Thursday, January 23, 2014

ROLEX 24: Changes Abound for 2014 running of Daytona endurance classic




The new Michael Shank Racing Ford EcoBoost car. Photo by: Trevor Horn. (Image source: motorsport.com)
Otay, so it'll be the price I pay for Santa Claus giving me another trip to Hawaii, as this will be the first Rolex 24 I've missed watching/listening via thee Telescreen in several years now - Y'all sheddin' Crocodile tears for your humble No Fenders scribe already? Tiny bubbles... Hooah! (Although the NASTY ARSE FLU I had for the entire week before leaving made up for my kneading to get away to Kona) But I digress...

And with the long overdue merger, I mean its really a merger, not a takeover by the France family, right? Thus the High-tech American Le Mans Series and its "Racin' is rubbin' 'RASSCAR" Grand Am Sports Car series have unified into the wait for I-T; tuh-Duh! The Tutor United Sports Car Championship... Oh Vanna, I'd like to buy a vowell, please?

This mergification will see a most interesting morphing of the two series multiple classes with the advent of four major classes known so far split evenly between Prototypes and GT racers, with the four classes being: P, PC, GTLM and GTD.


as effectively the speediest LMP1 cars are gone; Hey! Y'all really didn't think the majority of Grand Am's Taxicab rank 'N file were gonna dispose of their Daytona Prototypes (DP) did Yuhs? Although the DP's will be combined with the ALMS's LMP2 category - which should cause nothin' but confusion, eh? As the Delta-wing chassis is also allowed entrance in this category, with obviously the overall winner of the race coming from the new top P-class's 17-entries...

The PC class is all Squeaky-clean like it's acronym, i.e.; "Politically Correct;" Err PC which is a straight carryover from the ALMS Prototype Challenge category, as IMSA, the sanctioning body for the new Sports Car league has upped the anty by confirming 12-entries for the class, as all PC entrants will compete in spec Oreca chassis propelled by Chevrolet motors and running on Continental tyres...

As typical the round-the-clock races most entries should come from the "Production-based" Grand Touring cars, which GT stands for, with there being two separate divisions of, which I have NO idea if they'll look similar to each other?

The GTLM class has 12 confirmed entries for its GT Le Mans spec racers while the GTD stands for Grand Touring Daytona which is an amalgamation of the previous GT classes - featuring the most entries with 28...

THE BIG BOYZ... (P Class)

Not only will the primary Chip Ganassi Prototype entry for multi-time champion Scott 'Scooter Pruett and co-driver Memo Rojas be radically different this year as the 'Cheepster has dumped his BMW lumps' in favour of Ford's new Eco-boost "blown" V-6 turbo motors - to which Papa Bear Tomaso correctly pointed out over Turkey-Lurkey (Thanksgiving) dinner there's NO such thing as "Economy" in motor racing...


But also missing from the Ganassi fold will be two familiar faces, as Dario "REO Speedwagon" Franchitti has forlornly announced his retirement due to medical advice while (Juan Pablo) 'MAC Montoya has jumped ship to take up refuse in Indy Cars for "The Captain's" (Roger Penske) rival Powerhouse racing team. as wouldn't it be kOOL if Roger entered a DP for 'HULIO, (Castroneves) 'DJ WillyP (Will Power) and 'MAC - but DON'T hold your breath too long as Y'all might turn blue...

Thus I'm thinking that an all IndyCar lineup could fill Ganassi's second part-time entry, featuring 'TK Follow-your-Schnoz Kanaan, Scott Dixon, Charlie Kimball and Ryan Briscoe, although NO report if Toni's nose will fit behind the windshield? Hooah! While perhaps  Daytona 500 & Brickyard 400 winner Jamie McMurry and upcoming superstar Kyle Larson will co-drive with Pruett & Rojas? Or some combination of both will fill-in the two cars driving rosters.

Otay, my guessing Pre-Roar Before testing on thee 'Cheepster's two car driver's line-up was pretty close, as the #01 will feature Pruett, Rojas, McMurray and reigning Indy Lights champion Sage Karam. The #02 will have Dixon, Kanaan, Larson and Dario's 'lil bro Marino Franchitti at its keyboard this year...

Also discovered early this year that le 'Hamburgular, nee 'SeaBass, aka Sebastain Bourdais will be co-driving the  No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP with Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa.

And look for "Thy Leggy Juan," aka Katherine Legge to be behind the wheel of the lone Delta Wing chassis, co-driving with her regular partner Andy Meyrick and just announced American F1 hopeful Alexander Rossi, who's apparently gotten permission from Caterham...


And unfortunately past Daytona 24hrs winners MSR (Michael shank Racing) have apparently consolidated into a single car entry this season with longtime team drivers '(Oswaldo)
Ozz Negri and John Pew behind the keyboard of their very potent P-Class Riley-Ford prototype, as the team's blown No. 14 "Feurd" Eco-boost lump chassis with Colin Braun as its chauffer set two FIA speed records last October upon having gone 210mph at Daytona International Speedway! Breaking the previous records set in 1979...


LATE TO THE PARTY (PC)
I'm a little surprised that Greg Pickett has chosen the Prototype challenge class as his vehicle 'O choice for this year's foray into Sports Car racing. And it appears that all of his dicking around , "will he, won't he?" Race in Sports Cars sees his vaunted Muscle Milk team slated as the classes first alternate which hence, I believe means he won't necessarily be racing this  year? As off the bat you'd have to say that the Level 5 Motorsports entry seems to be  the classes top Banana.

Meanwhile just noticed that Mercedes F1 "simulator Jockey" and 2013 GP2 championship runner-up Sam Bird has signed a deal to contest the Daytona 24hrs, Sebring 12hrs and Petit Le Mans for the Starworks team, so this could be a potential winner to watch for...

NOTE
On Jan 3, 2014 it was announced that Muscle Milk Pickett Racing had joined forces with Nissan to become a NISMO Global partner and will race its (LMP2-spec) Oreca prototype powered by a Nissan engine with last year SFHR IndyCar rookie driver LucasLuhr and Klaus Graf with Alex Brundle; Yeah, son of 1988 Rolex 24 and former F1 driver & Michael Schumacher team-mate Martin "billybob" Brundle joining the Muscle Milk regulars at Daytona...


BIG BOYZ GT CLASS (GTLM)
Reportedly there will be a dozen competitors in the GTLM class with the likes of Aston's, Corvette's, Ferrari's, Porsche's and SRT-Viper's mixing it up in the B-I-G BOYZ GT ranks on the high banks 'O 'DayToner. And while I'd like to see the lone Risi Competizone 458 Italia win, I'm also pullin' for one of those nasty ARSE Dodge Viper's to pull off the upset for GTLM class honours, although you probably should never bet against the almighty Porsche 911 Panzerwagon, thee undisputed heavyweight stalwart of round-the-clock racing, Ja Volt!

Yet if you're an IndyCar fan, then you'll definitely wanna be rootin' for the #91 Dodge Viper which has just added 2012 Indy Car Series champion RHR (Ryan Hunter-reay) to its driver line-up for the Rolex 24... And now I'm in a quandary over who to root for in this class, having just learned that Ryan Briscoe will be partnering 'MAGS, aka Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia in the #3 Corvette...

TEAM SEATTLE (GTD)
Was somewhat surprised to see that Team Seattle has jumped ship to AJR, nee Alex Job Racing while Dempsey Racing has two entries in the class. Then again though, AJR is known for its championship winning preparation, so look for the No. 23 to kick Tail in this year's Rolex 24!

Meanwhile local luxury car dealer Park Place Ltd of Bellevue, WA will once again return with a pair of the Uber successful Porsche 911 GT3 racecar's in the GTD category with cars No. 71 & 73. The #71 will be shared by championship winner Craig Stanton  and co-driver Dr. Jim Norman while the #73 car features Patrick Lindsey and French co-driver Kévin Estre.



PRE-RACE PREDICTIONS

So now that I've previously posted my very quick "Roar Before the Rolex" post, NO real big surprise that the Corvette DP's, (P-class) Porsche's and Corvette Stingrays (GTLM-class_ were running up front. Yet being a sucker for Fords and the "little guys," I'll obviously be pulling for the#60 MSR entry with Negri, Pew, A.J. "#BIG SHOT" Allmendinger and Justin 'B-I-G UNIT Wilson at the controls. Not to mention the unlikely winning LMP2; Err No. 2 Extreme Speed Motorsports (ESM)  HPD ARX-03b Honda P-Car entry featuring "Symone Pagenoe," (Simon Pagenaud) Johannes van Overbeek and Ed Brown, who just so happens to be the CEO of Tequila Patrón (Spirits) and co-owner of ESM along with Scott Sharp who'll be racing in the team's lead car #1 entry alongside Ryan "Razzle Dazzle" Dalziel  and David Brabham...


As for the GT classes, naturally I've gotta pull for my local Boyz, the two car Park Place entry, albeit I really can't say I've ever heard of any of the drivers of either the #71 or #73 entries.

Also have  to root for the number 23 Alex Job Racing Porsche since its flying the colours of Team Seattle this year, which Y'all can read more 'bout in;


Or check out this fantastic local charity which pioneered the cash for laps completed donation scheme which has raised $5.5-million for the outstanding work done by Seattle's Children's Hospital at;



While I'm also a sucker for the drivers behind the wheel's of 'Meesh's favourite team owner "Booby Ruble's" (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) BMW Z4GTE's - with a handful of BAD ARSE 'Twisty Boyz houndin' the competition with the likes of: Dirk Müller, Bill Auberlen, Joey Hand, John Edwards - thee racer, not the politician; Hooah! And late to thee party Bobby's son "Grahamcracker," aka Graham Rahal. As I'll just have to await the results upon my return from the B-I-G island...




MULTI-MEDIA
Although didn't have time to confirm it this year, I'm ARSE-sumin' that thee boys of Grab Bag Sports will be hosting their yearly Daytona 24hrs Blogathon. So if you're looking for some crazy interaction, and may be some THU-RILLIN' movie like last year's to watch along with, then run on over to Grab Bag Sports pronto to see if they're indeed hosting their yearly Blogathon...


Also know that the race will be shown on the Fox Sports-1 "terrestrial" television channel, which Y'all will need to check your local listings for broadcast times, etc.

As let thy engines roar!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the Grab Bag Sports shout out! We are indeed hosting another Blogathon. This year's film is called Hockey Mom (aka Chicks With Sticks!), which is bound to be another classic. It's going to be a fun weekend. Enjoy Hawaii!

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