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Top drivers come together for the weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona

The No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing w/ Curb-Agajanian Acura DPi of Juan Pablo Montoya, Dane...

The No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing w/ Curb-Agajanian Acura DPi of Juan Pablo Montoya, Dane Cameron, Olivier Pla, and AJ Allmendinger in the course of a exercise session for the Rolex 24 at Daytona. (Getty Photographs)


The Rolex 24 at Daytona is after once again stacked with superstars — Kevin Magnussen contemporary out of Components A single, reigning IndyCar champion Scott Dixon and Chase Elliott, two months taken out from his first NASCAR title — all portion of a strong discipline of fifty entries just a 12 months taken out from a file-small car rely.

Even in a pandemic, the Rolex 24 is the location to be for racers.

The prestigious worldwide sports car race began in 1962 as the 3-hour Daytona Continental just before Monthly bill France Sr. expanded it 4 a long time later on into a two times-around-the-clock stamina celebration. France required the prime road racers in the earth at his Florida facility and established the stage for them to appear.

“He experienced the eyesight of best drivers, best autos, best groups and this 12 months in specific seriously shines,” reported John Doonan, president of IMSA, the sports car collection owned by the France family members. “This celebration is a location where drivers can contend in opposition to the best of the best. It’s the best gathering of champions around the earth from every single self-control below the sunshine.”

Jimmie Johnson, the 7-time NASCAR champion headed to IndyCar this 12 months as a rookie, will be behind the wheel of an Action Express Cadillac when the race starts Saturday. It will be Johnson’s eighth Rolex, first in a decade, and he is portion of an all-star lineup searching for heritage.

The No. 48 — managing in partnership with Hendrick Motorsports of NASCAR — involves Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud, previous Rolex and Le Mans winner Mike Rockenfeller and Kamui Kobayashi, who is hoping to grow to be the first driver to gain 3 straight Rolex watches in race heritage.

Kobayashi need to contend with Renger van der Zande, his teammate on the winning Wayne Taylor Racing entry the final two period. WTR split by moving from Cadillac to an Acura factory system this period and Kobayashi and van der Zande went their independent approaches.

Both of those return to Daytona in Cadillacs, van der Zande as the entire-time driver along with Magnussen in Chip Ganassi Racing’s return to the IMSA collection just after a one particular-12 months hiatus.

WTR is even now stacked, although, with a lineup showcasing reigning IMSA champions Ricky Taylor and Helio Castroneves, as well as Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi. Michael Shank Racing fields the second Acura entry with two-time Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya, AJ Allmendinger and 2019 IMSA champion Dane Cameron.

Elliott makes his debut in the Action Express entry that begins from the pole Saturday. His Cadillac team involves entire-time IMSA drivers Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani, as well as veteran Mike Conway, and the trio has been affected person in teaching Elliott about sports autos.

Elliott has won 4 consecutive NASCAR road system races over the final two seasons but insisted it presents him no leverage at the Rolex.

“It’s just a new ball video game, anything contemporary and unique and I comprehend the challenges are excellent and there’s a good deal for me to study,” Elliott reported. “When you demonstrate up to anyone else’s playground it is likely to be rough — some of the best road system racers in the earth are right here.”

The prime DPi class has 7 entries — 4 Cadillacs, two Acuras and a Mazda — among the discipline of fifty autos. Previous year’s race was a Rolex-small 38 entries. Of notice:

— Katherine Legge will contend for the first time because breaking equally her legs in a crash final summer months. She reported she’s ninety nine% healed just after six months of rehabilitation and is teamed for the 3rd consecutive 12 months with Christina Nielsen. They are portion of a Porsche 911 GT3R lineup in the loaded twenty-car GT Daytona class.

— Zach Veach makes his sports car debut just after 7 seasons racing Indy autos. He misplaced his seat at Andretti Autosport late final 12 months and has created the career shift to IMSA, where he is landed a entire-time experience with VasserSullivan Racing. Veach will run for the GTD championship in a Lexus RC F GT3 with sturdy level of competition from a second VasserSullivan entry piloted by Jack Hawksworth and Aaron Tellitz.

— Wayne Taylor Racing is the two-time defending race winning team and has 3 overall victories in the final 4 Rolex races. The team will adjust to its new Acura DPi with Ricky Taylor, Cameron and Rossi, who all drove the car the final 3 seasons for Workforce Penske.

— Magnussen has strike a reset on his career just after 7 winless seasons in F1. He misplaced his seat with Haas at the end of final period and created the swap to sports autos. Magnussen and van der Zande are the entire-time drivers for Ganassi, who has eight Rolex victories — six overall wins and two class wins.

“I think it’s excellent to be with an firm that is all about winning,” Magnussen reported. “The organization design of Chip Ganassi Racing is winning — that’s what drives this team and keeps it likely and its what keeps this team in existence.”


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