Although You’ll need Eyes Sharp as those Proverbial Rats to tell the two GTD Classes apart…
As where’s Bloody ‘Ol Hobbo’, nee HobbsCapp’, aka David Hobbs when Yuhs needs Him for some Comic relief, Righto?
As this year’s 60th edition of the Rolex 24 sees 35 GT3 tintops’ machinery spread across the two Gran Tourismo classes, i.e.; GTD Pro with 13 entries, and GTD (Daytona) having over a third of the field with it’s 22 entries. As the biggest news is the “robust” Debutante GTD Pro outing at Day-toner’, for which Y’all can read about the Sporting and Technical Regulations for the new Class in the link below…
GTD Pro Class
Aston Martin #23, BMW Nos. 24-25, corvette Nos. 3-4, Ferrari #62, Lamborghini #63, Lexus #14, Mercedes AMG Nos. 15, 97 and Porsche Nos. 2, 9 and 79.
As mentioned, a robust 13 entries will take the Green Flag for the Debutante GTD Pro outing at Daytona International Speedway. With three Porsches, two BMW’s, Corvettes and Mercedes AMG’s apiece. Plus single car entries from Aston Martin, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Lexus.
As the easiest way to think about this class is that GTD Pro features All Professionaly ranked, i.e.; Factory racing drivers vs. the Amateur, or “Gentlemen” Drivers in the other portion of GTD…
Naturally I’m Not gonna try chronicling all of these entries, other than it’ll be interesting to See how the mighty Corvette C8.R’s do, having been converted from GT Le Mans Specification to GT3 Specs in order to compete in GTD Pro, which apparently included the conversion to ABS Brakes. As the No. 3 with Jordan Taylor, Antonio Garcia and Nicky Catsburg are the Defending GT LM class winners.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing brings a brace of shiny new BMW M4 GT3 Coupes to the party, as it prepares for graduating to the IMSA LMDH Prototype ranks next year, as it’ll be the debut of the new M4 in competition.
Per typical, I’ll be rootin’ for my Homeboyz’ team Heart of Racing, who’ve split their efforts to include one Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 racecar apiece in GTD Pro and GTD. With the iconic #23 now racing in the Pro ranks with Ross gunn, Maxine Martin and Alex Riberas at it’s controls.
The No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Racing Lexus features current and former A.J. foyt Enterprises IndyCar Drivers at it’s keyboard, with Kyle Kirkwood and Jack Hawksworth joined by Ben Barnicoat.
The Weathertech boyz’ have an interesting three car Armada this year, with two different German Makes, i.e.; Mercedes and Porsche. As one driver of note in the #15 Mercedes 6.2-liter Normally Aspirated V-8 AMG GT3 Evo is a bloke by the name of Austin Cindric. As perhaps you’ve heard of him? As his Pappy’s none other than Tim cindric, President of Team Penske, with Austin making his Rookie Debut in NASCAR this season…
As obviously, I’d say this Class, plus it’s GT Daytona Kissing cousins “Amateur” category is Wide Open!
(GTD) GT Daytona Class
As noted, the GTD Class fields over one third of the entire Grid’s entries at 22 strong, so Ain’t even gonna try chronicling them, Zoinks! As Thars multiple manufacturers involved, with the likes of Acura, Aston Martin, BMW, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lexus, McLaren, Mercedes and Porsche. As you’ll definitely need a Score Card to keep track of ‘em All. As I believe that the two McLaren 720s GT3’s are making McLaren’s 24 Hours of Daytona Debut? So here’s just a few tidbits I’ve gleamed after perusing the entry list…
Once again, Ladies First, El Correctomundo? Having just learned that past IndyCar Femme Fatale Thy Leggy Juan’, aka Katherine Legge will share the #99 Porsche 911 GT3 R Team Hardpoint EBM entry with part time IndyCar Driver Stefan Stork’ Wilson as part of it’s Drivers line-up.
The No. 57, Nah, No Heinz 57 Jokes Here, Hya! Winward Motorsport Mercedes AMG GT3 Evo returns as the Defending GTD Class winners, but presumably will be hard pressed to repeat as consecutive Class winners, Ja Ja!
And I’ll be interested to See how the #96 Turner Motorsports Boyz’ do, since Turner will also be campaigning the brand new BMW M4 GT3, replacing it’s long in the tooth, faithful M6 predecessor.
As once again, it’s lead drivers features Bimmer billy’, aka Bill Auberlen who currently holds the record for most major career victories in IMSA Overall, now at 65 to date, Me Thinks? )Although it may be 63?) Whilst Auberlen’s team-mate Robby Foley will be on tap again, with Michael Dinan and Jens Klingman filling out the Rolex 24 roster.
Then a la Heart of Racing, Vasser Sullivan Racing’s (VSR) ‘Ol Top Jimmy’ Vasser and James Sully’ Sullivan have taken the Split GTD class strategy, seeing it’s #12 Lexus RC F GT3 Saloon featuring (Townsend) T-Bell’ making another rolex 24 Cameo. Alongside regular season Drivers Frankie Montecalvo and Aaron Telitz, plus Richard Heistand makes up the Driver Quartet at Day-Toner’.
Naturally I’ll be rootin’ as usual for who’ll always be my Homeboyz’, fondly known forever as Team Seattle, even if they’re just now the Heart of Racing in those Bitchin’ as No Fenders Moniker King Randal would say! Aston Martin Vantage GT3’s, since they’ve added a second car this season. With Roman DeAngelis sliding over to the No. 27 with is ”Boss” Ian James, Darren Turner and Tom Gamble.
While the #44 Magnus Racing has also joined the AMR Brigade, switching over to an Aston Martin Vantage after running a Nasty Acura NSX GT3 Evo last year. As Andy “the Enforcer” Lally, John Potter, Spencer Pumpelly and Jonathan Adam are definitely worth keeping an eye upon.
As Lally reputedly is still the current winningest driver at Daytona, with a Mega five Rolex 24 Class victories to his credit, which I’ve scribbled ‘bout previously…
Meanwhile, paying semi close Attenzione during the Rolex 24 Motil 100 Qualifying race. I learned that The McLaren 720s GT3’s were the numbers 59 and 70, run by Crucial Motorsports and Inception Motorsports respectively, with the No. 59 finishing runner-up in the GTD Class’s One Hour 40mins Qualie’ race.
As reputedly these racecars list for a cool $564k! Which may be why so few are being raced? While reportedly 90% of the GT3 racecar is different from the 4.0-litre twin turbo V-8 road going McLaren 720s!
And that’s just a semi short ‘N Sweet review of the 22 Strong GTD entrants, with No Disrespect towards those I’ve left out, but my latest three part No Fenders Rolex 24 preview tome is simply getting too long in Ye proverbial Tooth. Not to mention I’m busy now listening to the gory Race!
Please forgive me for inserting overly long Hyperlink addresses in this No Fenders Post. Unfortunately being blind, and Not being able to see the various Icons, etc. it’s currently the only way I know how to insert/use them in a story…