Track Talk: The Rolex 24 at Daytona

The American racing season officially kicks off this weekend with the first round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship- the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Many IndyCar drivers dust away the off-season rust by landing one-off rides at Daytona. But as we’re about to see, the connection between IndyCar racing and the 24 Hours of Daytona goes well beyond the drivers racing this weekend.

Honda, General Motors, and Mazda debut some new toys: Current IndyCar engine manufacturers, Honda and General Motors, debut new cars this weekend. Honda will be fielding two new Acura NSX GT3 cars in the GTD category. General Motors will be representing through their Chevrolet and Cadillac brands, with the Corvette C7.R in GTLM, and the new Cadillac Prototype in the DPi category. Cadillac will be joined by Road to Indy title sponsor, Mazda, with their own DPi.

Two IndyCar teams will be competing: Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing will be present and accounted for with two BWM M6 GTLM cars in the GTLM category. Chip Ganassi Racing joins RLL in the same category with a four-car Ford GT armada.

And speaking of Chip Ganassi Racing: At six wins no other team has won the Rolex 24 more than Chip Ganassi Racing. What’s even more impressive is that all six wins have occurred since 2006. That’s a 55% win rate over the last 11 races!

Current IndyCar drivers are well represented: Scroll through the entry list and you’ll find no fewer than nine current IndyCar drivers including: Spencer Pigot, James Hinchcliffe, RC Enerson, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Sage Karam, Townsend Bell, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Graham Rahal.

IndyCar alumni are also well represented: Many former IndyCar drivers will also be on the grid. Alumni include: Katherine Legge, Scott Sharp, Ryan Dalziel, Christian Fittipaldi, Mike Conway, Buddy Rice, Jan Magnussen, Ryan Briscoe, and Jack Hawksworth.

The Indy 500 is well represented: Tony Kanaan, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Buddy Rice- the only four drivers in the 2017 Rolex 24 field to also have their faces on the Borg-Warner Trophy.

IndyCar drivers have a history of winning the Rolex 24: Former IndyCar driver, Scott Pruett, is tied for the most wins at five (with Hurley Haywood). Other IndyCar drivers to win the Rolex 24 include: Al Unser, Juan Pablo Montoya, AJ Foyt, Al Unser Jr, John Paul Jr, Christian Fittipaldi, Lloyd Ruby, Mark Donohue, Mario Andretti, Danny Ongais, Bobby Rahal, Raul Boesel, Davy Jones, Mark Dismore, PJ Jones, Arie Luyendyk, Max Papis, Casey Mears, the late Dan Wheldon, Dario Franchitti, Buddy Rice, AJ Allmendinger, Charlie Kimball, the late Justin Wilson, Sebastian Bourdais, Scott Dixon, and Tony Kanaan.

The point? If you’re going to pick a winner, then pick a team with an IndyCar driver on it.


Victor Genova is the host of the Media People Podcast and a freelance racing writer. @VicGenova