Edition number 60 sees 61 crews between prototypes and Gran Turismo at the start. In the Gtd Pro (GT3) class Lamborghini starts in first position, and Ferrari lines up a crew with world champions Pier Guidi and Calado. Start on January 29 at 7.40pm
The history of modern American motoring, in some respects, was born in sunny Florida, where in 1959 a plant destined to go down in history was inaugurated: the Daytona International Speedway, a tri-oval 5.7 kilometers long that Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 January hosts the 60th edition of the most famous endurance race across the Atlantic. The 24 Hours of Daytona is the first act of the new season of the championship Imsa WeatherTech SportsCar and will see 61 crews between prototypes and Gran Turismo derived from the series at the start. Representing the Italian flag at the Rolex 24 At Daytona, among the GTD Pro cars, are Ferrari and Lamborghini. The show will start at 7.40 pm (Italian time) on Saturday, preceded by the US national anthem.
DAYTONA, LA GARA
The grandeur and the blazon of the American track is well represented by the writing that stands out at the top of the main grandstand: “World Center of Racing”. Daytona, in fact, in 1959 became a fixed facility where the races for the stock cars were transferred, which had already been staged for years between the straight road that runs along the Atlantic and the public beach. At that time, as the American middle class grew, the need for safety increased which led to the inauguration of the route. A tri-oval system that today measures 3.56 miles (5.7 kilometers), with 12 curves and the famous parabolics, with a 31 degree inclination. The 2022 edition of the endurance race received the registration of 61 crews representing many manufacturers: among those observed special for the final podium there are Acura (Honda) and Cadillac, in the prototypes; Ferrari, Lamborghini, Audi, Porsche, Mercedes-Amg, Chevrolet among the Gran Turismo Pros.
THE CLASSES: THE GTD PRO DEBUTS
In the evocative setting of Daytona, the Imsa championship organizes the inaugural date, which takes place using part of the tri-oval and part of the internal road layout. Under the spotlight in the 2022 edition are 7 prototypes of the main Dpi class (Daytona Prototype International), 10 of the Lmp2 cadet class (the type that also participates in the WEC) and 9 Lmp3 prototypes. Traditionally, the 24 Hours of Daytona is a thrilling spectacle even among the Gran Turismo, this year present in large numbers: 13 in the main class established in 2022, the Gtd Pro (equivalent to the GT3), with professional crews; and 22 Gtd class cars such as Grand Touring Daytona who also see non-pro riders at the start.
THE ORDER OF DEPARTURE
After the Roar Before the 24, the qualifying race (61 laps, 1 hour and 40 minutes) that precedes the main event by a week, here is the starting order of the Rolex 24 At Daytona 2022. First off Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque, Alexander Rossi and Will Stevens on the Acura prototype number 10 (already winner in 2021); in second place the Cadillac number 5 of Tristan Vautier, Richard Westbrook, Loic Duval and Ben Keating. Third is the other Cadillac, number 48, with Kamui Kobayashi (WEC 2021 champion with Toyota) among the protagonists. Moving on to the derivatives from the series, in the Gtd Pro class the best time (20th overall) was signed by the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 number 63 (TR3 Racing) driven by Andrea Caldarelli and Mirko Bortolotti, who during the 24 Hours will change with Marco Mapelli and Rolf Ineichen. In second position the Porsche 911 GT3-R number 79 (WeatherTech Racing) of Matteo Cairoli, with Cooper MacNeil, Julien Andlauer and Alessio Picariello. The Ferrari 488 GT3 number 62 (Risi Competizione) will start from position 11 in the same class with the official Prancing Horse drivers at the wheel: Daniel Serra and Davide Rigon, joined in the race by Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado, who in 2021 are world champions in the WEC.
FERRARI AND LAMBORGHINI
At Daytona the spotlight is on the cars of Maranello and Sant’Agata Bolognese. Ferrari participates in the most important American endurance race in two classes, Gtd Pro and Gtd, with three different teams. The aforementioned Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 (Risi) stands out with a “dream team” that includes the world champion couple in the WEC, Pier Guidi and Calado. “At Daytona it is difficult to make predictions, we have prepared well: the car is excellent, but we need to improve in some points”, commented Rigon on the eve of the race. The Maranello house has participated in 57 of the 59 editions already disputed from the 24 Hours of Daytona, obtaining 5 overall and 16 class victories so far: the last one dates back to 2014, in GTD, with Pier Guidi at the wheel. At Lamborghini, the Toro di Sant’Agata takes part in the Rolex 24 At Daytona with four crews, and makes his debut in the Gtd Pro class with the Huracán number 63 (TR3 Racing) entrusted to the official drivers Bortolotti, Caldarelli and Mapelli, flanked by the Swiss Ineichen. This is the Emilian manufacturer’s “flagship” car, which on the Florida track won the 24 Hours in the Gtd class for three consecutive years, from 2018 to 2020. “The 24 Hours of Daytona has a special meaning for us – comments Giorgio Sanna , Lamborghini motorsport manager – We intend to aim high again ”.
In Florida, the Rolex 24 At Daytona edition number 60 will feature several top-level drivers, not only specialists in “covered” wheels, among the most acclaimed in America. A few examples? In addition to those mentioned, among the Dpi prototypes there are Scott Dixon, six times IndyCar champion, and the former Formula 1 Kevin Magnussen, on two different cars of the Cadillac Racing team; and Helio Castroneves, four times “king” of the Indianapolis 500, in the Acura number 60. On the Oreca Lmp2 class prototype (DragonSpeed) here is Patricio “Pato” O’Ward, the Mexican who races in IndyCar and tested at the end of 2021 a McLaren F1; in the same class there is Luca Ghiotto, a driver born in 1995, involved in Formula 2 until 2020, at Daytona in car number 69 of G-Drive.
THE OTHER ITALIANS
The Italian patrol is completed in the Gran Turismo Daytona class by the Venetian Giacomo Altoè, in a Lamborghini Huracán (TR3 Racing) number 19; by Raffaele Marciello, official Mercedes-Amg driver, for the occasion in car number 75 (Sun Energy 1). Furthermore, the only crew made up entirely of Italian drivers will hold the tricolor flag high: on a Ferrari 488 GT3 (Cetilar) there is Antonio Fuoco (who will also compete in Wec 2022), Roberto Lacorte, Giorgio Sernagiotto, and Alessio Rovera .
The 24 Hours of Daytona 2022 is the debut race of the Imsa WeatherTech SportsCar championship. The calendar of the season includes 12 appointments: the last one at Road Atlanta on the weekend of October 1st. Thursday 27 January the first three free practice sessions; Friday 28 January one last free practice session. The endurance test will start on Saturday 29 January at 7.40 pm (Italian time). The event is not broadcast on TV in Italy; the full live subscription on the imsa.com website.
January 28, 2022 (change January 28, 2022 | 15:40)
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