Stars Aplenty Geared Up for Three-Day Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona
Tuesday, December 31, 2019

A star-studded field of drivers returns to Daytona International Speedway this weekend for the annual Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona from Friday, Jan. 3 through Sunday, Jan. 5.

The three-day test session is mandatory for all teams planning to compete in the 58th Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 23-26, and 40 cars have been entered across the four competing classes. This event has long been recognized as the kick off to the racing season and as a result, attracts superstar drivers from throughout the world of motorsport.

Among the luminaries participating in the Roar this weekend will be two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch, fresh off his 2019 championship-winning campaign. Busch will get his first taste of the No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 that he will share with co-drivers Parker Chase, Jack Hawksworth and Michael De Quesada.

Busch and the No. 14 team are participating in the GT Daytona (GTD) class, which is the largest in the field with 18 entries from nine different manufacturers.

Other notable GTD entries include the all-female lineup of Katherine Legge, Christina Nielsen, Tati Calderon and Rahel Frey in the No. 19 GEAR Racing powered by GRT Grasser Lamborghini Huracán GT3; the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 led by driver Bill Auberlen – who is tied with Scott Pruett for the most all-time IMSA wins with 60 – and his co-drivers Robby Foley, Jens Klingmann and Dillon Machavern; and a pair of entries from 2019 GTD champions Meyer Shank Racing – the No. 57 Heinricher Racing with MSR Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3 shared by drivers Alvaro Parente, Misha Goikhberg, Trent Hindman and AJ Allmendinger and the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura for Mario Farnbacher, Matt McMurry, Shinya Michimi and Jules Gounon.

The lead Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class features eight entries from three different manufacturers and a talented cast of characters from top to bottom. Among them is the defending WeatherTech Championship DPi title-winning Acura Team Penske No. 6 Acura ARX-05 with Dane Cameron and Juan Pablo Montoya joined by 2019 Indy 500 winner Simon Pagenaud. Ricky Taylor, three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves and 2016 Indy winner Alexander Rossi are in the No. 7 Acura.

Additional Indy 500 winners can be found in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R, where 2008 Indy winner and five-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon will join Ryan Briscoe and 2019 Rolex 24 winners Renger van der Zande and Kamui Kobayashi; and the No. 55 Mazda Team Joest RT24-P that includes 2014 Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay with the team’s full-time WeatherTech Championship driving duo of Jonathan Bomarito and Harry Tincknell.

The factory supported GT Le Mans (GTLM) class features seven entries – including four cars that are making their North American debut this weekend. The new, midengined Corvette C8.R will turn its first public laps this weekend with a pair of entries from Corvette Racing. Team newcomers Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg are joining Antonio Garcia in the No. 3 Corvette, while the longstanding duo of Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner again will be joined by Marcel Fassler in the No. 4 machine.

The new-for-2020 Porsche 911 RSR also makes its first public laps at Daytona with defending WeatherTech Championship GTLM champions Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor sharing the No. 912 Porsche GT Team entry with Mathieu Jaminet. The new full-season driver lineup in the team’s No. 911 RSR includes Nick Tandy and Frederic Makowiecki with Matt Campbell serving in the role of endurance specialist.

The LMP2 class has grown substantially since the 2019 Motul Petit Le Mans season finale with a total of seven entries for the Roar. DragonSpeed, which won last year’s Rolex 24, returns with an impressive lineup in its No. 81 ORECA LMP2 07 that includes full-season drivers Ben Hanley and Henrik Hedman alongside the ultra-fast Colin Braun and rising star Harrison Newey.

Another strong lineup can be found in the No. 8 Tower Motorsport by Starworks ORECA with 2010 Rolex 24 overall winner Ryan Dalziel and season-long teammate John Farano being joined by David Heinemeier Hansson and Nicolas Lapierre. And PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports, which won the 2019 WeatherTech Championship LMP2 title returns with a pair of entries – the No. 51 ORECA with Gabriel Aubry as the only listed driver so far and the No. 52 ORECA for co-drivers Ben Keating, Simon Trummer and Aubry.

In addition to the WeatherTech Championship machines, a 38-car field for the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge will partake in three days of testing.

Notables in that field include rising NASCAR stars Austin Cindric, Chase Briscoe and Hailie Deegan in a pair of Ford Mustang GT4 entries from Multimatic Motorsports; defending Grand Sport (GS) class champions Tyler McQuarrie and Jeff Westphal in the No. 39 CarBahn with Peregrine Racing Audi R8 GT4 and two Hyundai Veloster N TCR class entries from the defending champion Bryan Herta Autosport team, which plans to unveil its 2020 driver lineup in a press conference Friday afternoon.

The IMSA Prototype Challenge kicks off its 2020 season with a three-hour race Saturday afternoon and features an 18-car field. That race starts at 12:15 p.m. ET and will be streamed live in the U.S. on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold. Live IMSA Radio commentary and timing and scoring data – as well as a live video stream for international viewers – is available on IMSA.com.

The Roar Before the Rolex 24 is open to the public from Friday through Sunday with tickets available at the gate. More information is available at DaytonaInternationalSpeedway.com.

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