24 Hours of Daytona, here we are. The 2023 edition, which opens the championship season, kicks off at 19.40 Italian time IMSA. The iconic US endurance race, the 61st since its foundation, opens the era of GTP (Grand Touring Prototype) of the new generation. The nine GTPs are joined by ten LMP2s, nine LMP3s, eight GTD Pros and 25 standard GTDs (here the complete entry list).
In the premier class, two are at the start Porsche 963 and two BMW M Hybrid V8 who will fight with three Cadillacs and two Edited. The Cadillac 02 of Lynn, Bamber and Westrbook is the same one that will take part in the next WEC and is present at Daytona in a completely extraordinary way. The reason of greatest interest, however, is given by the return of Porsche to the premier class of endurance after the closure of the 919 program in 2017. The LMP2 class will see ten Oreca 07s at the start: Italian enthusiasts will naturally have an eye for Raffaele Marcello (High Class Racing) and for the AF Corse #88 by Nielsen, Perrodo and Vaxiviere.
Attention will also be focused on GTD Proconsidering that it presents names of absolute prestige (Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghinis, Aston Martin, Mercedes, Lexus And Chevrolet). The Rossa di Risi Competizione will field the Ferrari 296 GT3 driven by world champions Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado, supported by Davide Rigon and Daniel Serra. The Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo2 with the Iron Lynx team will also be on track, in view of the recent collaboration that will culminate with the management of the LMDhs on the track in 2024. On board the Huracan GT3 will sit Mirko Bortolotti, Andrea Caldarelli, Jordan Pepper and the new signing Romain Grosjean.
Qualifications. The starting grid was decided last January 22, with the defending champions Meyer Shank Racing #60 in pole position, joined by the Porsche 963 #7. Third position for the Wayne Taylor Racing/Andretti Autosport Acura ARX-06, then the #01 Cadillac of Chip Ganassi Racing. In LMP2 Mathiasen Motorsports (#52) starts from pole PR1, followed by the two cars of TDS Racing, while AF Corse will make its debut at Daytona starting from fourth position. In LMP3 the Ligier of Sean Creech Motorsport will start in front of everyone, in GTD Pro it is Mercedes that dictates the law, with the AMG GT3 WeatherTech Racing #79 on pole. Ferrari 296 GT3 in ninth position on the grid. Among the Gran Turismos, the best time was set by the Winward Racing team, also on Mercedes.
The track. The theater of the Rolex 24 will obviously be the traditional Road Course, a 5729-metre circuit that takes advantage of part of the tri-oval that hosts the Daytona 500 and is characterized by very high speeds with only 12 corners and few really driven sections.
The 24 Hours of Daytona can be followed entirely in stream on the IMSA official website a this link. Make sure you have not activated ADBlock and that you have accepted cookies to enjoy the event.
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