Wednesday, January 24, 2018

ROLEX 24: Can the Europeans' Upset The Yanks' on Thar Daytona Highbanks Playground?

Everyone will be watching, and certainly many will be hoping to Overshadow United Autosports and Fernando Alonso at Daytona. (Image source:

As this year's influx of European LMP2 Spec' chassis is buoyed by the All Star United autosports lineup, with the increased numbers being made up by past (Prototype Challenge) PC Class converts...

Author's Note
Having lavishly been upon thou Californian & Oregon Trailz' for a fortnights time, I haven't had a chance to read All Duh latest, dizzying Fodder pertaining to this year's Rolex 24. Hence, I'm just jotting my first, preliminary thoughts that come to mind upon researching this year's entrants...

It's great seeing the European Invasion, along with IMSA entrants stepping up to a new category this season, as BAR1 Motorsports, Cor Autosport, D3+Transformers and Performance Tech Motorsports are all new to the top-tier Prototype Ranks.

Ligier JS P2 17
Engine: 4.2-litre normally aspirated V-8
Teams: AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports, United Autosports.
#23) Fernando Alonso, Lando Norris and Phillip Hanson
#32) Paul di resta, Bruno Senna, Hugo de Sadeleer and William Owen
#52) Sebastian Saavedra, Gustavo Yacaman, Roberto González and Nicholas Boulle

Obviously, Mega Attenzione will be thrust upon the two United Autosports entries, especially the "lead" #23, due to it having some Spanish bull named Fernando on its Drivers roster, Ci! Although McLaren Up 'N Comer Lando Norris is hoping to turn a few heads of his own, whilst the "B-Team" Seester #32 car sports another current Formula 1 Driver, nee Paul di Resta who unexpectedly deputized for Felipe Massa at Team Willy' last year.

As the United Autosports racing team is McLaren F1 Frontman Zak Brown's "side Project."

Yet the No. 52 entry, now a collaborative effort between Gary Peterson and PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports, sees the AFS side bringing a pair 'O Columbian's to the squad for a full season campaign, who'll surely wish to upstage the more Hyped No. 23 effort, as most of the field will wish to do, Ci!

 Meanwhile, the #84 D3+Transformers team is a new entity, for which Thar seems little Scuttlebutt about, including who the bulk of its Drivers lineup will be? As I've got ZERO Clue if they even showed up for The Roar Before? Since obviously, I missed getting the Memo...

Oreca 07
Engine: 4.2-litre normally aspirated V-8
Teams: Cor Autosport, Jackie Chan DCR Jota, JDC-Miller Motorsports and Performance Tech Motorsports.
#37) Lance Stroll, Robin Frijns, Felix Rosenqvist and Daniel Juncadella
#38) James French, Kyle Masson, Pato O'Ward and Joel Miller
#54) John Bennett, Colin Brown, Loic Duvall and Romain Dumas
#78) Ho-Pin Tung, Alex Brundle, Antonio Felix da Costa and Ferdinand Zvonimir
#85) Austin Cindric, Robert Alon, Devlin DeFrancesco and Simon Trummer
#99) Gustavo Menezes, Mikhail Goikhberg, Chris Miller and Stephen Simpson

While the Spotlight's firmly affixed upon the #23 entry, I'd have to say my sentimental favourite is the rival #37, which features Williams F1 Hoser Lance Stroll. Yet I'm pulling for this entry more for his supporting cast, who are NO Slouches themselves! As Messer's Frijns & Rosenqvist simply haven't gotten their shot in top notch Open wheel Racing machinery, a la Messer Juncadella, as all three talents simply never made it to the ladder's top rung, albeit I'd still enjoy seeing both Frijns & Rosenqvist race in anger in Indy Cars!

Meanwhile the Seester' #78 Jackie Chan Racing entry is pretty stout itself, including China's first former IndyCar chauffer Ho-Pin Tung, and Alex Brundle is indeed Martin BillyBob' Brundle's son. While "Aldo" Da Costa was another F1 hopeful.

As I seem to recall that one of Jackie Chan Racing's cars flirted with the unthinkable upset of winning Le Mans outright last year before finishing a stellar runner-up! Actually the team scored an Uber impressive 2-3 Overall finish with their LMP2 "slower" Spec racecars at Circuit de la Sarthe...

JD Miller Motorsports sports a pair of interesting entries, with its  No. 85 featuring Team Penske President Tim Cindric's son Austin at the controls, along with Robert Alon, who's jumped ship from the Rexus' 3GT Racing GT Daytona Squad.

Thar No. 99 entry is completely Foreign to Mwah, albeit that Mikhail AIN'T "The Mad Rooskie," aka Mikhail Aleshin, but another Mikhail who also goes by "Misha," whilst I'll skip making any Gorky Park wisecracks; Hya!

Cor Autosport's #52 features a pair 'O former top flight Audi LMP1 Men, nee Messer's Duvall & Dumas at its controls. And the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports features former Indy Lights competitor James French spearheading it's Debutante effort in the B-I-G BOYZ' Prototype ranks.

Riley Mk 30
Engine: 4.2-litre normally aspirated V-8
Team: BAR1 Motorsports
#20) Tomy Drissi, Brendan Gaughan, Eric Lux, Mark Drumright and Alex Popow

This LMP2 Spec chassis was one of the least known commodities in the entire Prototypes field to Mwah this year. Other than BAR1 Motorsports is another of IMSA's previous (Prototype Challenge( PC Class converts after the elimination of the category this year.

Originally, "I Knew Nothing!" 'bout the Driver lineup, Whale', at least when I began scribblin' this, especially since they were listed as TBA.

But I know Tomy Drissi's name, being a Hollywood Advertising Executive who's apparently one of the SCCA Pro Racing's Trans Am's truly BAD BOYZ! Having won the '09 TA title before being Banned from competition for one year in 2016, after multiple 'bouts 'O "Red Mist" Reckless Driving during the 2015 Mid Ohio Trans Am event! While I'm also positive he briefly drove for Corvette Racing, albeit didn't wish to exhaust Thyself trying to corroborate this.

Meanwhile, Brendan Gaughan's name is synonymous with RASSCAR's Taxiland Bombers', where he's spent the majority of his racing career as a Professional Stock Car Driver, whom I've heard multiple times upon Speed freaks.

And I believe the chassis is a combination of Riley and Oh KanaDuhs' MultiMatic's concerns...