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Classes

Prototype (P)

Prototype Challenge(PC)

GT Le Mans (GTLM

GT Daytona (GTD)

IMSA Point Standings
2018 Final (Top-10)
Prototype Drivers
Pos Drivers Total
1 Eric Curran 277
1 Felipe Nasr 277
2 Jonathan Bennett 274
2 Colin Braun 274
3 Jordan Taylor 270
3 Renger Van Der Zande 270
4 Misha Goikhberg 252
4 Stephen Simpson 252
5 Dane Cameron 251
5 Juan Pablo Montoya 251
6 Filipe Albuquerque 249
7 Ricky Taylor 243
7 Helio Castroneves 243
8 Oliver Jarvis 234
8 Tristan Nunez 234
9 Pipo Derani 232
10 Jonathan Bomarito 218

GTLM
1 Jan Magnussen 322
1 Antonio Garcia 322
2 Richard Westbrook 316
2 Ryan Briscoe 316
3 Oliver Gavin 310
3 Tommy Milner 310
4 Dirk Mueller 308
4 Joey Hand 308
5 Earl Bamber 308
5 Laurens Vanthoor 308
6 Alexander Sims 304
6 Connor De Phillippi 304
7 Nick Tandy 299
7 Patrick Pilet 299
8 John Edwards 278
8 Jesse Krohn 278
9 Bill Auberlen 106
10 Frederic Makowiecki 93

GTD
1 Bryan Sellers 333
1 Madison Snow 333
2 Katherine Legge 329
3 Jeroen Bleekemolen 299
3 Ben Keating 299
4 Cooper Macneil 295
5 Kyle Marcelli 268
5 Dominik Baumann 268
6 Alvaro Parente 264
7 Patrick Long 263
7 Christina Nielsen 263
8 John Potter 255
8 Andy Lally 255
9 Justin Marks 249
9 Lawson Aschenbach 249
10 Jack Hawksworth 239

Manufacturers
Rank Make Total
1 Cadillac 332
2 Acura 316
3 Nissan 302
4 Mazda 300

GTLM
1 Ford 351
2 Chevrolet 345
3 Porsche 341
4 BMW 332
5 Ferrari 84

GTD
1 Lamborghini 340
2 Acura 330
3 Ferrari 310
4 Mercedes-AMG 307
5 Lexus 306
6 Porsche 298
7 Audi 284
8 BMW 278
Roar Rolex 24 Daytona Saturday Notebook

Preseason test for the Rolex 24
Sunday, January 5, 2020

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Hailie Deegan
Hailie Deegan

News and notes from around Daytona International Speedway on the Saturday of the Roar Before the Rolex 24.

Hailie Deegan Ready To Gain Road Course Experience at Roar and Rolex 24

No, Hailie Deegan conceded with a wide grin, she never expected that her competitive debut on the famous Daytona International Speedway high banks would come in a sports car.

But judging by the smiles and ease she showed Saturday afternoon speaking with reporters at Daytona between Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona practice sessions, she’s eager and mentally prepared for her IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race debut at the grand track on Jan. 24. The in-car skills and sports car initiation is coming together too, she said.

“I never thought I’d race a road course especially at Daytona, that was new for me,’’ Deegan said. “I always thought my first time at Daytona would be in an ARCA car but I’m happy to be here on the road course.’’

Deegan‘s ARCA Menards Series season debut at Daytona will follow the Rolex 24 race weekend and comes only weeks after the 18-year old Californian was formally introduced as a Ford Performance development driver. She will co-drive a Ford Mustang GT4 with NASCAR Xfinity Series frontrunner Chase Briscoe in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race at Daytona later this month. Austin Cindric, another young Ford talent in the Xfinity Series, will be driving a Multimatic Motorsports Inc. team car as well, teaming with Sebastian Priaulx in the No. 15 Mustang.

In February, Deegan will compete in the season-opening ARCA Menards Series race that essentially opens Daytona Speedweeks – the green flag to a much-anticipated full season of stock car racing. All three of these young NASCAR stars say they are grateful for the chance to begin their season early, confident that the extra laps will only help their skillset.

“I’m really excited just to gain experience in these new cars,’’ Deegan said. “Just everything’s new. A fresh start. It’s waiting to get planned out, meeting new people, new faces, new relationships. I’m excited to grow the relationships in the Ford family and everyone that’s a part of it.

“One thing I haven’t really touched on in my career is road courses, pavement road course type stuff. Coming here and filling that base of what I’m missing as a driver as a hole is definitely going to help me be all around as a driver.

“I feel what makes a good driver is a driver that’s not just good at ovals or road courses they are good at everything and have that skill set. I think if I can just keep getting better skill sets to bring to my career, it will help even more.’’

Deegan and Briscoe certainly gave proof of their talent and ability to learn the new car and course. They were 14th fastest overall in the opening practice, ninth quickest in the second session and finally fifth best in the latest round.

Cindric and Priaulx were fourth fastest in the second session – tops among the two Multimatic team cars.

Kyle Busch Making Strides

Kyle Busch
Kyle Busch

Kyle Busch rolled into a Rolex 24 fan question-and-answer session Saturday afternoon between practice sessions sounding every bit as confident and optimistic as one would expect of the most recently crowned NASCAR Cup Series champion. 

The room had many kiddos and fans dressed in Busch’s NASCAR colors and sponsors. And he entered into the room joking and smiling, immediately instigating a fun give-and-take between his teammates on the two AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC GTD-class teams.

Busch teased New Zealand teammate Shane van Gisbergan, a former Australian Supercar champion, about translating speed from kilometers to miles per hour. And Busch joked about the slim chance that he would drive at night in his first Rolex 24. His teammates teased that the reigning NASCAR champ was already slated for the treacherous midnight-to-6 a.m. driving shift on the 3.56-mile Daytona road course.

“My eyes will be shut – sleeping or driving,’’ he said smiling.

Busch certainly looked comfortable. And his team clearly was. Busch’s teammate Jack Hawksworth turned in the fastest lap of the class on Friday, giving the team reason to feel good about its chances in the crowded 18-car GTD class. 

Hawksworth, a British IndyCar and sports car star, said he had complete confidence in his teammate.

“It’s been good fun,’’ Hawksworth said. “We just got to work and Kyle got in the car and was straightaway competitive.

“I don’t need to help him drive,’’ Hawksworth assured the audience, “just help transition his skills.’’

It will be Busch’s first Rolex 24 start, but not his first IMSA race at Daytona. In 2008 he teamed with Scott Speed in a Chip Ganassi-prepared prototype. And Busch said he’s done several go-kart endurance races, including a 24-hour event. Additionally, he said he was encouraged to hear his teammates this weekend expressing similar technical ideas regarding the Lexus race car as he had.

“You’ve certainly got to pay attention to your rearview mirror and know what’s going on around you and coming up behind you, the faster cars and a closing rate that’s certainly greater than you’re used to ever, even if you’re a slow guy on a (NASCAR) Sunday - it’s a big deal,’’ said Busch, who noted his NASCAR Cup Series spotter will be working the Rolex 24 with him.

The biggest adjustment he says is, “the sharing of the seat is interesting because you want to be in the car as much as possible so you can continue to evolve and make yourself better. For me, not being as experienced in these cars, they gave me the most seat time yesterday [in practice] which was good and beneficial. The other guys need their seat time too, however, so that’s certainly a big compromise.’’

Even the veteran Busch conceded he was excited to suit up and take on this next challenge – as were the many fans already on hand at Daytona International Speedway even for a practice session.

“There’s a ton of people here and we’re at a test,’’ Busch said. “I can’t even imagine what’s going to happen when we come back to the Rolex. It’s certainly awesome to see the crowd count and the interest people have in IMSA.’’

“I know I can’t wait,’’ said race fan Suzy Brake, 70, of The Villages, Florida, leaning forward to show off her green M&Ms adorned hat – Busch’s NASCAR Cup Series No. 18 large and center.

Acura Team Penske has eyes set on endurance races in 2020

#7 Penske Acura
#7 Penske Acura

After winning the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Daytona Prototype international (DPi) title, Acura Team Penske drivers have one goal in mind for the 2020 season – win endurance races.

The team returns the six drivers who piloted their pair of cars in the 2019 Rolex 24 At Daytona and will maintain the same lineups. 2019 Indy 500 winner Simon Pagenaud will run the endurance races alongside last year’s season champions Dane Cameron and Juan Pablo Montoya in the No. 6 car; 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi is the endurance driver joining full-season drivers Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 ride.

This marks the third season of Penske’s return to IMSA and it has been a successful venture – Castroneves and Taylor won a race (Mid-Ohio) in their inaugural campaign and the No. 6 car won three races and the DPi championship last year.

Pagenaud, who added a major piece of hardware to his mantle with the Borg Warner Trophy last May, wants to add to his collection to start the year.

“It’s a very important moment of the season, starting here at Daytona,” he said while speaking to media during the Roar Before the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday. “It’s a pleasure to join them back and support them in the quest for another championship, but most importantly the bigger endurance races. I’m very excited about Daytona, certainly want to add that to the trophy list.”

The sentiment that their primary goal for the new year is to bring home the first endurance win for Acura Team Penske was echoed across the board by all six drivers.

“It was really good for the (No.) 6 car to get the championship and the three wins,” Taylor said. “So, for 2020 the last thing on the checklist is the endurance races. For the three of us, winning the Rolex would be the top of the priority list for this year.”

“I think when you’re at Team Penske, every week it’s a must-win situation,” Montoya added when asked what the emphasis from the team has been regarding the endurance race wins that have eluded them. “When you are with Acura and with Team Penske and you have the equipment you have in your hands, you’re supposed to deliver and that’s your job.”

But according to Castroneves, the plan regarding endurance races can be stated more simply.

“To win.

Ricky Taylor’s Acura led the way with a second-place run in the 15-minute qualifying session on Sunday, which will be used for preferred garage and pit locations for the Rolex 24 race weekend. Taylor’s best lap time of 1:33.543 was only two-tenths of a second off the ‘pole’ time of Olivier Pla’s Mazda prototype.

Juan Pablo Montoya posted the third-fastest time in qualifying, just two-hundredths of a second off his teammate. For 2020, the drivers’ championship duo of Montoya and Dane Cameron continue to be paired for the full season in the #6 Acura ARX-05 prototype. Defending Indy 500 champion Simon Pagenaud again completes the lineup for the long-distance events.

Acura Team Penske returns with an intact driver lineup for 2020, with Taylor continuing to share the #7 Acura ARX-05 with three-time Indy winner Helio Castroneves. Another Indy 500 race winner, Alexander Rossi, will again serve as the third driver for the Rolex 24 and other long-distance rounds of the series.

No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R Team Has New Look, Same Goal

Wayne Taylor Cadillac
Wayne Taylor Cadillac

Wayne Taylor Racing’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship team took their seats on stage Saturday to speak with media showing off a new lineup of drivers, talking about the same team goals. A fourth Rolex 24 crown for their leader Taylor.

Taylor was joined on stage by Renger van der Zande, Ryan Briscoe, Scott Dixon and Kamui Kobayashi. Natives of Holland, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, the star-studded driving lineup includes top-line sports car drivers in van der Zande and Briscoe, who will compete the full season for Taylor, along with Indianapolis 500 winner and five-time IndyCar champion Dixon and FIA World Endurance Championship champion Kobayashi.

Their accomplishments are as broad as their backgrounds. And that’s exactly why this No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi team fully expects to defend its 2019 Rolex 24 title and be a contender once again in a race it has won twice in the last three years.

“As far as the driver lineup, it’s as good or better than last year,’’ Taylor said, joking that this team would have to beat his two sons this year – Ricky and Jordan Taylor who are now both driving for different IMSA teams.

Dixon, who has a pair of Rolex 24 overall titles, joins Taylor’s operation after more than a decade competing in the race for his IndyCar team owner Chip Ganassi.

“The team is a single-car team, but it’s got a lot of great people and that’s what I think it takes to win these races is to have the talent and people that have the same goal in mind, and that’s to win. You feel that immediately when you walk through the door…and you don’t find that too often,” Dixon said.

“There are four professional drivers who know what it takes to win because we have all won it and you start right away working with that,’’ van der Zande said. “This has been very smooth. They all know endurance racing and they all know this race.

“And we all have the same passion for racing,’’ he added.

Grand Marshal Christian Fittipaldi

Versatile racer Christian Fittipaldi will serve as Grand Marshal for the Jan. 25-26 Rolex 24 at Daytona – a race he won three times overall (2004, 2014 and 2018) and finished runner-up twice.

Fittipaldi will deliver the starting command for the Rolex, which traditionally kicks off the motor racing season.

“Daytona has brought me a lot more happy moments than bad moments,’’ Fittipaldi said. “I’ll cherish Daytona for the rest of my life. I managed to win the race three times and I think I finished another three or four times on the podium. I can’t complain, I had a pretty decent run over here.’’

Fittipaldi who competed in NASCAR and IndyCar as well as sports cars, retired from the cockpit last season and even being at the racetrack, conceded he was comfortable as a spectator.

“I don’t feel the need to be in the car, so far I’m very good. I come to the track and I’m happy to be at the track and happy to be able to help but if you ask me, would you like to be in the car right now, yeah, maybe I’m curious. If you ask me, do you want to be in the car right now. No, I don’t want to be in the car right now.

“My heart is 100 percent at peace.’’

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