IMSA said today that the 60th running of the season opening 24-hour race at Daytona International Speedway at the end of January has 61 cars entered for the Roar Before the Rolex 24 test session that precedes the race by a week. It’s the most entries since 2014. (read AutoInformed on: IMSA – 2022 Roar Before the 24 At Daytona to Use Dirt Circuit; IMSA Petit Le Mans Sees Cadillac, Corvette, Win Season Titles)
“The racing world turns its eyes to the Rolex 24 every year since it typically kicks off the season for everyone in the industry and draws such an immense amount of international driver and team talent together,” IMSA President John Doonan said. “That’s even truer (sic) in 2022 with more cars on the grid than we’ve seen at Daytona in the last eight years.” (read AutoInformed on: John Doonan Leaves Mazda Racing for IMSA Presidency)
Testing on January 21-23 has two full days of on-track at Daytona’s 3.56-mile road course, followed by the 100-minute qualifying race on Sunday, Jan. 23 (livestream at 2pm Eastern on Peacock) that sets the starting grid for the Rolex 24. In the five competing classes there are more than 50 past Rolex 24 winners in the field. (Entry list; Weekend schedule)
Some Daytona 2022 Highlights
Daytona Prototype international (DPi): Seven cars, the same number as in 2021, are in the DPi field this year, in what is the final season for the class before it switches to the LMDh platform in 2023. (read AutoInformed on: IMSA – Porsche Virtually Shows LMDh Car)
- The No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-05 claimed the class and overall Rolex 24 victory a year ago and three of its drivers – Filipe Albuquerque, Ricky Taylor and Alexander Rossi – are back along with newcomer Will Stevens.
- The No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R won the qualifying race during the Roar last year, what proved an important step on the Action Express Racing entry’s route to the season title. Pipo Derani and Mike Conway are back in the No. 31, with Tristan Nunez replacing Felipe Nasr as Derani’s new full-season teammate.
- Other DPi entries include Chip Ganassi Racing (eight-time Rolex 24 At Daytona winning team including six overall victories) expanding to a two-car Cadillac effort and the No. 48 Ally Cadillac that includes seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson (who has yet to prove himself in sports cars that require left and right turns) and two-time Rolex 24 winner Kamui Kobayashi returning for the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup races.
- Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2): The LMP2 field remains the same, 10 cars, as it was a year ago. The No. 18 Era Motorsport ORECA LMP2 07 that won the 2021 Rolex 24 returns whole with Dwight Merriman, Kyle Tilley, Ryan Dalziel and Paul-Loup Chatin;
- So does the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA lineup of Ben Keating, Mikkel Jensen, Scott Huffaker and Nicolas Lapierre that won the qualifying race on its way to the LMP2 championship.
- DragonSpeed USA raided the IndyCar field for drivers Pato O’Ward, Colton Herta and Devlin DeFrancesco to team with Eric Lux. There are international entries from teams including G-Drive Racing by APR, High Class Racing, Racing Team Nederland and United Autosports.
GT Daytona Pro (GTD PRO): The new class that replaces GT Le Mans (GTLM) is loaded with 13 entries and eight manufacturers. Corvette Racing is formidable as always, moving from the GTLM platform to the GT3 specification the GTD PRO falls under.
- The No. 3 Corvette won last year’s Rolex 24 and the driver trio returns with Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg. The No. 4 Corvette won the 2021 qualifying race and is back on a one-off for the Rolex 24 before taking on a full season in the FIA World Endurance Championship. (read AutoInformed on: Corvette Racing Goes Global – IMSA, FIA WEC in 2022)
- BMW Team RLL – 2019 and 2020 GTLM winner at the Rolex 24 – returns with two entries running the new BMW M4 GT3.
- WeatherTech Racing has three entries using two manufacturers (Porsche and Mercedes-AMG).
- Pfaff Motorsports moves to GTD PRO with the plaid No. 9 Porsche 911 GT3R after claiming last year’s GT Daytona (GTD) championship.
- Other manufacturers for the debut of this class include Aston Martin, Ferrari Lamborghini and Lexus.
GT Daytona (GTD): Now running under the same specs as GTD PRO but with the requirement of having Bronze- or Silver-rated drivers as part of the lineup, the GTD class continues with 22 entries – up three from a year ago.
- Mercedes-AMG finished 1-2 in last year’s Rolex 24 and both teams are back, the winning No. 57 Winward Racing with half the drivers (Russell Ward and Philip Ellis) returning and runner-up No. 75 Sun Energy 1 bringing back three (Kenny Habul, Luca Stolz and Raffaele Marciello).
- With nine manufacturers entered in GTD, the competition is fierce. All-time leading IMSA winner Bill Auberlen and Turner Motorsport co-drivers Robby Foley, Michael Dinan and Jens Klingmann. The No. 96 won last year’s qualifying race and, like BMW Team RLL in GTD PRO, will race a new BMW M4 GT3 this season.
WeatherTech Championship Records
- DPi: Oliver Jarvis, Mazda DPi, 1:33.685 / 136.799 mph, January 2019
- LMP2: James Allen, ORECA LMP2, 1:35.904 / 133.633 mph, January 2019
- LMP3: Moritz Kranz, Duqueine D08, 1:42.384 / 125.176 mph, January 2021
- GTD PRO: new class for 2022
- GTD: Marcos Gomes, Ferrari 488 GT3, 1:44.541 / 122.593 mph, January 2019
2021 Rolex 24 At Daytona Qualifying Race Winners:
- DPi: Felipe Nasr/Pipo Derani, No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R
- LMP2: Ben Keating/Mikkel Jensen, No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsport ORECA LMP2 07
- LMP3: Moritz Kranz/Laurentz Hoerr, No. 6 Muehlner Motorsports America Duqueine D08
- GTD PRO: new class for 2022
- GTD: Bill Auberlen/Robby Foley, No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3