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New Year, New Season – IMSA Kicks off 2020 with the Roar Before the Rolex 24 at Daytona

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IMSA

DAYTONA BEACH, FLA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The calendar says 2020 but for race teams around the country, they have been working on 2020 for quite some time now.

IMSA gets the 2020 racing season going with the annual Roar Before the 24, the first practice session at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the 58th Rolex 24 At Daytona on January 23-26.

Forty cars have been entered across four competing classes in hopes of capturing the twice-around-the-clock event.

Two-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion Kyle Busch will be moonlighting at the roar, jumping into the No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 that he will share with co-drivers Parker Chase, Jack Hawksworth and Michael De Quesada in the GT Daytona (GTD) Class.

The GTD Class is the largest class in the field with 18-entries from nine different manufacturers.

Also in the GTD field are two entries from the 2019 GTD Champions of Meyer Shank Racing – the No. 57 Heinricher Racing with MSR Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3 with drivers Alvaro Parente, Misha Goikhberg, Trent Hindman and AJ Allmendinger and the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura of Mario Farnb acher, Matt McMurtry, Sinhya Michimi and Jules Gounon as well as the all-female lineup of Katherine Legge, Christina Nielsen, Tati Calderon and Rahel Frey in the No. 19 GEAR Racing powered by GRT Grasser Lamborghini Huracan GT3;

Eight entries are featured in the lead Daytona Prototype International (DPi) Class from three manufacturers. Defending DPi Champions Acura Team Penske No. 6 ARX-05 of Dane Cameron and Juan Pablo Montoya who will be joined by IndyCar teammate Simon Pagenaud.  Ricky Taylor and Helio Castroneves will be joined in the other Acura Team Penske No. 7 by Alexander Rossi.

Also in the DPi Class are Wayne Taylor Racing’s No. 10 Konica Minolta Caillas DPi-V.R. where defending race winners Renger van der Zande and Kamui Kobayashi will be joined by Ryan Briscoe and Scott Dixon.

Briscoe and Dixon used to drive in IMSA for Ford Chip Ganassi Racing.  Ford shuttered the factory GT Le Mans (GTLM) program after last season, leaving Ganassi off the grid for the first time since 2004.

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I don’t think Ganassi is finished in sports car racing however, at least not according the team owners Twitter account:

Ganassi instead will add a third IndyCar for driver Marcus Ericsson as Pittsburgh Racing Now told you back in October (https://pittsburghracingnow.com/2019/10/08/chip-ganassi-adding-third-ntt-indycar-series-entry-for-marcus-ericsson-in-2020/).

The factory supported GTLM Class features seven entries, four of which are making their North American Debut this weekend: The new, midengined Corvette C8R’s of Corvette Racing with Antonio Garcia being joined by Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg with Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner joined by Marcel Fassler in the No. 4 Corvette.

The new-for-2020 Porsche 911 RSR makes its debut at Daytona with defending WeatherTech GTLM Champions Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor in the No. 912 with Mathieu Jaminet.  The No. 911 will feature Nick Tandy, Frederic Makowiecki with Matt Campbell service as endurance specialist.

The LMP2 Class features seven entries as well.  Defending Rolex 24 Winners Dragon Speed return with Ben Hanley, Henrik Hedman, Colin Braun and Harrison Newey in the No. 81 ORECA LMP2 07.

The No. 8 Tower Motorsport by Starworks ORECA with Ryan Dalziel and John Farano being joined by David Heinemeier Hansson and Nicolas Lapierre joining for the endurance events.

Defending LMP2 Championship PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports returns with two entries as well for drivers Ben Keating, Simon Trummer and Gabriel Aubry in a lineup that is still being determined.

In addition to the WeatherTech Championship machines, a 38-car field for the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge will partake in three days of testing.  Look for additional coverage coming up on Pittsburgh Racing Now.

The annual Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona takes place from Friday, January 3rd through Sunday, January 5th.

IndyCar

Chip Ganassi Racing Begins “Best Paint Scheme” Contest

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Ford Motor Company

CONCORD, NC (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chip Ganassi Racing is starting a cool contest where fans can pick the “Best Paint Scheme” that has appeared on one of the CGR cars over the 30-year history of the organization.

The contest started Wednesday on Twitter and features 32-paint schemes that have appeared on the teams NASCAR, INDYCAR and IMSA race cars.

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Fans can vote on their favorites in a bracket style elimination tournament where one paint scheme will be crowned the winner.

Cars involved include some favorites driven by Scott Dixon, Alex Zanardi, Juan Pablo Montoya, Sterling Marlin, Kyle Larson, Kurt Busch, Scott Pruitt, Felix Rosenqvist, Memo Rojas, Steve Arpin, Jamie McMurray, Joey Hand, Richard Westbrook, Ryan Briscoe and Dirk Mueller.

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Sports Cars

IMSA Reschedules Acura Sports Car Grand Prix at Mid-Ohio

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Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

DAYTONA BEACH, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) is moving the Acura Sports Car Grand Prix at Mid-Ohio to the weekend of September 25-27, 2020.

The race was originally scheduled for the weekend of May 1-3 but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic that is affecting the World.  Ohio has been particularly hard hit by COVID-19.

The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course released the following statement in regards to the announcement:

The International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course announced today that the 2020 Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio originally set for May 1-3, 2020, has been rescheduled to Sept. 25-27, 2020.

The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series are confirmed to run on the new September weekend.  Additional series updates, broadcast information and event schedules will be announced as they become available.

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The rescheduled date is subject to the ongoing guidance and mandates of national, state and local authorities regarding public gatherings.  The health and safety of all associated with this event remain our priority.

Previously purchased tickets will be honored on the rescheduled Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course dates of Sept. 25-27, 2020.  Email for additional information at info@midohio.com for questions on ticket purchases, or visit midohio.com/imsafaq for further details.

The rescheduled race at Mid-Ohio is one of three rescheduled events announced on Tuesday by IMSA. Also moving is The IMSA Monterey SportsCar Championship at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, which has been moved up one weekend and is now scheduled to run on September 4-6, 2020.  It was originally scheduled to run the weekend of September 11-13.  The date adjustment was made to accommodate IMSA teams planning to run in the 24-Hours of Le Mans, which Pittsburgh Racing Now reported was moving to the weekend of September 19-20.

The other race that is moving is The 23rd annual Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.  Originally scheduled to run October 7-10, that race is moving back one weekend and is now scheduled to run October 14-17, 2020.

IMSA will provide additional series updates, broadcast information and event schedules as they become available.  For more information fans should visit www.imsa.com.

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IndyCar

Racing Notebook – Friday, March 20: IndyCar going iRacing; NASCAR eRacing on Sunday

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NTT INDYCAR SERIES

PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The NTT INDYCAR SERIES is going iRacing and NASCAR is getting ready for their first round of eRacing on Sunday plus no racing in Central Pennsylvania this weekend.

INDYCAR Going iRacing:

  • The NTT INDYCAR SERIES and iRacing, the world’s premier motorsports racing simulation, are partnering to currently stage six virtual race events.  The events will feature a stellar lineup of current NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers and possibly some special guests.  The events begin ing on  beginning Saturday, March 28. Fans will have an opportunity to choose the inaugural INDYCAR iRacing Challenge race venue through bracket voting starting today through Thursday.  Fans can vote daily on the track match-up in the bracket to determine which venue will advance to the next round.  The voting, which has a 12-hour window beginning 10 a.m. daily after today, is available through the @INDYCAR Instagram or Twitter handle and online at indycar.com/iracing.

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Drivers Getting Ready For First eNASCAR Race:

  • Drivers from all three NASCAR touring series: Cup, Xfinity and Gander Outdoors & RV Truck Series are preparing for this Sunday’s eNASCAR race, which is going to be televised by FS1.  The full 35-car field will be announced on Sunday.  NASCAR Cup Series drivers have been allotted spots, and qualifiers across a group of Xfinity and Gander Trucks drivers will set the final grid. Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin, current NASCAR Cup Series points leader Joey Logano, reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch and fan favorites such as Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson and Christopher Bell are participating along with NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Labonte.  Driver and NBC Sports analyst Parker Klingerman is also scheduled to compete.  The virtual race will take place at Homestead Miami Speedway and starts at 1:30 ET.

IMSA Holding Sebring SuperSaturday on iRacing:

  • The International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) is holding Sebring SuperSaturday on iRacing.  A huge, 50-car field made up of real-life, professional drivers will take to the 3.74-mile Sebring International Raceway iRacing circuit at 2:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, March 21.  All of the cars in the field will be recent IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race cars – the Porsche 911 RSR, BMW M8 GTE, Ford GT and Ferrari 488 GTE.  There will be no driver changes.  The race will be available on the iRacing eSports Network on YouTube and Twitch.

Central PA Tracks Cancel Weekend Races:

  • If you were planning on getting out of the house this weekend to take in some dirt track racing in Central Pennsylvania, Williams Grove, Lincoln and Port Royal have cancelled their races.  Read our full report here.
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