Friday, January 29, 2021

ROLEX 24: And Thee Number of the Beast is Seven for 2021!

Since Thars’ only seven top flight Dpi runners in the Shrinking Violets premiere Sports Car class, where those Caddy’s still outnumber Thar Competizione…


This year see’s IMSA making many changes towards it’s Sports Car landscape. Including holding it’s traditional, mandatory Roar Before Rolex 24 3-Day test session much later in the month on January 22-24. As the test serves as thou Pre-cursor to the Weathertech SportsCar Championship's Season Opening 24 Hours of Daytona event, this year on January 30-31.


And in lieu of the ever dwindling GT Le Mans (GT LM) Tintops class, IMSA has added a new Prototypes ranck called Le Mans Prototypes 3 (LMP3) to bolster Overall Car Count. Meaning there will now be three Prototypes classes, plus the two traditional Tintops categories og GT LM and Thar “Kissing Cousin’s” GT Daytona (GTD) entrants.


IMSA has also revised it’s points scoring system, which I won’t even bother trying to explain, other than the previous race results have been multiplied by a factor of 10 along with Qualifying points changing also. As you’ll need to keep your calculator andy!


According to Racer’s Marshall Pruett, Wayback on Jan 13th, the All Knowing sports Car Reporter claimed that Thars’ 50 entrants listed for the Roar Before and following race split fairly evenly between Prototypes and Saloons. As there’s 7 Dpi, 10 LMP2 and 7 LMP3 runners, a total of 24 Prototypes vs. 6 GT LM and 20 GTD competitors, or 26 Tinpops – giving us an almost 50-50 Split between the now five classes.


And although I prefer listening to the race via IMSA Radio with it’s lead announcer John Hindhaug & Co. As I’m Arse-sumin’ my confuzers’ back Up ‘N runnings, since I’m guessing I’ll be switching Screen Readers prgrammes before the race, Sigh! But I digress…


Presumabley Y'all can catch the first hour's television coverage on "Big NBC" a la last year’s TV Broadcast, along with multiple hours on NBC Sports. But Most Definitely Check Your local listings!


(DPi) Daytona Prototype International Class

ACURA (2)

Acura ARX-05

Engine: 3.5-litre V-6 Turbo

TEAMS:

#10) Wayne Taylor Racing

#60) Meyer Shank Racing


Arse-sumedly IndyCar Fans already know that El Capitano', nee Roger Penske Pulled Ye Pin upon his Werds’ Acura Team Penske Sports Car effort at the end of last year, as Honda and Roger decided to go in different directions. As I’ll guess that Penske is waiting to align itself with a new manufacturer for the upcoming LMDH category in 2023, which is just my edgaeMuhcated’ guess…


Thus Honda split up it’s two Acuras into single team efforts for 2021 between IndyCar’s Meyer shank Racing, who previously campaigned Thar IMSA Weathertech SportsCar GT Daytona Championship winning Acura NSX GT3 Evo’s the past two year. Along with the somewhat surprising move by Wayne Taylor, who’s been a longtime Bowtie’, nee GM, aka Cadillac runner…


Wayne Taylor Racing (WTR) will field reigning Driver’s Prototypes Co-Champion Ricky Taylor with Filipe Albuquerque as its regular season drivers. While triple Indy 500 winner HULIO', nee Helio Castroneves who won his first ever Championship title last year with Taylor will Moonlight at Daytona. And Arse-sumedly 2016 Indy 500 Cwinner Alexander Rossi who’s part of this year’s rolex 24 Quartet will be the team’s Endurance rounds Pilote.


Meyer Shank Racing (MSR) will run Multi Prototypeds champion Dane Cameron with Olivier Pla as it’s regular season HotSchues’. Whilst the Duo will be joined by Juan Pablo Montoya who won the 2019 Prototypes title alongside Cameron, will contest the Endurance rounds. With NBC Sports Colour commentator, Err Driver Analyst A.J. Allmendinger rounding out the driver’s Quartet for Daytona.


CADILLAC (4)

Cadillac DPi VR

Engine: 5.5-litre normally aspirated V-8

TEAMS:

#01) Chip Ganassi Racing

#5) JDC Miller Motorsports

Nos. 31 & 48) Action Express Racing


IndyCar diehards should also already know that Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) has ended it’s one year hiatus from Sports Car racing and will refoin the IMSA Prototype ranks with a single car Cadd-Oh-lac’ effort. Although I’ve got Zero Clue if they’re running last year’s Wayne Taylor Racing’s (WTR( Caddy prototype?


As Cheeps’ season regulars will consist of lead driver Renger van der Zande joined by former Haas Formula 1 driver Kevin Bacon’ Magnussen as a Rookie in Sports Cars.


Whilst Scotty Thee Iceman 2.0' Dixon wil Continue his Enduro' Specialist role he's previously held at WTR last year for longtime Boss thou cheeptster’, aka Chip Ganassi.


JDC Miller Motorsports, who ran a two car Cadd-Oh-lacc’ programme last year has slimmed down to just one Cadillac Dpi VR Prototyped entry this season, and I’ve got no idea who the Full season Chauffeurs of the No. 5 Mustang “Sally,” Err Sampling Caddy’ will be?


Yet making his return for another rolex 24 outing is IndyCar Driver le Hamburgular', nee SeaBass or simply Sebastain Bourdais. Who after being unceremoniously Dumped by Dale Coyne and His alphabet Soup Brigade for 2020 joined JDC Miller Motorsports Fulltime last year.


Bourdais as we All know, has now joined A.J. foyt Enterprises as it’s storied No. 14 Full season Pilote for 2021, but returns to the Sports Car team he’s well aclimated with as it’s Headliner Driver.


Former IndyCar compatriot Tristan Turbo' Vautier who got what’s become normal for Sam Schmidt, known simply as the Bump ‘N Run! Where Schmidt takes a promising Indy Lights Champion’s prize money and guaranteed Indy 500 outing before jettisoning said driver the following season, can Y’all say Oliver Askew? Returns to the Sports Car team he’s called home the past few years. While ormer 24 Heurs du Mans winner Loic Duvall will fill out the Daytona Drivers line-up, giving the “Mach 5 Mustang Sally” cockpit an All French Driver trio.


Action Express Racing (AXR) will once again be fielding just the #31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac for the entire Weathertech SportsCar Championship campaign with Pipo Derani and Felipe Nasr behind Ye Keyboard.


While reigning NASCAR Cup Champion Chase Elliot will make his Sports Car Debut at this year’s rolex 24 along with former IndyCar winner Mike "Ice-Ice, Baby!" Conway


Yet most eyes will probably be focused upon the second AXR entry sporting the familiar #48 with Seven-times NASCAR Champion Jimmy Johnson spearheading it’s Mega All Star Drivers line-up.


JJ’ (Jimmy Johnson) will be joined by 2019 Indy 500 winner Simon Pagenaud. With K-Squared', aka Kamui Kobayashi now outta wrists after winning his second Rolex time-piece last year with consecutive Rolex 24 victories aboard the #10 WTR Caddy' moving to AXR. While Mike Rocky’ rockenfeller, a past Rolex 24 and 24 Heurs du Mans race winner fills out the Driver Quartet.


MAZDA (1)

Mazda RT24P

Engine: 2.0-litre Inline-4 turbo

Team: Mazda Motorsports


Unfortunately, due to the massive Financial Downturn during the ongoing COVID 19 Pandemic, Mazda has decided to cut back to only one Factory effort entry this seasin. Parking it’s traditional second #77 Dpi entry.


Oliver Jarvis who’s always Bloody Fast! Will lead the way aboard the "Double Nickel" #55 Mazda RT24P with Co-Driver Harry Tincknell as it’s regular season Chauffeurs. While Jonathan Bomarito will see his role reduced this year to only running the endurance races.

Meanwhile, or as The Late Show’s Steven Cobert enjoys saying during his monologues, Quarantine-while’, Hya! Longtime No Fenders favourite Tristan Nunez will take up an Mazda Ambassodor role this year, while also being granted permission to find other drives outside the Dpi category. As Nunez will Co-drive the #11 Wyn autosports LMP2 entry.

 

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