in racing between NASCAR and IMSA, Busch brought up a couple of “interesting” moments on track while navigating traffic.

 
“I learned from Jack that correct road course driver etiquette is to not ever be on the outside of another guy ‘cause they’ll just force you off,” Busch said. “He was actually quite entertained when he ran his NASCAR race at Road America last year that guys would actually give you room on the outside of the corner and not just throw you off on the dirt.”

 
The challenge of passing similarly paced GT cars while staying out of the way of fast-approaching Daytona Prototype international (DPi) cars, all while still maintaining consistent lap times, is one that is not lost on Busch.

 
“Interesting moments like that that are going to play out the whole time in the race,” he said. “You have instances in which you’re faster than the guy in front of you, and just barely because it’s a class car, and you’re trying to pass that guy…but you have these other guys coming and blowing your doors off on some of these corners, that you basically have to forfeit. You can lose a lot of time in doing those things.”

 
Busch also indicated that he’s still learning the braking – as his NASCAR Toyota Camry carries a great deal more weight than the IMSA Lexus RC F GT3, which also has ABS braking that is lacking in the stock car. Throughout the weekend, he felt he started to get a better grasp on the limits in the corners and gained consistency each time out.

 
One additional surprise came in the visibility on the track during the only night practice session Saturday evening.

 
“What do you even need the headlights for? There’s plenty of light,” Busch said. “I raced local short tracks, some of them dirt…and there wasn’t very much light at those places.

 
“It seems as though my eyes still work OK.”

 
Busch will return to Daytona later this month alongside co-drivers Hawksworth, Parker Chase and Michael De Quesada for the 58th Rolex 24 At Daytona.

 
IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Teams Complete Roar Testing Ahead of Four-Hour Opener During Rolex 24 Weekend
Nearly 40 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge teams took their first laps of the 2020 season at Daytona International Speedway this weekend as part of the annual Roar Before the Rolex 24.

 
Following six testing sessions, Spencer Pumpelly in the No. 31 Team Hardpoint Audi R8 GT4 owned the fastest time of the weekend of one minute, 53.555 seconds (112.856 mph), posted during the Sunday morning practice. Pumpelly returns to Daytona alongside co-driver Rob Ferriol, both of whom shared an Audi for the final three races of 2019.

 
While the Team Hardpoint car led two of the six sessions, the No. 33 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 led the way through the first three.

 
“Testing doesn’t say much, everyone is getting warm,” said Dutchman Indy Dontje, who will co-drive with Russell Ward for the second straight season. “It was good to be back directly on top, but you never know what everyone is doing.

 
“At least it’s good to be back with the team. Everybody is in a good rhythm. We have actually a lot of the same faces, so I think that is also a really good thing for us because everybody knows what he’s doing and for that reason, I think we came out really good.”

 
In the TCR class, Stephen Simpson broke the two-minute mark during the final practice, topping the class’ charts at 1:59.846 (106.932 mph) for the weekend. While no longer with JDC-Miller Motorsports in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Simpson remains with the team in Pilot Challenge as the longtime coach for Michael Johnson. The two return in the No. 54 Audi RS3 LMS.

 
Additionally, the No. 18 TEAM PREMAT Audi, the No. 5 KMW Motorsports with TMR Engineering Alfa Romeo Giulietta and the No. 21 Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai Veloster N posted fastest laps in class by a session’s end.

 
The four-hour BMW Endurance Challenge opens the 2020 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season on Friday, January 24. The race begins at 1 p.m. ET and can be streamed live on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold. The NBCSN television broadcast will air on Thursday, February 6 at 1 p.m. ET. IMSA Radio will also provide live coverage of the race.
New Driver Lineup in No. 47 Forty7 Motorsports Norma Wins IMSA Prototype Challenge Season Opener at Daytona

 
January 4, 2020
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – An all-new driver lineup delivered similar results for the 2019 IMSA Prototype Challenge championship-winning No. 47 Forty7 Motorsports team, as Joel Janco, JJ Jorge and Kyle Kirkwood, co-drove to victory in Saturday’s three-hour season opener at Daytona International Speedway.

 
The team fell off the lead lap early after an incident under rainy conditions in the Bus Stop with their team car, the No. 40, but battled back in the final hour to get into contention for the victory. On a restart with 28 minutes remaining, Kirkwood lined up fourth behind the No. 75 of Max Hanratty, the No. 17 of Garett Grist and race leader Dakota Dickerson in the No. 54 entry.

 
Kirkwood and the No. 47 Norma M30 quickly made their way forward, and 10 minutes later he took the lead from Dickerson at the start-finish line. He cruised the rest of the way to win by 8.846 seconds.
It was Kirkwood’s first IMSA Prototype Challenge victory, coming in his first series start. However, he does have one previous win aboard an LMP3 car in an IMSA-sanctioned race, the 2018 Michelin IMSA SportsCar Encore at Sebring International Raceway co-driving with Canadian Roman De Angelis.

 
“This is my third time in an LMP3 car, the first time with the Norma last month we did a couple of amateur test days earlier in December,” said Kirkwood. “This is really my first time at speed in this car. I adjusted to it really quick. It kind of suits my driving style. For me, I like more of an understeering car and I think that suits more for myself than the Ligier does.”

 
Janco and Jorge co-drove to the IMSA Prototype Challenge Bronze Cup championship in 2019, but this was their first overall race victory in the series. They won the non-points Michelin IMSA SportsCar Encore in November 2019 with IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship regular and past IMSA Prototype Challenge champion Tristan Nunez as their co-driver.

 
“It’s unexpected,” Janco said. “We’re honored to have won the race. Clearly, I have a very good choice in co-drivers here and the team. Forty7 was awesome, they made no mistakes and they had a fast car. it’s just beyond any of my fondest dreams.“

 
“The team does a really great job,” Jorge added. “They’re fairly new to this type of racing, they’ve been doing P3 for three years now. It’s a family-type of orientation so when we come into the track, you really feel welcome. That alone sets the precedent for the entire weekend.”

 
Matt Bell and Naveen Rao finished second in the No. 64 K2R Motorsports Norma following a late-race rally from Bell, who restarted fifth with 28 minutes to go. Rao started the race from the pole position.
Third place went to the No. 54 MLT Motorsports Ligier JS P3 squad of Dickerson and Dean Baker.

 
Cameron Cassels and Hanratty came home fourth in the No. 75 Performance Tech Motorsports Ligier, with Grist and Rob Hodes completing the top five in the No. 17 Nielsen Racing Norma.

 
In the Bronze Cup class for driver lineups that are exclusively Bronze-rated, Steven Thomas and Thomas Merrill took the victory in the No. 11 K2R Motorsports Ligier.

 
“The big piece of the credit goes to the K2R team for giving us a great strategy, Merrill said. “We were managing the conditions to our benefit and trying to stay out of pit lane as best we could. The conditions were tricky and so our job was to keep it on the island, keep the car in one piece and my job was to give Steven the car back in a good position that we could win our class and I’m happy to say we did that.”
“I started racing one year ago almost today was my first in a race car,” Thomas added. “Going from here to there, awesome. I want to thank Ross Bentley for helping me get there and for Thomas who has also been coaching me and has done awesome.”

 
Television coverage of the 2020 IMSA Prototype Challenge season opener from Daytona will air on NBCSN at 4:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Jan. 14. Next up for the series is a one-hour, 45-minute battle on the 3.74-mile Sebring International Raceway circuit as part of the “Super Sebring” event week on Thursday, March 19. Live coverage of that race will be on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold in the United States and internationally available on IMSA.tv and the IMSA App. IMSA Radio will also carry the race live.

 

 
2020 Roar Before The Rolex 24 At Daytona - Saturday Notebook

 
January 4, 2020
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
By HOLLY CAIN
IMSA Wire Service
 
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – News and notes from around Daytona International Speedway on the Saturday of the Roar Before the Rolex 24.

 
Hailie Deegan Ready To Gain Road Course Experience at Roar and Rolex 24

 
No, Hailie Deegan conceded with a wide grin, she never expected that her competitive debut on the famous Daytona International Speedway high banks would come in a sports car.
 
But judging by the smiles and ease she showed Saturday afternoon speaking with reporters at Daytona between Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona practice sessions, she’s eager and mentally prepared for her IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race debut at the grand track on Jan. 24. The in-car skills and sports car initiation is coming together too, she said.
 
“I never thought I’d race a road course especially at Daytona, that was new for me,’’ Deegan said. “I always thought my first time at Daytona would be in an ARCA car but I’m happy to be here on the road course.’’
 
Deegan‘s ARCA Menards Series season debut at Daytona will follow the Rolex 24 race weekend and comes only weeks after the 18-year old Californian was formally introduced as a Ford Performance development driver. She will co-drive a Ford Mustang GT4 with NASCAR Xfinity Series frontrunner Chase Briscoe in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race at Daytona later this month. Austin Cindric, another young Ford talent in the Xfinity Series, will be driving a Multimatic Motorsports Inc. team car as well, teaming with Sebastian Priaulx in the No. 15 Mustang.
 
In February, Deegan will compete in the season-opening ARCA Menards Series race that essentially opens Daytona Speedweeks – the green flag to a much-anticipated full season of stock car racing. All three of these young NASCAR stars say they are grateful for the chance to begin their season early, confident that the extra laps will only help their skillset.
 
“I’m really excited just to gain experience in these new cars,’’ Deegan said. “Just everything’s new. A fresh start. It’s waiting to get planned out, meeting new people, new faces, new relationships. I’m excited to grow the relationships in the Ford family and everyone that’s a part of it.
 
“One thing I haven’t really touched on in my career is road courses, pavement road course type stuff. Coming here and filling that base of what I’m missing as a driver as a hole is definitely going to help me be all around as a driver.
 
“I feel what makes a good driver is a driver that’s not just good at ovals or road courses they are good at everything and have that skill set. I think if I can just keep getting better skill sets to bring to my career, it will help even more.’’
 
Deegan and Briscoe certainly gave proof of their talent and ability to learn the new car and course. They were 14th fastest overall in the opening practice, ninth quickest in the second session and finally fifth best in the latest round.
 
Cindric and Priaulx were fourth fastest in the second session – tops among the two Multimatic team cars.
 
Kyle Busch Making Strides

 
Kyle Busch rolled into a Rolex 24 fan question-and-answer session Saturday afternoon between practice sessions sounding every bit as confident and optimistic as one would expect of the most recently crowned NASCAR Cup Series champion. 
 
The room had many kiddos and fans dressed in Busch’s NASCAR colors and sponsors. And he entered into the room joking and smiling, immediately instigating a fun give-and-take between his teammates on the two AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC GTD-class teams.
 
Busch teased New Zealand teammate Shane van Gisbergan, a former Australian Supercar champion, about translating speed from kilometers to miles per hour. And Busch joked about the slim chance that he would drive at night in his first Rolex 24. His teammates teased that the reigning NASCAR champ was already slated for the treacherous midnight-to-6 a.m. driving shift on the 3.56-mile Daytona road course.
 
“My eyes will be shut – sleeping or driving,’’ he said smiling.
 
Busch certainly looked comfortable. And his team clearly was. Busch’s teammate Jack Hawksworth turned in the fastest lap of the class on Friday, giving the team reason to feel good about its chances in the crowded 18-car GTD class. 
 
Hawksworth, a British IndyCar and sports car star, said he had complete confidence in his teammate.
 
“It’s been good fun,’’ Hawksworth said. “We just got to work and Kyle got in the car and was straightaway competitive.
 
“I don’t need to help him drive,’’ Hawksworth assured the audience, “just help transition his skills.’’
 
It will be Busch’s first Rolex 24 start, but not his first IMSA race at Daytona. In 2008 he teamed with Scott Speed in a Chip Ganassi-prepared prototype. And Busch said he’s done several go-kart endurance races, including a 24-hour event. Additionally, he said he was encouraged to hear his teammates this weekend expressing similar technical ideas regarding the Lexus race car as he had.
 
“You’ve certainly got to pay attention to your rearview mirror and know what’s going on around you and coming up behind you, the faster cars and a closing rate that’s certainly greater than you’re used to ever, even if you’re a slow guy on a (NASCAR) Sunday - it’s a big deal,’’ said Busch, who noted his NASCAR Cup Series spotter will be working the Rolex 24 with him.
 
The biggest adjustment he says is, “the sharing of the seat is interesting because you want to be in the car as much as possible so you can continue to evolve and make yourself better. For me, not being as experienced in these cars, they gave me the most seat time yesterday [in practice] which was good and beneficial. The other guys need their seat time too, however, so that’s certainly a big compromise.’’
 
Even the veteran Busch conceded he was excited to suit up and take on this next challenge – as were the many fans already on hand at Daytona International Speedway even for a practice session.
 
“There’s a ton of people here and we’re at a test,’’ Busch said. “I can’t even imagine what’s going to happen when we come back to the Rolex. It’s certainly awesome to see the crowd count and the interest people have in IMSA.’’
 
“I know I can’t wait,’’ said race fan Suzy Brake, 70, of The Villages, Florida, leaning forward to show off her green M&Ms adorned hat – Busch’s NASCAR Cup Series No. 18 large and center.
 
Acura Team Penske has eyes set on endurance races in 2020
 
After winning the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Daytona Prototype international (DPi) title, Acura Team Penske drivers have one goal in mind for the 2020 season – win endurance races.
 
The team returns the six drivers who piloted their pair of cars in the 2019 Rolex 24 At Daytona and will maintain the same lineups. 2019 Indy 500 winner Simon Pagenaud will run the endurance races alongside last year’s season champions Dane Cameron and Juan Pablo Montoya in the No. 6 car; 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi is the endurance driver joining full-season drivers Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 ride.
 
This marks the third season of Penske’s return to IMSA and it has been a successful venture – Castroneves and Taylor won a race (Mid-Ohio) in their inaugural campaign and the No. 6 car won three races and the DPi championship last year.
 
Pagenaud, who added a major piece of hardware to his mantle with the Borg Warner Trophy last May, wants to add to his collection to start the year.
 
“It’s a very important moment of the season, starting here at Daytona,” he said while speaking to media during the Roar Before the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday. “It’s a pleasure to join them back and support them in the quest for another championship, but most importantly the bigger endurance races. I’m very excited about Daytona, certainly want to add that to the trophy list.”
 
The sentiment that their primary goal for the new year is to bring home the first endurance win for Acura Team Penske was echoed across the board by all six drivers.
 
“It was really good for the (No.) 6 car to get the championship and the three wins,” Taylor said. “So, for 2020 the last thing on the checklist is the endurance races. For the three of us, winning the Rolex would be the top of the priority list for this year.”
 
“I think when you’re at Team Penske, every week it’s a must-win situation,” Montoya added when asked what the emphasis from the team has been regarding the endurance race wins that have eluded them. “When you are with Acura and with Team Penske and you have the equipment you have in your hands, you’re supposed to deliver and that’s your job.”
 
But according to Castroneves, the plan regarding endurance races can be stated more simply.
 
“To win.”
  
No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R Team Has New Look, Same Goal

 
Wayne Taylor Racing’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship team took their seats on stage Saturday to speak with media showing off a new lineup of drivers, talking about the same team goals. A fourth Rolex 24 crown for their leader Taylor.
 
Taylor was joined on stage by Renger van der Zande, Ryan Briscoe, Scott Dixon and Kamui Kobayashi. Natives of Holland, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, the star-studded driving lineup includes top-line sports car drivers in van der Zande and Briscoe, who will compete the full season for Taylor, along with Indianapolis 500 winner and five-time IndyCar champion Dixon and FIA World Endurance Championship champion Kobayashi.
 
Their accomplishments are as broad as their backgrounds. And that’s exactly why this No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi team fully expects to defend its 2019 Rolex 24 title and be a contender once again in a race it has won twice in the last three years.
 
“As far as the driver lineup, it’s as good or better than last year,’’ Taylor said, joking that this team would have to beat his two sons this year – Ricky and Jordan Taylor who are now both driving for different IMSA teams.
 
Dixon, who has a pair of Rolex 24 overall titles, joins Taylor’s operation after more than a decade competing in the race for his IndyCar team owner Chip Ganassi.
 
The team is a single-car team, but it’s got a lot of great people and that’s what I think it takes to win these races is to have the talent and people that have the same goal in mind, and that’s to win. You feel that immediately when you walk through the door…and you don’t find that too often,” Dixon said.
 
“There are four professional drivers who know what it takes to win because we have all won it and you start right away working with that,’’ van der Zande said. “This has been very smooth. They all know endurance racing and they all know this race.
 
“And we all have the same passion for racing,’’ he added.
 
Grand Marshal Christian Fittipaldi

 
Versatile racer Christian Fittipaldi will serve as Grand Marshal for the Jan. 25-26 Rolex 24 at Daytona – a race he won three times overall (2004, 2014 and 2018) and finished runner-up twice.
 
Fittipaldi will deliver the starting command for the Rolex, which traditionally kicks off the motor racing season.
 
“Daytona has brought me a lot more happy moments than bad moments,’’ Fittipaldi said. “I’ll cherish Daytona for the rest of my life. I managed to win the race three times and I think I finished another three or four times on the podium. I can’t complain, I had a pretty decent run over here.’’
 
Fittipaldi who competed in NASCAR and IndyCar as well as sports cars, retired from the cockpit last season and even being at the racetrack, conceded he was comfortable as a spectator.
 
“I don’t feel the need to be in the car, so far I’m very good. I come to the track and I’m happy to be at the track and happy to be able to help but if you ask me, would you like to be in the car right now, yeah, maybe I’m curious. If you ask me, do you want to be in the car right now. No, I don’t want to be in the car right now.
 
“My heart is 100 percent at peace.’’
Montecalvo, Keating Top Garage Qualifying Sessions at Roar

 
January 4, 2020
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Ben Keating was the fastest LMP2 qualifier and Frankie Montecalvo was the fastest in the GT Daytona (GTD) class in Saturday’s Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying sessions used to determine pit and garage spaces for the Rolex 24 At Daytona event week.

 
Keating ran a best lap of one minute, 38.056 seconds (130.694 mph) in the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA 07 LMP2 machine he is co-driving with Nick Boulle, Simon Trummer and Gabriel Aubry. The Texan is pulling double duty at the Roar and will be again in three weeks at the 58th Rolex 24 At Dayton. He also is competing in the GTD class alongside co-drivers Gar Robinson, Lawson Aschenbach and Felipe Fraga in the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3.

 
“It’s pretty exciting,” Keating said. “The car’s been great. Everybody at the PR1 team, they’ve got the car extremely well sorted. The last time I raced an LMP2 car was at Le Mans and I’ll just say the car wasn’t as well sorted. It’s nice to get in a car that has had a season or two under its belt to get everything sorted out and all I have to do is hop in and drive. It’s been really good.”

 
Henrik Hedman was second quickest in the 15-minute LMP2 qualifying session aboard the No. 81 DragonSpeed USA ORECA at 1:38.695 (129.848 mph), followed by Kyle Masson in the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA at 1:38.712 (129.826 mph).

 
Meanwhile, in the 15-minute GTD session that immediately preceded LMP2, Montecalvo drove the No. 12 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 to a best lap of 1:46.754 (120.046 mph). He is returning for the full 2020 WeatherTech Championship with co-driver Townsend Bell and will share the car with Shane van Gisbergen and Aaron Telitz for the Rolex 24.

 
“With the changing conditions, I think our car from AIM Vasser Sullivan suits this well,” Montecalvo said. “The team did a phenomenal car getting the RC F right on track from where we left off last year and that year of experience really shows for us. The guys did a great job.”

 
Second in GTD qualifying was 2019 WeatherTech Championship LMP2 champion Matt McMurry in the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3 at 1:46.873 (119.912 mph), followed by Robby Foley in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 with a lap of 1:46.919 (119.860 mph).

 
Similar qualifying sessions will be held early Sunday afternoon for the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) and GT Le Mans (GTLM) classes.

 
Speeds Increase in Night Practice
The fastest speeds of the Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona weekend in all four WeatherTech Championship classes were posted during night practice on Saturday. Oliver Jarvis put up a time of one minute, 34.753 in the No. 77 Mazda Team Joest RT-24P DPi car to lead the way at the end of two days of on-track activity at the Roar.

 
In the LMP2 class, it was Harrison Newey doing the honors in the No. 81 DragonSpeed USA ORECA 07 at 1:37.372. Laurens Vanthoor owns the fastest GTLM time of the weekend so far at 1:43.513 in the No. 912 Porsche GT Team 911 RSR and Franck Perera was quickest in GTD at 1:46.713 in the No. 11 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracán GT3 at 1:46.713.

 
In addition to garage and pit stall qualifying for DPi and GTLM, Sunday’s on-track schedule for the WeatherTech Championship includes two more practice sessions. There also will be a pair of IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge sessions on Sunday.

 
BGB Commits to First Full Michelin Pilot Challenge Season Since 2013
Longtime IMSA team and Daytona Beach, Florida-based BGB Motorsports has confirmed its participation for the full IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season after several years of running only individual races. This weekend at the Roar Before the Rolex 24, team owner John Tecce and his protégé since the team’s inception, Tom Collingwood, are joined by Jan Heylen behind the wheel of the No. 38 Porsche 718 Cayman Clubsport GT4.

 
“We raced in GRAND-AM for pretty much as long as I’ve been doing this from ’02 and then we stopped in ’13,” Tecce explained. “I wanted to take a step back and start developing relationships with customers that wanted to grow from the club level up to the pro level.

 
“It just makes sense because we were an IMSA team forever and I feel like part of the IMSA family. The allure of the IMSA events – Sebring, Daytona – it’s just impossible for the guys to stay away from. They love the big show, the crowds, the hospitality, so it’s just a logical decision for us to come back and run a full season.”

 
The 10-race season starts with a four-hour enduro at the team’s home track, Daytona International Speedway, on Friday, January 24 at 1 p.m. ET. The race can be streamed live via TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold for viewers in the United States, and on IMSA.tv with IMSA Radio commentary for international viewers.

 

 

2020 Roar Before The Rolex 24 At Daytona - Friday Notebook


 
January 3, 2020
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
Mazda Tops Roar Practice Charts for Second Straight Year

 
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Paraphrasing the immortal words of Forrest Gump, when it comes to finding speed at Daytona International Speedway over the last two years, the Mazda RT-24P and the 3.56-mile road course “go together like peas and carrots.”

 
Just as Oliver Jarvis did on Friday of the 2019 Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Olivier Pla placed the No. 77 Mazda Team Joest Daytona Prototype international (DPi) machine atop the time charts at the end of the first day of official practice for the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Pla posted a best lap of one minute, 35.794 seconds (133.780 mph) to lead a 1-2 sweep of top speeds for the team.

 
“Well, it was a good session and a nice way to rebound after we missed some time in the first practice,” said Pla, who joins Jarvis and Tristan Nunez as co-drivers of the No. 77 Mazda after sharing the team’s No. 55 entry in 2019. “We still have a long way to go and the team is working very hard to continue to improve the car, but obviously the Mazda RT-24P is working very well.

 
“This is a good first day of working with my new co-drivers, Olly and Tristan. We worked together a lot last year even though we were in different cars, but I am enjoying being in the No. 77.”

 
Last year, Jarvis ended the Roar weekend with an unofficial track record in the No. 77 machine, before officially breaking PJ Jones’ 26-year-old track record three weeks later en route to the Motul Pole Award for the 57th Rolex 24 At Daytona.

 
Jarvis was 0.080 seconds quicker than teammate Jonathan Bomarito in the No. 55 Mazda. Bomarito’s best lap was a 1:35.874 (133.669 mph) in the car he is sharing with Harry Tincknell – who led the day’s first practice session – and former IndyCar champion and Indy 500 winner, Ryan Hunter-Reay.

 
Simon Trummer led the way in the LMP2 class, posting a best lap of 1:38.315 (130.350 mph) in the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA 07. Trummer’s co-drivers are Nick Boulle, Gabriel Aubry and Ben Keating.

 
Defending Rolex 24 GT Le Mans (GTLM) class winner Colton Herta was quickest in class aboard the No. 25 BMW Team RLL M8 GTE. His best lap in the car he is co-driving with Connor De Phillippi, Philipp Eng and Bruno Spengler was 1:44.239 (122.942 mph).

 
Whereas the fastest laps of the day in DPi, LMP2 and GTLM all came in the second session, the quickest lap in GT Daytona (GTD) was achieved in the first session by Jack Hawksworth in the No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3. Hawksworth, who is sharing the ride with Parker Chase, Michael De Quesada and two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch, posted a best lap of 1:47.031 (119.735 mph).

 
Bryan Herta Autosport mixing it up for 2020

 
More often than not, a championship-winning team will leave well enough alone and enter the next season prepared to defend with the same lineup.

 
But not Bryan Herta.

 
The owner and namesake of Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb Agajanian is, in his words, “mixing it up” for the 2020 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season. And not only that, he and the team are adding a third car to the entry list for this year’s championship push.

 
Reigning Michelin Pilot Challenge TCR class champions Mark Wilkins and Michael Lewis are back with the team, as are Harry Gottsacker and Mason Filippi, who drove the sister car in the Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb Agajanian stable last year.

 
But this time, Wilkins and Gottsacker will pair together in the No. 21 Hyundai Veloster N TCR while Lewis and Filippi with co-drive the No. 98 car.

 
“We wanted to mix things up a little bit, I think keeping things fresh is important,” said Herta. “I feel like we could mix any two of these guys together in any car and it’s going to work. I feel like driving with a different co-driver, they’re all going to learn little tips that will help make each other better…they’re going to continue to learn and evolve and that’s part of the goal for what we’re doing.”

 
And with the addition of a third car, drivers Gabby Chaves and Ryan Norman have been added to the team to race that new entry. Chaves, the 2015 IndyCar Rookie of the Year while driving for Bryan Herta Autosport, embarks on his first full-time season in IMSA, while Norman joins the team after finishing fourth in the Indy Lights championship the last two seasons, then driving for Andretti Autosport.

 
“I’m really excited, it’s fantastic to be back with BHA,” said Chaves. “I’m very happy [to be in the IMSA paddock full-time], to have the full commitment this year really will take it to the next level. And to be able to fight for a championship and to be part of such a great team, I’m really, really excited for it.”

 
Norman is also thankful for the opportunity to make the jump to sports cars.

 
“Really excited to work with Gabby and everyone else on the team to bring a championship,” Norman added. “I definitely have a lot to learn, this is my first venture into sports car racing and IMSA racing, but I definitely think with everyone that is involved with this program that I’m going to be able to get up to speed pretty quickly.”

 
The good fortune that leads to allowing the team to expand, and their partnership with Hyundai in the process, is a source of pride for Herta.

 
“Extremely fortunate,” he said. “Hyundai’s commitment to motorsport is fairly new, but their appetite is to grow and to continue to do new things. We’re excited to be a motorsport partner for Hyundai and as they’re growing and getting more involved in motorsports, we look to do those things, too.”

 
Riley Dickinson wins prestigious IMSA Hurley Haywood GT3 Cup Scholarship

 
Newly minted IMSA President John Doonan probably said it best today when he pointed out that he often encourages young, developing drivers to be “students of the game” because it’s essential they understand those who came before them on the track.

 
“To be a recipient of a scholarship with Hurley Haywood’s name attached to it is no small thing,” Doonan said.

 
That wasn’t lost on the 2020 recipient of the IMSA Hurley Haywood GT3 Cup Scholarship, 17-year-old Riley Dickinson from New Braunfels, Texas. The young driver came out on top after a two-day North American Porsche Young Driver Academy program that included one day of classroom activity and another of on-track sessions that helped determine the scholarship recipient.

 
“Having the opportunity this year, being able to represent someone like Hurley is something unbelievable,” Dickinson said when asked about the meaning of the scholarship. “It’s truly a great honor for me to be able to do.”

 
Winning the scholarship isn’t just about the ride for 2020, but about the process of getting there as well.

 
“I would like to give a huge thanks to everyone who made the Porsche Young Driver Academy possible,” stated Dickinson. “It was truly a professional, great experience for myself. I learned so much from it that I’ll be able to take with me for the rest of my life, whether that’s on-track or off-track.”

 
And Haywood had high praise for Dickinson’s performance at the Academy, especially with the growing depth of excellent drivers competing for the scholarship.

 
“When we combined with IMSA and the Hurley Haywood Scholarship with Porsche Cars North America, it expanded our pool of drivers that we were looking at,” said the five-time Rolex 24 At Daytona overall winner. “Every year, I think this is the 33rd driver lineup that we’ve had, we’ve been doing it for 11 years – every year the group of people that we get are just amazing. This last go-through, I was so impressed with the level of understanding that the drivers have, how they look at data.

 
“Riley immediately after the first run, knew what he wanted to look at. He came to the guys that were doing the data and pinpointed exactly where he felt he was weak. And sure enough, he looked at it, went out and solved the problem and went faster.”

 
Long the face of Brumos Porsche and oft-affiliated with its iconic red, white and blue scheme, Haywood’s mark in sports cars is legendary, with five Rolex 24 watches and three 24 Hours of Le Mans trophies to his credit.

 
Doonan added his thoughts to the enormity of the impact that Haywood has on the sport and the league he now oversees.

 
“Growing up as a fan of endurance racing, you pick your legends, you pick your heroes of the sport,” said the new IMSA president. “To be sitting up here in my new role, to be sitting here next to a gentleman who is truly a legend in our sport is quite special for me personally.”

 
The legend himself had some final light-hearted words regarding his expectations for the winner of the scholarship that bears his name. 

 
“I told him all he needs to do is win every single race and that would make me happy.”

 
New IMSA President John Doonan living out a second boyhood dream
The former director of motorsports for Mazda North America Operations, John Doonan “finally” saw cars on track as he officially started his third day as the new president of IMSA.

 
And he admitted that watching while in his new role is a bit of an adjustment.

 
“Little different not having a specific horse in the race,” Doonan said while speaking with media at Daytona International Speedway on the opening day of the Road Before the Rolex 24. “I sat back in my office for the first time all weekend and watched the first session quietly because I didn’t want to show any emotion on pit road for anybody in particular.

 
“I explained to some people who don’t necessarily understand sports car racing that I used to be responsible for the elephants in the circus, now I’m responsible for the whole circus.”

 
And being responsible for the whole circus means he gets a chance to expand on what has already been a dream career in motorsports as he takes over the reigns from the now-retired Scott Atherton.

 
“It was an awesome journey, a boyhood dream to work for Mazda,” said Doonan, who began working alongside Atherton and transitioning to his new role with the sanctioning body in October. “Several people in the garage area said I can’t believe you’re wearing a different shirt.

 
“But rarely do you get to live out two boyhood dreams. In February of ‘79, I was sitting in my living room with my family, at that time there were just regular, I don’t even think it was hourly, I think it was every six or eight hours they gave some updates from Daytona and the Rolex 24. To imagine being a young person like that, I spoke about being that next generation of wanting to be somehow in the game or be part of the action. And now to have had the opportunities I’ve had at Mazda and now to come here, it’s really hard to explain.”

 
For a leader who started in the sport as a fan, it’s especially important to him that he helps lead IMSA on a path that grows the audience of the sport he has a great passion for. And he knows he can’t do it alone.
“We – as a collective, and I continue to use the word ‘we’ and that’s not just ‘we’ IMSA, it’s ‘we’ the team owners, ‘we’ the drivers, ‘we’ the media – need to do our ever best to continue to grow our platforms and to grow our value,” Doonan asserted. “For me, it starts with our audience.”

 
“I think growing the audience, growing the outreach of how people can take in the IMSA content is critical. We also need to look at our audience, especially the younger generation.”

 
That will include developing initiatives to encourage fans to follow along with IMSA in new ways, such as through eSports or platforms like the newly launched TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.

 
Another key tenet of Doonan’s leadership will be preserving and elevating the values that the France and Bishop families founded IMSA on.

 
“I’m honored to work for the France family,” he said. “I had a chance to talk with Jim France and then called Mitch Bishop. I said to both of them, IMSA was founded on a set of values that would allow racers, drivers, manufacturers to go racing on a variety of levels. It would be my personal goal to make that those original value statements of what IMSA was founded on are carried through to today.

 
“I think without a doubt the staff at IMSA has done that with a lot of passion. A lot of professionalism. And I’m here and fortunate enough to be the next caretaker of it.”

 
Reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch takes to the track

 
Usually race fans have to wait until February to see the reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion take to high banks of Daytona International Speedway, but Kyle Busch is providing a sweet treat to race fans this year as he joins Lexus for the 2020 Rolex 24 in the GTD class.

 
He’s in Daytona this weekend to turn laps in the No. 14 AIM VASSER SULLIVAN Lexus RC F GT3 alongside his co-drivers Jack Hawksworth, Parker Chase and Michael De Quesada.

 
It took a little persuading to get him behind the wheel of the sports car, but he didn’t want to lose the opportunity to try out the road course for the marquee event of the WeatherTech Championship season.

 
“I’ve been asked the last couple years by the folks at Toyota/Lexus to come out here and run their car, and I politely declined them the first couple times,” Busch told media today. “I felt like if I didn’t say yes eventually, then I would probably never be asked again.”

 
Busch has turned laps on the Daytona road course before – over a decade ago in a Daytona Prototype with Scott Speed in the summer sprint race in 2008. And he hopes this time he fares better.

 
“It was a thousand degrees inside the car, we had the NASCAR race that night, I remember just being flushed after that race was over, it was so hot,” he said. “We didn’t fare too well. I was slow. The car was slow. We were slow. So, I’m looking forward to being a bit faster this time around.”

 
He’s relying heavily on his teammate Hawksworth for advice as he gets used to the lighter weight and overall different feel of the Lexus compared to the Toyota Camry he pilots in NASCAR. Hawksworth traveled to the Charlotte area to spend a day on the simulator with Busch at TRD. Without Hawksworth’s guidance at the session, “I probably would have been completely lost,” said Busch.

 
After this first practice session, Busch admitted that he still has his “NASCAR driving techniques just embedded in (his) brain” and he has to shed them as he learns the differences in the car.

 
He also acquiesces that his biggest adjustment is to the braking.

 
“I’m used to our big heavy stock cars where you have to start the slowdown process early, the braking zone is forever, and then by the time you turn in you have to be off the brakes otherwise the inside wheels will lock up,” he said. “You also have to take care of our brakes on the Cup cars because they’re so heavy…you can really overheat them.

 
“Completely different techniques. On these cars, you can drive the snot out of them.”

 
The car Busch is driving was fast in the opening practice session. In fact, his co-driver Hawksworth put up the fastest time of the day for the GTD class. Busch’s speed was middle of the pack as he learned the car, with his fastest lap clocking in at 1:48.544 (118.066 mph).

 
But for all the differences, one thing remains the same. Busch wants to make his way to Victory Lane at the end of the race.

 
“I didn’t come here to completely have fun, of course I want to have fun,” he said. “But more importantly I want to be able to go out there and win for Lexus and for AIM VASSER SULLIVAN racing.”
 

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Event
Live coverage of the Rolex 24 begins on NBC Network starting at 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 25. The network will also cover the race’s final two hours beginning at noon. Want a one-stop-shop way to watch all 24 hours? TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold is your answer. Qualifying for the Rolex 24 also will stream live on IMSA.tv on Thursday beginning at 4:15 p.m. for both domestic and international viewers.

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Decades at Daytona: Looking Back at 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000 and 2010

 
January 22, 2020
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Rolex 24 At Daytona has a rich history of sports car racing at Daytona International Speedway dating back to the first three-hour Daytona Continental in 1962 and the first 24-hour race in 1966.

 
As we head into this weekend’s 58th Rolex 24 At Daytona, which takes the green flag on Saturday with live NBC network television coverage at 1:30 p.m. ET, let’s look back on what happened in this race 50, 40, 30, 20 and 10 years ago:

 
1970 – Rodriguez and Kinnunen Dominate in Gulf Porsche 917
A longstanding tradition of the Rolex 24 is the array of superstar drivers the event has attracted over the years. That certainly was the case in 1970, with a field that included racing luminaries like Mario Andretti, Jacky Ickx, Jo Siffert, Brian Redman, Jack Brabham, Dan Gurney, Mark Donohue, Vic Elford and many others.

 
But on this day, one star shone above the rest and his name was Pedro Rodriguez. The Mexican superstar already had a pair of Daytona victories under his belt – winning the three-hour Continental races in both 1963 and 1964. In 1970, Rodriguez was paired with Finnish racer Leo Kinnunen and Redman in the No. 2 Gulf Porsche 917K fielded by John Wyer.

 
The star-studded field turned out to be no match for the pair of Wyer Porsches, and most notably the No. 2 machine. Rodriguez took the lead two hours and 35 minutes into the race and disappeared off into the distance. At the checkered flag, the No. 2 was 45 laps ahead of its team car, the No. 1 Porsche 917 shared by Redman and Siffert.

 
Finishing third, three laps behind the No. 1 Porsche, was the No. 28 Ferrari shared by Andretti, Ickx and Arturo Mezzario.

 
Sam Posey and Mike Parkes co-drove the No. 24 Ferrari 312P to the P-class victory, while Jerry Thompson and John Mahler combined to win the GT+2000 class in the No. 7 Corvette. Bob Mitchell and Charlie Kemp won the T+2000 class in the No. 12 Camaro, with the T2000 class win going to Ralph Meaney, Gary Wright and Bill Bean in the No. 74 Porsche 911S.

 
And in GT2000, the win went to John Belperche, Tony Lilly and Don Pickett in the No. 78 MG B.

 
1980 – Joest Porsche Wins as IMSA GTP Era Approaches
With the dawn of the IMSA Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) area rapidly approaching, the 1980 Rolex 24 still came down to a battle among teams with the dominant Porsche 935. The field included no less than 16 935s alongside a handful of new GTP cars – including three BMW M1s – all competing in the GTX class.

 
The race came down to a battle between the No. 2 Joest Porsche 935 co-driven by team owner Reinhold Joest, Rolf Stommelen and Volkert Merl, the No. 93 Whittington Brothers 935, the No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche and the No. 6 Dick Barbour Racing Porsche. While the Joest Porsche led the early running, Manfred Schurti in the Barbour Porsche battled Stommelen in the Joest machine in the overnight hours, trading the lead several times.

 
The No. 6 machine ultimately fell out of the battle when Schurti tangled with a lapped car. But the race wasn’t over yet, as the Whittington Brothers Porsche – which had fallen down the order early on with a penalty for passing under caution – found its way back onto the lead lap with under seven hours to go.

 
Shortly after that, however, the No. 93 stopped with a broken distributor shaft. That enabled the Joest team to pull away to win by 33 laps over the No. 09 Preston Henn-fielded Porsche 935K3 shared by John Paul Sr. and Al Holbert. Ted Field, Danny Ongais and Milt Minter finished third in the No. 0 Porsche entered by Field.

 
The IMSA GTU class win went to William Koll, Jim Cook and Greg La Cava in the No. 62 Porsche 914/6, with Tony Garcia, Alberto Vadia Jr. and Terry Herman winning the IMSA GTO class in the No. 54 Montura Racing Porsche 911 Carrera RSR. In the Group 5 category for under-two-liter cars, Carlo Facetti and Martino Finotto won in the No. 4 Jolly Club Lancia Beta Monte Carlo.

 
1990 – TWR Jaguars Go 1-2 at Zenith of GTP Class
The first race of the 1990s was a continuation of the GTP class salad days from the late 1980s, with highly competitive prototype race cars from Nissan, Jaguar, Toyota and Porsche set to battle for the win.

 
The Nissan cars ranked among the favorites coming into the event on the strength of back-to-back IMSA GTP titles led by driver Geoff Brabham. However, victory in the Rolex 24 proved elusive for the blue, red and white machines, and it eluded them yet again in 1990 when mechanical issues ended their bid early.

 
Overheating problems also brought an early end to the race for the Toyota Eagle GTP machine entered by Dan Gurney’s All American Racers for co-drivers Juan Manuel Fangio II, Rocky Moran and Drake Olson. On the heels of a victory the year prior and four victories in the previous five years, there were plenty of Porsche 962s in the field from teams based in the U.S. and Europe.

 
But this event would belong to the pair of Tom Walkinshaw Racing Jaguar XJR-12s, which had switch from a turbocharged engine the year prior to using normally aspirated V12 engines. By daybreak, the battle was between the Jaguar teammates, with co-drivers Davy Jones, Jan Lammers and Andy Wallace in the No. 60 and Price Cobb, John Nielsen and Martin Brundle in the No. 61.

 
The outcome was in doubt into the final hour of the race when the No. 61 – which had battled overheating issues earlier – spent an extended amount of time on pit lane. That gave the victory to the No. 60 teammates by four laps over the No. 61 entry.

 
In the GTO class, Roush Racing picked up its sixth consecutive victory with co-drivers Robby Gordon, Lyn St. James and Calvin Fish taking the victory. The Camel Lights class saw John Grooms, Michael Greenfield and Frank Jellinek Jr. taking the win in the No. 36 Argo-Mazda, while Peter Uria, Bob Dotson, Jim Pace and Rusty Scott won the GTU class in the No. 71 Team Highball Mazda RX-7.

 
2000 – ORECA Viper Wins Then-Closest Rolex 24 Over Corvette in GRAND-AM Debut
The 2000 Rolex 24 At Daytona marked the beginning of the new GRAND-AM Road Racing Association and featured a wide variety of prototype and GT race cars.

 
This overall race victory would come down to GT machines, namely the No. 91 ORECA Dodge Viper GTS-R shared by Olivier Beretta, Karl Wendlinger and Dominique Dupuy and the No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C5.R co-driven by Ron Fellows, Justin Bell and Chris Kneifel.

 
Those two cars became combatants for the overall victory after heavy attrition befell cars in the fastest SportsRacer Prototype (SRP) class. The last of which to encounter issues was the No. 20 Dyson Racing Riley & Scott/Ford shared by James Weaver, Rob Dyson, Max Papis and Elliott Forbes-Robinson.

 
The Dyson team was looking for its second straight victory after taking the overall win in 1999, but a bent exhaust valve limited the car’s power just past halfway. With two hours remaining, the battle for the overall win officially became one of GT machines.

 
Wendlinger ultimately delivered the win for the French Viper team in what was then the closest finish in Rolex 24 history. The No. 91 crossed the stripe just 30.878 seconds ahead of the No. 3 Corvette. Third place went to another ORECA Viper, the No. 93 shared by David Donohue, Ni Amorim, Jean-Philippe Belloc and Tommy Archer.

 
The No. 20 Dyson entry salvaged a fourth-place overall result and claimed the SRP class victory, with Luca Drudi, Fabio Rosa, Fabio Babini and Garbrio Rosa claiming the GTU class win in the No. 56 Porsche 996 GT3R. In the AGT class, John Finger, Doug Mills, Richard Maugeri, Andy McNeil and Ron Zitza took the win in the No. 84 Camaro.

 
2010 – Action Express Wins Debut Race with Porsche-powered Riley
IMSA fans today widely recognize Action Express Racing as one of the top teams in the sport, with multiple championships and important race victories.

 
But coming into the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the team owned by Daytona Beach-businessman Bob Johnson and managed by storied NASCAR crew chief Gary Nelson was brand new. The team had a stellar driver lineup – Joao Barbosa, Terry Borcheller, Ryan Dalziel and Mike Rockenfeller – for its No. 9 Riley Daytona Prototype powered by a Porsche Cayenne-based V8 engine.

 
But there were other stellar driver lineups in the field, including the pair of Chip Ganassi Racing BMW/Riley DPs, the Ford-powered Rileys from Michael Shank Racing, the Dallara/Ford from Wayne Taylor Racing and the Pontiac/Riley from GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing that included multi-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson.

 
All of those aforementioned teams ran among the top contenders at one point or another in the race – especially the Ganassi machines that led throughout Saturday’s action. But an uncharacteristic mechanical problem removed the No. 02 Ganassi car shared by Juan Pablo Montoya, Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti and Jamie McMurray just past midnight.

 
That misfortune handed the lead to Barbosa in the No. 9 Action Express machine, which battled the No. 01 Ganassi BMW/Riley of Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas, Max Papis and Justin Wilson for the victory. An unscheduled pit stop by Wilson late in the race gave the No. 9 team its big break, and the new team headed to victory lane.

 
Finishing second, 52.303 seconds behind the Action Express quartet was the No. 01 Ganassi squad, with Ryan Hunter-Reay, Richard Westbrook, Lucas Luhr and Scott Tucker placing third in the No. 95 Level 5 Motorsports BMW/Riley.

 
The GT class saw the No. 70 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 pick up its second victory in three years with Sylvain Tremblay, Nick Ham, David Haskell and Jonathan Bomarito sharing the car.

 
1990 – TWR Jaguars Go 1-2 at Zenith of GTP Class
The first race of the 1990s was a continuation of the GTP class salad days from the late 1980s, with highly competitive prototype race cars from Nissan, Jaguar, Toyota and Porsche set to battle for the win.

 
The Nissan cars ranked among the favorites coming into the event on the strength of back-to-back IMSA GTP titles led by driver Geoff Brabham. However, victory in the Rolex 24 proved elusive for the blue, red and white machines, and it eluded them yet again in 1990 when mechanical issues ended their bid early.

 
Overheating problems also brought an early end to the race for the Toyota Eagle GTP machine entered by Dan Gurney’s All American Racers for co-drivers Juan Manuel Fangio II, Rocky Moran and Drake Olson. On the heels of a victory the year prior and four wins in the previous five years, there were plenty of Porsche 962s in the field from teams based in the U.S. and Europe.

 
But this event would belong to the pair of Tom Walkinshaw Racing Jaguar XJR-12s, which had switch from a turbocharged engine the year prior to using normally aspirated V12 engines. By daybreak, the battle was between the Jaguar teammates, with co-drivers Davy Jones, Jan Lammers and Andy Wallace in the No. 60 and Price Cobb, John Nielsen and Martin Brundle in the No. 61.

 
The outcome was in doubt into the final hour of the race when the No. 61 – which had battled overheating issues earlier – spent an extended amount of time on pit lane. That gave the victory to the No. 60 teammates by four laps over the No. 61 entry.

 
In the GTO class, Roush Racing picked up its sixth consecutive victory with co-drivers Robby Gordon, Lyn St. James and Calvin Fish taking the victory. The Camel Lights class saw John Grooms, Michael Greenfield and Frank Jellinek Jr. taking the win in the No. 36 Argo-Mazda, while Peter Uria, Bob Dotson, Jim Pace and Rusty Scott won the GTU class in the No. 71 Team Highball Mazda RX-7.

 
2000 – ORECA Viper Wins Then-Closest Rolex 24 Over Corvette in GRAND-AM Debut
The 2000 Rolex 24 At Daytona marked the beginning of the new GRAND-AM Road Racing Association and featured a wide variety of prototype and GT race cars.

 
This overall race victory would come down to GT machines, namely the No. 91 ORECA Dodge Viper GTS-R shared by Olivier Beretta, Karl Wendlinger and Dominique Dupuy and the No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C5.R co-driven by Ron Fellows, Justin Bell and Chris Kneifel.

 
Those two cars became combatants for the overall victory after heavy attrition befell cars in the fastest SportsRacer Prototype (SRP) class. The last of which to encounter issues was the No. 20 Dyson Racing Riley & Scott/Ford shared by James Weaver, Rob Dyson, Max Papis and Elliott Forbes-Robinson.

 
The Dyson team was looking for its second straight victory after taking the overall win in 1999, but a bent exhaust valve limited the car’s power just past halfway. With two hours remaining, the battle for the overall win officially became one of GT machines.

 
Wendlinger ultimately delivered the win for the French Viper team in what was then the closest finish in Rolex 24 history. The No. 91 crossed the stripe just 30.878 seconds ahead of the No. 3 Corvette. Third place went to another ORECA Viper, the No. 93 shared by David Donohue, Ni Amorim, Jean-Philippe Belloc and Tommy Archer.

 
The No. 20 Dyson entry salvaged a fourth-place overall result and claimed the SRP class victory, with Luca Drudi, Fabio Rosa, Fabio Babini and Garbrio Rosa claiming the GTU class win in the No. 56 Porsche 996 GT3R. In the AGT class, John Finger, Doug Mills, Richard Maugeri, Andy McNeil and Ron Zitza took the win in the No. 84 Camaro.

 
2010 – Action Express Wins Debut Race with Porsche-powered Riley
IMSA fans today widely recognize Action Express Racing as one of the top teams in the sport, with multiple championships and important race victories.

 
But coming into the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the team owned by Daytona Beach-businessman Bob Johnson and managed by storied NASCAR crew chief Gary Nelson was brand new. The team had a stellar driver lineup – Joao Barbosa, Terry Borcheller, Ryan Dalziel and Mike Rockenfeller – for its No. 9 Riley Daytona Prototype powered by a Porsche Cayenne-based V8 engine.

 
But there were other stellar driver lineups in the field, including the pair of Chip Ganassi Racing BMW/Riley DPs, the Ford-powered Rileys from Michael Shank Racing, the Dallara/Ford from Wayne Taylor Racing and the Pontiac/Riley from GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing that included multi-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson.

 
All of those aforementioned teams ran among the top contenders at one point or another in the race – especially the Ganassi machines that led throughout Saturday’s action. But an uncharacteristic mechanical problem removed the No. 02 Ganassi car shared by Juan Pablo Montoya, Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti and Jamie McMurray just past midnight.

 
That misfortune handed the lead to Barbosa in the No. 9 Action Express machine, which battled the No. 01 Ganassi BMW/Riley of Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas, Max Papis and Justin Wilson for the victory. An unscheduled pit stop by Wilson late in the race gave the No. 9 team its big break, and the new team headed to victory lane.

 
Finishing second, 52.303 seconds behind the Action Express quartet was the No. 01 Ganassi squad, with Ryan Hunter-Reay, Richard Westbrook, Lucas Luhr and Scott Tucker placing third in the No. 95 Level 5 Motorsports BMW/Riley.

 
The GT class saw the No. 70 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 pick up its second victory in three years with Sylvain Tremblay, Nick Ham, David Haskell and Jonathan Bomarito sharing the car.

 
The 58th rendition of the prestigious Rolex 24 At Daytona gets under way next week on the 3.56-mile road course at Daytona International Speedway. Practice and qualifying starts Thursday, Jan. 23, with the green flag flying on the twice-around-the-clock battle just past 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 25.
 
NBC will have live network coverage of the start of the race beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 25, and also will televise the race finish beginning at 12 p.m. ET on Sunday, Jan. 26 as part of NBC Sports’ complete coverage of the event that includes windows on NBCSN and the NBC Sports App and TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.
 
IMSA Radio also will have live coverage throughout race weekend on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com, with complete race coverage also airing on SiriusXM Radio.
 
Tickets for the 58th Rolex 24 At Daytona are available on DaytonaInternationalSpeedway.com

 

58th Rolex 24 At Daytona – LMP2 Team-By-Team

 
January 21, 2020
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The start of the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship – and essentially the entire auto racing calendar – is upon us.

 
The 58th rendition of the prestigious Rolex 24 At Daytona gets under way next week on the 3.56-mile road course at Daytona International Speedway. Practice and qualifying starts Thursday, Jan. 23, with the green flag flying on the twice-around-the-clock battle just past 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 25.

 
NBC will have live network coverage of the start of the race beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 25, and also will televise the race finish beginning at 12 p.m. ET on Sunday, Jan. 26 as part of NBC Sports’ complete coverage of the event that includes windows on NBCSN and the NBC Sports App and TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.

 
IMSA Radio also will have live coverage throughout race weekend on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com, with complete race coverage also airing on SiriusXM Radio.

 
Tickets for the 58th Rolex 24 At Daytona are available on DaytonaInternationalSpeedway.com.
In the second of a four-part series detailing the four classes that will compete in the 2020 Rolex 24 At Daytona, let’s take a closer look at the LMP2 category.

 
No. 8 Tower Motorsport by Starworks
ORECA LMP2
Ryan Dalziel/David Heinemeier Hansson/John Farano/Nicolas Lapierre
Tower Motorsport by Starworks kicks off its 2020 IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup campaign at the Rolex 24 with the potential of adding other WeatherTech Championship races later in the season. Spearheaded by Farano – a 2012 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Grand Sport (GS) champion who also competed in the Asian Le Mans Series LMP2 Am class this winter – the No. 8 ORECA will be run in partnership with Peter Baron’s Starworks program.

 
Dalziel, a longtime Starworks driver, and Farano are considered the full-time drivers of the car, with Heinemeier Hansson set for the four enduros. Lapierre, a two-time winner of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts and a four-time 24 Hours of Le Mans LMP2 class winner, will join the team at Daytona.

 
Dalziel is the only driver of the four who owns a previous Rolex 24 victory, an overall win in 2010 with the Action Express Riley-Porsche. Starworks as a team is also in search of its first win at the Daytona endurance race.

 
No. 18 Era Motorsport
ORECA LMP2
Kyle Tilley/Dwight Merriman/Ryan Lewis/Nic Minassian
New to the IMSA grid is Era Motorsport with its No. 18 ORECA. Not new to IMSA are drivers Ryan Lewis and Nic Minassian. Lewis has six WeatherTech Championship starts with his best finish coincidentally coming in an ORECA at the 2017 Canadian Tire Motorsport Park round in the Prototype Challenge class.

 
Minassian – a former Peugeot LMP1 factory driver – has a decent amount of experience between the American Le Mans Series, Rolex GRAND-AM Sports Car Series and WeatherTech Championship. In fact, he participated in the 2016 Rolex 24 a race, in which his car started first in the Prototype category in the hands of then co-driver Mikhail Aleshin.

 
Newcomers Tilley – Era’s team principal – and Merriman are tabbed as the full-season drivers for 2020. The two co-drove together in historic racing, where Era Motorsport got its start.

 
No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports
ORECA LMP2
Cameron Cassels/Robert Masson/Kyle Masson/Don Yount
Performance Tech looks to improve one position on its runner-up finish at the 2019 Rolex 24 and to collect the team’s second Rolex watch in four years. Of the team’s four drivers entered this year, only Kyle Masson was part of the 2017 winning lineup in the Prototype Challenge class.

 
The younger Masson will run the twice-around-the-clock race for the second consecutive year with his father, Dr. Robert Masson, and also returns with his full-season co-driver from 2019, Cameron Cassels, the 2019 Jim Trueman Award winner as the top sportsman driver in the LMP2 class. Meanwhile, Yount returns to a prototype for the first time in the Rolex 24 since 2016 after competing in the GT Daytona (GTD) class the last three years.

 
No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports
ORECA LMP2
Ben Keating/Simon Trummer/Nick Boulle/Gabriel Aubry
PR1 Mathaisen Motorsports may be looking for some redemption at this year’s Rolex 24. Before storming to six straight victories to win the 2019 WeatherTech Championship LMP2 championship, the team finished last in the Daytona endurance race to start the year.

 
Aubry is the only returning driver to the team’s lineup and will be joined by former JDC-Miller MotorSports Cadillac DPi driver Simon Trummer. Seeking his second Rolex 24 win is Nick Boulle, who previously scored the victory with now-competitor Performance Tech Motorsports in 2017.

 
Pulling double duty in the Rolex 24 – not for the first time, however – will be Texan Ben Keating, who will jump between the No. 52 ORECA LMP2 and the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the GTD class. This will be his fifth time competing at Daytona in two different cars and it was in the GTD class in 2015 where Keating scored his first and only Rolex watch to date.

 
No. 81 DragonSpeed USA
ORECA LMP2
Ben Hanley/Henrik Hedman/Colin Braun/Harrison Newey
The 2019 Rolex 24 LMP2 winning team looks to defend its title, albeit with a different lineup. Both Hanley and Hedman ran in a second DragonSpeed entry last year and took the third and final step on the Rolex 24 podium. Entered as the team’s full-season drivers, these two will look to start the year off right with a win.

 
Braun, meanwhile, returns to the cockpit of an LMP2 machine after running for several years with a now-shuttered CORE autosport program. He owns one Rolex 24 victory – in Prototype Challenge machine – from 2014 and still holds the record set in October 2013 for the fastest lap ever recorded on the Daytona oval with a speed of 222.971mph (40.364 seconds) in a Michael Shank Racing Ford EcoBoost Prototype.

 
Completing the driver lineup is Newey, the 2018 Asian Le Mans Series LMP2 champion who competed in Super Formula and the Japanese endurance racing series Super Taikyu in 2019. He is the son of renowned Formula 1 and IndyCar engineer, Adrian Newey, who is now the Chief Technical Officer for the Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team.
CTech Manufacturing Joins IMSA Corporate Partner Family

 
January 21, 2020
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – CTech Manufacturing and IMSA today announced a new, multi-year partnership making the industry leader in the manufacturing of high-quality aluminum pit carts and cabinets the Official Cart Provider for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and a Proud Partner of IMSA.

 
The integrated marketing partnership will serve to further align CTech with IMSA teams and other stakeholders, as well as introduce CTech products to IMSA’s fan base of auto enthusiasts and DIY’ers. 
 
Elements include the introduction of an annual IMSA VIP Fan Experience Sweepstakes with CTech products included as part of a Grand Prize package, digital advertising across IMSA.com, on-site branding, and “tech tours” at track for CTech customers and prospects. CTech product also will be integrated into IMSA’s at-track operations, including the featured use of a new IMSA Timing & Scoring Stand/Pit Cart as well as CTech products by IMSA’s Technology and Technical Inspection teams.    

 
“CTech has long, established relationships inside the IMSA paddock and is a natural partner for us,” said IMSA Senior Vice President, Marketing & Business Operations David Pettit. “The new timing stand and other CTech products we will begin using this year will greatly enhance IMSA’s service to our stakeholders on pit lane and in the paddock. In addition, we are excited to begin to educate our broad fan base about CTech’s products and support this part of their business as well.”

 
The company, which was founded in the early 1990s by Jim Greenheck – a racer himself – out of a need for a lighter, stronger, higher-quality aluminum cabinet for racing trailers, developed its exclusive MotionLatchTM drawer and door handle for “One Hand One Motion” opening and closing/latching for transport. The patented design made MotionLatchTM an industry leader since its development and pushed CTech into new markets, fueled by customer requests.

 
“Over the years, CTech Manufacturing has been a part of the majority of championship-winning IMSA teams by providing the storage solutions they need to support a successful racing effort,” said CTech Marketing Director Darrell Martin.. “We are proud of this relationship and look forward to growing our business in 2020 by partnering with IMSA, further reaching the teams in the paddock, as well as IMSA’s significant fan base throughout the U.S., and beyond.

 
“Born in the racing industry over 25 years ago, it’s a big step for our growing company to formally align ourselves with one of America’s most historic racing series. We’re confident this new partnership will present advantages for both CTech and IMSA alike.”

 
For more information on CTech Manufacturing, visit CTechManufacturing.com

 
The 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship kicks off on Jan. 25-26 with the 58th Rolex 24 At Daytona. NBC will have live network coverage of the start of the race beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 25, and also will televise the race finish beginning at 12 p.m. ET on Sunday, Jan. 26 as part of NBC Sports’ complete coverage of the event that includes windows on NBCSN and the NBC Sports App and TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.

 
Tickets for the 58th Rolex 24 At Daytona are available on DaytonaInternationalSpeedway.com

 

 

58th Rolex 24 At Daytona – DPi Team-By-Team

 
January 20, 2020
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The start of the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship – and essentially the entire auto racing calendar – is upon us.

 
The 58th rendition of the prestigious Rolex 24 At Daytona gets under way next week on the 3.56-mile road course at Daytona International Speedway. Practice and qualifying starts Thursday, Jan. 23, with the green flag flying on the twice-around-the-clock battle just past 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 25.

 
NBC will have live network coverage of the start of the race beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 25, and also will televise the race finish beginning at 12 p.m. ET on Sunday, Jan. 26 as part of NBC Sports’ complete coverage of the event that includes windows on NBCSN and the NBC Sports App and TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.

 
IMSA Radio also will have live coverage throughout race weekend on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com, with complete race coverage also airing on SiriusXM Radio.

 
Tickets for the 58th Rolex 24 At Daytona are available on DaytonaInternationalSpeedway.com.

 
In the first of a four-part series detailing the four classes that will compete in the 2020 Rolex 24 At Daytona, let’s take a closer look at the flagship, Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class.
 
No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing/JDC-Miller MotorSports
Cadillac DPi-V.R
Sebastien Bourdais/Loic Duval/Joao Barbosa
 
For the first time since 2009 – when he claimed his first Rolex 24 At Daytona overall victory – Barbosa will compete in the Rolex 24 with a team other than Action Express Racing. The two-time WeatherTech Championship Prototype champion moves to the Minnesota-based JDC-Miller MotorSports squad in 2020 with support from longtime partner Mustang Sampling.

 
Joining Barbosa as a full-time driver in the No. 5 Cadillac DPi will be four-time Champ Car World Series champion Sebastien Bourdais, whose focus has shifted from IndyCar to sports car racing. Barbosa and Bourdais are no strangers – they won the 2014 Rolex 24, the 2015 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts and the 2015 Motul Petit Le Mans together.

 
Their co-driver in those victories was Christian Fittipaldi, who retired from driving at last year’s Rolex 24 and serves as the grand marshal for this year’s race. Fittipaldi is now a team advisor to the JDC-Miller team.

 
Barbosa and Bourdais will share the car with 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans overall winner Loic Duval in IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup rounds.

 
No. 6 Acura Team Penske
Acura ARX-05
Dane Cameron/Juan Pablo Montoya/Simon Pagenaud
 
Cameron and Montoya are the defending WeatherTech Championship DPi champions and are returning for their third straight season as co-drivers of the No. 6 Acura DPi. They claimed the 2019 title through consistent podium finishes and a couple of well-timed wins. However, one thing that has so far eluded them since the team rejoined IMSA at the start of 2018 is an endurance race victory.

 
Helping them in their effort to deliver a sought-after endurance win is the 2019 Indianapolis 500 winner and 2016 IndyCar champion Simon Pagenaud. In fact, the trio is the only DPi driver lineup that includes all IMSA champions, as Pagenaud took the 2010 LMP1 title before heading off to IndyCar stardom. These same three drivers have comprised the team’s endurance lineup since the start of 2018.

 
No. 7 Acura Team Penske
Acura ARX-05
Ricky Taylor/Helio Castroneves/Alexander Rossi
 
Taylor and Castroneves hold the distinction of being the first set of co-drivers to win a race in the Acura ARX-05 DPi car, which they did at Mid-Ohio in 2018. However, they haven’t been back to victory lane since then.

 
Nevertheless, 2019 was a successful season across the board for Acura Team Penske, with the championship-winning performance of the No. 6 team and the No. 7 squad parlaying podium results in exactly half of the season’s 10 races en route to third in the DPi championship standings at year's end. But they’re definitely looking for more – wins and points – in 2020.

 
Co-drivers since the start of 2018, Taylor and Castroneves will be joined by 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi for the races at Daytona, Sebring and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. Rossi was part of the No. 7 lineup at Daytona and Sebring last year also, but missed the season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans to compete in the Bathurst 1000 in Australia, giving way to another IndyCar racer, Graham Rahal, for that event.

 
No. 10 Konica Minolta/Wayne Taylor Racing
Cadillac DPi-V.R
Renger van der Zande/Ryan Briscoe/Kamui Kobayashi/Scott Dixon
 
For the first time since the 2009 season, team owner Wayne Taylor won’t have at least one of his sons driving his signature No. 10 prototype. His eldest, Ricky, is starting his third season in the No. 7 Acura DPi, while Jordan Taylor has moved to the brand-new No. 3 Corvette Racing C8.R beginning in 2020.

 
Van der Zande is now the longest-tenured driver on the WTR roster and will open his third year with the team at Daytona with Ryan Briscoe, his new, season-long co-driver. Briscoe, whose history with Wayne Taylor Racing dates all the way back to 2006, rejoins the team following the conclusion of the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing GTLM program in 2019.

 
Kobayashi, who was one of the fastest drivers in the field en route to the 2019 Rolex 24 victory in the No. 10 Cadillac DPi alongside Jordan Taylor, van der Zande and two-time F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso, is back for his second straight Rolex 24. And completing the team’s four-driver lineup is none other than five-time IndyCar champion and 2008 Indy 500 winner Scott Dixon.

 
The four members of the driving quartet have a combined seven Rolex 24 winner’s watches. Dixon has three, with overall wins in 2006 and 2015 and a GTLM win in 2018, Briscoe has a pair of GTLM wins in 2015 and 2018, and van der Zande and Kobayashi got their first last year. They’ll be looking to bring Wayne Taylor Racing its fourth Rolex 24 win next weekend.

 
No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing
Cadillac DPi-V.R
Pipo Derani/Felipe Nasr/Filipe Albuquerque/Mike Conway
 
The No. 31 team is the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup champion two years running. Nasr and Derani finished second in the overall WeatherTech Championship DPi standings last year, a year after Nasr and then-co-driver Eric Curran took the Prototype title.

 
Derani and Nasr will be likely title contenders again in 2020 aboard the No. 31 Cadillac DPi as the lone representatives of Action Express Racing and they’ll have plenty of muscle at Daytona and throughout the endurance events also. Albuquerque, a two-time Rolex 24 class winner who claimed his first overall win in the race two years ago, is onboard for the full Michelin Endurance Cup campaign.

 
And Conway, an IndyCar race winner turned Toyota Gazoo Racing driver in the FIA World Endurance Championship, is onboard for the Rolex 24, which will be his third appearance and first since 2018. Derani and Albuquerque already have winner’s watches in their collection. Will Nasr and Conway join the club?

 
No. 55 Mazda Team Joest
Mazda RT-24P
Jonathan Bomarito/Harry Tincknell/Ryan Hunter-Reay

 
Bomarito and Tincknell have been reunited for the full 2020 WeatherTech Championship season after delivering Mazda Team Joest’s long-awaited first victory at the 2019 Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen with then-endurance co-driver Olivier Pla. It will be the third consecutive season for Bomarito and Tincknell as co-drivers of the No. 55.

 
The Watkins Glen victory touched of a run of three straight victories for the two-car team. Oliver Jarvis and Tristan Nunez won the following weekend in the No. 77 Mazda DPi at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park before Bomarito and Tincknell won again at Road America.

 
For 2020, 2012 IndyCar champion and 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay has joined the No. 55 team for endurance events. Hunter-Reay previously raced in the No. 55 at the 2019 Mid-Ohio round and finished third alongside Bomarito, as Tincknell competed in the FIA World Endurance Championship event at Spa for Ford Chip Ganassi Racing.
 
No. 77 Mazda Team Joest
Mazda RT-24P
Oliver Jarvis/Tristan Nunez/Olivier Pla
 
Jarvis and Nunez have been reunited for a third consecutive year in the No. 77 Mazda DPi after finishing a team-high fifth in the WeatherTech Championship DPi standings in 2019, highlighted by a victory at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. They had a total of four podiums last season.

 
The duo welcomes a new endurance co-driver for 2020 in Pla, who moves over to the No. 77 squad after driving the No. 55 in 2019 IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup rounds. Pla unofficially broke Jarvis’ Daytona International Speedway track record in garage and pit qualifying at the Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

 
It was the second consecutive year the No. 77 left the Roar atop the time charts. In 2019, Jarvis also unofficially broke what was then a 26-year-old track record set by PJ Jones in 1993 at the Roar before making it official in qualifying on race weekend.

 
As a result, the No. 77 has to be the favorite come Thursday’s qualifying session. Are they favorites to win the 58th Rolex 24 At Daytona as well?

 
No. 85 JDC-Miller MotorSports
Cadillac DPi-V.R
Juan Piedrahita/Matheus Leist/Chris Miller/Tristan Vautier
 
The “Banana Boat” will have a revised driver lineup in 2020 as Colombian driver Piedrahita will be joined by Brazilian IndyCar racer Leist for the four Michelin Endurance Cup races. Piedrahita is expecting to compete in additional WeatherTech Championship rounds this season as well.

 
Miller rejoins the team at Daytona, where he and the team have fond memories as winners of the Prototype Challenge (PC) class in 2016. Also back with the team at Daytona is Frenchman Vautier, who drove the full 2019 season in the No. 85 entry alongside Misha Goikhberg, who has moved to the GT Daytona (GTD) class with Meyer Shank Racing in 2020.

 
Piedrahita’s history with the JDC team dates back to 2011 in the U.S. F2000 National Championship. He also has experience in Star Mazda/Pro Mazda and Indy Lights. Leist has raced in IndyCar the last two seasons with A.J. Foyt Enterprises, scoring a career-best result of fourth in 2019 in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis.  

 
Vautier also has a long history with JDC, winning the 2011 Star Mazda title for the team before moving to Indy Lights and winning that championship the following year with Sam Schmidt Motorsports. 

 

 

 

IMSA, Katherine Legge, Lamborghini and GEAR Racing
Set To Tour New York City
Two-Day Tour Begins Monday and with Appearance
on Floor of New York Stock Exchange

 
January 20, 2020
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – As the Rolex 24 At Daytona draws near to officially begin the 2020 International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) season, the sanctioning body and top driver Katherine Legge will be taking part in a two-day tour of New York City.

 
Legge, the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD runner-up, moves to the new GEAR Racing Lamborghini for the 2020 season alongside co-driver Christina Nielsen – a two-time WeatherTech Championship GTD champion – to form the series’ only all-female driver lineup. They will be joined by Chile’s Rahel Frey and Colombia’s Tatiana Calderon for the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

 
The twice-around-the-clock classic endurance race marks the start of the IMSA season and will be run on Jan. 25-26. The race starts on the NBC network on Saturday, Jan. 25 at 1:30 p.m. The network also will carry the dramatic final two hours of the race on Sunday.

 
GEAR stands for Girl Empowerment Around Racing, and it is the organization’s mission to inspire girls to be strong, smart, and bold in racing and in life. The team has joined forces with the Grasser Racing Team to field the No. 19 for the 2020 season. Grasser has won the Rolex 24 in the GT Daytona (GTD) class in each of the past two years, as well as last year’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

 
This team certainly brings a winning combination to the WeatherTech Championship. Legge was the 2018 GTD class runner-up and has four career IMSA victories. She also has competed in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Formula E and IndyCar, including two Indianapolis 500s. Nielsen won the GTD Championship in 2016 and 2017, and is entering her second year co-driving with Legge.

 
"It was amazing to see how fast this program came together and will be great to drive with Christina again,” Legge said. “This is about more than just racing. This is about the next generation and making a difference. IMSA has been home to me for many years now and I cannot wait to get this season underway at the Rolex 24 At Daytona."

 
Legge and the Lamborghini Huracán will be part of special event at the Classic Car Club of Manhattan on Monday starting at 6 p.m. The event is open to the club’s members and media and will feature a program of Legge talking about her racing career and look ahead to this year’s Rolex 24.

 
The tour continues Tuesday with stops at “Good Day New York,” Road and Track, CNN, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal and a live appearance on Cheddar.com at 4:30 p.m. from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

 
To follow the entire tour use the hashtag #IMSAinNYC.
World-Class Manufacturers and Teams; Accomplished Drivers Set to Tackle 2020 Rolex 24 At Daytona

 
January 15, 2020
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Another star-studded field featuring world-class sports cars and drivers are set to take on the grueling, twice-around-the-clock classic challenge that is the Rolex 24 At Daytona at the end of next week on the iconic 3.56-mile, Daytona International Speedway road course.

 
The field includes race cars from 12 different manufacturers and includes 42 drivers with at least one previous Rolex 24 victory. It also includes a two-time and reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion, the 2019 Indianapolis 500 winner among six Indy 500 winners and five IndyCar champions in the field, 26 24 Hours of Le Mans winners and 30 IMSA premier series champions.

 
There is a total of 39 entries spread between four classes of competition: Daytona Prototype international (DPi) with eight, LMP2 with six, GT Le Mans (GTLM) with seven and GT Daytona (GTD) with 18. Nearly every entry will compete in the full 2020 WeatherTech Championship season. The race also will include drivers from 22 different countries and five continents.

 
On-track activity for the 58th Rolex 24 At Daytona begins Thursday, Jan. 23 with practice and qualifying. NBC will have live network coverage of the start of the race beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 25, and also will televise the race finish beginning at 12 p.m. ET on Sunday, Jan. 26 as part of NBC Sports’ complete coverage of the event that includes windows on NBCSN and the NBC Sports App and TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.

 
IMSA Radio also will have live coverage throughout race weekend on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com, with complete race coverage also airing on SiriusXM Radio (XM 202, Sirius 216, Online 972).

 
Tickets for the 58th Rolex 24 At Daytona are available on DaytonaInternationalSpeedway.com.

 
Here’s a closer look at the accomplishments of drivers, teams and manufacturers in the 2020 Rolex 24 At Daytona:
Feature Story
Upcoming Events
Feature Story
Tune-In: Rolex 24 At Daytona

Every year, The Rolex 24 At DAYTONA is 24 hours of non-stop wheel-to-wheel action. This iconic race demands perfection from the drivers, requires performance from the cars, and instills passion in the fans. Tune in Saturday, January 25 at 1:30 p.m. ET to follow all the action.

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Feature Story
Flag-To-Flag Rolex 24 At Daytona Coverage Available On Four Platforms In The United States

As the excitement builds for the 58th Rolex 24 At Daytona, fans in the United States can enjoy flag-to-flag coverage of the twice-around-the-clock classic on four different linear and digital platforms.

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Feature Story
Mattioli Confident In Scuderia Corsa's Chances For First Rolex Watch Next Week At Daytona

The Scuderia Corsa team owner thinks this may be the team’s best shot yet of landing the No. 63 WeatherTech Ferrari 488 GT3 in victory lane at the prestigious Rolex 24 At Daytona, which opens the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.

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Feature Story
Jordan Taylor Leaves Wayne Taylor Racing Nest For Familiar Territory At Corvette Racing

Jordan Taylor will share the Velocity Yellow No. 3 Corvette C8.R with two-time IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Le Mans champion Antonio Garcia at Corvette Racing in 2020.

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Feature Story
Bryan Herta Autosport Announces Three-Car Program For 2020 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge

Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb Agajanian, the 2019 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge champions, announced they will enter three Hyundai Veloster N TCR’s in the 2020 IMPC championship.

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Feature Story
Third Annual IMSA Twenty-Four Premier Set For Jan. 22 At ONE DAYTONA

The event kicks off fan activities around this year’s 58th running of the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA on Jan. 25-26 at Daytona International Speedway.

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Feature Story
2020 IMSA Prototype Challenge At Daytona Race Broadcast

Check out the NBCSN broadcast from Round 1 of the IMSA Prototype Challenge at Daytona International Speedway.

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Feature Story
IMSA Prototype Challenge Daytona Race Photo Gallery

Check out photos from the Jan. 4 race at Daytona International Speedway.

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Feature Story
Daytona ROKU Taste of 24 Merchandise
 
Mattioli Confident in Scuderia Corsa’s Chances
for First Rolex Watch Next Week at Daytona

 
January 16, 2020
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The allure of the Rolex 24 At Daytona has Giacomo Mattioli eager to return each year and 2020 is no exception.

 
The Scuderia Corsa team owner thinks this may be the team’s best shot yet of landing the No. 63 WeatherTech Ferrari 488 GT3 in victory lane at the prestigious Rolex 24 At Daytona, which opens the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.

 
The team retains its 2019 GT Daytona (GTD) IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup lineup of full-timers Cooper MacNeil and Toni Vilander, alongside Jeff Westphal. However, next week’s twice-around-the-clock event marks the return of Alessandro Balzan to the driver’s seat. The Italian was sidelined for a year for medical reasons but remained as part of the team throughout last season in a non-racing capacity.

 
“I think it’s exciting, I think it’s emotional,” said Mattioli of Balzan’s return. “He’s pumped up. He’s in the best shape of his life. He’s motivated and it’s exciting to welcome him back in the driver’s seat. He brings a lot of experience and speed to the lineup, which is probably the best lineup we’ve ever had for Daytona, so we’re excited.”

 
Scuderia Corsa’s résumé is undoubtedly impressive – two WeatherTech Championship GTD titles; the 2016 GTE-Am victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans; and wins at three of the four IMSA endurance races: the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, and the Motul Petit Le Mans.

 
But it’s the Rolex 24 At Daytona that eludes the team. Should they finally triumph, the victory would rank “right at the top” for Mattioli.

 
“Right on top, absolutely,” Mattioli said. “I think this is the major accomplishment and major title that we’re missing. It would sit right with the win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2016. Daytona is such a special place. It’s my favorite 24-hour.

 
“You feel connected to the car for the entire 24 hours as opposed to Le Mans where you are in the garage and the laps are long. It feels a little more disconnected with the car. Daytona, you see the car every minute or second, coming down the banking, etc. It’s intense and a great event that we look forward to every year.”

 
The 2020 Rolex 24 weekend will be doubly busy for Scuderia Corsa, as the Ferrari Challenge North America series will hold a doubleheader to open its season at the World Center of Racing. A handful of Ferrari dealerships that partner with Scuderia Corsa have entered cars for next weekend’s races and will lean on the experience of the WeatherTech Championship program.

 
“It speaks volumes that the team can perform multiple programs on the same weekend,” said Mattioli. “We’ve done it in the past and at one point, we ran three cars in the 24 Hours. The challenges are with the different paddocks and the races on Friday.

 
“But Daytona is a beautiful venue and a fantastic experience for our drivers because they get to mix and match with the IMSA pro drivers and experience the 24 Hours. It’s always much appreciated by the Challenge drivers. I think Daytona adds a lot to the Ferrari Challenge program.”

 
It’s also a firsthand glance at Ferrari’s ladder system and Mattioli’s involvement at both ends of the spectrum. Mattioli sees a bigger picture by welcoming people into the racing environment and coaching them through the ranks. 

 
“It offers the Challenge driver the ultimate step into the motorsport arena that we can take them to the endurance GT championship,” he said. “This has been possible with the support of Ferrari and the support system that we have. I think it’s valuable, and we’ve seen people develop through the ranks and the ladder system. I think it benefits the entire motorsport.”

 
NBC carries live network coverage of the Rolex 24 At Daytona beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 25 and also will televise the race finish beginning at 12 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 26. This is all part of the NBC Sports’ complete coverage of the event that includes windows on NBCSN and the NBC Sports App and TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.

 
IMSA Radio will have live coverage throughout the weekend on RadioLeMans.com and SiriusXM Radio.
Meanwhile, the first Ferrari Challenge race of the weekend goes green on Thursday, Jan. 23 at 9:05 p.m. Race 2 will take place Friday at 6:45 p.m. Streaming of both races is available at races.ferrari.com.

 
Tickets for the Rolex 24 At Daytona event weekend are available at DaytonaInternationalSpeedway.com.

 

Third Annual IMSA Twenty-Four Premier Set for Jan. 22 at ONE DAYTONA

 
January 15, 2020
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – What has quickly become a “must-see” event during Rolex 24 At DAYTONA week, the third annual “IMSA Twenty-Four Premier” at ONE DAYTONA takes place this year on Wednesday, Jan. 22 from 6-8 p.m. ET. The event kicks off fan activities around this year’s 58th running of the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA on Jan. 25-26 at Daytona International Speedway.

 
The Twenty-Four Premier allows fans to see a selection of Rolex 24 At DAYTONA race cars and superstar drivers free of charge. ONE DAYTONA – a lifestyle and entertainment destination located directly across International Speedway Blvd. from Daytona International Speedway, features numerous shops and restaurants, Cobb Luxury Theatres and The DAYTONA, a AAA Four-Diamond Autograph Collection hotel that opened in Spring 2019.

 
“The IMSA Twenty-Four Premier event continues to grow at ONE DAYTONA,” Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile said. “ONE DAYTONA, with its shops and restaurants, provides a perfect launching pad as we kick off Rolex 24 At DAYTONA weekend festivities. Fans are going to have a great opportunity to get up close with the some of the drivers and cars that will compete in North America’s most prestigious sports car race.”

 
“This event has quickly established itself as one that is on every Rolex 24 fan’s race week calendar,” said IMSA President John Doonan. “It is no secret ONE DAYTONA is a destination for every fan during the week and the IMSA Twenty-Four Premier is the perfect way to see the cars and meet the drivers from the Rolex 24. This year’s Premier promises to be the biggest one yet and one that every fan will want to attend.”

 
Cars from each class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will take part in the evening’s festivities, allowing fans an unprecedented view of them before they take to the famed Daytona International Speedway road circuit.

 
Among the current WeatherTech Championship race cars expected are the defending overall race winners – the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R - which will be taking part in a technical and safety inspection demo.

 
Other prototypes include the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing/JDC Miller Motorsports Cadillac DPi-V.R, a Mazda Team Joest RT24-P DPi car and the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports LMP2 entry.

 
The GT Le Mans (GTLM) class will be represented by the No. 24 BMW Team RLL M8 GTE. The defending GT Daytona (GTD) Rolex 24 winner - the No. 11 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3 will take part in a pit stop demonstration while other cars from the class include the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R, one of the AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3s, the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 and the No. 19 GEAR Racing Powered by GRT Grasser Lamborghini Huracan GT3. A Toyota Supra GT4 Show Car will also be on display.

 
Another highlight of the event will be a Fan Forum hosted by IMSA Radio announcer John Hindhaugh. Drivers expected include Renger van der Zande, Ryan Briscoe, Kamui Kobayashi, Scott Dixon, Katherine Legge, Christina Nielsen and Jordan Taylor. The list of participating drivers and race cars is subject to change.

 
IMSA Official Merchandise will be available and there also will be a live DJ and opportunities to win Rolex 24 At Daytona tickets.

 
On-track activity for the 58th Rolex 24 At Daytona begins Thursday, Jan. 23, with practice and qualifying. NBC has live network coverage of the start of the race starting at 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 25, and also will televise the race’s dramatic finish beginning at 12 p.m. ET on Sunday, Jan. 26. That is all part of NBC Sports’ complete coverage of the event that includes windows on NBCSN and the NBC Sports App and TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.

 
IMSA Radio also will have live coverage throughout race weekend on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com, with complete race coverage also airing on SiriusXM Radio (XM 202, Sirius 216 and Online 972).

 
Tickets for the 58th Rolex 24 At DAYTONA are available on DaytonaInternationalSpeedway.com.

 

Jordan Taylor Leaves the Wayne Taylor Racing Nest
for Familiar Territory at Corvette Racing

 
January 14, 2020
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – When Renger van der Zande spotted Jordan Taylor wearing his new Corvette Racing firesuit at the Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona instead of the familiar, Konica Minolta-emblazoned, black firesuit he’s sported for so many years, the Dutchman said, “It’s so weird.”

 
A couple of days later, at the start of a media availability, Wayne Taylor joked that his No. 10 Cadillac DPi team had, “Gotten rid of the dead weight” from its 2020 driver lineup. Jordan Taylor delivered two IMSA titles and 19 victories – including two Rolex 24 At Daytona wins, two Motul Petit Le Mans victories and one Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts triumph – in his tenure with the No. 10 team from 2013 through 2019.

 
So, for 2020, Jordan’s taking his “dead weight” with him to one of the most iconic race cars in the world. He’s sharing the Velocity Yellow, No. 3 Corvette C8.R with two-time IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Le Mans (GTLM) champion Antonio Garcia at Corvette Racing.

 
He’s no stranger to that team, either. From 2012 through 2017, Jordan joined Corvette Racing’s lineup for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, winning the GTE Pro class in 2015 in the team’s No. 64 Corvette C7.R with co-drivers Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner.

 
So, it’s not like he’s moving into totally unfamiliar territory. But it is different.

 
“It’s been a big change,” he said. “The teams work a lot differently, a lot of different personnel. Wayne Taylor Racing was a family team, so it felt like home. But the nice thing is, I was with Corvette Racing for six years as an endurance driver, so a lot of the guys were the same.

 
“I fit right back in when I walked back into the shop last year, so it hasn’t been too bad of a transition. Obviously, the way we do things – debriefs and stuff – are things to get used to, and working with different teammates, but all has gone well so far.”

 
He and his teammates – Garcia for the full season and Nicky Catsburg for endurance races – all are getting used to the new Corvette C8.R. It’s a revolutionary vehicle, the first midengined Corvette.

 
“It felt great right out of the box,” said Jordan of the new car. “The first test I did was a couple of months ago at Daytona, and it already felt great. So, it’s a great starting point. I know the engineers have a lot of stuff they want to try and keep developing more stuff, but I think from where we are right now, it’s very promising.”

 
He acknowledges they’re in the “early stages” of the car’s development compared to the fully maximized Corvette C7.R it is replacing. And they’re also in the early stages of Taylor “relearning” GT racing.

 
After seven years racing in the top prototype class – including the last three in a Daytona Prototype international (DPi) machine – he’s now in the GT Le Mans (GTLM).

 
“Yeah, it’s way different,” he says. “Just the feeling of the car, the way you feel it, the way it drives. The DPi’s got a bit more power, it’s got carbon brakes, it’s got way more downforce, so I’m just adjusting to that.

 
“Remembering to look in my mirrors a lot more is the biggest thing. I forgot that the closing speeds are so high at some places, like coming into the dogleg, so getting that kind of muscle memory and looking in the mirror is going to be a big part of it. But the driving portion, I was able to learn pretty quickly on the simulator ahead of driving the real car.”

 
When he returns to Daytona International Speedway next week to drive the real car again, he’ll be looking for his third Rolex 24 At Daytona victory in four years after winning overall in both 2017 and 2019. That provides a degree of comfort.

 
“I think there’s less pressure and less stress,” he said. “Before 2017, when we won our first one, we finished second three or four times. So, when we got the first win, it was almost like a relief. Like, ‘It’s finally happened.’

 
“Now, having won it twice with Wayne Taylor Racing, it’s more of a relief, but it gives you a lot more confidence that you can get the job done. You know how to race the first 20 hours and set yourself up to win at the end.”

 
On-track activity for the 58th Rolex 24 At Daytona begins Thursday, Jan. 23, with practice and qualifying. NBC has live network coverage of the start of the race starting at 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 25, and also will televise the race finish beginning at 12 p.m. ET on Sunday, Jan. 26. That is all part of NBC Sports’ complete coverage of the event that includes windows on NBCSN and the NBC Sports App and TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.

 
IMSA Radio also will have live coverage throughout race weekend on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com, with complete race coverage also airing on SiriusXM Radio.

 
Tickets for the 58th Rolex 24 At Daytona are available on DaytonaInternationalSpeedway.com.

 

 

Mike Shank Weighs in On What it Takes to Compete
for a WeatherTech Championship GTD Title

 
January 9, 2020
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – How do you win an IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in the GT Daytona (GTD) class?

 
It’s the most populous class in the series, with 18 entries from no less than nine different manufacturers teed up to compete in the 2020 season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 25-26. And yet, since the inception of the WeatherTech Championship in 2014, there have been just four GTD teams that have won championships.

 
Turner Motorsport took the inaugural title with its then-season-long driver Dane Cameron aboard the No. 94 BMW Z4. Scuderia Corsa won the next three, with Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell capturing the title in 2015 followed by back-to-back championships with Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan in the team’s Ferrari 488 GT3 in 2016 and 2017.

 
Paul Miller Racing broke Scuderia Corsa’s stranglehold with Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow in the No. 48 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 in 2018. And last year, it was Trent Hindman and Mario Farnbacher who delivered the first sports car title for Meyer Shank Racing in the No. 86 Acura NSX GT3.

 
That title was a long time coming for the team, which began competing full-time in sports cars back in 2004. But after coming close in prior years, the light bulb finally came on for the MSR squad and team owner Mike Shank in 2019 and gives the team a roadmap to follow into 2020.

 
“You know, in 2018 we finished second by one point and we won last year by 21 points,” Shank said. “We had two different years there. In 2018, we had another team that didn’t make any mistakes. Last year, a lot of people made mistakes and we were able to capitalize on that.

 
“So, I would see us more as steady. We’re trying to keep that steady progression. We want to win championships. Obviously, we want to win races, but we think we know how to win championships now.”
Therein seems to lie the secret.

 
Of the GTD championship winners since 2014, Cameron and the Turner squad were the winningest team with four victories that season. Nielsen and Balzan had two wins in their first championship season of 2016 and Sellers and Snow also had two in 2017. But three times – Sweedler and Bell in 2015, Nielsen and Balzan in 2017 and Farnbacher and Hindman last year – the GTD champions only had one win during the season.

 
That seems to suggest that, if you’re going to contend for a title, you’ve got to accept that race wins aren’t always part of the equation.

 
“We accepted P2,” said Shank. “We accepted P3, ‘cause sometimes that’s the way the race goes. We were P7 at Sebring, as a matter of fact, but that was kind of our worst finish minus getting a stone in the radiator at Petit (Le Mans, the 2019 season finale).

 
“We accept that we can’t win all the races. So, what do you do then? What we do is, we let our drivers know, sometimes it’s not our day, and when it’s not our day, P4 is good. Let’s get the car in the trailer whole, take P4 and let’s move to the next track. I think that’s one of the biggest things actually.”

 
But there’s more to it than that. A lot more, says Shank.

 
“We’re like any other team in this class,” he said. “We have to fight BoP (Balance of Performance). The series put almost a hundred pounds on us – 80-some points – over the course of the year, which is a challenge for us to try to get the car to handle like it should.

 
“We all have to deal with it. I’m not making a judgement at all. I’m just saying that’s a part of the strategy now. At some point, you’ve got to figure out what’s the best way to manage that. I don’t mean manage BoP, but just understanding what you have at the time and not trying to overshoot that, making a mistake on the track or anything like that.”

 
Another common thread among past GTD champions – Meyer Shank Racing included – is a preponderance of podium finishes. In five of six seasons since 2014, the champion had podiums in at least half of the season’s races. And the one pairing that didn’t – Bell and Sweedler in 2015 – had top-four results in six of 10 races.

 
“We had more wins and stuff in ’18, but we had some mistakes too, and the 48 car that year just did what we did (in 2019),” Shank said. “There’s really something to be said about that. You’ve still got to be fast, and you’ve got to have a win, at least. And you should finish on the podium four or five, six times and have some poles, which we did.

 
“But it’s just understanding that there are days it’s just not going to be your day no matter what you do. Being able to be OK with being P4, P5 and put it in the trailer. We’ll go and we’ll be better next time. That’s what (Paul Miller Racing) did, it’s what Scuderia Corsa did, and it’s what we did. I think we strategized it really well.”

 
Shank hopes to carry that strategy over to 2020 with his team’s pair of entries and a shuffled driver lineup. Farnbacher is back full-time in the No. 86 Acura but his full-season co-driver will be 2019 WeatherTech Championship GTD champion Matt McMurry, while the team’s No. 57 entry run in partnership with Henricher Racing now features a full-season driver lineup of Misha Goikhberg and Alvaro Parente.

 
Hindman will compete in the No. 57 for IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup rounds, with AJ Allmendinger – who won the 2012 Rolex 24 At Daytona with the team – lined up for another Rolex 24 run in the No. 57. Japanese racer Shinya Michimi and Frenchman Jules Gounon complete the No. 86 lineup at Daytona alongside McMurry and Farnbacher.

 
And with all the talk of accepting podium finishes or the best result you can get, there are still two races – the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts – where a win-at-all-costs mentality is acceptable.

 
“Of course, we won the race overall in 2012, but in GTD, we have not won Daytona or Sebring,” Shank said. “We were second here (at Daytona), but Sebring just kicks our butt every year in every car we’ve ever been in.

 
“So, we have some real, hard goals to do better with the next here and at Sebring, potentially. We’ll test there at Sebring in February and we’ll try like crazy to get some better results.”

 
On-track activity for the 58th Rolex 24 At Daytona begins Thursday, Jan. 23 with practice and qualifying. NBC will have live network coverage of the start of the race beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 25, and also will televise the race finish beginning at 12 p.m. ET on Sunday, Jan. 26 as part of NBC Sports’ complete coverage of the event that includes windows on NBCSN and the NBC Sports App and TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.

 
IMSA Radio also will have live coverage throughout race weekend on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com, with complete race coverage also airing on SiriusXM Radio.

 
Tickets for the 58th Rolex 24 At Daytona are available on DaytonaInternationalSpeedway.com.
McCann Racing’s Midwesterners Ready for IMSA Debut
in the Michelin Pilot Challenge

 
January 10, 2020
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – It's not uncommon for recent high school or college graduates to take an "off-year" after completing their studies to travel or wind down.

 
For Michael McCann Jr. – a recent graduate of Ohio University – he wanted to go sports car racing.

 
"When I graduated, I had full anticipation of accepting a job at an IT company in Columbus," said McCann, who graduated with a degree in Science and Management Information Systems. "A couple of days before Christmas, my dad came to me. My dad and I always had a mutual agreement with racing where, you know, keep your nose clean, stay out of trouble, get good grades, do well in school.

 
"He said that now is the time to go racing if you want to go racing. I told him that I don't want to look back in 10 years and be like, ‘I wish I would've taken that opportunity.’ I held off on the corporate life, and I started doing this, and I instantly fell in love with it."

 
McCann Racing joins the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge paddock in the No. 8 Audi R8 GT4. McCann – son of the former GT racer with the same moniker – will be sharing driving duties with a fellow Midwesterner, Britt Casey Jr.

 
Hailing from Illinois, Casey returns full time to the series after his championship-winning season in TCR in 2018. He completed a partial season in 2019, which yielded two pole positions, one win and two additional podium finishes in just four starts.

 
"It's rewarding to be back in the paddock full time after a successful, but partial, season last year being in an Audi RS3 TCR car again," said Casey. "We still found a lot of successes, but the move up to GS, I think, is something Audi wanted to see in terms of a ladder progression, as one of the Audi customer racing offerings of TCR, GT4 and GT3 and GT2 machinery. I know they're excited about that. McCann has long been an Audi team as well, and it was a good fit."

 
It can't be argued that the program as a whole is a good fit. Nearly all of the crew is Midwest-based, and Casey himself is nearing his college graduation from Ohio's Miami University.

 
"It's a Midwest team," said Casey. "Pretty much everyone on the team is from the Midwest, so we all get along in the same way and laugh at the same jokes. A lot of mutual friends and a lot of mutual experiences that we can all relate to. It's fun. It's is a cool team to be on because everyone is cool people."

 
His co-driver – who he met in World Challenge last year – echoed the same sentiments.

 
"The first thing with bringing other people in is that you just hope they get along," said McCann. "The first night (at the Roar Before the Rolex 24), we're all working together and we go out to dinner and it was perfect. It was like a happy marriage. Everything is going well so far, I can't complain. Having Britt as a teammate, that's huge for me. When we were teammates for one race last year, we just kicked things off."

 
The duo is hoping to kick off the 2020 Pilot Challenge season with a bang. Although they’re new to the grid, they're not necessarily lagging behind the veteran teams.

 
"There are little things that new teams don't think about, but we have a lot of guys that have previous experience with IMSA like myself that are on the team," said Casey. "We all know the little elements that go into a championship that may be a new team doesn't think about. Our goal is to be upfront every single race as much as we can.

 
"We're expecting to do well, not in a big-headed manner, but with a calculated approach. We have already started to recognize the little things we need to do to make sure we're taken as an established team, rather than a first-year team in IMSA because it's not going to be that way."

The IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season begins with the four-hour BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona International Speedway on Friday, January 24. The race will be streamed live on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold beginning at 1 p.m. ET. IMSA Radio commentary is also available at RadioLeMans.com and IMSA.com.

 

Hitting The Apex: Track Record Possibilities Bring
Even More Intrigue to Rolex 24

 
January 9, 2020
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – “Hitting The Apex” is a new IMSA.com editorial column by Nate Siebens, a longtime motorsports publicist and journalist. Siebens has more than 20 years of industry experience – including the past seven as part of the IMSA Communications staff – who will offer his own observations and insights throughout the 2020 season.

 
The first time I went to Indianapolis Motor Speedway was Saturday, May 9, 1987.

 
I was 14 years old and I went with my sister and brother-in-law for Indianapolis 500 Time Trials. The crowd in attendance at the Speedway that day was measured in the hundreds of thousands, and we all were there to see – and more specifically to hear – one thing.

 
We all wanted to hear legendary IMS public address announcer Tom Carnegie utter his most famous phrase, “…and it’s a new track record!” as the bravest of brave drivers posted their qualifying times for the race. And based on the speeds we’d seen in the week of practice leading up to Pole Day, it seemed like a good possibility.

 
But it was an unseasonably hot early spring day that Saturday in Indianapolis, making track conditions less than optimal. At the end of the day, Mario Andretti turned in an impressive four-lap average at 215.390 mph to take the pole, but shy of Rick Mears’ four-lap record average of 216.828 mph from the year before.

 
It wasn’t until the next year’s pole day – Saturday, May 14, 1988 – that I finally got to hear those most anticipated words for the first time.

 
Danny Sullivan – my favorite driver – triggered them first with a one-lap record at 217.749 mph. A while later, Sullivan’s Penske Racing teammate, Mears, one of the greatest ever at Indianapolis, became the first to officially break the 220-mph barrier with his first lap at 220.453 mph. Three laps later, he had the pole position with a record 219.198 mph average.

 
And when it happened, it was pandemonium. The huge crowd roared in response to Carnegie’s signature “new track record” bellow that day. They did it again the next year, when Mears set more one- and four-lap records and again the following year when Emerson Fittipaldi broke the 225-mph barrier.

 
One of my most vivid memories as a race fan came on Pole Day at Indy in 1992, when I watched Roberto Guerrero break the 230-mph barrier with a four-lap average of 232.482 mph. As I watched his run from the penthouse seats high above Turn 1, I’d never seen a race car as “stuck” to the turns as that green No. 36 Buick-powered Lola was on that late Saturday afternoon. He. Was. Flying.

 
I was lucky enough to be at California Speedway for the first CART race in 1997 to see Mauricio Gugelmin set the closed-course speed record of 240.942 mph, and I was there again three years later when Gil de Ferran broke that record with a lap of 241.428 mph in a Penske Honda-Reynard.

 
Talk about flying. Those cars looked like they were stuck on fast-forward.

 
I wasn’t at Daytona in 1993 when PJ Jones set the all-time IMSA speed record with a lap of 136.521 mph in the No. 98 Toyota Eagle MKIII for Dan Gurney’s All American Racers team. But I was there during qualifying last year, when Oliver Jarvis went 136.792 mph in the No. 77 Mazda Team Joest RT24-P DPi to topple Jones’ longstanding record.

 
Jarvis’ official record run for the 2019 Motul Pole Award at Daytona came after he had unofficially broken Jones’ record a few weeks earlier at the Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona in qualifying for garage and pit stall selections. On that day, he and teammate Harry Tincknell in the No. 55 Mazda DPi both eclipsed the Toyota Eagle’s speed, but only Jarvis managed to do it officially on race week.

 
It’d been a while since I’d seen a track record like that go down, and it instantly brought back all these memories. That’s why I’m even more excited for Thursday, Jan. 23, when qualifying for the 58th Rolex 24 At Daytona will take place.

 
Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of other reasons to get excited about this year’s Rolex 24. But in last weekend’s qualifying session at the Roar, where two cars were under the record in 2019, this time there were no less than five drivers who eclipsed Jarvis’ record.

 
Jarvis’ own teammate, Olivier Pla – in that very same No. 77 Mazda DPi – led the way at 137.321 mph. If you haven’t seen it yet, do yourself a favor and check out the in-car footage Mazda shared of Pla’s record lap. If I didn’t know better, I’d think it was somehow stuck on fast-forward.

 
Conditions were pretty much perfect last Sunday. Here’s hoping they are again two weeks from today when it counts.

 
Because – while Tom Carnegie is no longer with us – I know John Hindhaugh will more than make him proud with his call when another Daytona speed record goes down. And I don’t know about you, but I want to be able to say it again.

 
“I was there.”
Feature Story
Upcoming Events
Feature Story
Tune-In: IMSA Prototype Challenge At Daytona

The IMSA Prototype Challenge opened its 2020 season this past weekend at Daytona International Speedway as part of The Roar Before The Rolex 24 At Daytona weekend. Check out the race broadcast on NBCSN Tuesday, January 14 at 4:30 p.m. ET.

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Feature Story
Hitting The Apex: Track Record Possibilities Bring Even More Intrigue To Rolex 24

�Hitting The Apex� is a new IMSA.com editorial column by Nate Siebens, a longtime motorsports publicist and journalist. Siebens has more than 20 years of industry experience � including the past seven as part of the IMSA Communications staff � and will offer his own observations and insights throughout the 2020 season.

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Feature Story
Mike Shank Weighs In On What It Takes To Compete For A WeatherTech Championship GTD Title

How do you win an IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in the GT Daytona (GTD) class?

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Feature Story
LMP2 Is Land Of New Opportunity In 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship

Six cars participated in the LMP2 class in last weekend’s Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona. That’s huge for a class that had four entries in the 2019 Rolex 24 At Daytona, and just two entries for the full season last year.

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Feature Story
McCann Racing's Midwesterners Ready For IMSA Debut In IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge

McCann Racing joins the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge paddock in the No. 8 Audi R8 GT4. McCann � son of the former GT racer with the same moniker � will be sharing driving duties with a fellow Midwesterner, Britt Casey Jr.

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New Corvette C8.R Leads The Way For IMSA Top Social Post

This week's top social post featured a video of the No. 4 Corvette Racing C8.R.

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Feature Story
Daytona ROKU Taste of 24 Merchandise

 

 

LMP2 is Land of New Opportunity in 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship

 
January 8, 2020
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Six cars participated in the LMP2 class in last weekend’s Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona. That’s huge for a class that had four entries in the 2019 Rolex 24 At Daytona, and just two entries for the full season last year.

 
And it’s even more encouraging when you consider that the Rolex 24 will not even count toward IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship points, one of a few significant changes to the class for 2020.

 
“I think it’s great,” said performance Tech Motorsports owner Brent O’Neill, whose team fielded the No. 38 ORECA in the full 2019 season and will return in 2020 with full-season co-drivers Cameron Cassels and Kyle Masson. “That’s what we look for. That’s why we race, to have some competition. At the end of the day, I think some of the moves that IMSA has made to grow the class has worked, will work.”

 
Collaborating with existing LMP2 teams and those who expressed interest in competing, IMSA announced a budget-friendly, six-race schedule WeatherTech Championship schedule for the class in 2020. The Rolex 24 At Daytona is a “standalone” event for LMP2, although it does count toward the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup standings, and there are no back-to-back event weekends for the class in 2020.

 
“I think that’s magical, absolutely magical,” said 2019 WeatherTech Championship LMP2 championship-winning team co-owner Bobby Oergel with PR1-Mathiasen Motorsports, which is opening the year at Daytona with co-drivers Ben Keating, Simon Trummer, Nick Boulle and Gabriel Aubry in the No. 52 ORECA. “That was, to me, a slam dunk, to be able to limit the mileage we do at tracks that aren’t that important to most of the amateur racers.

 
“The bottom line is, bringing the budget down by limiting the amount of events – we still do twice as many hours as the ELMS (European Le Mans Series) does, for basically the same money. To me, that was a slam-dunk, out-of-the-park type of decision. In the end, I think it’s just beautiful. I really think it’s the thing that brings it back in this country. I mean, I couldn’t say more. I think it was the absolute right move.”

 
Another decision that has drawn praise from at least some LMP2 competitors was the requirement that every car have at least one Bronze-rated driver and the prohibition of Platinum-rated drivers in the class for every race except for the Rolex 24. Bronze drivers will be required to qualify and start every LMP2 race.

 
“With the bronze rating, I’m sure there are exceptions, but it’s fairly well matched for bronze drivers,” said Starworks Motorsport owner Peter Baron, whose team moved from the GT Daytona (GTD) class in 2019 and is fielding the No. 8 Tower Motorsport by Starworks ORECA for John Farano, Ryan Dalziel, David Heinemeier Hansson and Nicolas Lapierre in the 2020 Rolex 24. “A bronze driver can go out and race against other people that are his peers. They can be competitive.”

 
“I think the whole bronze thing was awesome because, really, IMSA had nothing to lose,” added O’Neill. “I mean, we were big on pushing to get the bronze driver in and I think it works. Immediately, John Farano signed up because he’s a bronze and he can come over here and run.”

 
Ironically, Baron was initially against the Bronze-driver requirement. He’s since changed his opinion.

 
“I was against it because I didn’t know any bronzes at the time,” he said. “Oddly enough, I was the only one that voted against it. Then, the rule announcement came out on a Friday and then my phone rang on Saturday from John about, ‘Hey, this bronze only makes a lot of sense for a person like him.’”

 
In addition to Baron’s team, DragonSpeed USA – which won the 2019 Rolex 24 At Daytona in its lone WeatherTech Championship appearance last year – has committed to running the full season with co-drivers Henrik Hedman and Ben Hanley in its No. 81 ORECA.

 
Era Motorsport, which has a wealth of historic racing experience, is entering the WeatherTech Championship full-time in 2020 with team owner and driver Kyle Tilley and Dwight Merriman as season-long co-drivers of its No. 18 ORECA. And Rick Ware Racing also is targeting a full 2020 WeatherTech Championship campaign with its No. 2 Multimatic/Riley LMP2.

 
“Everybody likes the prototypes, right?” says O’Neill of the interest in LMP2 from drivers. “Cameron’s a perfect example. He ran the Lamborghinis last year, he started in a Porsche and if you talk to him today, he’ll tell you that he doesn’t want to race sedans anymore. The prototypes are a cool car.”

 
And Baron believes even more will feel that way as time goes on.

 
“If you’re really a true gentleman out there and want to go professional racing, it seems like the LMP2 class is going to become the home of it,” he said. “Since we’ve been down this path and even since our announcement came out, it’s like my phone’s been ringing like crazy.

 
“Our announcement said we’re full. We have our four people, this is our program, and it’s still ringing. If I had another car, we could get another car out there. That’s good news about the growth of the series.

 
“I think now people see the talk of maybe five or six cars coming, and we’re going to surpass that for 2020. That’s just going to act as catalyst for ’21. I think 10, 11 cars on the grid for ’21 is a completely realistic number at this point based on the phone calls I’ve been having.”

 
On-track activity for the 58th Rolex 24 At Daytona begins Thursday, Jan. 23 with practice and qualifying. NBC will have live network coverage of the start of the race beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 25, and also will televise the race finish beginning at 12 p.m. ET on Sunday, Jan. 26 as part of NBC Sports’ complete coverage of the event that includes windows on NBCSN and the NBC Sports App and TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.

 
IMSA Radio also will have live coverage throughout race weekend on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com, with complete race coverage also airing on SiriusXM Radio.

 
Tickets for the 58th Rolex 24 At Daytona are available on DaytonaInternationalSpeedway.com.

 

 

OVER 400 HOURS OF IMSA COVERAGE TO BE BROADCAST AND STREAMED IN 2020

 
January 4, 2020
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
  • 435 hours of linear and digital coverage to be available in 2020
  • NBC Sports platforms to provide 326 hours of coverage
  • NBCSN to broadcast all IMSA Prototype Challenge, IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama, Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America races throughout year
  • IMSA.tv and the IMSA App to provide 109 hours of exclusive content
  • Coverage begins this weekend on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold from Daytona

 
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Throughout IMSA’s 2020 season, NBC Sports will broadcast and stream more than 400 hours of coverage in the United States from the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, IMSA Prototype Challenge, Porsche GT3 Cup USA by Yokohama and Lamborghini Super Trofeo.

 
The coverage is highlighted by 59 hours of the WeatherTech Championship on the NBC network, NBCSN and CNBC which features nine hours of coverage on the NBC network beginning on Saturday, Jan. 25, at 1:30 p.m. ET with the first hour of the 58th Rolex 24 At Daytona, followed by a two-hour live telecast of the race finish on Sunday, Jan. 26 at 12 p.m. ET also on the network of NBC.

 
A total of 435 hours of digital and linear coverage will be available with 326 coming on NBC Sports platforms.

 
The 2020 season marks the debut of TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold which will be the exclusive streaming home to all IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge and IMSA Prototype Challenge races. The platform also will offer full live streaming of all IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races. There will be 113.5 hours of coverage from these championships on the service during 2020.

 
NBCSN coverage of single-make and challenge series begins on Monday, Jan. 14 at 4:30 p.m. with the broadcast of the first IMSA Prototype Challenge race which will be run on Jan. 4 at Daytona International Speedway. In all NBCSN will broadcast 39 hours from the 29 races from these four series during the course of the year.

 
There will be 75.5 hours of WeatherTech Championship and 39 hours of single-make and challenge series available on the NBC Sports App to authenticated subscribers.

 
IMSA.tv, and the IMSA app, will stream 109 hours of exclusive content during the season. This coverage is highlighted by 72 hours of in-car cameras during WeatherTech Championship and Pilot Challenge races. All WeatherTech Championship qualifying sessions are included for additional 11 hours as are all Porsche GT3 Cup USA by Yokohama and Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America races for a total of 26 hours of coverage (16 GT3 and 10 Lamborghini). All of these events will be streamed live.

 

Riley Dickinson Wins 2020 IMSA Hurley Haywood GT3 Cup Scholarship

 
17-Year-Old Texan Wins Scholarship Through Porsche Young Driver Academy; Returning for Second Year of Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama Competition in No. 53 Moorespeed Porsche 911
(L to R) IMSA President John Doonan, Hurley Haywood, Riley Dickinson and Moorespeed President David Moore.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 3, 202) – Seventeen-year-old driver Riley Dickinson is the 2020 recipient of the IMSA Hurley Haywood GT3 Cup Scholarship. The award goes toward a full season of Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama racing that opens on the weekend of March 13-15 at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

 
“I’ve been impressed with the quality of the attendees during each of the eight iterations, and this past November’s Porsche Young Driver Academy was no different,” said five-time Daytona, three-time Le Mans, and two-time Sebring winner Hurley Haywood.” The young drivers come from increasingly diverse backgrounds and are sharper, more media savvy and confident every year.

 
“I enjoy giving back to talented young drivers, so I see it as a natural, next step combining IMSA and Porsche Motorsport’s efforts together for the scholarship, and I am proud to see it grow. With Riley Dickinson already having national, and international experience in a 911 GT3 Cup race car, I am confident his natural talent in and out of the race car will only continue to flourish.”

 
Dickinson, who hails from New Braunfels, Texas, finished third as a rookie in the 2019 GT3 Cup Challenge USA Platinum Cup championship standings for current-generation Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race cars. He claimed his first victory in the series in the penultimate round of the season at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta in October and had seven podium results from the 16-race season during the season.

 
He will return to the cockpit of the No. 53 Moorespeed Porsche in 2020 with the substantial assistance provided by the IMSA Hurley Haywood GT3 Cup Scholarship. Dickinson earned the scholarship after participating in the North American Porsche Young Driver Academy at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama last November.

 
“Having been selected as the recipient for the 2020 IMSA Hurley Haywood GT3 Cup Scholarship is a huge honor and especially meaningful to me for several reasons,” Dickinson said. “Being able to represent an American racing icon like Hurley Haywood is something that I’m going to be extremely proud of throughout the entire year and will look back on with great memories. I can’t thank everyone enough involved with the Porsche Young Drivers Academy and the scholarship for making it a professional grade learning experience for me and the other contenders.”

 
Dickinson was selected as the scholarship recipient as one of four participants in the eighth North American Porsche Young Driver Academy. Dickinson, 21-year-old Britt Casey, Jeff Kingsley (21) and Hanna Zellers (22) all participated in the two-day program that included one day of classroom activity and another of on-track sessions that helped determine the scholarship recipient.

 
“We are pleased to be aligning two significant Porsche development driver programs; the North American Porsche Young Driver Academy and the IMSA Hurley Haywood Scholarship, in 2020,” said Daniel Armbruster, President/CEO of Porsche Motorsport North America. “In the past, these efforts have run parallel to one-another benefitting dozens of drivers and now, working closely with IMSA, Yokohama, Porsche Cars North America and all of the partners of the scholarship, we have combined them.

 
“This will give a most deserving young driver better tools to make concrete career advancements. Congratulations to Riley who proved himself on track last year in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car and in all aspects of the eighth annual Porsche Young Driver Academy. Teamed again with Moorespeed, we are confident Riley will make a mark on the 2020 IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama advancing his own career and further establishing a clear path for other drivers on the Porsche Motorsport Pyramid here in North America."

 
Dickinson is the fourth recipient of the IMSA Hurley Haywood GT3 Cup Scholarship, joining Sean McAlister (2019), Max Root (2018) and Jake Eidson (2017). The scholarship was expanded in 2017 from an initial program started by IMSA, Porsche and Yokohama in 2014. Previous IMSA Scholarship recipients include Victor Gomez IV (2016), Elliott Skeer (2015) and Michael Lewis (2014).

 
“Riley Dickinson is a rising star in sports car racing and a worthy recipient of the 2020 IMSA Hurley Haywood GT3 Cup Scholarship,” said IMSA President John Doonan. “He was outstanding as a rookie in the 2019 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama season and will be a championship contender in his second year with Moorespeed in 2020. We’re grateful to our partners, Porsche, Yokohama, OMP, PFC Brakes and RACER magazine, for their continued support and to the legendary Hurley Haywood for lending his name to this most-prestigious scholarship.”

 
The scholarship provides more than $85,000 in value for Dickinson and includes the following benefits:

 
  •  Full-season, premium entry for the 2020 GT3 Cup Challenge USA season provided by IMSA
  • One free set of race tires per event provided by Yokohama
  • $20,000 in parts credit provided by Porsche Motorsport North America
  • A custom driver suit and other safety products provided by OMP
  • Two full sets of brakes provided by PFC Brakes
  • Promotional consideration by RACER Magazine

 
“Our team is really happy for Riley and honored he was selected for the Hurley Haywood Scholarship,” said Moorespeed President David Moore. “To be chosen over the other top young drivers invited to the Porsche Young Drivers Academy is an honor he earned. He learned a lot and was truly humbled getting to work directly with Hurley himself along with Pat Long, David Brown, Jamie Howe, Drew Dayton and other top professionals assembled by PMNA. There is no doubt getting their nod of approval means an awful lot to Riley and I can’t think of a more deserving young man.”

 
Dickinson will compete in the full, 16-race GT3 Cup Challenge season that runs from March in St. Petersburg through the weekend of Oct. 7-10 at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. The series, which enters its 16th season, is one of Porsche’s 24 one-make series in the world.

 
In 2020, Yokohama is entering its 12th season of support for the series, which produces intense competition for semi-professional and aspiring professional drivers.

 
“Yokohama is honored to be associated with a legend like Hurley Haywood, and supporting this scholarship is the perfect way to show our commitment to the development of racing talent in North America,” added Drew Dayton, motorsports manager for Yokohama Tire. “We are excited to help support Riley in his second year of GT3 Cup Challenge racing, his performance in 2019 showed consistent improvement throughout the year and his ability to take on all of the challenges thrown at him during PYDA make him an excellent choice for the scholarship.”

 
For more information about the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama, visit www.imsa.com, follow hashtag #GT3USA @IMSA on Twitter, @imsa_racing on Instagram or IMSA on Facebook.

 
About the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama
The IMSA-sanctioned Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama is now in its 16th season as one of Porsche’s 24 one-make series in the world. The series produces intense, exciting competition for semi-professional and aspiring professional drivers in the world’s most produced and iconic racecar, the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.

 
Racing is divided into two classes – Platinum Cup, featuring the latest generation Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, which is based on the current generation of the 911 GT3 street car, and Gold Cup, which is comprised of the previous iteration (model years 2014-2016) of the same racecar. A Masters Championship also is conducted in the Platinum class. Each class is awarded with its own podium at the end of every race and individual champion at the end of every season. Points are awarded by finish in class.

 

Event

Roar Before The Rolex 24

Happy New Year, IMSA is back to racing!

IMSA Prototype Challenge opens its 2020 season this weekend at Daytona International Speedway as part of the Roar Before the Rolex 24 weekend and 18 LMP3 machines are ready to run. The three-hour race starts at 12:15 p.m. ET and can be streamed live in the United States on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold and internationally on IMSA.tv. IMSA Radio will also provide live, flag-to-flag coverage.

Stay updated for details throughout the weekend on IMSA.com and on social media using the hashtag #IMSAPC and #Roar24.

Tune-In Schedule

IMSA Radio
 
Radio

Select Imsa Sessions & Flag-to-flag Roar Before The Rolex 24 Coverage

January 3 - 5
IMSA.com, IMSA App (LIVE)

ICTSC
 
RACE

IMSA Prototype Challenge At DAYTONA

Saturday, January 4, 12:15 PM - 3:15 PM ET
TrackPass (Live)

ICTSC
 
RACE

IMSA Prototype Challenge At DAYTONA

Tuesday, January 14, 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM ET
NBCSN

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Upcoming Events
Feature Story
TrackPass On NBC Sports Gold Begins With Live Coverage Of Prototype Challenge Race

While most teams at The Roar Before The Rolex 24 this weekend at Daytona International Speedway are preparing for The Rolex 24 At Daytona the end of January, the IMSA Prototype Challenge takes to the iconic circuit to run their first race of the year on Saturday, Jan. 4.

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Top 20 IMSA Moments Of 2010s

As the decade comes to an end, IMSA is firmly established as a world leader in sports car racing and the undisputed premier sports car sanctioning body in North America. There have been countless memorable moments over the past 10 years, and we’ll take a look at the top 20 in a four-part series.

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Feature Story
Hagler To Make IMSA Debut With LA Honda World At Daytona

Rising star Taylor Hagler will co-drive with Honda Performance Development driver Ryan Eversley for a full-season campaign in the 2020 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge.

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Feature Story
Road Shagger Racing Back To Defend Top Audi Status In IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge TCR

After an unexpectedly successful debut season that saw Road Shagger Racing take a podium in only their third professional start and a win in their ninth, RSR has officially announced they’ll be back for more IMPC action in 2020.

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Feature Story
Get Your Tickets Now To The 11th Annual Taste Of The 24 At The Rolex 24 At DAYTONA

NEW! The NASCAR Foundation is offering VIP access to our 11th annual Taste of the 24 event on January 25, 2020 during the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA. Our VIP ticket holders receive exclusive benefits, including early entrance to the event, a drink ticket and an additional raffle ticket to win a Rolex Watch. VIP tickets are limited � secure yours today before they’re gone!

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Daytona ROKU Taste of 24 Merchandise
 

 

Top 20 IMSA Moments of 2010s – Nos. 5-1

 
December 31, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The 2010s may rival the 1980s as the most significant decade in the history of the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA).

 
As the decade comes to an end, IMSA is firmly established as a world leader in sports car racing and the undisputed premier sports car sanctioning body in North America. There have been countless memorable moments over the past 10 years, and we’ll take a look at the top 20 in a four-part series.

 
Our final installment brings us the top five moments of the decade. No. 1 was a no-brainer, but there’s four more good ones in here.

 
5. 50th Rolex 24 At Daytona is Memorable One as Shank Team Scores Overall Victory
Daytona International Speedway – Jan. 29, 2012
 
As we saw throughout the IMSA 50th Anniversary Celebration in 2019, there’s something inherently special when it comes to golden anniversaries.

 
Back in 2012, the 50th Rolex 24 At Daytona brought a huge crowd of race fans to Daytona International Speedway to relive five decades of amazing history and enjoy fantastic on-track action. The 50th Rolex 24 At Daytona goes down as one of the most memorable ever, with the driving quartet of Ozz Negri, John Pew, AJ Allmendinger and Justin Wilson steering the No. 60 Ford Riley Daytona Prototype into victory lane on the ninth attempt for Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian team owner Mike Shank.

 
“I feel like we deserved it, to be honest,” said Shank. “I think we’ve worked hard. I don’t make any excuses for that. We paid our dues, for sure, and I hope it can take us to new cool places in the coming years.”

 
The intense battle for the victory came down to the final hours between the No. 60 MSR entry and the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport Ford Riley shared by Ryan Dalziel, Lucas Luhr, Allan McNish and Enzo Potolicchio. A door-banging battle for the lead on the high banks between Allmendinger and McNish with just over two hours remaining remains an iconic piece of video footage from this race.

 
The GT class featured a popular victory as well. The No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche team of John Potter, Andy Lally, Richard Lietz and Rene Rast brought home not only the team’s first Rolex 24 victory, but first IMSA premier series victory as well.

 
4. Dyson Mazda Beats Pickett Honda to Win Closest ALMS Race Ever
Road America – Aug. 20, 2012
 
It came down to a final, uphill drag race.

 
In the No. 16 Dyson Racing Lola-Mazda, it was Guy Smith. In the No. 6 Muscle Milk Pickett Racing HPD ARX-03a-Honda, it was Lucas Luhr.

 
Both teams had been here before, just one year earlier. On that day, Smith got close but was unable to pull off a last-lap pass of Luhr’s co-driver, Klaus Graf, who went on to win by 0.112 seconds in what was then an Aston Martin-powered LMP1 prototype for the Muscle Milk team.

 
This time, it was even closer. Smith took the white flag as the leader in the No. 16 Mazda, with Luhr right in his tire tracks aboard the open-cockpit HPD machine. In fact, Luhr stayed tucked underneath the Mazda’s rear wing all the way to the 14th and final turn before diving to the inside to take the lead coming out of the corner.

 
But Smith carried more momentum coming out of the corner and shot to the inside of Luhr. The German made a slight attempt to block Smith’s run coming up the hill, but the Mazda was too fast. Smith crossed the finish line 0.083 seconds ahead of Luhr to claim the closest overall victory in American Le Mans Series (ALMS) history.

 
“It was too close for comfort,” said Smith. “Last year was really close. I never expected something to beat that.”

 
3. 0.034 Seconds Separates Corvette Racing Teammates After 24 Hours of Racing at Daytona
Daytona International Speedway – Jan. 31, 2016
 
There are two opposing axioms when it comes to racing against your teammate depending upon your perspective.

 
If you’re the team owner or principal, the rule is, don’t hit your teammate. If you’re a driver, the first car you must beat is your teammate.

 
That scenario played out as the clock wound down in the 2016 Rolex 24 At Daytona in an epic battle for the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class victory between Corvette Racing teammates Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller in the No. 3 Corvette C7.R and the No. 4 machine of Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Marcel Fassler.

 
Once the final pit stops were completed on both cars, the drivers – Gavin in the No. 4 and Garcia in the No. 3 – were given the go-ahead from atop the pit box to decide the winner between themselves. For the final half hour, Garcia intensely pressured Gavin and the two cars were nose-to-tail with 10 minutes to go in the race.

 
Garcia very briefly claimed the lead coming off the banking and into Turn 1, but Gavin reclaimed the position exiting that same turn. Garcia made one final lunge to the outside coming to the checkered flag, but Gavin had just enough to hold off his teammate and win by a Rolex 24-record 0.034-second margin.

 
“On the last lap, I was thinking I had just enough on him, but he towed up behind me,” Gavin said. “It was like the (finish) line was just going away from me. I couldn’t get to the line fast enough. I’ve just seen a picture of it, actually, and it was pretty close.”

 
2. Nielsen Becomes First Woman to Win Major Sports Car Championship… Then Repeats
2016 and 2017
 
In 2015, Christina Nielsen’s first full season of WeatherTech Championship competition, she narrowly missed winning the GT Daytona (GTD) championship. She wound up second in the standings that year driving the No. 007 TRG Aston Martin.

 
For the 2016 season, Nielsen moved to Scuderia Corsa, where the Dane was teamed with Alessandro Balzan in the No. 63 Ferrari. She picked up her first series win in one of the biggest races on the schedule, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts, alongside Balzan and endurance teammate Jeff Segal.

 
She and Balzan then went on an incredible run of consistency, scoring four straight podiums, including another victory in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen. In the second half of the season, she and Balzan added three more podiums – running their season total to seven in 11 races.

 
In the season finale at Motul Petit Le Mans, Nielsen drove a monster, three-hour and eight-minute stint to open the race and clinch the title, making her the first woman to win a major, full-season professional sports car championship in North America. And just for good measure, she, Balzan and Segal also went on to take the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup season title as well.

 
In 2017, Nielsen and Balzan proved their 2016 campaign was no fluke. That year featured a run of six consecutive podiums from Round 2 at Sebring through Round 7 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and a victory in the penultimate race of the season at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, powering them to a second straight WeatherTech Championship GTD title.

 
“You win the championship performing the best you can and getting the most out of a race weekend when it’s not your race weekend,” said Nielsen after her second title. “When you have everything going against you and nothing seems right, and it’s really hard mentally but you still create a decent or good result. That’s when you know you’re a strong contender for the championship. That’s when you know you’re a champion.”
 
1. The Merger
Daytona International Speedway - Sept. 5, 2012

 
It was hailed at the time as the most significant development in the history of sports car racing in North America, and in the seven-plus years since, it has proven to be true.

 
The blockbuster announcement that the GRAND-AM Road Racing Association and the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) was announced at Daytona International Speedway and was televised live on the SPEED network. It featured GRAND-AM founder Jim France and ALMS founder Don Panoz, as well as GRAND-AM President/CEO Ed Bennett and ALMS President/CEO Scott Atherton and was the first official step in unifying professional endurance sports car racing in North America.

 
“Today’s announcement will transform sports car racing on this continent, along with having world-wide industry implications,” said Bennett, who became CEO of the new IMSA post-unification. “Aside from the organizations involved, everybody wins: drivers, teams, manufacturers, sponsors, tracks – and most of all, fans.”

 
Prophetic words that still ring true today, as we open a new decade.
Stars Aplenty Geared Up for Three-Day
Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona

 
December 31, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A star-studded field of drivers returns to Daytona International Speedway this weekend for the annual Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona from Friday, Jan. 3 through Sunday, Jan. 5.

 
The three-day test session is mandatory for all teams planning to compete in the 58th Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 23-26, and 40 cars have been entered across the four competing classes. This event has long been recognized as the kick off to the racing season and as a result, attracts superstar drivers from throughout the world of motorsport.

 
Among the luminaries participating in the Roar this weekend will be two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch, fresh off his 2019 championship-winning campaign. Busch will get his first taste of the No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 that he will share with co-drivers Parker Chase, Jack Hawksworth and Michael De Quesada.

 
Busch and the No. 14 team are participating in the GT Daytona (GTD) class, which is the largest in the field with 18 entries from nine different manufacturers.

 
Other notable GTD entries include the all-female lineup of Katherine Legge, Christina Nielsen, Tati Calderon and Rahel Frey in the No. 19 GEAR Racing powered by GRT Grasser Lamborghini Huracán GT3; the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 led by driver Bill Auberlen – who is tied with Scott Pruett for the most all-time IMSA wins with 60 – and his co-drivers Robby Foley, Jens Klingmann and Dillon Machavern; and a pair of entries from 2019 GTD champions Meyer Shank Racing – the No. 57 Heinricher Racing with MSR Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3 shared by drivers Alvaro Parente, Misha Goikhberg, Trent Hindman and AJ Allmendinger and the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura for Mario Farnbacher, Matt McMurry, Shinya Michimi and Jules Gounon.

 
The lead Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class features eight entries from three different manufacturers and a talented cast of characters from top to bottom. Among them is the defending WeatherTech Championship DPi title-winning Acura Team Penske No. 6 Acura ARX-05 with Dane Cameron and Juan Pablo Montoya joined by 2019 Indy 500 winner Simon Pagenaud. Ricky Taylor, three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves and 2016 Indy winner Alexander Rossi are in the No. 7 Acura.

 
Additional Indy 500 winners can be found in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R, where 2008 Indy winner and five-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon will join Ryan Briscoe and 2019 Rolex 24 winners Renger van der Zande and Kamui Kobayashi; and the No. 55 Mazda Team Joest RT24-P that includes 2014 Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay with the team’s full-time WeatherTech Championship driving duo of Jonathan Bomarito and Harry Tincknell.

 
The factory supported GT Le Mans (GTLM) class features seven entries – including four cars that are making their North American debut this weekend. The new, midengined Corvette C8.R will turn its first public laps this weekend with a pair of entries from Corvette Racing. Team newcomers Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg are joining Antonio Garcia in the No. 3 Corvette, while the longstanding duo of Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner again will be joined by Marcel Fassler in the No. 4 machine.

 
The new-for-2020 Porsche 911 RSR also makes its first public laps at Daytona with defending WeatherTech Championship GTLM champions Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor sharing the No. 912 Porsche GT Team entry with Mathieu Jaminet. The new full-season driver lineup in the team’s No. 911 RSR includes Nick Tandy and Frederic Makowiecki with Matt Campbell serving in the role of endurance specialist.

 
The LMP2 class has grown substantially since the 2019 Motul Petit Le Mans season finale with a total of seven entries for the Roar. DragonSpeed, which won last year’s Rolex 24, returns with an impressive lineup in its No. 81 ORECA LMP2 07 that includes full-season drivers Ben Hanley and Henrik Hedman alongside the ultra-fast Colin Braun and rising star Harrison Newey.

 
Another strong lineup can be found in the No. 8 Tower Motorsport by Starworks ORECA with 2010 Rolex 24 overall winner Ryan Dalziel and season-long teammate John Farano being joined by David Heinemeier Hansson and Nicolas Lapierre. And PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports, which won the 2019 WeatherTech Championship LMP2 title returns with a pair of entries – the No. 51 ORECA with Gabriel Aubry as the only listed driver so far and the No. 52 ORECA for co-drivers Ben Keating, Simon Trummer and Aubry.

 
In addition to the WeatherTech Championship machines, a 38-car field for the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge will partake in three days of testing.

 
Notables in that field include rising NASCAR stars Austin Cindric, Chase Briscoe and Hailie Deegan in a pair of Ford Mustang GT4 entries from Multimatic Motorsports; defending Grand Sport (GS) class champions Tyler McQuarrie and Jeff Westphal in the No. 39 CarBahn with Peregrine Racing Audi R8 GT4 and two Hyundai Veloster N TCR class entries from the defending champion Bryan Herta Autosport team, which plans to unveil its 2020 driver lineup in a press conference Friday afternoon.

 
The IMSA Prototype Challenge kicks off its 2020 season with a three-hour race Saturday afternoon and features an 18-car field. That race starts at 12:15 p.m. ET and will be streamed live in the U.S. on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold. Live IMSA Radio commentary and timing and scoring data – as well as a live video stream for international viewers – is available on IMSA.com.

 
The Roar Before the Rolex 24 is open to the public from Friday through Sunday with tickets available at the gate. More information is available at DaytonaInternationalSpeedway.com.

 

 

Top 20 IMSA Moments of 2010s – Nos. 10-6

 
December 30, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The 2010s may rival the 1980s as the most significant decade in the history of the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA).

 
As the decade comes to an end, IMSA is firmly established as a world leader in sports car racing and the undisputed premier sports car sanctioning body in North America. There have been countless memorable moments over the past 10 years, and we’ll take a look at the top 20 in a four-part series.

 
In this third part of the series – moments 10 through six – we put the spotlight on speed records, a heartwarming story and a couple of other historical moments.

 
10. Colin Braun Sets World Records at Daytona In Shank-Prepared Ford EcoBoost/Riley DP
Daytona International Speedway – Oct. 9, 2013
 
Colin Braun long has been considered one of the fastest prototype drivers in the world, and he’s got a record to prove it. On Oct. 9, 2013, Braun set two world speed records and turned the fastest lap in history on the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway oval.

 
The record runs came aboard the then-Michael Shank Racing-prepared Ford EcoBoost/Riley Daytona Prototype. Braun’s first record, a lap of the DIS oval at 40.364 seconds (222.971 mph), broke Bill Elliott’s record of 210.364 mph set in qualifying for the 1987 Daytona 500.

 
Next up were a pair of FIA-sanctioned world speed records – for 10 kilometers and 10 miles from a standing start both previously held by Hans Liebold. Braun’s 10-kilometer speed was 202.438 mph and his 10-mile speed was 210.018 mph, topping Liebold’s 10-km speed of 199.101 mph and his 10-mile speed of 208.316 mph set in a Mercedes-Benz Turbo in Nardo, Italy on May 5, 1979.

 
The record runs were administered and timed by IMSA.

 
“It was a very special, exciting day to be able to set the track record with a Daytona Prototype,” said IMSA Chairman Jim France. “I think it was very appropriate and very exciting. For Ford with their new EcoBoost engine, for Mike Shank and everybody involved at Ford Motor Company and their engineers and everybody who worked on the project, it’s wonderful to come to a great conclusion like this.”

 
9. Nasr Edges Jordan Taylor to Win Closest Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in History
Sebring International Raceway – March 17, 2019
 
There have been 67 runnings of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts and the closest one of them all was the 67th. Driving the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R, Brazilian Felipe Nasr edged Jordan Taylor in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi by just 1.030 seconds to win the 2019 rendition.

 
“Those last 20 minutes were super intense trying to hold off the 10 car, they were pretty fast,” said Nasr after delivering the victory for Action Express Racing and his co-drivers Eric Curran and Pipo Derani. “I’m so happy we got the victory and nailed every hour for the endurance championship as well. A perfect day for racing.”

 
That victory would help to propel Nasr, Derani and Curran to the 2019 IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup. And it also put Derani in the record books as the first driver since Phil Hill to win the Twelve Hours in three out of his first four appearances.

 
8. 2014 Rolex 24 At Daytona Ushers in New Era for North American Sports Car Racing
Daytona International Speedway – Jan. 26, 2014
 
A dream was realized when the green flag dropped on the 52nd Rolex 24 At Daytona, as it was the first race of the new Tudor United SportsCar Championship – the product of the historic merger between the American Le Mans Series and the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series.

 
A huge field of 67 cars participated in the twice-around-the-clock race, which included four classes of competition – Prototype (P), Prototype Challenge (PC), GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona (GTD).

 
At the end of the race, the driving trio of Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi and Sebastien Bourdais went down in the record books as the first overall winners of the combined series. They co-drove their No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP to a 1.461-second victory over the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP of Wayne, Ricky and Jordan Taylor and Max Angelelli.

 
The No. 911 Porsche North America 911 RSR shared by Nick Tandy, Richard Lietz and Patrick Pilet were GTLM class winners, with the No. 54 CORE autosport ORECA quartet of Colin Braun, Jon Bennett, James Gue and Mark Wilkins taking the PC class win.

 
The GTD class win went to the No. 555 Level 5 Motorsports Ferrari of Bill Sweedler, Townsend Bell, Scott Tucker, Jeff Segal and Alessandro Pier Guidi following a late-race incident between Pier Guidi and the No. 45 Audi of Markus Winkelhock while battling for the victory.

 
7. USMC Staff Sgt. Liam Dwyer Wins on Memorial Day Weekend
Lime Rock Park – May 24, 2014
 
Nearly three years to the day after he lost his left leg after stepping on an improvised explosive device (IED) in Afghanistan, U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Liam Dwyer claimed his first career victory in what is known today as the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Connecticut.

 
Dwyer co-drove the No. 27 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5 to the Street Tuner (ST) race victory with Tom Long. The victory came two days after what Dwyer and many other members of the military referred to as his “Alive Day” – the day on which they narrowly escaped a fatal injury.

 
Fittingly, the victory also came on Memorial Day Weekend in a car that carried a patriotic, camouflage livery. And it was at Dwyer’s home track. He grew up in nearby Litchfield, Connecticut.

 
“Home track, Memorial Day, my Alive Day… surreal does not describe the jubilation I’m feeling right now,” said Dwyer after the victory. “Memorial Day is not a day that I take lightly. I know exactly what it means to myself and to my fellow service members. To be here in Connecticut, at Lime Rock, at my home track, a place I’ve camped at before … I can’t explain how awesome this feels right now.”

 
A year later, Dwyer was back in victory lane – this time at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. That victory came alongside co-driver Andrew Carbonell, who took the lead on the last lap of the two-hour, 30-minute race. That victory came in the presence of another Marine sergeant, Aaron Denning, who saved Dwyer’s life on that fateful day in Afghanistan.

 
6. Rolex 24 At Daytona Sets New All-Time Distance Record
Daytona International Speedway – Jan. 27-28, 2018
 
Many longtime fans and observers will point to the 1980s as one of the most significant decades in IMSA history, for a variety of reasons. The sports cars of that era were lightning fast, setting speed records that lasted for decades.

 
That is, until the late 2010s and the introduction of the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) race car. These new machines, which debuted in 2017, had the muscle to challenge longstanding records, along with the raceability of their predecessors.

 
In the 2018 Rolex 24 At Daytona, the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R traveled a total of 2,876.48 miles in the hands of co-drivers Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi and Filipe Albuquerque, totaling 808 laps around the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road course.
 
In the process, the No. 5 team shattered the previous Rolex 24 mileage record of 2,760.960 miles set by John Paul Jr., Rolf Stommelen and John Paul Sr. in a Porsche 935 that completed 719 laps around what was then a 3.84-mile circuit. The car also broke the previous record of 762 laps completed in a Rolex 24 set in 1992 by Masahiro Hasemi, Kazuyoshi Hoshino and Toshio Suzuki in a Nissan R91 prototype.

 
“This is a great endurance achievement and story,” said IMSA CEO Ed Bennett. “We are extremely proud of all the drivers, teams, manufacturers and IMSA officials who played important roles to achieve this together.”

 
Another longstanding Daytona record fell a year later when Oliver Jarvis qualified the No. 77 Mazda Team Joest RT-24P DPi car at one minute, 33.685 seconds (136.792 mph) to take the pole for the 2019 Rolex 24. It eclipsed PJ Jones’ previous record of 1:33.875 (136.521 mph) set in 1993 aboard the No. 98 Toyota Eagle Mk III for Dan Gurney’s All American Racers.

 

Top 20 IMSA Moments of 2010s – Nos. 15-11

 
December 27, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The 2010s may rival the 1980s as the most significant decade in the history of the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA).

 
As the decade comes to an end, IMSA is firmly established as a world leader in sports car racing and the undisputed premier sports car sanctioning body in North America. There have been countless memorable moments over the past 10 years, and we’ll take a look at the top 20 in a four-part series. In this second part of the series, here are moments 15 through 11.

 
15. IMSA Teams Sweep GTE Pro Podium, Win GTE Am Class in 24 Hours of Le Mans
Le Mans, France – June 19, 2016
 
The middle of June each year is always left vacant on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule to enable those teams with the desire and wherewithal to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Over the years, IMSA teams have enjoyed tremendous success on the world stage at the Circuit de la Sarthe, but the 2016 event was a truly standout performance by the North American contingent.

 
In the much-ballyhooed return to Le Mans 50 years after Ford triumphed over Ferrari, the race came down to the Ford GTs fielded by Ford Chip Ganassi Racing USA and another group of WeatherTech Championship regulars, the Risi Competizione Ferrari team.

 
In the end, all three teams stood on the podium with Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais emerging victorious in the No. 68 Ford GT ahead of Giancarlo Fisichella, Toni Vilander and Matteo Malucelli in the No. 82 Risi Ferrari 488. Rounding out the podium was the No. 69 Ford GT of Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook and Scott Dixon.

 
On top of that, the GTE Am class also was won by an American IMSA team, the No. 62 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GTE and its driving trio of Bill Sweedler, Townsend Bell and Jeff Segal.

 
14. Bill Auberlen Ties Record with 60th IMSA Victory at Motul Petit Le Mans
Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta – Oct. 12, 2019
 
If you’re going to a tie an all-time win record, the best way to do it is on the last lap of a 10-hour race.

 
That’s exactly what Bill Auberlen did in the 2019 Motul Petit Le Mans, closing out the season and the decade in the most dramatic fashion. Driving the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3, Auberlen doggedly stalked race leader Felipe Fraga in the No. 33 Wynn’s Mercedes-AMG GT3 as the clock sped toward expiration.

 
Auberlen’s moment finally came just after the white flag signified one lap to go in the race and the season. Fraga’s fuel ran short just as Auberlen began to make his move and the Californian rocketed past to seal the victory. It was the 60th of his IMSA career, tying him with Hall of Famer Scott Pruett for the most all-time.
He’s in the catbird seat to become the all-time wins leader all by himself as the next decade begins.

 
13. Pruett Sets All-Time IMSA Wins Record with 60th Victory at Lone Star Le Mans
Circuit of The Americas – Sept. 19, 2015