Saturday, January 25, 2020

ROLEX 24: Updated Entry List, BoP Refinements Announced - and Resources Guide



As what would 'Ol Bob Varsha say? turn U-P the Volume!

Thirty-eight entries are slated to take the Green Flag this Saturday, Jan 25th, with NBC's television coverage beginning at 10:30AM Pacific, before switching to NBC Sports, (NBCSN) along with IMSA Radio also available.

As a second LMP2 entry has scratched due to heavy crash damage during the Roar Before the Rolex test, leaving just 5 LMP2 competitors to battle for class honours.

Apparently Indianapolis 500 Specialist James Davison Done Crashed the lone Riley Mk 30/Gibson V-8 #2 Rick Ware Racing entry, which will not contest the race.


Also, the GTD #54 Black Swan Racing Porsche 911 suffered heavy impact during Thursday morning practice and is undergoing a Thrash to hopefully complete repairs in order to contest the Rolex 24, but no word on whether they'll answer "The Bell?"  


Meanwhile, I won't try explaining it all, since it seems a bit too Antiseptic for Mwah, stealing Der Heindenmeier's words regarding BoP, which stands for Balance of Performance. When IMSA Artificially tweaks each entry's "Absolute" performance to ensure close racing between each Classes discipline.


Lastly, Y'all can peruse Racer's Resource's Guide to follow along for this weekend's epic 58th running of the vaunted Rolex 24 live from Daytona International Speedway.

As I know I'm looking forward to tuning in for copious amounts of race coverage via IMSA Radio, as it's good to hear John Hindhaugh & Companys voices once again! whilst I'll drop into NBC's TV Coverage in order to hear Leigh Diffey and presumably Professor B', aka Jon Beekhuis...


Whilst Qualifying for the four respective Classes took place on Thursday, with Oliver Jarvis in the #77 Mazda once again capturing the Overall Pole, but does it really matter for this 24 Hours race?

Friday, January 24, 2020

ROLEX 24: Roar Before Daytona Test Highlights Lamborghini Armada Chasing History at this year's Race



Can one of the three Grasser Racing Teams Lamborghini Huracan's give the Austrian GTD squad an unlikely Three-peat at Daytona? (Image source: imsa.com)
But who knows who'll actually win Thar respective categories this year? And I'd Arse-sume' the Odds are against Lamborghini...

Although playing a "Supporting Role," Hey Ain't It Oscar Time, El Correctomundo? Making up the Bulk of the Field are the Tintop Boys'; Err Saloon Drivers, since Thars' One All Femme Fatales Chariot on thoust Grid.

(GT LM) GT Le Mans Class
The Tide seems to be going Out upon this Gran Torismo (GT) Category, which is reduced to a paltry Two-by-Two of Works entries from BMW, Corvette and Porsche, with a solitary Ferrari interloper thrown in.

Day-1 of testing saw Boobie Ruble', nee Bobby Rahal & Company's GT LM BMW M8 GTE Squad's IndyCar Darling Colton Herta running second fastest aboard the #25 behind one of the Porsche 911 RSR's.

Then Colton finished the first day P1 before the mighty Porsche 911 Panzerwagons flexed Thar Teutonic Muscle, ending the 3-Day Test quickest of the GT Le Mans runners.

Speakin' of Herta's, ran across the interesting news via Racer that BHA, nee Bryan Herta Autosport has reunited with former IndyCar Driver Gabby Chaves, expanding its Michelin Pilot Challenge Hyundai "Velociraptor" squad to three cars, along with former Indy Lights racer Ryan Norman.

As the Michelin Pilot Challenge series appears to be the "Indy Lights" version of IMSA Touring Cars to Mwah, making me ponder if BHA will one day move up to IMSA GTD competition? 


But back to the Big Boyz' of GT Le Mans,
, albeit this category's highly diminished with thou absence of Chip Ganassi Racing's brace 'O Ford GT's!

And although the Porsche's most likely will win again, many eyes will be focused upon the Debut of Corvette's first ever Mid-engine racecar, while the Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE may wish to throw a Spanner in everybody else's Party!


(GTD) GT Daytona Class
With this category comprising of nearly 50% of thoust Grid, I simply AIN'T Gonna even attempt covering all of them in Depth; CRIKEYS!

Other then I'll note Thars' 2 Acura's,  2 Aston Martin's, 1 Audi, 1 BMW, 1 Ferrari, 5 Lamborghini's, 2 Lexus's, 1 Mercedes and 3 Porsche's on thou entry list; Aye Karumba!

Acura NSX GT3 Evo
Engine: 3.5-litre V-6 turbo
Team: Meyer Shank Racing Nos. 57 & 86

SuperMario', nee Mario Farnbacher returns as the Defending GTD Champion with new Co-driver Matt mcMurray, who'll be partnered at DayToner' by Jules Gounon, son of Jean Marc Gounon, former Minardi & Simtek Formula 1 Driver, and Shinya Michimi.

The #57 Heinricher Racing with Meyer Shank Racing sports an All new Driver line-up with Misha Goikhberg and former MSR Standout Alvaro Parente this year, with the Damaged NSX having been repaired Justin-time' for the Rolex 24.

Once again the #57 sees 'Ol Walldinger', nee NBC Sports Talkin' Headz A.J. Allmendinger playin' Ketsup by Moonlighting behind its Keyboard, with Trent Hindman filling out the Driving roster.

Aston Martin AMR Vantage GT3
Engine: 4.0-litre V-8 Turbo
Teams: #23 Heart of Racing & #98 Aston Martin Racing

Although I'm not expecting much from the brand new Aston Martin's this year, naturally I'm hoping for good things for my Home Team's #23 Heart of Racing/Team Seattle effort which I've previously scribbled bout here upon No Fenders.


While the No. 98 Factory effort seems to be playing Ketsup since one of its Works Drivers, Paul Dalla Lana had to Scratch due to injury suffered during a Skiing accident, and a last minute replacement found, with AMR Junior Driver Andrew Watson Deputizing for the injured Dalla Lana.

Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo
Engine: 5.2-litre normally aspirated V-10
Teams: #11 GRT Grasser Racing Team, #19 GRT GEAR Racing Team, #44 GRT Magnus Racing Team, #47 Precision Performance Motorsports and #48 Paul Miller Racing

While Y'all cannot count out past GTD Champions Paul Miller Racing or the Magnus Racing Boyz', who've now merged with GRT Grasser Racing to form an Austrian Three-piece Lambo' "super-team!" I'm most interested in the newly reconstituted #19 Hurricane Squad.

As Thy Leggy Juan', nee Katherine Legge and Cristina Nielsen have moved Thar le Femmes' Driving Squad here with a brand new 100% Femme Fatales effort under the Girls Empowered Around Racing (GEAR) Banner!

As Legge & Nielsen who'll contest the Full-season will be joined at Daytona by aspiring Formula 1 Alfa Romeo Racing Test Driver and  FIA F2 racer Tatiana Calderon and Rahel Frey.

As I believe that Frey, who I've never paid Attenzione to before is a last minute replacement for BIA', aka Ana Beatriz, whilst ironically Rahel replaced Legge in DTM. And the 43yr old Switzerland Driver who's carved out a career in Sports Car racing is probably tired of hearing 'bout fellow Swiss "Simona-Simona's" (de Silvestro) exploits, Ya Sure Yuh Betcha!

As I say I haven't paid Attenzione to Rahel Fray since ironically, I did include her name in a brief No Fenders story I penned a decade ago regarding Tres le Femmes contesting le 24 Heurs du Mans, when the only Femme Fatale Driver I knew then was former Firestone Indy Lights competitor Cyndie Allemann...


Lexus RC F GT3
Engine: 5.0-litre normally aspirated V-8
Team: AIM Vasser Sullivan Nos. 12 & 14

Arguably the No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan (AVS) racecar with some good 'Ol Roundy Round Taxicab Driver by the name of Kyle Busch is the race's Biggest Star? Not to mention the GT Daytona classes Biggest Name, with All eyes focused upon 'Ol "Rowdy!" Who'll assist the regular Driving tandem of "Union" Jack Hawksworth and Parker Chase. With Michael De Quesada filling out the Daytona Quartet 'O Drivers.


But certainly thou Seester' #12 with NBC Sports Booth Boy (Townsend) T-Bell' and Frankie Montecalvo will have Somme-thun' to prove vs. that Taxicab Driver. As they'll have their own Star onboard with Thee Giz', nee Aussi V8 Supercars Star Shane van Gisbergen running another Rolex 24, along with Aaron Telitz at Daytona.

Porsche 911 GT3R
Engine: 4.0-litre Flat-Six, normally aspirated
Teams: #9 Faf Motorsport, #16 Wright Motorsports and #54 Black Swan Racing

Have read via Racer, Arse-sumedly from Crack Motorsports Reporter Marshall Pruett - hat those adorable Hosers from Up North Eh! The FAF Motorsports Crew have Ditched Thar Plaid Lumberjack look in favour of a new "softer" livery; Hya!

With Zachery Robichon being the only Holdover from last year's squad, as he and Scott Hargrove gave the #86 MSR Acura NSX Boyz' Fits last year, pressing them hard for the title before finishing runner-up in class if I remember correctly? so watch out for that Number Nine, No. 9, Number Nein; Ja Volt!

Other GTD entries...
Or should these be denoted as the "One Hit Wonders?" As Thars the #63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3, the #74 Mercedes/AMG Team Riley with Robinson Racing Merc' GT3 Evo, the #88 Audi Sport Team WRT Speedstar Audi R8 LMS Evo and the #96 Turner Motorsports BMW M6 GT3 All in thoust Fray, or is it Fringes?

Although one should never count out 'Ol Bimmer Billy', nee Bill Auberlen, his able Full season co-driver Robby Foley & Co. in the #96, since after all, Auberlen's Hell Bent upon Besting Scotty Scooter' Pruett for most Overall IMSA career victories, which they're currently tied upon at 60 apiece!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

ROLEX 24: Roar Before Daytona Test Hints towards Another 24hrs Sprintathon



Can the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac, winners of the 2018 Rolex 24 with it's All New Crew give JDC Miller Motorsports it's Debutante Rolex 24 victory and keep GM's winning streak intact? Photo by Cadillac Racing. (Image source: jalopnik.com)
As the Sounds 'O Musak'; Err racing motors resumes in Thee Panhandle State...

Per Tipicali, IMSA Rang in thoust New years with its traditional, mandatory Roar Before Rolex 24 3-Day test session, which reportedly saw 40 entrants participating between Jan 3-5.As the test serves as thou Pre-cursor to the Weathertech SportsCar Championship's Season Opening 24 Hours of Daytona event, this year on Jan 25-26th.

As Y'all can catch the first hour's television coverage on "Big NBC" beginning at 10:30AM Pacific, but Most Definitely Check Your local listings!

As the Pre-Roar Before Entry list comprised of 8 Big Boy Daytona Prototype International (DPi) competitors, where the Overall Winner should come from. Followed by a further 7 LMP2 "lower tier" Prototypes entries. While the Tintop Saloons ranks saw 7 of the top flight GT Le Mans (GT LM( cars listed, along with the largest category seeing a robust 18 entries in the Uber Stout GT Daytona (GTD) class.

(DPi) Daytona Prototype International Class
Arse-sumedly IndyCar Fans are Wwonderin' how Acura Team Penske will do at this year's Rolex 24? As El Capitano', nee Roger Penske's two car Armada returns intact, led by the reigning Prototypes Champions No. 6 entry of Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron, once again joined by 2019 Indy 500 winner  Simon Pagenaud.

Thee Seester' #7 Acura features HULIO', nee Helio Castroneves & Ricky Taylor at its controls, plus 2016 Indy 500 Champ Alexander Rossi, whom like Pagenaud will once again contest the endurance events.

Meanwhile The Dude', aka Bully-Ray'; Err Ryan Hunter-Reay has been announced as Mazda Team Joest's newest Endurance Specialist, racing the four longest rounds this season, i.e.; Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Petit Le Mans.

Whilst Scotty Thee Iceman 2.0' Dixon reprises his Enduro' Specialist role he's previously enjoyed  behind the Decommissioned Ford GT's now with Wayne Taylor Racing (WTR) alongside season regulars Ryan Briscoe and Renger van der Zande.

With K-Squared', aka Kamui Kobayashi looking to claim a second Rolex time-piece for his other wrist, after winning last year's Rolex 24 at the controls of the #10 Caddy' once again joining the WTR Drivers Quartet...

And Hunter-Reay picked a good chassis to race aboard, as his Co-Driver Harry Tincknell led the way aboard the "Double Nickel" #55 Mazda RT24P in the test's first session. Followed by the No. 10 WTR Cadd "Oh-lacc' and that Montoyer' Feller third aboard his #6 Acura.

As All three DPi Marques took their respective turns of being Quickest in practice with Mazda leading the majority of the test sessions, followed by Acura, when Ricky Taylor set an unofficial lap record during Sunday morning's test session. Before Cadillac finished on top of the Time Sheets.


Meanwhile, former A.J. Foyt Enterprises IndyCar Driver Matheus Leist didn't begin his new Sports Car career off too brightly, when he implanted his No. 85 JDC Miller Motorsports Cadillac VR DPi Prototype's Nose into one of DayToners' Walls; YOUCH!


But I'm sure the talented Brazilian ex-IndyCar driver will settle down, get comfortable aboard his new racecar and quickly get up to speed!

While Sacked IndyCar Pilot Sealmeister B', le Hamburgular', SeaBass or simply Sebastain Bourdais make's his Full-season Weathertech SportsCar Championship Debut aboard the newly re-anointed No. 5 Mustang Sally; Err Sampling Caddy' with another driver seeking refuge in SportsCar-land'.

As JB', aka João Barbosa partners the Champ Car Champion Fulltime aboard the lead #5 JDC Miller/Mustang Sampling Racing entry. While former 24 Heurs du Mans winner Loic Duvall will Co-drive at Daytona.

As Bourdais unexpected Fulltime inclusion at JDC Miller sees fellow Countryman and former IndyCar compatriot Tristan Turbo' Vautier getting shuffled to Part-time Driving status, as he'll partner Leist aboard the #85 for Daytona, and hopes for more outings.


Hmm, where'd I put those Vautier Sunglasses 'Ol CARPETS' got at Mother Speedway for Mwah, since it's so  Bloody Damn Bright I gottz-tuh' wear shades...

With No Disrespect intended towards the other two DPi entries, ergo the #31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac with Mike "Ice-Ice, Baby!" Conway as one of its chauffeurs. Or the second #77 Mazda, which Oliver Jarvis is always Bloody Fast! And Tristan Nunez is a longtime No Fenders favourite!

(LMP2) Le Mans Prototype Class
Although I totally understand why IMSA is loathe to enable these European "Second Tier" Prototypes having a legitimate shot at winning Overall, especially since they're trying to promote Thar Manufacturer Backed top flight DPi Brethren. But still, wouldn't it add intrigue to the race a la 'Ol Roger Penske's Porsche RS Spyder Days of Knocking Off the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Big boyz', Eh? But I Digress...

And while this categories mandated to run the (WEC) European Spec Gibson GK428 Naturally Aspirated V-8 lump', at least this year features different chassis makes, as well known Riley seeks its way back into Prototypes racing vs. the All Conquering Oreca marque.

As I'm most intrigued by the DragonSpeed effort, which continues making it's Stateside Footprint larger. With Elton Julian's IndyCar effort planning six races this season, with Ben Hanley announced for St Pete, the 34yr old Englishman will also contest the Rolex 24 behind the team's No. 81 Oreca/Gibson mount.

Hanley will be partnered by new team signing Colin Brown, who may show up in Indy Cars at some point this year? along with Sweden's HH' (Henric Hedman) and Harrison Newy, son of some Formula 1 Chassis Engineer Great named Adrian!

'RASSCAR's Rick Ware Racing, which saw owner Rick Ware as one of three NASCAR Team Owners Fined $50,000 for attempting to manipulate the regular season finishing order last year!

Makes it's Sports Car Debut in the burgeoning LMP2 class as the lone Riley Mk 30 chassis entrant with Indianapolis 500 Specialist, and current Jonathan Byrds Racing Chili Bowl racer James Davison as part of the Driver Quartet alongside Cody Ware.


NOTE: Upon finishing this story, and just days prior to going "Green!" I've learned that James Davison crashed the #2 Rick Ware Racing racecar and it's subsequently been pulled from the upcoming race...

Probably would be remiss to not mention 'Ol Razzle Dazzle', aka former Champ Car and perennial Sports Car Ace Ryan Dalziel, who makes up part of the fairly stout #8 Tower Motorsports by Starworks entry.

And I'm Arse-sumin' that the LMP2 Category will now only field six competitors, since the previously announce PR1 Motorsports #51 entry with its Drivers listed TBA - presumably Didn't take part in the Roar, and the team's confirmed it'll only be running one car, it's #52 at Daytona.

For the Gran Torismo' (GT) Saloon' categories, see; ROLEX 24: Roar Before Daytona Test Highlights Lamborghini Armada Chasing History at this year's Race