Series Will Return For Annual ‘Roar Before The Rolex 24’ Test Jan. 8-10
Season-Opening Rolex 24 At Daytona Jan. 30-31 To Mark Debut of DAYTONA Rising
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship completed an intriguing two-day test session Wednesday at Daytona International Speedway, with 24 sports cars showcased on the historic 3.56-mile DIS road course including a number of brand new entries.
The testing turnout was spread across four WeatherTech Championship classes – Prototype, Prototype Challenge, GT Le Mans and GT Daytona, with considerable attention paid to a number of new GT cars.
The test was not open to the public and lap times were not recorded for distribution, but clearly the GT classes are receiving a noticeable spike, starting with the heralded new Ford GTs of Ford Chip Ganassi Racing, which will compete in the exotic GT Le Mans class. Also new to GT Le Mans is the BMW M6 GTLM from BMW Team RLL and updated Corvette C7.Rs fielded by Corvette Racing.
The WeatherTech Championship’s headlining Prototype class featured the two-time defending class champion team of Action Express Racing which rolled out two Corvette DPs – and one renowned new driver, five-time Rolex 24 champion Scott Pruett, the longtime lead driver for Ganassi’s elite Prototype teams. Pruett shares the all-time record for Rolex 24 victories with Hurley Haywood.
“It’s been awesome to be working with Action Express,” said Pruett. “It’s a great organization. And it’s been interesting to feel the differences in this type of car, because this is the first time I’ve driven a Prototype other than a Ganassi car.”
Daytona Beach-based VisitFlorida.com Racing announced a stout new driver tandem for its Corvette DP: Ryan Dalziel of Orlando and Marc Goossens. Also testing among Prototypes was the Honda HPD JS P2 of Michael Shank Racing Services, with a driver lineup that included NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular AJ Allmendinger.
“I like getting back in this race car; it’s a lot of fun,” Allmendinger said. “I wish I could drive it a lot more throughout the course of the year. I haven’t driven the Ligier since January, and there are a few new nuances with it to get used to. They have made a lot of improvements since last January and they’ve made the car a lot better.”
IMSA will return to DIS on Jan. 8-10 for the annual “Roar Before The Rolex 24” preseason test and then open the 2016 WeatherTech Championship season with the 54th running of the Rolex 24 on Jan. 30-31 during the debut weekend of racing for DAYTONA Rising, the $400 million dollar redevelopment project that is transforming the speedway into the world’s first true motorsports stadium. In addition, the BMW Performance 200, the season-opening event for the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, will be held on Friday, Jan. 29.
Among the many highlights of the DAYTONA Rising project are five expanded and redesigned entrances, or “injectors,” leading fans to a series of escalators and elevators, transporting them to three different concourse levels. Each level features spacious social areas, or “neighborhoods,” along the nearly mile-long frontstretch. At the conclusion of the redevelopment, Daytona International Speedway will have approximately 101,000 permanent, wider and more comfortable seats, twice as many restrooms and three times as many concession stands.
Ticket and complete schedule information for the 2016 Rolex 24 At Daytona and the Roar Before The Rolex 24 will be released at a later date. For more information on tickets to Daytona International Speedway events, go online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or call 800-PITSHOP.
Fans can follow sports cars at www.imsa.com and on Twitter at @IMSA. Fans can also stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest for the latest news all season long. Fans can follow the latest on DAYTONA Rising by using #DAYTONARising on Twitter or visiting www.daytonarising.com.