Watch the exciting qualifying session from the 55th running of The Rolex 24 At Daytona. The first race of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship season and Round 1 of the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup.
Despite a test in December followed by the Roar Before the Rolex 24 after the New Year, it wasn’t clear who would be fastest in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s premier class, Prototype (P), when they hit the track this weekend.
The world debut of the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT race car came at the 2016 Rolex 24 At Daytona, but it was a race Ford would rather forget, as both cars suffered from mechanical issues that ruined their chances for a solid finish.
Of course, the team made up for that with a class win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans on the 50th anniversary of the race victory of the original Ford GT, and put together a solid 2016 season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
With the eyes of the racing world focused on the 55th Rolex 24 At Daytona this weekend, the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) prepares for a weekend highlighting an unprecedented amount of official automotive partners.
Between the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, IMSA now has 17 official automotive partners, including five that are new for 2017: Acura, Cadillac, Lexus, McLaren and Mercedes-AMG. The complete list is as follows:
The Lexus RC F GT3 will make its IMSA race debut in the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the manufacturer has chronicled its journey back to sports car racing with a three-part video series that can be viewed on the LexusVehicles YouTube page. The videos include on-track footage and interviews as the manufacturer, TRD (Toyota Racing Development) and team partner 3GT Racing prepare for the Lexus GTD entries to take their maiden voyages on the Daytona road course, and as Lexus prepares to learn racing technologies that can transfer to its F and F SPORT production vehicles.
This year’s Rolex 24 At Daytona marks fifty years since one of the race’s most famous finishes.
Ferrari arrived at the 1967 Rolex 24 At Daytona with four cars targeting the overall victory, including the two examples of the new 330 P4. After twenty-four hours, the 330 P4 of Chris Amon and Lorenzo Bandini had done just that. The image of the three red Ferraris, led by Amon and Bandini’s No. 23 Ferrari 330 P4, became one of the most famous images in the race’s history.
This weekend, 55 cars will take to the track for the 55th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the opening race of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup. This year’s field includes brand new Daytona Prototype international and LM P2 prototype cars, as well as several new GT racecars and manufacturers – all ready to usher in the new era of North American sports car endurance racing.
It isn’t unheard of for a race car driver to take part in sports such as cycling or running to keep fit in between races; but Robin Liddell, driver of the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Audi R8 LMS, has taken his pre-Rolex 24 training to a whole new level with competitive Nordic skiing.
There’s seldom any shortage of excitement at the Rolex 24 At Daytona, North America’s toughest, most prestigious sports car endurance race.
For the 55th running of the Rolex, though, the excitement has started long before the green flag drops Saturday afternoon. That excitement is about what’s on the grid – an all-new field of Prototype race cars, the fastest, most technologically advanced machines ever in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.