Tuesday, January 24, 2023

ROLEX 24: Can an LMP2 Prototype Pull Off a Shock win at this year’s Daytona 24 Hours race?

Which would be an unexpected triumph. Since somehow I’m sorta expecting one of the Cadillac V-LMDH’s to be victorious instead…


As Y’all should know? This year sees the introduction of the vaunted GTP Hybrid Prototypes class. For which part of me is wishing for a repeat of History. When twenty years ago a Corvette GT1 “Saloon” won Overall when All of the brand new Grand Am (DP) Daytona Prototypes failed to win!


As it would be fun to see an tried ‘N true LMP2 chassis unexpectedly win Overall, a la the Good ‘Ol Dazes of ALMS when Roger Penske’s Porsche RS Spyders played Dragon slayers over the vaunted LMP1 machinery…


And although they’ll definitely be overshadowed by the Headlining GTP Class. You’d have to argue that this year’s initial LMP2 Classes very small four car field of published entrants when I began this in Mid-December, was certainly Chock Full of Driving talent!


Although reportedly Rick Ware Racing was planning to join the party prior to The Roar Before Daytona, which took us to five LMP2 entries. Before it was reported on December 15th that the LMP2 Class would be comprised of a total of 10 (presumably) Oreca 07/Gibson V-8 chassis, for which I’ve got No Clue who they are?


But it’s funny how the info’s being dribbled out via Intravenous Drip…


Since after IMSA announced it’s initial 60 Car lineup, the #04 CrowdStrike Racing by ATR, #18 Era Motorsport, #20 High Class Racing, #51 Rick Ware Racing, #52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports, #55 Proton Competition and #88 AF Corse remaining unnamed LMP2 entries were revealed. With the previously revealed Racing for Turkey entry being scratched.


Whilst I know absolutely Nothing about the LMP3 Classes nine car entry. Other than it’s reportedly split with four Duqueine M30’s vs. five Ligier JS P320 entries. For which presumably one of those nine LMP3 entries is for Andretti Autosport and Jarett Andretti…


But more than Half of the field’s original 60 entries Drivers rosters were TBA, which we’ll have to wait until the Roar to be certain who’s driving what in this year’s field of now 61 entries.


(LMP2) Le Mans Prototype 2

Obviously the Biggest News in this Supporting class field is the inclusion of two-thirds of Team Penske’s IndyCar lineup making Thar Rolex 24 Debut’s. As Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin will Co-Drive with Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR( Development Driver and Indy NXT competitor Kyffin Simpson aboard Team Owner John farano’s No. 8 Tower Motorsports entry.


But the Tower Boyz’ will have Thar Hands Full with reportedly Stout Competizione from the #11 TDS Racing entry. Which features Ed Carpenter Racing’s (ECR) IndyCar Driver Rinus VeeKay joining Scott Huffaker, Mikkel Jensen and Steven Thomas.


As TDS Racing, who’s the only two car LMP2 entry, sees it’s Seester Car #35 with former Formula 1 Bad Boy “Guido the Dutchman,” aka Giedo van der Garde spearheading it’s Driver lineup. With Francois Heriau and local Homeboy’ Indy NXT Rookie Josh Pierson behind it’s Keyboard. As I was surprised to read Pierson’s name on it’s Drivers rostrum. Whilst I’ve never heard of the second “Dutchie” Driver Job van Uitert before.


Meanwhile the #18 Era Motorsport entry also fields a Stout lineup. Led by regular season Drivers Ryan “Razzle Dazzle” Dalziel and Dwight Merriman. The pair will be joined at Daytona by Defending Overall winner Oliver Jarvis and Indy NXT Driver Christian Rasmussen.


The Rick Ware Racing (RWR) #51 entry was initially slated as the only Non Oreca LMP2 chassis in the field. As RWR was said to be running the solitary Ligier JS P217 chassis instead.


Yet when finally learning who the RWR Drivers Quartet was on January 10th, the team had apparently switched over to an Oreca 07/Gibson V-8 entry instead. While Eric Lux is probably the most unheralded of it’s four drivers, even if He is the defending Class winner…


Can only Arse-sume that both Proton Competition and AF Corse are using Daytona as a tune-sup for their forthcoming Big boyz’ future Prototypes campaigns. As Proton Competition will field a customer Porsche 963 in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) this year. Most likely at the Six Hours of Spa on April 29th.


While AF Corse will become la Scuderia’s Factory teamwith it’s Brace of Werks’ Ferrari 499P’s also in the WEC, which will make their competizione Debut at this year’s 1,000 miles of Sebring race on March 17th.


(LMP3) Le Mans Prototype 3

Yes indeed! The No. 36 Andretti Autosport LMP3 entry is on the Grid again, sporting a very interesting line up. With Andretti namesake Jarett being joined by former IndyCar driver Gabby Chaves, Dakota Dickerson and Rasmus Lind.


As Dakota won the 2018 U.S. formula 4 and 2019 FR3 Americaas Championships before focusing on the lower tier LMP3 Prototypes. While Rasmus has struggled to find the necessary funding to keep His Single Seaters career going. And currently is part of HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing’s nine car Indy NXT Armada, making Him our fourth Indy NXT driver on this year’s grid.


Whilst Y’all can never count out the #33 Sean Creech Motorsports entry of Joao Barbosa Along with Lance Willsey, Nico Pino and Danny Sofi. As Barbosa’s simply a Bad Arse Racer whose won Daytona Overall three times! Who along with Willsey combine to be 108 years Old, Youza! Although I know Nothing about His co-Drivers, especially the two “Young Pups” on the squad.


While another Driver from Up North Eh! Who’s got a great name is Garett Grist, who’s Open Wheel Racing career never quite panned out. As the former Indy Lights competitor Grist as part of Junior III Motorsports #30 entry.