Rolex 24 Pre-Race Week Roundup

January 27, 2021

Rolex 24 Pre-Race Week Roundup

January 27, 2021

After the ROAR Before the Rolex 24 test last weekend, IMSA’s two-week stay at Daytona International Speedway continues this week with the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA race itself. The IMSA Prototype Challenge series raced last weekend and the MICHELIN Pilot Challenge races this weekend.

IMSA FAN GUIDE

Michelin will again have a presence in the IMSA Fan Guide during the 2021 season. The digital PDF is linked here and can be previewed below.

2021 Rolex 24 Michelin IMSA Fan Guide Insert

MIX OF CONDITIONS IN QUALIFYING RACE

Teams faced a mix of conditions during the ROAR Before the Rolex 24 test weekend at Daytona International Speedway, culminating with the first Motul Pole Award 100 qualifying race.

The 100-minute race was introduced to IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competitors during the offseason to then set the grid for next weekend’s Rolex 24.

Roughly an hour before green flag, the skies opened over Daytona and light but persistent rain fell over the 3.56-mile road course. Most teams switched from MICHELIN® Pilot® Sport GT wet weather tires to the slicks within the opening half hour of the race as the track dries at Daytona in different parts. Water runs down the 31-degree banking but tends to puddle in the infield.

Whelen Engineering Racing controlled the race in both wet and dry conditions, and a pass by Felipe Nasr in the No. 31 Cadillac DPi-V.R on Tristan Vautier was all the Brazilian needed to move into the lead. Nasr’s co-driver Pipo Derani drove the car home to ensure it will start on pole for the Rolex 24. Mike Conway and 2020 NASCAR Cup series champion Chase Elliott share the car.

In their debut event with Corvette Racing, co-drivers Nick Tandy and Alexander Sims led a Corvette C8.R 1-2 in the GTLM class.

Class polesitters in the pro-am classes included Turner Motorsport BMW (GTD), PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2) and Muehlner Motorsports (LMP3).

MUEHLNER DOMINATES PROTOTYPE CHALLENGE

The Muehlner Motorsports team had a banner ROAR weekend as they also kicked off the IMSA Prototype Challenge season to win the Scouts of America 145 race. Moritz Kranz and Laurents Hoerr shared the No. 21 Duqueine M30-D08 chassis.

The same pair will race in the Rolex 24 with Kenton Koch, a past Rolex 24 class winner, and race debutante and past MICHELIN Pilot Challenge class champion (in the former ST class) Stevan McAleer.

MICHELIN PILOT CHALLENGE PACE SETTERS

The MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series was the only series that didn’t have a race during the ROAR weekend. But the 37 cars entered still had five sessions to put the cars through their paces and learn ahead of next week’s race.

Atlanta residents Spencer Pumpelly (GS, BGB Motorsports Porsche) and Ryan Eversley (TCR, Atlanta SpeedWerks Honda) topped the respective timesheets in class.

CAR COUNT, TIRE COUNT

All told, Michelin will support 110 entries across three race series in two weeks at Daytona. The IPC race had 19 cars, while this weekend’s MICHELIN Pilot Challenge race will have 42 cars and WeatherTech Championship race will have 49 cars.

Nearly 18,000 MICHELIN® Pilot® Sport GT wet and slick tires are on hand here at Daytona, with a staff of more than 70 combined personnel from Michelin and operations and logistics support partner Jackson Motorsports.

BRAND COUNT

By the numbers, here’s a rundown of the 18 automotive brands competing in IMSA with how many cars they have and in which classes. These 18 brands cover 74 of the 91 cars racing this weekend; the combined 17 LMP2 and LMP3 cars from ORECA, Ligier and Duqueine count as chassis constructors but not automotive brands.

  • Audi: 8 (1 GTD, 3 GS, 4 TCR)
  • BMW: 8 (2 GTLM, 1 GTD, 5 GS)
  • Hyundai: 8 (TCR)
  • Mercedes-AMG: 7 (3 GTD, 4 GS)
  • Porsche: 7 (1 GTLM, 4 GTD, 2 GS)
  • Aston Martin: 5 (2 GTD, 3 GS)
  • Chevrolet: 5 (2 GTLM, 3 GS)
  • Cadillac: 4 (DPi)
  • Honda: 4 (TCR)
  • Acura: 3 (2 DPi, 1 GTD)
  • Ferrari: 3 (1 GTLM, 2 GTD)
  • Lamborghini: 3 (GTD)
  • Ford: 2 (GS)
  • Lexus: 2 (GTD)
  • McLaren: 2 (GS)
  • Alfa Romeo: 1 (TCR)
  • Mazda: 1 (DPi)
  • Toyota: 1 (GS)
TORQUE SHOW TIMES

The Torque Show, brought to you by Michelin and Motul, returns this weekend with four shows from Daytona. Times are below and can be seen on The Torque Show Facebook page.

Show 1: Thursday, Jan 28: 1pm-2pm ET (10am-11am PT)
2: Friday, Jan 29 12pm-1pm ET (9am-10am PT)
3: Friday, Jan 29 at 6pm-7pm ET (3pm-4pm PT)
4: Saturday, Jan 31 2:30-3:30pm ET (11:30am-12:30pm PT)

SPORTSCAR365 PIECES

There are three Michelin pieces on Sportscar365.com this week.

HOW TO WATCH

The IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge race, the BMW Endurance Challenge, can be seen live flag-to-flag on TrackPass starting Friday, January 29, at 1:35 p.m. ET.

The Rolex 24 At DAYTONA will air flag-to-flag across NBC, NBCSN, the NBC Sports App and TrackPass. Times are below.

Date Event Network Time (ET)
Sat., Jan. 30 Rolex 24 At Daytona NBC
NBCSN
NBCSN
3:30 p.m.
4:30 p.m
11 p.m.
Sun., Jan. 31 Rolex 24 At Daytona NBCSN
NBC
6 a.m.
2 p.m.

IMSA Radio covers the series on radio.

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2021 Rolex 24 Recap

Tuesday February 2, 2021