The timing is here to race round the clock for this weekend’s 60th annual Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. Here are the top three storylines for the big race.
Can Wayne Taylor Racing 4 Peat?
This could be a record setting weekend for Wayne Taylor Racing. If the No. 10 Acura that’s being driven by Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque, Alexander Rossi and Will Stevens crosses the finish line first on Sunday afternoon, it would mark the fourth straight year that WTR has collected some new jewelry in the annual January event. That would be a race record.
Chip Ganassi Racing won three straight in 2008 and now WTR the last three in-a-row, but no one has won four.
Ganassi did so though with Lexus. WTR won the first two with Cadillac and last year’s with Acura. Can WTR go two straight with Acura this weekend and win their fifth in the last six years?
They won the qualifying race last weekend and have a great shot.
The thing is, Cadillac’s have been the best power at Daytona in winning four of the last five years. A win this weekend would tie them with Ferrari (5) for third most Rolex’s ever.
Chip Ganassi Racing, JDC-Miller Motorsports, Whelen Engineering Racing and Ally Cadillac Racing each run Cadillac power which makes up five of the seven DPi cars.
The only Acura’s are WTR and Meyer Shank Racing.
Ganassi may be WTR’s biggest threat with them looking stout last year before each car had some bad luck via tires. Ganassi in general has eight Daytona triumphs, six of which being overall and two being best in class.
Scott Dixon has three overall wins himself and if he can get his car to win on Sunday, it would mark No. 4 overall which ties him with Pedro Rodriguez, Bob Wollek, Peter Gregg and Rolf Stommelen for second most all-time. Hurley Haywood and Scott Pruett have the most ever at five.
Plenty of INDYCAR Ties
The limited offseason testing programs in the NTT INDYCAR Series has forced a lot of drivers to look to IMSA for some offseason repetition. They don’t want to show up to the season opener in one of the most competitive series’ in the world without much seat time in the near half year off.
So, a majority of the paddock embarks to Daytona each January to get some work in before their true season begins next month.
Among the seven DPi cars, all have INDYCAR ties. In fact, there’s 12 current drivers entered in all the combined classes that will be full-time in the series for 2022 and four more that raced last year in INDYCAR but not entered in any cars yet for this upcoming season.
In fact, 5 of the top 6 drivers in the final standings last year will be in Daytona. The only one not is Josef Newgarden. Furthermore, out of the top 13 in the 2021 final INDYCAR standings, nine of which will be there too.
Chip Ganassi Racing (No. 01 Cadillac) – Sebastien Bourdais, Scott Dixon, Alex Palou
Chip Ganassi Racing (No. 02 Cadillac) – Kevin Magnussen, Marcus Ericsson
JDC Miller Motorsports (No. 5 Cadillac) – Tristan Vautier
Wayne Taylor Racing (No. 10 Acura) – Alexander Rossi
Whelen Engineering Racing (No. 31 Cadillac) – Mike Conway
Ally Cadillac Racing (No. 48 Cadillac) – Jimmie Johnson
Meyer Shank Racing (No. 60 Acura) – Helio Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud
Racing Team Nederland (No. 29) – Rinus VeeKay
G-Drive Racing by APR (No. 68) – Ed Jones
DragonSpeed (No. 81) – Devlin DeFrancesco, Colton Herta, Pato O’Ward
Andretti Autosport (No. 36) – Jarrett Andretti, Gabby Chaves, Rasmus Lindh
Vasser Sullivan (No. 14 Lexus) – Kyle Kirkwood, Jack Hawksworth
BMW M Team RLL (No. 24 BMW) – no INDYCAR drivers just the team
BMW M Team RLL (No. 25 BMW) – same as above
Vasser Sullivan (No. 12 Lexus) – Townsend Bell, Aaron Telitz
Alegra Motorsports (No. 28 Mercedes) – Linus Lundqvist
CarBahn Motorsports with Peregrine Racing (No. 39 Lamborghini) – Robert Megennis
Team Hardpoint (No. 99 Porsche 911) – Katherline Legge, Stefan Wilson
The weather will absolutely play a factor in this weekend’s race. Temperatures are supposed to be unseasonably cool with wind chill factors in the early morning hours in the 20’s. With cooler conditions it will lead to a track with more grip levels which means the pace will be faster. With 24 hours of racing and a faster pace, it could lead to some tense moments and even a race against the car.
These cars are way more durable now than ever before but 24 hours of non stop racing is still 24 hours. A lot can happen in that span which means it’s 24 hours of time that can have stuff break on cars.
Rising Car Count
The list of entries for the 24-hour race consisted of 61 cars across five classes, the largest field for the 24 Hours of Daytona since the inception of the IMSA SportsCar Championship in 2014.
GTLM becomes GTD-Pro as the biggest change but with the up in car counts and the world class racing stars that make up this field, it makes the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona one of the hardest races to win.
Corvette Moves Up To GTD-Pro, How Much Of A Factor Will This Be
Due to GTLM being no more, Corvette Racing moves their two car program up to GTD-Pro. After a 1-2 finish in the championship as well as Daytona last year, they de-tuned their designed GTLM car to a GT3 spec.
They’ll show up to Daytona with Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg in the No. 3 Corvette and Tommy Milner, Nick Tandy and Marco Sorenson in the No. 4 Corvette.
There was only six cars in last year’s class which now there’s 13 so their competition more than doubled in their pursuit for a fifth Rolex this weekend and a sixth IMSA championship later on in the year.