57th anniversary Rolex 24 At DAYTONA -short notes

57th anniversary Rolex 24 At DAYTONA -short notes

22.01.2019: Endurance Racing on the High Banks - Two-time CART champion and paraplegic Alex Zanardi to race in Rolex 24 with BMW – Alex Zanardi will make his first Rolex 24 start with BMW’s No. 24 entry in t

Endurance Racing on the High Banks

- Two-time CART champion and paraplegic Alex Zanardi to race in Rolex 24 with BMW
– Alex Zanardi will make his first Rolex 24 start with BMW’s No. 24 entry in the GT Le Mans class. The Italian driver lost both of his legs in a CART event in Germany in 2001. Despite his injuries, Zanardi is a Paralympic Gold Medalist and has competed in multiple European GT Championship events for BMW. Zanardi previously competed at Daytona International Speedway in the 1997 IROC event on the 2.5-mile tri-oval.

- Fernando Alonso returns:
Two-time Formula 1 and 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans champion Fernando Alonso will return to the high banks of Daytona for his second start in the Rolex 24. Alonso will co-drive for the 2017 Rolex 24 champion team of Wayne Taylor Racing in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi alongside his World Endurance Championship teammate Kamui Kobayashi and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship regulars Jordan Taylor and Renger van der Zande. The only Formula 1 Drivers’ Champion to win the Rolex 24 is Mario Andretti in 1972.

- Christian Fittipaldi to defend title in his last Rolex 24 start:
Three-time and defending Rolex 24 champion Christian Fittipaldi will retire from full-time racing following the 2019 Rolex 24. Fittipaldi and his No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi co-drivers, Joao Barbosa and Filipe Albuquerque, will attempt to become the first drivers to win back-to-back Rolex 24 overall victories since Scott Pruett and Juan Pablo Montoya in 2007 and ‘08 with Chip Ganassi Racing.

- Meyer Shank Racing all-female GT Daytona entry
– 2012 Rolex 24 overall champions Meyer Shank Racing, in partnership with Heinricher Racing, will have an all-female driver lineup in the No. 57 Caterpillar Acura NSX GT3. The entry will feature Katherine Legge, Ana Beatriz, Simona de Silvestro and Christina Nielson. The highest finishing overall female driver in Rolex 24 history was Milka Duno in 2007 with a second-place finish and the last female to co-drive to a class win was Claudia Hurtgen in 1997.

- Series champions look to defend their title
– 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar champions Ed Curran and Felipe Nasr will look to defend their series title in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi. Pipo Derani will join the duo as they look to improve upon their second-place finish in last year’s Rolex 24 and capture the team’s first win in North America’s most prestigious sports car race.

- Rising NASCAR driver Austin Cindric returns for second Rolex 24 start
– Full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Austin Cindric will make his second start in the Rolex 24, co-driving the No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 for AIM Vasser Sullivan in the GTD class. Cindric will be the only full-time NASCAR driver in the Rolex 24 field in 2019.

- Other NASCAR stars add stock car flavor
– Racing against Cindric will be 2012 Rolex 24 champion AJ Allmendinger, who returns to the endurance race for the 12th time with Meyer Shank Racing and co-owner Michael Shank. During the race, Allmendinger, now an analyst for NBCSN, will alternate between driving the No. 86 Acura GT3 in the GTD class and the broadcast booth. Other NASCAR notables are Cole Custer, Ty Majeski, and Chase Briscoe, all of whom will be racing in the Grand Sport Class of the four-hour BMW Endurance Challenge taking place on Friday, Jan. 25. The trio will be racing the Multimatic Motorsports Ford Mustang GT4s. The No. 15 will be piloted by Custer, Majeski and 2016 race winner Scott Maxwell and the No. 22 by Briscoe, Cindric and three-time race winner Billy Johnson.

- IMSA restructures WeatherTech SportsCar Championship classes
– The Rolex 24 returns to a four-class field with a reorganization of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship classes. After previously grouping LMP2 and DPi cars together in the Prototype class, they will each have their respective classes along with the existing GTLM and GTD classes.

- 2019 Sunoco Challenge winners race in Rolex 24 for 10th year
– Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner Linus Lundqvist and Sunoco 240 Challenge winner Kyle Reid will be rewarded with a ride during Rolex 24 weekend. Both drivers will be making their Daytona debut, with Lundqvist co-driving the No. 47 Precision Performance Motorsports Lamborghini Huracan GT3 in the Rolex 24’s GTD class and Reid in the No. 26 Classic BMW/Fast Track Racing BMW M4 GT4 in the Grand Sport (GS) class of Friday’s BMW Endurance Challenge – the four-hour season-opener for the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge. Last year’s Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner, Stuart Middleton, finished second overall in the Rolex 24 with the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi team.

- Neurosurgeon Dr. Robert Masson teams up with son Kyle in LMP2 class
– Dr. Robert Masson, a neurosurgeon from Central Florida, will share seat time in the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA LMP2 with his son and two other co-drivers during the Rolex 24. His son, Kyle Masson, won the 2017 Patron Tequila North American Endurance Cup in the IMSA Prototype Challenge class. This will be the second year Dr. Masson has competed at Daytona with his first start coming in the 2018 IMSA Prototype Challenge race.

- 24 hours, 24 countrie
s – Drivers representing 25 different nations will participate in this year’s Rolex 24 At DAYTONA, but drivers won’t be the only ones representing; fans from 24 different countries will be in attendance for the weekend’s festivities.

Off-Track Storylines

- Scott Pruett will serve as Grand Marshal for 2019 Rolex 24
– Record-tying Rolex 24 winningest driver Scott Pruett will give the command for the 57th anniversary Rolex 24 At DAYTONA. The five-time Rolex 24 overall champion made his final Daytona start last year after announcing his retirement from racing. Pruett co-drove 32 cars in 28 Rolex 24s between 1985 and 2018. The last time Pruett did not compete in the Rolex 24 was 2003.

- Taste of the 24 returns for the 10th yea
r – For the 10th consecutive year, The NASCAR Foundation will host its Taste of the 24 event during the Rolex 24. Held in the Midway Suites of the DIS venue, fans can indulge in delicious foods from the Daytona area while enjoying live entertainment and will be entered to win a Rolex watch. Guests can purchase tickets for the 10th Annual Taste of the 24 at Daytona International Speedway through The
NASCAR Foundation by calling 386-310-5710 or visiting NASCARfoundation.org/Taste24; proceeds will benefit The NASCAR Foundation’s programs that support medical care for children.

- Rolex Retweet - DIS is continuing the largest and most expansive social media effort in IMSA to further engage fans both at the speedway and at home. Included in this effort are a special Twitter hashtag, Rolex 24 Tweet-Up featuring special surprise guests, promotion of the FREE DIS Mobile App, an onsite DAYTONA Rewards program, free DISINFO text alerts, Snapchat Story and increased direct driver interactions.

o Inside Access: Daytona International Speedway is going behind-the-scenes more than ever before. From featured drivers taking over the DISupdates Snapchat account throughout the week to fans’ opportunities to win meet-and-greets, DIS is giving their social media followers a direct link to the drivers they love to cheer on.

o Snapchat: Throughout the weekend of January 26-27, Snapchat users can share their photos and videos to the Rolex 24 Story located in the Snapchat feed so the world can watch the race unfold through the eyes of the fans.

o DIS Mobile App: The ‘ultimate event companion,’ the free Daytona International Speedway mobile application gives users access to step-by-step wayfinding, up-to-date schedules, maps and event updates including push messages alerting users of upcoming driver appearances, on-track activity and more.

o Twitter Hashtag: Throughout the week, fans will see a special addition to all tweets containing “#Rolex24.”

o Social Media Channels: Fans can follow DIS on all of the major social media channels for behind-the-scenes exclusives, live event updates, surprise giveaways and more. DIS can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/daytonainternationalspeedway and on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat @DISupdates.

-2019 Heritage Exhibition allows fans to stand next to racing history –
A number of historically significant race cars will be on display all weekend long inside UNOH Fanzone near the FPL Solar Patio. Cars featured include sports cars from 1960 to 2014 that raced in the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA, with a strong focus on cars from the various prototype eras. On Saturday morning, the participating cars will turn several demonstration laps and a parade lap around a portion of the road course.

- Rolex 24 Boardwalk and Ferris wheel –
Fans can visit the infield for a wide selection of food and carnival rides, including one of the largest Ferris wheels on the East Coast, which allows them to watch the race from 150 feet in the air, offering them one of the greatest views in motorsports.

- One of the world’s largest autograph sessions
– Nowhere else in the world will fans find some of the greatest sports car drivers all signing autographs at the same time and in the same location. The UNOH Fanzone will host the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship autograph session on Saturday afternoon. With all of the Rolex 24 drivers participating, it’s one of the largest autograph sessions in all of sports.

-  Pre-Race Ceremonies
– Before the Rolex, after the cars are lined up in qualifying order along pit road, the starting grid is opened for fans to join the drivers, crew members and team owners to get an up-close look at their favorite cars and drivers. A truly unique atmosphere awaits as unprecedented access allows fans to walk up to the cars and drivers to talk and take photos.

- Live music and karaoke
– The UNOH Fanzone Main Stage will welcome a variety of bands and musical acts throughout the weekend. However, the highlight of the weekend may come on Saturday night before midnight,  when fans take the stage for karaoke. Fueled with the adrenaline of some the world’s fastest sports cars in the background, fans can step up to the mic to belt out a few of their favorite hits.

- Wine & Cheese Party
– With the roar of sports cars buzzing in the background, fans can treat their palate to some exquisite wines and a variety of cheeses at the annual Wine & Cheese Party inside the Café 24 Activity Zone on Saturday night.

- IMSA Twenty-Four Premier at ONE DAYTONA
– On Wednesday, January 23, before the teams take to the track for 24 hours of endurance racing, race fans can get up close to the cars and drivers during this fan-friendly event at ONE DAYTONA across the street from Daytona International Speedway. From 6-8 p.m., fans can meet some of the biggest names in the sport, watch a live pit stop demonstration and more.

- Car manufacturer and vendor displays
– With the paved infield Midway jam-packed with manufacturer and vendor displays, car fanatics can find the latest information on some of their favorite race teams, straight from the makers of the machines themselves.

- Inaugural Celebration of Speed at ONE DAYTONA
– For fans who enjoy exotic cars and want to help a good cause, at ONE DAYTONA on Friday, January 25 from 6-8 p.m., luxury vehicle owners will gather to raise money to help support The NASCAR Foundation.

- Wayne Taylor Racing ticket package puts fans even closer to the drivers – In a partnership with Wayne Taylor Racing, Daytona International Speedway is offering fans a special ticket offer that will allow them to attend an exclusive 15-minute question-and-answer session with the drivers of the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi and receive a hero card signed by two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso, FIA World Endurance Championship driver and two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans podium finisher Kamui Kobayashi, 2017 Rolex 24 and series champion Jordan Taylor and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship veteran Renger van der Zande.


-DIS - also logo

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22.01.2019 / MaP

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