The More, the Merrier, the Better in GTD PRO in The Rolex 24 At DAYTONA

Excitement is building for a new class with 13 entries, 8 manufacturers on a 0.356 mile tri-oval road course this weekend at the Roar before the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA presented by INX

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 21, 2022) – There are plenty of reasons to be delighted that the new GTD PRO class has attracted a 13-car field for the Rolex 24 At Daytona – the opening round of the 2022 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship – scheduled for Saturday and Sunday 29 and 30 January.

This is more than double the six participants who competed in the Florida enduro at two laps of the clock last year in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) category that GTD PRO replaces this year. But the expanded GTD PRO grid didn’t come at the expense of IMSA’s popular GT Daytona (GTD) class, as the GTD field for the Rolex 24 also grew from 19 to 22 cars this year.

GTD PRO and GTD, along with the other three classes – Dpi, LMP2 and LMP3 that will make up the 61-car Rolex 24 field – are part of The Roar Before the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA Presented by INX with practice this weekend today and Saturday ahead of Sunday’s 100-minute qualifying race at 2:05 p.m., determining the makeup of North America’s most prestigious sportscar race.

Tickets are available for The Roar Before the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA Presented by INX and for the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA. One-day tickets for Sundays are just $15 for adults, and kids 12 and under are FREE. Single-day tickets on Saturday are $20 while kids 12 and under are FREE. To participate in The Roar Before the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA Presented by INX or the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA, log on to www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or call 1-800-PITSHOP.

While IMSA is obviously delighted with the positive developments, two-time defending GTLM class champions Corvette Racing could be even more motivated.

The two-car Corvette effort has battled against a shrinking GTLM field over the past two years as many competing manufacturers have adapted their racing programs to the FIA-standard GT3 platform. In 2021, the No. 3 and 4 Corvette C8.Rs have occasionally gone up against a single class competitor: the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19.

The Porsche WeatherTech is back in GTD PRO for 2022, and the team will also be fielding a pair of Mercedes-AMG GT3s at Daytona in partnership with Proton Competition. Porsche’s GTD PRO factory partner team is Pfaff Motorsport, the reigning IMSA GTD Champion.

Meanwhile, BMW’s factory effort with the RLL team is back in full force, fielding two new M4 GT3s with factory-backed drivers. Lexus/Toyota Racing Development will also join the GTD PRO grid, along with similar factory-supported entries from Ferrari, Lamborghini and Aston Martin. Thus, where there were only two or three manufacturers represented last year in GTLM, there will be eight of them to launch the 2022 GTD PRO season at Rolex 24.

In addition to adapting the GTLM Corvette C8.R specification to the global GT3 specification, Corvette Racing is developing a production version of the car for sale to customer teams in the future. Laura Klauser, sports car program manager for General Motors, relishes the challenge of taking on the expanded 2022 challenge.

“We want a full field,” she said. “It’s so satisfying when you’re doing really well against a full field because then you know you’ve won your ‘A game’ – you did everything right, you hit all your targets and you got the win. You’re not just the last car standing.

“Having a large number of competitors really makes every win that much more special,” Klauser added. “I think it’s going to challenge us to think differently, try different things and be more creative.”

Corvette drivers Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor are equally excited as they embark on their quest for a third consecutive IMSA championship to follow on from their GTLM exploits in 2020 and 21.

“I’m looking forward to 13 cars battling it out,” Taylor said. “I miss battling restarts and starts and strategy wars – just the real racing side of what we had in the past.”

“It will be great to have the competition,” added Garcia. “A lot of manufacturers are in the category, and it looks like almost every one of the 13 cars is capable of winning the race. It will definitely be a big battle.

In some ways, Corvette is at a disadvantage because other GTD PRO manufacturers have been building GT3-specification cars for years – for generations, in the case of Porsche and BMW. These manufacturers, along with GTD competitors Acura and Audi, have a considerable head start in terms of developing and racing the GT3 platform. And they bring a host of factory supported drivers.

“I’m super happy to join Pfaff in GTD PRO,” said Mathieu Jaminet, who co-drove the winning WeatherTech Racing Porsche in the 2021 Twelve Hours of Sebring Mobil 1 presented by Advance Auto Parts. “It was really my priority to race full time in the United States in 2022, and racing with the reigning GTD champions is a privilege. Our objective is clear; we have all the ingredients to be in front, so the objective is to try to win the championship. Obviously we always look at the big races, so Daytona and Sebring are high on my list as well.

BMW is equally confident. Revamping the marque’s IMSA program to pursue the 2022 GTD PRO championship while developing an LMDh prototype for 2023 and beyond was one of outgoing BMW M Motorsport boss Mike Krack’s last accomplishments before his recent move. to lead the Aston Martin Formula 1 team.

“I am confident that we will be very well prepared for the first GTD PRO of the IMSA series,” Krack said. “Nearly all of our BMW M factory drivers have competed in the 24 Hours of Daytona before and will work together to find the perfect setup for the BMW M4 GT3 during the Roar Before The 24.”

Based on GTD’s past performance in the Rolex 24, Lamborghini is likely to be another strong contender for GTD PRO. The Italian brand triumphed at Daytona in 2018, ’19 and ’20.

Florida-based TR3 Racing is a fairly young team, but it is growing rapidly with support from Lamborghini.

“The 24 Hours of Daytona has a special meaning for us and after four consecutive podiums, we aim to fight for the top positions again,” said Giorgio Sanna, head of motorsport at Lamborghini. “This race will also open the partnership between Lamborghini and TR3 Racing, an experienced team which I am sure has the potential to achieve good results.

Also keep an eye out for Lexus, which will split its two-car effort between GTD and GTD PRO in 2022 after fielding two GTD cars since 2017 – the last four years in association with Vasser Sullivan Racing.

“Racing in IMSA has helped build awareness and consideration for Lexus performance models among our dealers, owners and competitors,” said Andrew Gilleland, Group Vice President and General Manager of the Lexus Division. “Our momentum is building rapidly and everyone at Lexus is excited to be racing for an IMSA championship. We know we have something special here and we are excited to go out and win our first GT championship together starting with the Rolex. 24. »

In addition to the cars on track this weekend during The Roar Before the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA Presented by INX, Daytona International Speedway is hosting Scout Days at DAYTONA, where thousands of scouts from across the country participate in garage tours, trail rides and STEMWERX Activities. STEMWERX inspires and equips bright young minds to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Their mission is to inspire students to choose careers in STEM fields and become the next generation of innovators.

The Roar Before the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA Presented by INX kicks off 10 days of on-track activities, culminating with the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA from January 29-30.

Once the checkered flag has fallen on the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA, the World Center of Racing will begin to focus on the DAYTONA Speedweeks Presented by AdventHealth (February 15-20) and the 64and DAYTONA 500 annual. The week will feature six days of incredible track action with practice, qualifying and a total of six races across four different series. This will provide fans with multiple opportunities to see the NASCAR Cup Series Next Gen car, as well as some of the world’s greatest drivers in the NASCAR Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series, as well as the ARCA Menards Series.

For ticket information for Speedweeks Presented By AdventHealth events, log on to www.DAYTONA500.com or call 1-800-PITSHOP. If fans are looking to buy or sell DAYTONA 500 reserved seats, please visit SeatGeek, the preferred DAYTONA 500 ticket exchange and Speedweeks presented by AdventHealth.

Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway at Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, plus the all-new NASCAR Tracks app, for the latest speedway news.

About Daytona International Speedway
Daytona International Speedway is a state-of-the-art motorsports facility and received SportsBusiness Journal’s prestigious Sports Business Award for Sports Facility of the Year in 2016. Daytona International Speedway is home to the Great American Race – the DAYTONA 500. Although the NASCAR Cup Series season-opening event attracts the most attention – as well as the biggest audience in motorsport – the roughly 500-acre motorsports complex, also known as the name of World Center of Racing, offers the most diverse racing calendar in the world. In addition to at least nine major event weekends, the grounds of the Speedway are also used extensively for events such as concerts, civic and social gatherings, car shows, photo shoots, vehicle test drives, production and training of police motorcycles. The iconic venue will be the site of a host of motorsport events in early 2022, starting with the AHRMA Classic Motofest and Rolex 24 At DAYTONA in January, and the 64and DAYTONA 500, which will launch the first points race for NASCAR’s “Next Gen” car as part of Speedweeks presented by AdventHealth in February. The rich tradition 81st Annual DAYTONA Bike Week returns in March, with DAYTONA Supercross and the DAYTONA 200, and in May with the Heroes Honor Festival. Later in the summer, during Independence Day weekend, the track, in association with Torneos, will host Soccer Fest before the NASCAR Cup Series returns for the final race of the regular season with the Coke Zero Sugar 400 on August 27.

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