Sebring Lineup to Reflect Strong Start at Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – An all-time record crowd turned out for last January’s Rolex 24 At Daytona, setting the tone for a record-breaking season throughout the 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. In addition to Daytona, attendance records were also broken at Sebring and multiple other IMSA events throughout the season.
That all-time record could already be in jeopardy with today’s news that the preliminary team and driver lineup for the 62nd Rolex 24 At Daytona is now available – more than two months prior to the race weekend scheduled for Jan. 25-28, 2024.
The preliminary lineup of drivers includes 56 Rolex 24 At Daytona winners and a plethora of champions from the WeatherTech Championship to the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and 24 Hours of Le Mans. The field also includes several Indianapolis 500 winners and IndyCar Series champions and one Formula 1 World Champion piloting some of the most technologically advanced race cars anywhere in the world, which should inspire race fans to make their plans to attend now.
A total of 60 cars have been entered for the twice-around-the-clock battle on the 3.56-mile road course at Daytona International Speedway. The Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) field includes 10 hybrid-electrified prototypes from four different manufacturers, with an expanded, 12-car grid expected in the Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) class. The GTP field is expected to grow beyond 10 when the series visits Sebring on March 16, with the introduction of Lamborghini’s new car to the lineup.
GT Daytona Pro (GTD PRO) sees a record-tying 13-car field – from 10 different manufacturers – planning to compete. And the GT Daytona (GTD) class continues as the largest in the WeatherTech Championship with 25 cars on the list representing 11 different manufacturers.
“We could not be prouder to release this preliminary list of participants for the Rolex 24 At Daytona significantly earlier than we ever have before,” said IMSA President John Doonan. “Looking up and down the lineup, we will have a tremendous field of teams, cars and drivers and no shortage of compelling storylines to develop and follow in the next two months as we lead up to the race. With such a stacked field, it would be impossible to identify a favorite in any of the four classes.”
Grand Touring Prototype (GTP)
The GTP class sees the return of Acura, BMW, Cadillac and Porsche for the second year of the hybrid platform. Acura will be going for its fourth consecutive Rolex 24 overall victory with a pair of ARX-06 machines fielded by Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti.
Included in WTRAndretti’s driver lineup in the No. 10 Acura are previous Rolex 24 overall winners Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque, Brendon Hartley – a 24 Hours of Le Mans winner and FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) champion – and 2022 Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson. The team’s No. 40 entry is just as stacked, with previous Rolex 24 winners Jordan Taylor and Colton Herta, rising sports car star Louis Deletraz and 2009 F1 World Champion Jenson Button slated to compete.
A pair of Cadillac V-Series.R machines also return in 2024 with a bevy of previous Rolex 24 winners in the driver lineups. The No. 01 Cadillac Racing machine prepared by Chip Ganassi Racing includes three previous Rolex winners – two-time Rolex winners Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande along with four-time Daytona winner Scott Dixon – who also is a six-time IndyCar Series champion and 2008 Indianapolis 500 winner.
The driver lineup for the No. 31 Whelen Cadillac Racing entry includes reigning WeatherTech Championship GTP champion and previous Rolex 24 winner Pipo Derani, two-time defending Rolex 24 winner and 2022 WeatherTech Championship champion Tom Blomqvist, and another sports car racing rising star in Jack Aitken.
Porsche Penske Motorsport represents half of a four-car field of Porsche 963 entries in the GTP class. The factory-backed team features highly accomplished Porsche factory aces Nick Tandy and Mathieu Jaminet, who each have Rolex 24 victories on their résumés, alongside Le Mans winners Kevin Estre and Laurens Vanthoor – also a previous WeatherTech Championship titlist – in the No. 6 machine.
Matt Campbell and Felipe Nasr – both WeatherTech Championship champions and Rolex 24 winners – and Porsche factory ace Frederic Makowiecki are named on the team’s No. 7 Porsche alongside Josef Newgarden – the 2023 Indianapolis 500 winner and a two-time IndyCar Series champion.
JDC-Miller MotorSports – which won the Rolex 24 in 2016 in the Prototype Challenge (PC) class – will field the No. 5 Porsche 963 for Tijmen van der Helm, Phil Hanson, Ben Keating – who is again pulling double duty in the Rolex 24 with an LMP2 entry also – and previous Rolex 24 winner Richard Westbrook. Proton Competition is also lined up to compete in the No. 59 Porsche 963 with Gianmaria Bruni – who earned an LMP2 class victory with Proton in 2023 – and Neel Jani so far confirmed for its driver lineup.
BMW M Team RLL brings its two-car BMW M Hybrid V8 program back to Daytona with yet another stout lineup. The team’s No. 24 machine includes a pair of previous Rolex 24 class winners in Jesse Krohn and Augusto Farfus alongside Dries Vanthoor and an additional driver to be named. The No. 25 BMW has another previous Rolex 24 class winner – Connor De Phillippi – sharing the car with Nick Yelloly, Maxime Martin and another driver to be announced.
Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2)
The second prototype class expands to an even dozen entries in 2024 and will witness chassis constructor competition for the first time since debuting as a standalone class in the WeatherTech Championship in 2019.
In addition to driving in the GTP class, Ben Keating is back to defend his 2023 LMP2 championship, albeit with a new team. He has joined United Autosports USA’s two-car effort and will team with 2020 Rolex 24 LMP2 winner Ben Hanley, Nico Pino and a driver to be named in the No. 2 ORECA LMP2 07. United’s No. 22 ORECA will be manned by Dan Goldburg, Paul di Resta and two drivers to be named.
George Kurtz returns in the No. 04 CrowdStrike Racing by APR ORECA, in which he finished second this year at the Rolex 24 and in the final LMP2 standings as well as earning the Jim Trueman Bronze Cup and an invite to next June’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. At Daytona in January, Kurtz will team with three-time and defending overall Rolex 24 winner Colin Braun, along with two drivers to be named.
Steven Thomas and Mikkel Jensen, who took third in the 2023 LMP2 championship, return in the No. 11 TDS Racing ORECA and will be joined by rising New Zealand racer Hunter McElrea and a driver to be named.
The No. 18 Era Motorsport ORECA features familiar returnees and 2021 class winners Dwight Merriman and Ryan Dalziel, the latter also the overall Rolex 24 victor in 2010. Their two co-drivers will be named later.
Gar Robinson and the Riley team, fresh off winning the final Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3) championship, move to LMP2 in the No. 74 ORECA in 2024. Felipe Fraga and Josh Burdon, who each assisted in winning the LMP3 crown, will co-drive with Robinson at Daytona along with a fourth driver to be named.
Sean Creech Motorsport also joins the LMP2 class after competing in LMP3 and is the only team running the Ligier JS P217 chassis. Joao Barbosa, a four-time Rolex 24 winner including three times as the overall champion, heads the lineup in the No. 33 along with Lance Willsey and two drivers to be named.
Paul-Loup Chatin, who shared this year’s LMP2 title with Keating, joins the No. 99 AO Racing ORECA lineup with PJ Hyett and two drivers to be named. Other LMP2 entries (all ORECAs) include the No. 8 Tower Motorsports (all drivers to be named), No. 20 High Class Racing (Seth Lucas, Dennis Andersen, two to be named), No. 52 Inter Europol by PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (Jakub Smiechowski, three to be named) and No. 88 AF Corse (Luis Perez Companc, Niklas Nielsen, Lilou Wadoux, one to be named).
GT Daytona Pro (GTD PRO)
In addition to the 10 manufacturers battling in this highly competitive field of primarily factory-backed GT3 programs, this class features 15 drivers with at least one previous Rolex 24 class victory.
Ford returns to WeatherTech Championship competition for the first time in five years with a pair of Mustang GT3s loaded with successful drivers. Mike Rockenfeller, the 2010 overall Rolex 24 winner, joins Harry Tincknell in the No. 64 Ford Multimatic Motorsports Mustang, with a pair of past Rolex 24 winners, Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller, in the No. 65 Mustang. Additional drivers for both Mustangs will be announced later.
Corvette Racing by Pratt Miller Motorsports also has a pair of entries to renew the Ford vs. Chevrolet on-track competition. Three-time Rolex 24 winner Antonio Garcia, 2023 GTD PRO Rolex 24 winner Daniel Juncadella and 2023 GTP season champion Alexander Sims will ride in the No. 3 Corvette Z06 GT3.R, with Tommy Milner and Nicky Catsburg – each a past Rolex 24 winner for Corvette – paired with 2019 WeatherTech Championship champion Earl Bamber in the No. 4 Corvette.
The No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 begins defense of its 2023 WeatherTech Championship GTD PRO driver, team and manufacturer championships with its lineup intact. Ben Barnicoat, Jack Hawksworth and Kyle Kirkwood are back to drive at Daytona with a fourth driver to be named.
Paul Miller Racing ran away with the GTD championship this year and will move to GTD PRO with the No. 1 BMW M4 GT3 starting at Daytona. Champion co-drivers Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow, each also a past Rolex 24 winner, will be joined by Neil Verhagen and Sheldon van der Linde at Daytona.
Pfaff Motorsports made the switch from Porsche to McLaren for 2024 and the driver lineup in the No. 9 McLaren 720S GT3 Evo features a pair of Rolex 24 overall winners in Oliver Jarvis and 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi. Rounding out the lineup are McLaren factory ace Marvin Kirchhoefer and IndyCar driver/TV commentator James Hinchcliffe.
Iron Lynx had an impressive Rolex 24 debut last year and brings back three of the drivers – Mirko Bortolotti, Andrea Caldarelli and Franck Perera, all past Rolex 24 winners – who finished third in GTD PRO. The fourth driver in the No. 19 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2 will be Jordan Pepper.
Alessandro Pier Guidi, the 2014 GTD Rolex 24 winner, heads the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 296 GT3 driver stable, joined by Davide Rigon and Daniel Serra. The No. 23 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 team added speedy former Acura driver Mario Farnbacher to pair with returning Ross Gunn and Alex Riberas at Daytona.
In addition to its LMP2 entry, AO Racing is entering the GTD PRO class with Seb Priaulx, Laurin Heinrich and a driver to be named in the No. 77 Porsche 911 GT3 R. Kellymoss with Riley also is fielding a Porsche with its drivers to be named, as is the case with the No. 75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3.
Grand Touring Daytona (GTD)
Another huge field of cars – 25 to be exact – is slated for the GTD class in the 2024 Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Returning to defend its 2023 victory is the No. 27 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 squad. Three-fourths of the team’s winning lineup – Roman De Angelis, Marco Sorensen and Ian James – is back in the No. 27 alongside team newcomer Zacharie Robichon, who claimed a Rolex 24 GTD class victory in 2022.
The GTD class also includes another group of 2023 Rolex 24 winners in the No. 17 AWA Corvette Z06 GT3.R. Co-drivers Anthony Mantella, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill were part of the team’s winning lineup in the LMP3 class earlier this year.
In January, they’ll be joined by Charlie Eastwood as they go in search of a repeat win. The Canada-based AWA team will bring a pair of brand-new customer Corvettes to Daytona, with Orey Fidani, Matthew Bell, Lars Kern and a driver to be named set to share the No. 13 Corvette.
More previous Rolex 24 winners can be found in the No. 44 Magnus Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 with two-time Rolex winners John Potter and Spencer Pumpelly teaming once again with Andy Lally and a fourth driver to be announced. Lally has more Rolex 24 wins than anybody in the 2024 field, with five visits to Daytona’s hallowed victory lane.
Four other cars in GTD have previous Rolex 24 winners in their lineup.
Kenton Koch, who won the Prototype Challenge (PC) class in the 2016 Rolex 24, returns in 2024 in the No. 32 Korthoff/Preston Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 alongside co-drivers Mike Skeen, Mikael Grenier and Mercedes-AMG factory driver Maxi Goetz. The Korthoff/Preston team also heads into the season as defending IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup champions.
Another Mercedes-AMG entry in GTD – the No. 57 Winward Racing machine – includes a pair of previous Rolex 24 winners in Russell Ward (GTD-2021) and Daniel Morad (GTD-2017) alongside two drivers still to be announced.
Misha Goikhberg – who co-drove with Koch to the PC class victory at Daytona in 2016 – also returns to Daytona in the GTD class aboard the No. 78 Forte Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2 with Loris Spinelli as his lone named co-driver thus far.
Looking elsewhere in the GTD field, Katherine Legge and Sheena Monk – who competed full-time in the 2023 WeatherTech Championship in the No. 66 Gradient Racing Acura NSX GT3 – are slated to return in 2024 with as-yet-unnamed co-drivers.
The No. 83 Iron Dames Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2 will once again feature an all-female driver lineup at the Rolex 24 with Michelle Gatting, Sarah Bovy and Rahel Frey set to share the car with another driver to be named.
Among manufacturers, Porsche will have the most GTD entries with five, followed by Ferrari and Lamborghini with four each, three Mercedes-AMG entries, two apiece from Aston Martin and Corvette, and single entries from Lexus, Ford, Acura, McLaren and BMW.