January 25, 2020: The 58th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona begins today at Daytona International Speedway, the iconic 3.56 mile road course. It's the opener of a 12-race season for IMSA, the premier sports car series in the United States. The field includes race cars from 12 different manufacturers and includes 42 drivers with at least one previous Rolex 24 victory. It also includes a two-time and reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion, the 2019 Indianapolis 500 winner among six Indy 500 winners and five IndyCar champions in the field, 26 24 Hours of Le Mans winners and 30 IMSA premier series champions.
There is a total of 39 entries spread between four classes of competition: Daytona Prototype international (DPi) with eight, LMP2 with six, GT Le Mans (GTLM) with seven and GT Daytona (GTD) with 18. Nearly every entry will compete in the full 2020 WeatherTech Championship season. The race also will include drivers from 22 different countries and five continents.
IMSA Radio also will have live coverage throughout race weekend on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com, with complete race coverage also airing on SiriusXM Radio (XM 202, Sirius 216, Online 972).
News and notes from Friday of Rolex 24 At Daytona weekend on Jan. 24, 2020.
CONVERGENCE: TALK OF THE PADDOCK
Sports car racing’s highest-profile team owners, manufacturer representatives, series executives and drivers came together Friday afternoon in Daytona for one of the sport’s most significant modern-day announcements – the convergence of the top categories of endurance racing under the unified designation LMDh.
IMSA Chairman Jim France said he and the ACO (Automobile Club de l’Ouest) leaders first broached the idea five years ago, realizing the massive undertaking it would take to make the union a reality. But France said he and the other executives also realized an enormous upside of uniting the cars in the world’s great endurance races from the Rolex 24 to the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring to the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Motul Petit Le Mans.
“It’s a continuation of the vision where both cars are competing at Le Mans are also competing at Daytona for the overall victory,’’ France told the rapt audience. “It’s a step to that spot. The proof will be when we have a car that wins Daytona and wins Le Mans in the same year, that’s what I’m looking forward to.”
“The way I view it,” he continued afterward, “is if you ever catch the Ford vs. Ferrari movie where the cars went back and forth at Le Mans, that’s the era that we’re getting ready to enter into here, that is my optimistic hope.
“I can’t control what the manufacturers do and how they approach it, but the opportunity will certainly be there.”
- Source: IMSA