Top drivers come together for the weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona

The No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing w/ Control-Agajanian Acura DPi of Juan Pablo Montoya, Dane Cameron, Olivier Pla, and AJ Allmendinger through a exercise session for the Rolex 24 at Daytona. (Getty Pictures)


The Rolex 24 at Daytona is when yet again stacked with superstars — Kevin Magnussen clean out of Formula A single, reigning IndyCar champion Scott Dixon and Chase Elliott, two months eliminated from his to start with NASCAR title — all part of a strong field of 50 entries just a 12 months eradicated from a history-minimal vehicle depend.

Even in a pandemic, the Rolex 24 is the position to be for racers.

The prestigious international athletics auto race started in 1962 as the a few-hour Daytona Continental right before Bill France Sr. expanded it four years later on into a 2 times-close to-the-clock stamina occasion. France required the top street racers in the earth at his Florida facility and developed the stage for them to occur.

“He had the eyesight of ideal motorists, finest autos, ideal groups and this 12 months in unique truly shines,” stated John Doonan, president of IMSA, the sports activities car collection owned by the France loved ones. “This party is a area wherever drivers can contend against the ideal of the most effective. It can be the greatest gathering of champions around the world from each individual self-discipline under the sunshine.”

Jimmie Johnson, the 7-time NASCAR champion headed to IndyCar this year as a rookie, will be guiding the wheel of an Motion Specific Cadillac when the race begins Saturday. It will be Johnson’s eighth Rolex, initially in a 10 years, and he’s aspect of an all-star lineup trying to find record.

The No. 48 — functioning in partnership with Hendrick Motorsports of NASCAR — includes Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud, previous Rolex and Le Mans winner Mike Rockenfeller and Kamui Kobayashi, who is making an attempt to grow to be the to start with driver to earn three straight Rolex watches in race background.

Kobayashi ought to contend with Renger van der Zande, his teammate on the profitable Wayne Taylor Racing entry the very last two period. WTR split by transferring from Cadillac to an Acura manufacturing unit system this period and Kobayashi and van der Zande went their independent methods.

Each return to Daytona in Cadillacs, van der Zande as the comprehensive-time driver together with Magnussen in Chip Ganassi Racing’s return to the IMSA sequence immediately after a a person-year hiatus.

WTR is nevertheless stacked, nevertheless, with a lineup showcasing reigning IMSA champions Ricky Taylor and Helio Castroneves, as properly as Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi. Michael Shank Racing fields the next Acura entry with two-time Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya, AJ Allmendinger and 2019 IMSA winner Dane Cameron.

Elliott will make his debut in the Motion Convey entry that starts from the pole Saturday. His Cadillac team features whole-time IMSA drivers Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani, as effectively as veteran Mike Conway, and the trio has been patient in instructing Elliott about sports activities cars and trucks.

Elliott has received 4 consecutive NASCAR highway program races about the previous two seasons but insisted it provides him no leverage at the Rolex.

“It’s just a new ball sport, a little something fresh new and different and I realize the troubles are good and there’s a whole lot for me to study,” Elliott reported. “When you show up to anyone else’s playground it is going to be challenging — some of the very best road class racers in the world are in this article.”

The major DPi class has 7 entries — 4 Cadillacs, two Acuras and a Mazda — among the industry of 50 cars. Past year’s race was a Rolex-reduced 38 entries. Of note:

— Katherine Legge will contend for the very first time since breaking equally her legs in a crash final summertime. She mentioned she’s 99% healed following six months of rehabilitation and is teamed for the third consecutive 12 months with Christina Nielsen. They are portion of a Porsche 911 GT3R lineup in the loaded 20-vehicle GT Daytona class.

— Zach Veach makes his sporting activities vehicle debut after seven seasons racing Indy cars and trucks. He dropped his seat at Andretti Autosport late previous 12 months and has designed the profession change to IMSA, exactly where he’s landed a comprehensive-time journey with VasserSullivan Racing. Veach will operate for the GTD championship in a Lexus RC F GT3 with powerful competitiveness from a second VasserSullivan entry piloted by Jack Hawksworth and Aaron Tellitz.

— Wayne Taylor Racing is the two-time defending race winning workforce and has three overall victories in the last 4 Rolex races. The team will alter to its new Acura DPi with Ricky Taylor, Cameron and Rossi, who all drove the motor vehicle the very last 3 seasons for Group Penske.

— Magnussen has hit a reset on his vocation right after 7 winless seasons in F1. He lost his seat with Haas at the conclude of past season and designed the change to sporting activities cars. Magnussen and van der Zande are the complete-time drivers for Ganassi, who has 8 Rolex victories — six all round wins and two class wins.

“I feel it’s excellent to be with an firm that is all about winning,” Magnussen explained. “The small business product of Chip Ganassi Racing is profitable — that is what drives this workforce and keeps it likely and its what keeps this group in existence.”


Extra AP sporting activities

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