Last weekend was the official start of the 2020 racing season here in the United States. The annual Chili Bowl down in Tulsa, Oklahoma kicked off the action for a thrilling week of racing. Now, for the second weekend in-a-row, we get treated to more racing. This time, it’s a weekend that is unique though. It’s the start of the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship but the start just so happens to be a 24 hour race on the banks of Daytona.
The prestigious Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona will start Saturday afternoon and end 24 hours later on Sunday.
How To Watch (All Times ET)
1:30-2:30 p.m. – NBC
2:30-6 p.m. – NBCSN
6-11 p.m. – NBC Sports App
11 p.m. – 3 a.m. – NBCSN
3-6 a.m. – NBC Sports App
6 am – 12 p.m. – NBCSN
12-2 p.m. – NBC
Endurance Racing on the High Banks
Kyle Busch to race in Rolex 24 with Lexus – The reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion is set to race in this year’s running of the Rolex 24 behind the wheel of the No.14 AIM VASSER SULLIVAN Lexus RC F GT3 in the GTD class. Although Busch will be making his IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and Rolex 24 debut on the 3.56-mile road course, he is no stranger to the “World Center of Racing” where he has eight career wins on the 2.5-mile tri-oval.
About the Rolex 24 entry list – The Rolex 24 field will include sports cars from 12 different manufacturers and includes 42 drivers with at least one previous Rolex 24 victory. It also includes a two-time and reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion, the 2019 Indianapolis 500 winner among six Indy 500 winners and five IndyCar champions in the field, 26 24 Hours of Le Mans winners and 30 IMSA premier series champions. There is a total of 39 entries spread between four classes of competition: Daytona Prototype international (DPi) with eight, Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) with six, GT Le Mans (GTLM) with seven and GT Daytona (GTD) with 18. Nearly every entry will compete in the full 2020 WeatherTech Championship season.
Fans from 31 countries – While it’s an international field of drivers and cars, the fans will also be coming to Daytona International Speedway from all over the world. Fans from 31 different countries will be in attendance for the weekend’s festivities.
GEAR Racing all-female entry – GEAR Racing powered by GRT Grasser is set to compete in the No. 19 Lamborghini Huracan GT3. This all women’s team will feature Christina Nielsen, Katherine Legge, Tati Calderon, and Rahel Frey. Nielson and Legge have a combined 13 starts in the Rolex 24 and co-drove on the Meyer Shank Racing all-women’s team at last year’s Rolex 24.
Series champions look to defend their title – 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar champions Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron will look to defend their series title in the No. 6 Acura Team Penske DPi. Defending Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud will join the duo as they look to improve upon their finish in last year’s Rolex 24 and capture the team’s first win in “North America’s Most Prestigious Sports Car Race.”
NASCAR stars add stock car flavor – NASCAR up-and-comers Hailie Deegan, Austin Cindric and Chase Briscoe will be racing in the Grand Sport Class of the four-hour BMW Endurance Challenge taking place on Friday, Jan. 24. The trio will be racing the Multimatic Motorsports Ford Mustang GT4s. The No. 15 will be piloted by Cindric and Seb Priaulx and the No. 22 by Briscoe and Deegan.
There’s plenty of IndyCar connections this weekend as well. First off, you have some Indy Car teams entering with Team Penske, Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing, Vasser-Sullivan, Meyer Shank Racing and DragonSpeed. Essentially, an Indy Car team could win each of the four classes with Penske in DPi, DragonSpeed in LMP2, BMW Team RLL in GTLM and either AIM Vasser Sullivan or Meyer Shank Racing in the GTD class.
Then, you also have drivers too.
There will be six Indy 500 champions and five NTT IndyCar Series champions in this star studded field as well.
Indianapolis 500 Winners in Rolex 24 Field
Wins Driver, Car/Class Years
3 Helio Castroneves, No. 7 Acura DPi 2001, 2002, 2009
2 Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 6 Acura DPi 2000, 2015
1 Scott Dixon, No. 10 Cadillac DPi 2008
1 Ryan Hunter-Reay, No. 55 Mazda DPi 2014
1 Alexander Rossi, No. 7 Acura DPi 2016
1 Simon Pagenaud, No. 6 Acura DPi 2019
IndyCar Champions in Rolex 24 Field
Titles Driver, Car/Class Years
5 Scott Dixon, No. 10 Cadillac DPi 2003, 2008, 2013, 2015, 2018
4 Sebastien Bourdais, No. 5 Cadillac DPi 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007
1 Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 6 Acura DPi 1999
1 Simon Pagenaud, No. 6 Acura DPi 2016
1 Ryan Hunter-Reay, No. 55 Mazda DPi 2012
Sebastien Bourdais, Tristian Vautier, Matheus Leist will race run in the DPi class for JDC-Miller Motorsports. Bourdais, will run the JDC./Mustang Sampling Racing No. 5 Cadillac while Piedrahita, Leist and Vautier will run the No. 85 Cadillac themselves.
Simon Pagenaud and Juan Pablo Montoya will share the No. 6 Team Penske Acura with Dane Cameron while Helio Castroneves and Alexander Rossi will share the No. 7 Team Penske Acura with Ricky Taylor.
Scott Dixon and Ryan Briscoe move from Chip Ganassi Racing to Wayne Taylor Racing and will split the No. 10 Cadillac with Renger van der Zande and Kamui Kobayshi.
Ryan Hunter-Reay will run in the No. 55 Mazda for Team Joest while Mike Conway will run the No. 31 Cadillac for Whelen Engineering Racing.
For LMP2, you will have DragonSpeed with Ben Hanley running the No. 81 ORECA.
GTLM features two BMW Team RLL teams with Colton Herta running one of the cars in the No. 25 BMW entry.
And finally, in GTD, you AIM Vasser Sullivan with two cars with Aaron Telitz and Townsend Bell in the No. 12 Lexus with Jack Hawksworth in the No. 14 Lexus. MSR also has two cars, one will see AJ Allmendinger in it (No. 57 Acura NSX GT3).
Katherine Legge will run the No. 19 Lamborghini for GEAR Racing too.
2020 Sunoco Challenge winners race in Rolex 24 for 11th year – Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner Johnathan Hoggard and Sunoco 240 Challenge winner Robbie Dalgleish will be rewarded with a ride during the Rolex 24 weekend. Hoggard will be joining Rick Ware Racing driving the No. 2 Whelen Multimatic Prototype in the Rolex 24’s LMP2 class and Dalgleish in the No. 26 Classic BMW/Fast Track Racing BMW M4 GT4 in the Grand Sport (GS) class of Friday’s BMW Endurance Challenge – the four-hour season-opener for the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge.
Neurosurgeon Dr. Robert Masson teams up with son Kyle in LMP2 class – Dr. Robert Masson, a neurosurgeon from Central Florida, will share seat time in the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA LMP2 with his son and two other co-drivers during the Rolex 24. His son, Kyle Masson, won the 2017 Patron Tequila North American Endurance Cup in the IMSA Prototype Challenge class. This will be the third year Dr. Masson has competed at DIS with his first start coming in the 2018 IMSA Prototype Challenge race, where he won the Master’s Prototype Challenge race that was a part of the overall event.
Christian Fittipaldi will serve as Grand Marshal for 2020 Rolex 24 – Rolex 24 champion Christian Fittipaldi is back at DAYTONA, but this time he will give the command for the 58th anniversary Rolex 24 at DAYTONA. The three-time Rolex 24 overall champion made his final WeatherTech Championship start in last year’s Rolex 24 after announcing his retirement from racing.
Taste of the 24 returns for the 11th year – For the 11th consecutive year, The NASCAR Foundation will host its Taste of the 24 event during the Rolex 24. Held in the Midway Suites of the DIS venue, fans can indulge in delicious foods from Daytona-area restaurants while enjoying live entertainment; they will also be entered to win a Rolex watch. Guests can purchase tickets for the 11th Annual Taste of the 24 at Daytona International Speedway through The NASCAR Foundation by calling 386-310-5710 or visiting NASCARfoundation.org/Taste24; proceeds will benefit The NASCAR Foundation’s programs that support medical care for children.
Rolex Retweet – DIS is continuing the largest and most expansive social media effort in IMSA to further engage fans both at the speedway and at home. Included in this effort are a special Twitter hashtag, Rolex 24 Tweet-Up featuring special surprise guests, promotion of the FREE DIS Mobile App, an onsite DAYTONA Rewards program, free DISINFO text alerts, Snapchat Story and increased direct driver interactions.
o Inside Access: Daytona International Speedway is going behind-the-scenes more than ever before. From featured drivers taking over the DISupdates Snapchat account throughout the week to fans’ opportunities to win meet-and-greets, DIS is giving their social media followers a direct link to the drivers they love to cheer on.
o Snapchat: Throughout the weekend of January 25-26, Snapchat users can share their photos and videos to the Rolex 24 Story located in the Snapchat feed so the world can watch the race unfold through the eyes of the fans.
o DIS Mobile App: The ‘ultimate event companion,’ the free Daytona International Speedway mobile application gives users access to step-by-step wayfinding, up-to-date schedules, maps and event updates including push messages alerting users of upcoming driver appearances, on-track activity and more.
o Twitter Hashtag: Throughout the week, fans will see a special addition to all tweets containing “#Rolex24.”
o Social Media Channels: Fans can follow DIS on all of the major social media channels for behind-the-scenes exclusives, live event updates, surprise giveaways and more. DIS can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/daytonainternationalspeedway and on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat @DISupdates.
2019 Heritage Exhibition allows fans to stand next to racing history – A number of historically significant race cars will be on display all weekend long inside UNOH Fanzone near the FPL Solar Patio. Cars featured include sports cars from 1965 to 2013 that raced in the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA, with a strong focus on cars from the various prototype eras. On Saturday morning, the participating cars will turn several demonstration laps and a parade lap around a portion of the road course.
Rolex 24 Boardwalk and Ferris wheel – Fans can visit the infield for a wide selection of food and carnival rides, including one of the largest Ferris wheels on the East Coast, which allows them to watch the race from 150 feet in the air, offering them one of the greatest views in motorsports.
One of the world’s largest autograph sessions – Nowhere else in the world will fans find some of the greatest sports car drivers all signing autographs at the same time and in the same location. The UNOH Fanzone will host the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship autograph session on Saturday afternoon. With all of the Rolex 24 drivers participating, it’s one of the largest autograph sessions in all of sports.
Pre-Race Ceremonies – Before the Rolex 24, after the cars are lined up in qualifying order along pit road, the starting grid is opened for fans to join the drivers, crew members and team owners to get an up-close look at their favorite cars and drivers. A truly unique atmosphere awaits as unprecedented access allows fans to walk up to the cars and drivers to talk and take photos moments before the start of the race.
Live music and karaoke – The UNOH Fanzone Main Stage will welcome a variety of bands and musical acts throughout the weekend. However, the highlight of the weekend may come on Saturday night before midnight, when fans take the stage for karaoke. Fueled with the adrenaline of some the world’s fastest sports cars in the background, fans can step up to the mic to belt out a few of their favorite hits.
IMSA Twenty-Four Premier at ONE DAYTONA – On Wednesday, January 22, before the teams take to the track for 24 hours of endurance racing, race fans can get up close to the cars and drivers during this fan-friendly event at ONE DAYTONA across the street from Daytona International Speedway. From 6-8 p.m., fans can meet some of the biggest names in the sport, watch a live pit stop demonstration and more.
Car manufacturer and vendor displays – With the paved infield Midway jam-packed with manufacturer and vendor displays, car fanatics can find the latest information on some of their favorite race teams, straight from the makers of the machines themselves.
Annual Celebration of Speed at ONE DAYTONA – For fans who enjoy exotic cars and want to help a good cause, at ONE DAYTONA on Friday, January 24 from 6-8 p.m., luxury vehicle owners will gather to raise money to help support The NASCAR Foundation.