When the Rolex 24 at Daytona starts Saturday, Wayne Taylor Racing will lead the field. The No. Wayne Taylor Racing will be the first team to win consecutive Rolex watches. It won’t be easy to make history in the 60th running IMSA’s prestigious sport car race. 61 cars entered Daytona this weekend, the highest since 2014. Chip Ganassi brought two Cadillacs packed with talent to stop Taylor. Ganassi is the other team owner who has won the Rolex for three consecutive years. Ganassi stated Friday that Wayne is the man to beat these days. “He’s the man everyone is looking for right now.”
WTR made one change to its lineup this year. Helio Castroneves, a four-time Indianapolis 500 winner, now drives for Meyer Shank Racing’s top prototype class. Will Stevens is a veteran racer who has won six 24 Hours of Le Mans races. He will join last year’s winning lineup of Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque. Alexander Rossi will make his first Daytona sports car start of the season. Stevens has been a hit with the WTR team. He was selected based solely on his reputation after a quick phone call to Taylor. Taylor stated that you could see right away that Stevens knew what he was doing. “You don’t even need to put them in your car to tell if you have the right guy.” WTR won five of the six Rolex’s. After a one-year break CGR took from sportscar racing in 2020, Ganassi is back fully loaded. With little preparation, the organization returned last year as a single-car Cadillac Cadillac team. Ganassi is now able to load his lineups with two cars and has extended to three entries this year.
The No. The No. 01 position is anchored by Renger van den Zande and Sebastien Bordais full-time IMSA drivers. Scott Dixon, a six time IndyCar champion, makes his 19th consecutive start and reigning IndyCar champ Alex Palou in Daytona. The No. 02 will feature newcomers Earl Bamber, Alex Lynn, and endurance additions Kevin Magnussen, who will both drive the car throughout the IMSA season. Marcus Ericsson will also be making his Rolex debut. Ganassi stated, “You don’t go into the race and say, ‘Let’s put together cars that are star-powered.'” Ganassi stated, “I want cars that are driven by drivers who can win the race.” Ganassi also believes the same about Danielle Shepherd, Palou’s simulation engineer, who has been promoted to the role of lead engineer for the No. 02 IMSA car. Ganassi stated that she is a quality engineer and this was her next step. It’s not about who you are. It’s all about her good work and that’s why we continue to do it. She won this.” The top Daytona Prototype Class features two Acura’s as well as five Cadillacs. Action Express is the reigning IMSA champion. Jimmie Johnson, seven-time NASCAR champion and co-creator of the program with Hendrick Motorsports is again leading the team.
No. Johnson, Kamui Kobayashi, and Mike Rockenfeller are back in 48. However, Jose Maria Lopez has been added to the team this year, who is Kobayashi’s World Endurance Championship teammates. Last year, the team was second to Wayne Taylor when Simon Pagenaud was present. Pagenaud, like Castroneves, is now driving No. Shank received 60 Acura. “It was a race with Jimmie and Rocky last year, and we know what we need. Kobayashi stated that they are closer together. We talk more about what we can do to win the conversation. We are improving.” IndyCar currently has 12 drivers across five classes. NASCAR’s Austin Cindric is the only representative. Cindric will be driving in the GTD Pro class, which replaces GT Le Mans. It features 13 entries from eight manufacturers. Corvette Racing won the Rolex as well as the championship with the No. The No. 3 entry of Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor, as well as Nicky Catsburg has been returned with the same lineup. Andretti Autosport, making its race debut, is on pole in the Le Mans Prototype 3 Class. Andretti, despite its rich motorsports history, has not entered North America’s top sport car race. However, he is at Daytona fulfilling John Andretti’s vision. Jarett Andretti, John’s son, wanted to race in sports car racing and they started the project together in 2019. John Andretti, who died from cancer two years back Sunday, is buried at the home of his son Jarett. He hopes to celebrate the occasion with an Andretti Autosport win at Daytona.
LMP3 will be the starting point for the Andretti car. Jarett Andretti stated, “I can’t imagine a better way to honor him than winning this race for his and fulfilling his vision.”