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.
I don’t think Ganassi is finished in sports car racing however, at least not according the team owners Twitter account:
— Chip Ganassi (@GanassiChip) December 27, 2019
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.
Racing Notebook: O’Ward on Mid-Ohio INDYCAR pole; Blomqvist on CTMP IMSA pole and more
Sunday’s Racing Notebook has the lineups for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Complex, IMSA’s race at the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park plus NASCAR at Road America and SRX at Stafford.
O’Ward Wins INDYCAR Mid-Ohio Pole:
- Arrow McLaren SP’s Patricio O’Ward is on the pole position for Sunday’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Complex. O’Ward’s fast lap of of 1 minute, 6.7054 seconds in the No. 5 Chevrolet edged Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin, who will start second after a fast lap of 1:06.8382 in the No. 3 Chevrolet. Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta will start third (1:07.0262) with O’Ward’s teammate Felix Rosenqvist alongside in fourth (1:07.2163). Scott Dixon led Chip Ganassi Racing with a fast lap of 1:07.4047 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda. Dixon’s CGR teammates Alex Palou starts seventh, Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson starts 13th and Jimmie Johnson starts 27th. IndyCar Mid Ohio Lineup
Blomqvist Puts Acura on CTMP IMSA Pole:
- Tom Blomqvist set an IMSA record in the No. 60 Acura around the iconic 2.459-mile, 10-corner Canadian Tire Motorsports Park road course in 1 minute, 4.394 seconds for an average speed of 137.472 mph. The fastest previous lap, ironically, was set by Blomqvist’s current teammate Oliver Jarvis in 2019 at Daytona International Speedway (136.792 mph). Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque will start second in the No. 10 Acura. The JDC Miller Cadillac lines up third followed by the No. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac. The No. 01 CGR Caddy will start sixth. IMSA CTMP Lineup
Elliott On NASCAR Cup Series Road America Pole:
- Hendrick Motorsports Chase Elliott is on the NASCAR Cup Series pole position for Sunday’s road course race at Road America. Elliott’s fast lap of 134.427-seconds (108.407 mph) was a tick faster than Stewart Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe, who will start second (108.376 mph). Elliott’s HMS teammate Kyle Larson starts third (108.21mph) with Richard Childress Racing’s Tyler Reddick fourth (108.155mph), and Team Penske’s Austin Cindric fifth (108.123mph). Cup Series Road America Lineup
Gibbs Takes Xfinity Win At Road America:
- Joe Gibbs Racing’s Ty Gibbs passed Hendrick Motorsports Kyle Larson on the final lap of NASCAR Overtime to win Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Road America. Larson was leading as he passed under white flag, but Gibbs drafted Larson down the frontstretch, took advantage of an opening to the inside in Turn 3 and powered his No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota past Larson for the lead and the win.
Newman Bumps Andretti For First SRX Win:
- Ryan Newman used the bump-and-run to pass Marco Andretti for the Superstar Racing Experience (SRX) victory at Stafford Motor Speedway. Andretti held off Paul Tracy for second. Tony Stewart finished fourth and Bobby Labonte rounded out the Top 5. Ryan Hunter-Reay won Heat 1 and Labonte won Heat 2. Next up for the Camping World SRX Series is the Nashville Fairgrounds on Saturday, July 9.
Bourdais, van der Zande give Cadillac and CGR back-to-back wins in Detroit
DETROIT, MI (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande made it back-to-back Chevrolet Sports Car Classic wins for Cadillac Chip Ganassi Racing Saturday at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park. Bourdais and van der Zande held off the Meyer Shank Racing Acura to win by 0.398-seconds.
“It was definitely not the easiest race we have ever won, but I am super proud of everyone on the 01 Cadillac team,” said Bourdais. “Renger brought it home. It was a hard fight, but it is that much sweeter when you win it.”
“We got it done,” said van der Zande. “We’ve had some trouble this year. It is good to get it behind us so we can look forward and win some more races hopefully.”
The victory helped the No. 01 V-Performance Academy Cadillac team make up 65-points in the Championship battle. The No. 01 now sits fourth through six rounds.
Earl Bamber and Alex Lynn finished third in the No. 02 Cadillac Accessories Cadillac DPi-V.R., giving CGR two of the three podium spots.
“To be honest, both the 01 and 02 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillacs this weekend were phenomenal,” said Bamber. “We were in fourth and came through and caught the car in third – the 31. He did a big move in Turn 1 and later on he got checked up and we were able to get by. Podium finish and good for championship points, and good to get a Cadillac 1-3. Awesome for the 01. They’ve had such a tough time this season it is well deserved.”
“Very intense race with a lot of fuel saving in both stints,” said Lynn. “I really tried to maximize how much fuel capacity we have in the car and it was a game of playing with it all day. I think P3 was a good result.”
“A very spirited race. Congratulations to all the Cadillac teams today. It’s awesome to be back on the podium and to be taking two places including the top spot,” said Rory Harvey, Cadillac Global Vice President.
The Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen on the 3.4-mile, 11-turn Watkins Glen International on June 26.
Racing Notebook: Bourdais puts Ganassi Caddy on IMSA Pole; Kirkwood fastest in INDYCAR first practice; Acura LMDh teaser and more
The latest edition of the Pittsburgh Racing Now Notebook has details on IMSA qualifying, the first practice on the Streets of Belle Isle for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, Acura teases their LMDh entry and NASCAR at Gateway:
Bourdais Wins IMSA Pole:
- Sebastian Bourdais in on the Pole Position for Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Series race at Belle Isle. Bourdais fast lap of 1:18.818/107.335 mph in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac edged Tom Blomqvist in the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura (1:18.928) for the top spot despite making contact with the wall at Turn 2. “It was a bit of a messy qualifying, and I don’t think I’ve hit that many walls in succession in a very long time,” Bourdais said. “You have to hustle the cars and push so hard here that you really expose yourself. It proves that we really have to dig deep to keep those Acuras at bay,” said Bourdais. IMSA Detroit Qualifying
Kirkwood Fastest In INDYCAR First Practice:
- Rookie Kyle Kirkwood turned the fastest lap in the first practice session for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear. Kirkwood’s fast lap of 1:16.1345 in the No. 14 RoKit Chevrolet. Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward was second fastest in the No. 5 Chevrolet (1:16.1556). Alexander Rossi was third quickest at 1:16.5146 in the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda. Simon Pagenaud was fourth at 1:16.6177 in the No. 60 AutoNation/Sirius XM Honda, while newly crowned Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson rounded out the top five at 1:16.6574 in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. INDYCAR Detroit Practice One
Rossi Fastest in INDYCAR Second Practice:
- Andretti Autosports Alexander Rossi turned the fastest lap in the second NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice Saturday morning on Belle Isle. Meyer Shank Racing’s Simon Pagenaud was second quick at 1:15.880 in the No. 60 Honda. Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden was third quick at 1:15.911. MSR’s Helio Castroneves turned the fourth fastest lap at 1:16.041. Rookie David Malukas rounded out the Top 5 at 1:16.118. Alex Palou was the fastest of the Ganassi cars in 9th (1:16.384) with Scott Dixon 13th and Marcus Ericsson 14th. Knockout-style qualifying takes place from 12:35 to 1:50 p.m. and can be seen on Peacock Premium.
Acura Teases New ARX-06 LMDh Entry:
- Acura Motorsports on Friday released images of it’s ARX-06 LMDh prototype which will race in IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship hybrid-powered GTP category in 2023. Based on the ORECA LMDh chassis, the ARX-06 features Acura-specific internal combustion power unit, bodywork and aerodynamics. Acura will continue to partner with Wayne Taylor Racing and Meyer Shank Racing to campaign the entry in 2023.
Penske Trio Leads First Cup Practice at Gateway:
- The Team Penske Ford’s of Joey Logano (32.906-seconds, 136.753-mph), Ryan Blaney (136.260) and Austin Cindric (136.104) led the first NASCAR Cup Series practice at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway. Kurt Busch’s 23XI Racing’s Toyota was fourth (136.096) and Petty GMS Racing’s Erik Jones was fifth (136.001). Teams will qualify today at 11 A.M. ET.