25/07/2021

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Drive your way

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

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The No. sixty Meyer Shank Racing w/ Control-Agajanian Acura DPi of Juan Pablo Montoya, Dane...

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

 

The Rolex 24 at Daytona is as soon as once again stacked with superstars — Kevin Magnussen refreshing out of Formula 1, reigning IndyCar winner Scott Dixon and Chase Elliott, two months eliminated from his first NASCAR title — all portion of a strong area of 50 entries just a calendar year eliminated from a history-low vehicle rely.

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

The prestigious international sports vehicle race commenced in 1962 as the 3-hour Daytona Continental right before Monthly bill France Sr. expanded it four decades later into a two times-about-the-clock stamina occasion. France required the best road racers in the environment at his Florida facility and designed the phase for them to appear.

“He had the vision of ideal drivers, ideal autos, ideal teams and this calendar year in distinct definitely shines,” mentioned John Doonan, president of IMSA, the sports vehicle sequence owned by the France family. “This occasion is a spot wherever drivers can compete against the ideal of the ideal. It truly is the best collecting of champions about the environment from each individual willpower beneath the sunlight.”

Jimmie Johnson, the 7-time NASCAR winner headed to IndyCar this calendar year as a rookie, will be powering the wheel of an Motion Specific Cadillac when the race commences Saturday. It will be Johnson’s eighth Rolex, first in a ten years, and he is portion of an all-star lineup trying to get record.

The No. 48 — jogging in partnership with Hendrick Motorsports of NASCAR — features Indianapolis five hundred winner Simon Pagenaud, previous Rolex and Le Mans winner Mike Rockenfeller and Kamui Kobayashi, who is hoping to come to be the first driver to gain 3 straight Rolex watches in race record.

Kobayashi should contend with Renger van der Zande, his teammate on the successful Wayne Taylor Racing entry the previous two period. WTR break up by shifting from Cadillac to an Acura manufacturing unit program this period and Kobayashi and van der Zande went their independent ways.

Both return to Daytona in Cadillacs, van der Zande as the entire-time driver alongside Magnussen in Chip Ganassi Racing’s return to the IMSA sequence right after a one particular-calendar year hiatus.

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

Elliott makes his debut in the Motion Specific entry that begins from the pole Saturday. His Cadillac staff features entire-time IMSA drivers Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani, as properly as veteran Mike Conway, and the trio has been affected individual in teaching Elliott about sports autos.

Elliott has gained four consecutive NASCAR road class races above the previous two seasons but insisted it offers him no leverage at the Rolex.

“It’s just a new ball activity, some thing refreshing and different and I comprehend the problems are great and there’s a whole lot for me to find out,” Elliott mentioned. “When you demonstrate up to somebody else’s playground it is heading to be tough — some of the ideal road class racers in the environment are below.”

The best DPi course has 7 entries — four Cadillacs, two Acuras and a Mazda — amongst the area of 50 autos. Very last year’s race was a Rolex-low 38 entries. Of be aware:

— Katherine Legge will compete for the first time because breaking equally her legs in a crash previous summer. She mentioned she’s ninety nine% healed right after six months of rehabilitation and is teamed for the 3rd consecutive calendar year with Christina Nielsen. They are portion of a Porsche 911 GT3R lineup in the loaded twenty-vehicle GT Daytona course.

— Zach Veach makes his sports vehicle debut right after 7 seasons racing Indy autos. He misplaced his seat at Andretti Autosport late previous calendar year and has produced the occupation shift to IMSA, wherever he is landed a entire-time ride with VasserSullivan Racing. Veach will operate for the GTD championship in a Lexus RC F GT3 with potent levels of competition from a next VasserSullivan entry piloted by Jack Hawksworth and Aaron Tellitz.

— Wayne Taylor Racing is the two-time defending race successful staff and has 3 all round victories in the previous four Rolex races. The staff will regulate to its new Acura DPi with Ricky Taylor, Cameron and Rossi, who all drove the vehicle the previous 3 seasons for Workforce Penske.

— Magnussen has strike a reset on his occupation right after 7 winless seasons in F1. He misplaced his seat with Haas at the finish of previous period and produced the change to sports autos. Magnussen and van der Zande are the entire-time drivers for Ganassi, who has 8 Rolex victories — six all round wins and two course wins.

“I feel it is great to be with an business that is all about successful,” Magnussen mentioned. “The enterprise design of Chip Ganassi Racing is successful — which is what drives this staff and keeps it heading and its what keeps this staff in existence.”

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