Monday, January 23, 2023

ROLEX 24: 2023 Saloons classes look to Show Off at Daytona

Especially with Thar three Brand New, Shiny Competitors…


Although they’ll definitely be overshadowed, a la All “supporting” Classes by the Headlining GTP Category.


But much excitement, like the Brand New GTP Class machinery has to be in the Tintops’ category. With initially two brand new, shiny Gran tourismo chassis, i.e.; Ferrari and Porsche.


Since I didn’t know who the third GT3 Manufacturer taking part in IMSA’s mandated test last December was? Where IMSA wanted to capture “Baseline” performance Data for it’s Dreaded BoP, aka Balance of Performance regulations.


Turns out Thars actually two new Italian marques vs. Germany’s lone entry. With Ferrari’s new 296 GT3 model. Lamborghini rolls out it’s new Huracan GT3 Evo2 model. While Porsche joins the party with it’s latest 911 GT3 R iteration, with All three debuting at Daytona.


(GTD) Grand Touring Daytona Saloons’

For which Y’all Arse-sumedly know is split into two classes, i.e.; GTD Pro an GTD. With All Competitors utilizing GT3 Spec’ racecars. And the easy difference is that GTD Pro consists of All Professional Drivers, Hence it’s Name vs. GTD running Amateur Drivers.


As once again, this will be the largest field overall at Day-toner’, with a total of 32 entries originally. Before IMSA granted an extra GTD entry on January 5th, bringing the total up to 33. Hmm, where have I heard that number 33 before, Eh?


The GTD Pro field comprises of eight cars, and GTD has more than triple that amount, i.e.; 25.



From what I could tell originally in Mid-December, before IMSA announced it’s initial 60 Car lineup. Thar were supposedly going to be nine GTD Pro entries for this year’s Rolex 24. Although I’ve since learned that the class has shrunk to eight entries. With one of the new Lambo’s and a Acura NSX being scratched, with a second Aston being added, Cornfuzed?


But we’ll had to wait until January’s Rolex 24 Entry list being confirmed to figure out who All of the Drivers are. Not to mention what categories everyone’s competing in!


Thus the GTD Pro field is comprised of the following Car numbers: #3 Corvette Racing: Corvette C8.R, #9 Pfaff Motorsports: Porsche 911 GT3 R, #14 Vasser Sullivan Racing: Lexus  RC F GT3, #23 Heart of Racing: Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3, #62 Risi competizione: Ferrari 296 GT3, #63 Iron Lynx: Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo2, #64 Team TGM with TF Sport: Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 and #79 WeatherTech Racing: Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo.



Ironically, I heard Graham Doodwin pleading with both the FIA and IMSA to quit putting out a Kuhzillion Entry list Press Releases. Since this then entails a million more Press releases from each individual racing team and a never ending game of Wackam-ahmole!


Since on Friday the 13th, turner Motorsports announced that it was now fielding one of it’s two BMW M4 GT3 entries in GTD Pro for the Michelin Endurance Cup rounds. Being the team’s No. 95 entry. Giving us a new total of nine GTD Pro entries.


Obviously this field is Stacked! And I have Zero Clue who to pick for winner! Although I suppose I’d have to lean towards either the No. 3 Corvette with Antonio Garcia, Tommy Milner and Jordan Taylor. Or the Defending Rolex 24 Class winning No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports entry. Whilst the #14 Lexus could be a Sleeper, since it won the final round last year, the Petit Le Mans with presumably the same Driver lineup of Jack Hawksworth, Ben Barnicoat and Kyle Kirkwood. Yet strangely Kirkwood’s been shifted to the team’s No. 12 entry instead. With Mike “Ice Ice, Baby!” Conway being tabbed as the third driver at Daytona.


And while I’ll forever be a Fan of Prancing Horses, I’m wondering it the #62 Risi competizione will suffer from Brand New Car Gremlins?


Which Ditto could be said about the #63 Iron Lynx Lambo’, which I’m Arse-suming many IndyCar Fans Eyeballs will be focused upon. Since Thar’s some Frenchman named Romain Grosjean as part of it’s Drivers Quartet.


Oh Yeah, how could I leave out what will forever be considered my Homeboyz’ entry? The No. 23 Heart of Racing with Ross Gunn, Alex Riberas and newcomer David Pittar.



This category is simply too large to completely go thru All of it’s first 24, then 25 and now back to 24 entries! And Arguably will feature some of the fiercest competition. Thus Thar will be several cars of interest for Mwah.


Beginning with two new team entries this year, both being Porsche 911 GT3 R customers. As I just learned about Kelly Moss Racing thanks to Marshall Pruett’s interview with Female Team Owner Victoria Thomas last October.


As they’ve teamed up with Riley Technologies and will run a two car entry at Daytona, and All four Endurance events with the Nos. 91-92. While it’s the #91 entry’s Drivers I’m most curious about, since Kelly Moss is running a Femme Fatale Driver Full Season this year.


Although the team’s now finalized it’s two cars line-ups, along with upgrading the #92 to a Full season effort. The Femme Fatale in Question is Sabre Cook, who’ll be chauffeuring Kelly Moss’s 911 Panzerwagen in the North America Porsche Carrera Cup series this year instead…


The No. 53 MDK Motorsports Porsche 911 entry will be a fun one to keep track of. Specifically since Half of it’s Drivers are Magnussen’s. With Father Jan and Son Kevin teaming up again. This time joining Trenton Estep and Mark Kvamme.


Unfortunately, just a Fortnight prior to the race. Kevin announced He would be having surgery performed to His left wrist to remove a syst causing it to be painfully sore. And most likely would have to miss racing at Daytona in order to Heal 100% for His upcoming Formula 1 season with Haas F1…


Also before Christmas was Ah-waitin’ to find out which Femme Fatals would be piloting the All Female No. 83 Iron Dames Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo2?


As the team’s finally revealed that Rahel Frey, Michelle Gatting and Sarah bovy will be joined by Doriane Pim. As Pim Deputized for Bovy last May at the Six Hours of Spa, making Her FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) GTE Am Debut. And the 19yr Old Teenager Pim who Hails from Ivry-Sur-Seine, Paris (France) is the reigning Ferrari Challenge Europe series Champion. Whilst Frey, Gatting and Bovy have all raced together previously in WEC, including last season aboard the Iron Dames No. 85 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo…


As the Diversity of this class is wonderful! With nine different Manufacturers: Acura, Aston Martin, BMW, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lexus, McLaren, Mercedes and Porsche.


Thus the three BMW M4 GT3’s shouldn’t be overlooked. With the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing and Turner Motorsport No. 96 entries in the GTD class. Having already mentioned the late news of Turner entering it’s #95 in the GTD Pro category above.


And Yuhs should never count out Magnus Racing. As it’s No. 44 Aston Martin is stacked with Andy “The Enforcer” Lally, Spencer Pumpelly and John Potter. Plus Nicki thiim for Daytona.


And since I’m running long here, just a few more quick Jots’. As I’ll expect SuperMarioII’ to be back in Gradient Racing’s 66 Acura NSX. As Mario Farnbacher, Kyffin Simpson and Till Hechtolsheimer won last year’s Petit Le Mans season finale aboard this Acura NSX GT3 Evo22. Although Kyffin Simpson’s moved up to the LMP2 Prototypes category this year.


As Gradient’s announced an All Femme Fatale regular season line-up with Thy Leggy Juan’, aka Katherine Legge being joined by IMSA GTD Rookie Sheena Monk. With the Duo being joined at Daytona by Mario Farnbacher and Marc Miller.


While the No. 93 WTR-Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX sees Former IndyCar Star Ryan Briscoe as part of the Quartet at it’s controls, as it’s Biggest “Name” Driver.


As Arse-sumedly both the #93 and #66 Acura NSX GT3 Evo22’s are the ex-Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX’s…


And I always have a “Soft Spot” for former Champ Car racer Jan Van Hagar’ Heylen and the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.


And most definitely cannot forget the other Half of my perennial Homeboyz’ Squad Heart of Racing’s No. 27 Aston Martin. With GTD Champion Roman De Angelis at the wheel, along with new Full season Co-Pilot Marco Sorenson. With Team leader Ian James and Darren Turner joining at Daytona.


“As let’s Get Ready to Rumble!”