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:
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