Where Y’all From?

January 16, 2014

Where Y’all From?

January 16, 2014

flagsThere will be a heavy accent on the “International” at the Daytona International Speedway for the 2014 Rolex 24 at Daytona. The massive 68-car TUDOR United SportsCar Championship field with over 200 drivers includes drivers from more than two dozen countries.

The diverse field of manufacturers, teams and drivers reflects both the importance of the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the prestige of the Daytona International Speedway.

passportAdding a major boost for 2014 is the launch of the TUDOR Championship that has created new excitement for manufacturers, teams, drivers and fans. The 11-car GT Le Mans class alone includes drivers from 14 different countries. Some driver line-ups are nationalistic, with most of the drivers coming from the same country. This can be based upon team experience, sponsor preferences and even language.

The Risi Competizione Ferrari provides considerable Italian flair with stars Matteo Malucelli, Giancarlo Fisichella and Gimi Bruni.

Others take a global view. For example, the two Corvette Racing GTLM class cars have six drivers from six different countries; U.S.A. (Tommy Milner), England (Oliver Gavin), Denmark (Jan Magnussen), Spain (Antonio Garcia), Australia (Ryan Briscoe) and Scotland (Robin Liddell).

The SRT Viper factory squad, includes Americans Jonathan Bomarito and Ryan Hunter-Reay, Canadian Kuno Wittmer, Germany’s Dominik Farnbacher, Belgium’s Marc Goossens, and Britain’s’ Rob Bell.

Aston Martin Racing’s squad has Portugal’s Pedro Lamy, Britain’s Darren Turner, Germany’s Stefan Mucke, Canadian Paul Dalla Lana and New Zealand’s Richie Stanaway.

The new Porsche North America GTLM factory team is anchored by American Patrick Long, with teammates, Michael Christensen of Denmark, Joerg Bergmeister of Germany, Austria’s Richard Lietz, UK’s Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet of France.

BMW Team RLL counters with Americans Bill Auberlen, Joey Hand, John Edwards and Graham Rahal who are joined by Germany’s Dirk Mueller and Dirk Werner, Belgium’s Maxime Martin and Andy Priaulx of Normandy, Guernsey, a British protectorate.

As a North American championship, the series sees a majority of drivers from the U.S., Canada and Mexico. They are joined by drivers from Argentina, Brazil, Columbia and Venezuela.

There is also a very strong European contingent with drivers from Austria, Belgium, England, Ireland, Scotland, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, The Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Portugal, Spain, Monaco, and Russia.

Asia rings in with China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Why such a diverse field? True racers seek out the best competition and the more manufacturers and top teams seek to enter a championship, the greater the demand for top drivers.

As one team manager puts it, “it doesn’t matter where you are from as long as you are quick.”

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