It’s a dawn of a new era for sports car racing, as the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship kicks off this weekend on the famed Florida high banks for the 52nd annual Rolex 24 at Daytona.
To gear up for the history-making event, FOX Sports SPEED previews the twice-around-the-clock endurance classic with a team-by-team look at the 67 cars that are set to compete in the season-opening round.
Following looks at the GTD, PC and GTLM categories, check out the preview of the Prototype (P) class.
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FOX has all your coverage of Rolex 24 at Daytona!
TV Schedule (Saturday, Jan. 25-26):
- 1:30 p.m. ET Pre-Race begins on Fox Sports 2
- 2-4 p.m. ET on FOX
- 4-9 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 2
- 9 p.m.-7 a.m. ET on IMSA.com
- 7 a.m.-3 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1
A one-of-a-kind experience will also be available by viewing multiple on-board cameras during the action!
You can also stream the full race by now using the new FOX Sports Go Mobile App!
Click HERE to download the FOX Sports GO Mobile App.
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Prototype (18 Entries)
Chip Ganassi Racing (Riley-Ford DP): The five-time and defending race winners head into the Rolex 24 as favorites again, despite some question marks hanging over the reliability of the debuting Ford EcoBoost engine. Stacked with a star-studded lineup of Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas, Jamie McMurray, Sage Karam (No. 01) and Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Marino Franchitti and Kyle Larson (No. 02), both will likely be fast, but can they last?
Wayne Taylor Racing (Corvette DP): After winning the 2013 DP drivers’ championship, the spotlight will be on WTR for the Rolex 24, particularly with its all-Taylor (plus Max Angelelli) lineup. The new full-season pairing of Ricky and Jordan Taylor will be joined by father, and team owner, Wayne Taylor, who comes out of retirement to race with his sons. Angelelli completes the lineup in the Dallara-chassied DP, which should be among the contenders for the overall win.
Extreme Speed Motorsports (HPD ARX-03b): Having been the quickest of the P2 cars in pre-season testing, the Scott Sharp-owned squad holds one of the best chances for the win, depending if IMSA has perfected the DP/P2 Balance of Performance. David Brabham joins full-season drivers Sharp and Ryan Dalziel in the No. 1 car, while IndyCar star Simon Pagenaud leads the driving force in the No. 2 entry with Anthony Lazzaro, Johannes van Overbeek and Ed Brown. Don’t count out ESM from victory, especially if the DPs run into mechanical trouble.
Muscle Milk Pickett Racing (Oreca 03 Nissan): The 2013 ALMS P1 champs roll out with a new Oreca 03 Nissan, which is also expected to be among the quickest P2 cars in the field. Running with a smaller, ACO-sized air restrictor at the Roar, the Klaus Graf, Lucas Luhr and Alex Brundle-driven entry wasn’t able to show its full potential and will likely be on the pace this weekend. Look for Muscle Milk to be among the contending entries for the win.
Action Express Racing (Corvette DP): The Elton Sawyer and Gary Nelson-led AXR squad have two Coyote-chassied prototypes capable of victory as well, particularly the No. 5 Corvette DP of Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi and Sebastien Bourdais. The No. 9 entry, a collaborative effort by FIA WEC squad Delta-ADR, will be driven by John Martin, Fabien Giroix and Burt and Brian Frisselle and could be a dark horse if others hit trouble.
Spirit of Daytona Racing (Corvette DP): After a challenging 2013, capped off by Richard Westbrook’s horrific testing accident at Daytona, the Troy Flis-led squad will be looking to start off the new year with better fortunes, and has left no stone unturned, particularly with its driver lineup. Full-season pilots Richard Westbrook and Michael Valiante are joined by newly crowned DTM champion Mike Rockenfeller, a former Rolex 24 overall winner, in what’s considered one of the strongest lineups in the field.
Michael Shank Racing (Riley-Ford DP): The 2012 Rolex 24-winning squad helps debut Ford’s new EcoBoost power plant, which suffered reliability woes at the Roar. While not lacking any pace, look for the No. 60 entry of Ozz Negri, John Pew, Justin Wilson and AJ Allmendinger to be near the top of the time sheets. Getting the Riley-Ford to the finish, however, still remains a slight question mark.
OAK Racing (Morgan-Nissan): The 2013 FIA WEC and Asian Le Mans Series champions take on a new challenge with a full-season TUDOR Championship effort. The Jacques Nicolet-owned operation boasts a strong lineup for the Rolex 24, with team leader Olivier Pla being joined by Guastavo Yacaman, Roman Rusinov and Oliver Webb. Look for the OnRoak Automotive-developed prototype to be one of the contenders for a podium finish, especially if the P2/DP BoP is achieved.
DeltaWing Racing Cars (DeltaWing DWC13): Having solved many of its reliability woes from the tail end of last year, the Don Panoz-owned DeltaWing outfit could actually be a dark horse contender. Andy Meyrick, Katherine Legge, Alexander Rossi and Gabby Chaves lead the driving force, in the closed-top, Elan-powered prototype that showed impressive pace in pre-season testing. If it can last 24 hours and run trouble-free, a top-5 overall finish shouldn’t be out of reach.
Starworks Motorsport (Riley-Dinan DP): A late addition to the grid, the Peter Baron-led squad has assembled a solid lineup, led by newly signed Porsche factory driver Brendon Hartley, E.J. Viso, Sebastian Saavedra, Alex Popow and Scott Mayer. A rumored switch to Honda’s new DP engine did not materialize in time, meaning Starworks will use its tried-and-trusted BMW-based 5.0-liter V8 for the race. Considering the team’s previous streak of success, a top finish shouldn’t be completely ruled out, despite having virtually no testing in 2014 configuration.
GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing (Corvette DP): While having scaled back to a partial-season program around the NAEC, the Texas-based team still has a shot of achieving success at Daytona. The team’s Rolex 24 lineup from last year: Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty, Darren Law and Memo Gidley all return to the “Red Dragon,” which has been upgraded to 2014 DP configuration.
Marsh Racing (Corvette DP): Newcomers to the DP ranks, the Whelen-backed effort sees Eric Curran, Boris Said and Max Papis being joined by 2013 Sunoco DP Challenge winner Bradley Smith. It’s a steady lineup, but considering the depth of this year’s field, may be unlikely to challenge for a podium finish, especially in the team’s first Prototype start.
SpeedSource (Mazda P2): Mazda’s new SKYACTIV-D factory program certainly has high expectations, but those will unlikely be met in the clean diesel-powered cars’ first race. The Lola B12/80-based prototypes have struggled for pace since pre-season testing began late last year. Getting both of the cars to to the finish will be the primary objective, and something to build on for the rest of the development year. Tristan Nunez, Joel Miller, Sylvain Tremblay and Tom Long are joined by Mazda alumni James Hinchcliffe and Tristan Vautier for the race.
Highway to Help (Riley-Dinan DP): One of the few NAEC-only entries in the field, the Dinan-powered Riley will not be fighting for the win, let alone a podium result. However, a finish for the foursome of Byron DeFoor, Jim Pace, Frank Beck and David Hinton will be the primary objective.
Rolex 24, Sports Cars