Connect with us

Sports Cars

Rolex 24 at Daytona kicks off the 2024 Racing Season



Chip Ganassi Racing

DAYTONA, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The 2024 racing season Saturday is underway with the twice around-the-clock Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway.

“I am really excited to get 2024 going,” said Sebastian Bourdais, driver of the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac. “I think the traditional start of the season with Daytona is always a fun one. It gathers a ton of drivers that you might not see the rest of the season, so it is a bit of an international event and gathering with a great atmosphere.”

Chip Ganassi Racing’s IMSA side of the operation started on the outside of the front row in the No. 01 Cadillac with Pipo Derani on the pole position in the Action Express Racing Cadillac as General Motors swept the front row.

“Obviously, the Cadillac was flying out there today,” said Derani, whose pole was his 10th career in IMSA competition. “It was just a privilege and a pleasure to drive such a car – really well balanced. There was great teamwork to improve what was needed for qualifying. The car felt on rails, and it was nice to enjoy and feel the full potential of GTP.”

Bourdais led the CGR charge logging his best lap time on his fifth of six total laps, which ultimately fell just 0.071 seconds shy of the pole-sitter.

“It was obviously a great day for Cadillac; you always want to go P1-P2,” said Bourdais. “For us, it was a solid effort, but we just didn’t quite get everything the way we wanted for that perfect run. But we have a really solid racecar and now we will just try to adjust things over the next week to get it the best we can for the race. We’ll try to execute as a team, with the drivers, and hope that we can come out of this with a watch.”

Bourdais and his teammate Renger van der Zande are no stranger to winning the watch.  Bourdais captured overall win in 2014 and the GTLM Class Winner in 2017.  van der Zande has two victories and and four podiums in ten Rolex 24’s as the CGR teammates took time out of their busy Daytona schedules to talk with The Pittsburgh Racing Now Podcast.

“We have been developing this car for a year now and lately we have found a lot of set-up options that work for us,” said van der Zande. “Reliability is the most important thing and that is certainly what Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac Racing bring.”

The Ganassi squad is deep and full of resources but it has been a few years since the stood atop the podium.

“The 01 Cadillac team is anxious to kick off the 2024 IMSA SportsCar Championship,” said Mike O’Gara, CGR’s Director of Operations. “We are ready to build on our Rolex 24 At Daytona success with the Cadillac V-Series.R after finishing third and fourth there in its debut race in 2023. It has been a few years since Chip Ganassi Racing has won overall at Daytona, but we feel confident that we can compete for another win and add to our eight victories there.”

Three Rivers Karting

Joining the CGR team at the endurance races are six-time NTT INDYCAR Series Champion Scott Dixon and two-time and defending Series Champion Alex Palou.

“I always look forward to Daytona; it’s a great way to kick off the season,” said Dixon. “I feel like we had a really good shot last year and the car speed was really good. The team has done a good job in the offseason to make things a little bit smoother and better.”

“I’m very excited to return to Daytona after competing with the team in the DPi era in 2022,” said Palou. “I’ve had the privilege of racing with Scott, Sebastien and Renger and I’m sure with all the preparation and knowledge that the team has, we’ll be able to fight for a win and maybe bring home some new watches at the end of January.”

2024 marks the second year of GTP competition in IMSA and having year under their belt with the new car is key compared to 2023.

“I feel like Cadillac has given us a very good car and we have a good understanding of the system,” said Bourdais. “We feel even more prepared and with the team that we can lean on, I think we have all the necessary ingredients to go for the win.”

“Anything can happen at Daytona, but we feel prepared with a nice blend of drivers to win this race,” said van der Zande. “It’s the biggest race of the season, the one you want to win and a big part of a championship. We’re there to win.”

Dixon said the key to any endurance race is surviving.

“The key is always to stay out of trouble and make sure you finish the 24 hours first and then hopefully have a good shot at trying to get a win,” said Dixon.  “I feel like we had a really good shot last year and the car speed was really good.”

O’Gara is thrilled to look at the men and women in his paddock and go to battle with them.

“It’s exciting to be returning with our IMSA veteran drivers Renger van der Zande and Sebastien Bourdais, and it is great to have Scott Dixon back again and then with a pleasant surprise in being able to add Alex Palou to lineup this year, as well. Having the opportunity to work with drivers, engineers and a crew of this caliber is an honor.”

Sports Cars

Chip Ganassi Racing leads Cadillac Racing 1-2 at Long Beach



Cadillac Racing

LONG BEACH, CA (April 20, 2024) Chip Ganassi Racing’s Renger van der Zande and Sebastien Bourdais are back in victory lane with the Cadillac V-Series.R, at Long Beach after beating the No. 31 Cadillac, despite a late-race caution with 13-minutes to go.

”We are very happy right now with the biggest trophy we could get – the first-place trophy,” said Van der Zande.  “Chip Ganassi racing did a fantastic job again. Our car has been fast all year so I am thrilled that we were finally able to bring home the win. The team deserves that.”

“It sure felt good to get this win for everyone in the shop and everyone from GM,” added Bourdais.

“Congratulations to the No. 01 Cadillac V-Series.R team and drivers Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande for winning the hard-fought race on the streets of Long Beach.  It was a strong effort all around with pole sitter Pipo Derani and Jack Aitken in the No. 31 Whelen Cadillac V-Series.R earning their second runner-up finish in three races. A great day for Cadillac Racing at Long Beach,” said Mark Stielow, GM director of motorsports competition about the Cadillac 1-2 finish.

Bourdais qualified third and started behind pole-sitter Derani, who pitted from the lead for the lone time in the 100-minute race with 63 minutes left for energy and left-side tires. Inheriting the lead from Derani, Bourdais brought in the No. 01 Cadillac in a lap later for service and switch to van der Zande. The Chip Ganassi Racing team decided not to change Michelin tires, and van der Zande was able to get the advantage on the out-lap over Aitken, who was making his debut at the circuit.

Three Rivers Karting

”We had an excellent car, so I was a little frustrated that we were not able to get a better lap in during qualifying, but the strategy was perfect during our pit stop,” said Bourdais. “The team did a great job to get us out front and Renger did the rest by holding the 31 off and bringing the car home to victory lane.”

“Our tires were pretty old at the end. I was just hanging on at the end,” said van der Zande, who upped his IMSA victory total to 20 and has won at least one win in each of his 11 seasons. “This team is fantastic. Thanks to Chip, the guys, Mike O’Gara, my teammate Seb … this is how to win races, and I’m enjoying it.”

The victory is the fifth for Bourdais at Long Beach, who teamed with van der Zande to win on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit in 2022.

“It’s win number five here for me at Long Beach,” said Bourdais. “I’m super happy. We’ve had so many hardships and things just not working out. Our last win was Laguna Seca last year, so it’s been almost a year. I’m super happy for Cadillac, for Chip Ganassi Racing and for the boys.”

Bourdais and van der Zande, who teamed with six-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion Scott Dixon to finish second in the 12-hour race last month at Sebring, moved to 58 points out of the GTP points lead. The No. 31 Whelen Cadillac V-Series.R is third in points.

Cadillac Racing and CGR will look to successfully defend its victory May 12 in the 2-hour, 40-minute race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

Continue Reading


Chip Ganassi Racing Unveils Season 2 of Trading Cards Series



Chip Ganassi Racing

ST. PETERSBURG, FL (March 7, 2024) – Sports fans have a great opportunity to get their hands on some cool Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) team-official collectables and help out a great cause in the process.

CGR unveiled Season 2 of their classic trading card series Thursday, benefitting The American Legion and their Be The One initiative, which is a national platform to reduce the rate of veteran suicide. The program destigmatizes asking for mental health support, provides peer-to-peer support and resources and educates people on how they can Be The One.  Everyone can Be The One by asking veterans in your life how they are doing, listening when a veteran needs to talk and reaching out when a veteran is struggling.

Fans are invited to make a $10 donation for a single pack of eight random cards, drawing from the collection of 36 unique designs. Bulk ordering options are also available again, with quantities offered at 5, 10 and 20 packs.

Three Rivers Karting

“We are excited to see the return of the Chip Ganassi Racing trading cards,” said Dean Kessel, Chief Marketing Officer of The American Legion. “This project was wildly popular last season because it not only provides a remarkable product to race fans across the country, but it also directly impacts our mission to support the veteran community and save lives. We’re proud of this partnership that continues to make a positive impact on the lives of those who have served our nation.”

Season 2 of the #CGRCards feature standard cards, unique chrome cards and rare, autographed inserts from the current Chip Ganassi Racing NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver lineup.

The chrome cards feature notable achievements from this past season and throwbacks to Chip Ganassi Racing lore, including ‘The Pass’ at Laguna Seca by Alex Zanardi, CGR’s first championship with Jimmy Vasser in 1996 and the team’s first Indianapolis 500 win in 2000 with Juan Pablo Montoya.

The trading cards will be available exclusively at Only 2,000 packs of cards will be available through the 2024 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season so be sure to make a donation today and collect all 36 cards.

Continue Reading

Sports Cars

Penske And Porsche Atop The Podium At Rolex 24 At Daytona




DAYTONA, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Porsche Penske Motorsports Felipe Nasr held off the hard-charging Whelen Cadillac of Tom Blomqvist to win the twice around the clock Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway.

Nasr took the lead for the final time when the No. 7 Porsche crew gave him a quicker pit stop than the No. 31 Cadillac crew could manage for Blomqvist under a full-course caution with 43 minutes remaining. Blomqvist hounded Nasr for the last half-hour but could never get close enough to attempt a pass for the lead.  Nasr’s margin of victory was 2.112-seconds.

The victory was the first Rolex 24 At Daytona overall win for team owner Roger Penske in 55 years and the first for Porsche in 14 years.

“I’ll tell you, this goes down as one of the biggest wins we’ve had,” said Penske.

Penske’s last win at the Rolex 24 came in 1969 when Mark Donohue and Chuck Parsons drove a Lola T-70/Chevrolet to victory.  Penske also claimed a class win in 1966.

“When you think about 1969, when we won here with a Lola, things were a lot different in those days,” said Penske. “Just to see the competitiveness, where six or seven tenths of a second was the difference after 24 hours of racing, it’s unbelievable.”

Three Rivers Karting

It was also the first Rolex 24 Daytona class victory for team owner Giuseppe Risi, whose Houston-based squad took victory in the Gran Touring Daytona Pro (GTD PRO) as the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 296 GT3 claimed the class victory with drivers Daniel Serra, Davide Rigon, Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado.

“Giuseppe deserves it,” Calado said of the team owner who started competing in sports car racing in 1998. “He’s wanted it for a long time. I’m happy for him, and I’m happy for us. It’s a great way to start the year and puts us in good stead for the rest of the year.”

Risi has claimed multiple class victories over the years at Le Mans, Sebring and Petit Le Mans. But until Sunday, it had not celebrated victory in the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

“This is the race that I was missing, that I really wanted to win,” said Serra, who drove the final stint. “Today is one of the happiest days of my racing career.”

The No. 18 Era Motorsport took the victory in the Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) class with co-drivers Dalziel, Dwight Merriman, Christian Rasmussen and Connor Zilisch.

The No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 296 GT3 claimed victory in the Grand Touring Daytona Pro (GTD PRO) class with drivers

Winward Racing’s No. 57 Mercedes-AMG GT3 was victorious in the Grand Touring Daytona (GTD) class, the car shared by Russell Ward, Philip Ellis, Indy Dontje and Daniel Morad.

Continue Reading

Discover more from Pittsburgh Racing Now

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading