The 2017 racing season ramps up this weekend, with the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. In all, there are 55 cars with 215 drivers slated to participate in this year’s big event. The 3.56-mile road course at Daytona International Raceway will once again be filled with plenty of talent from the Verizon IndyCar Series.
There are eight current full-time IndyCar drivers that will be spread across four different teams.
Chip Ganassi will field four cars in this year’s event, with Scott Dixon back in the No. 67 machine. His IndyCar teammate Tony Kanaan will make his debut with the team in the No. 69 car, and Sebastien Bourdais will be part of the team in the No. 66 Ford GT. Ganassi is the only team owner in history to win the Le Mans 24 Hours, Indianapolis 500, Daytona 500, Brickyard 400, Rolex 24 at Daytona, and 12 Hours of Sebring.
Ryan Hunter-Reay and Graham Rahal will drive for Michael Shank Racing in the Acura NSX GT3. Last year Hunter-Reay drove a Corvette DP, and Rahal was behind the wheel of the Team RLL MBW M6 GTLM. Both Hunter-Reay and Rahal have already driven for Shank’s team at the Rolex 24 in Daytona Prototype competition.
This will be Hunter-Reay’s 11th consecutive start in the event. The 36-year old American has scored three podium results, with a best finish of second in 2013. Rahal has made eight starts in the race, and won it in 2011 with Ganassi.
“For me, the NSX has been a learning curve,” Rahal said. “You have to drive this car so differently from what you drive an IndyCar, as far as aggressiveness and how you attack. It’s been tough, honestly, to adapt.”
James Hinchcliffe and Spencer Pigot will drive for the two-car Mazda RT24-P factory team. Hinchcliffe will be in the No. 70 machine, while Pigot joins the crew of the No. 55 car. Despite missing last year, Hinchcliffe has raced for Mazda four times since 2012. Pigot participated in four races last year with the Maza team, including the 24 at Daytona.
Conor Daly was just recently added to the Starworks Motorsports lineup, driving the No. 88 car in the Prototype Challenge class. Conor is no stranger to the Oreca FLM09, with 7 starts, including his only Rolex 24 race in 2014 with RSR Racing. He is credited with 2 Poles and 3 Podium finishes in the Weathertech SportsCar series.
There are now 26 drivers in the field that have started an IndyCar race, and 12 of them have at least one win in the series. Many of them have had success in this race, as part of the team that captured the overall race win. In fact, an IndyCar driver has been part of the winning team in five of the last six years in the Rolex 24.
Practice and qualifying will take place today. The 55th running of the race will begin at 2 PM ET on Saturday.
As for coverage of the event, the first three hours will air on FOX, and the final two hours of the race will be on Fox Sports 1. The rest of the action will air on Fox Sports 2, with a simulcast on FOX Sports Go.
Some of the more recognizable IndyCar names are listed below.
|55||Spencer Pigot*||Mazda Motorsports||Prototype|
|70||James Hinchcliffe*||Mazda Motorsports||Prototype|
|52||RC Enerson||PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports||Prototype|
|31||Mike Conway||Whelen Engineering Racing||Prototype|
|2||Scott Sharp||Tequila Patron ESM||Prototype|
|5||Christian Fittipaldi||Mustang Sampling Racing||Prototype|
|88||Conor Daly*||Starworks Motorsports||Prototype Challenge|
|20||Buddy Rice||BAR1 Motorsports||Prototype Challenge|
|66||Sebastien Bourdais*||Ford Chip Ganassi Racing||GT Le Mans|
|67||Scott Dixon*||Ford Chip Ganassi Racing||GT Le Mans|
|67||Ryan Briscoe||Ford Chip Ganassi Racing||GT Le Mans|
|69||Tony Kanaan*||Ford Chip Ganassi Racing||GT Le Mans|
|86||Ryan Hunter-Reay*||Michael Shank Racing||GT Daytona|
|93||Graham Rahal*||Michael Shank Racing||GT Daytona|
|93||Katherine Legge||Michael Shank Racing||GT Daytona|
|14||Sage Karam||3GT Racing||GT Daytona|
|14||Scott Pruett||3GT Racing||GT Daytona|
|15||Jack Hawksworth||3GT Racing||GT Daytona|
|23||Townsend Bell||Alex Job Racing||GT Daytona|
|75||Tristan Vautier||SunEnergy 1 Racing||GT Daytona|
Rolex 24 Resource Guide