A total of 185 drivers representing 25 countries and every continent except Antarctica are set to converge on the Daytona International Speedway for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona.
- ENTRY LIST: 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona
The same 50 cars visited the Daytona road course earlier this month for the mandatory Roar Before the Rolex 24 test. However, changes were made to a few driver lineups following the Roar.
Sixty pilots among the star-studded field are United States natives, including Jordan Taylor, the lone returning driver to Wayne Taylor Racing, the reigning Rolex 24 overall victors.
Jordan’s brother Ricky has moved on to Team Penske’s two-car Acura ARX-05 program. Roger Penske’s newest endeavor marks his operation’s return to top-level sports car racing and stands as one of a considerable number of new or improved teams that will debut at Daytona.
Beyond Penske’s pair of Acura-powered Daytona Prototype international (DPi) cars, Mazda’s Prototype effort will return as Mazda Team Joest and field two vastly improved Mazda RT24-P machines.
Action Express Racing and Spirit of Daytona Racing (formerly Visit Florida Racing) will run a combined three Cadillac DPi-V.Rs, joining Wayne Taylor Racing in attempting to make the car undefeated at the twice-around-the-clock endurance event through two races in the DPi-LMP2 era.
Tequila Patron ESM’s two Nissan Onroak DPi entries make it 10 DPi cars in the 20-car Prototype field. One Riley Mk. 30, three Ligier JS P217s and six ORECA 07s comprise the other half of Prototype.
Fernando Alonso will make his sports car racing debut driving United Autosports’ No. 23 Ligier, heightening the star power of the event.
Regarding changes to Prototype driver lineups, Joel Miller joined Performance Tech Motorsports after testing for BAR1 Motorsports during the Roar weekend. After initially confirming Marc Drumwright and Eric Lux in its Ligier for the race, BAR1 added three other drivers to its lineup.
GT Le Mans
With the Prototype Challenge class not returning for 2018, this year’s Rolex 24 will mark the first for GT Le Mans as the class immediately below Prototype in the WeatherTech Championship hierarchy.
BMW Team RLL will give the new BMW M8 GTE its race debut alongside other two-car Corvette, Ford and Porsche efforts.
Risi Competizione is the lone GTLM team with a single car entered in the Rolex 24. Alessandro Pier Guidi was alone in testing the car at the Roar but will be joined for the race weekend by Toni Vilander, James Calado and Davide Rigon.
The all-GT3 GT Daytona category will race at Daytona with a one-car larger grid than will be seen battling for the overall victory in Prototype.
With four cars, Ferrari will be the most represented marque within the 21-car division, which features eight manufacturers.
A previous lineup of four drivers in Risi Competizione’s No. 82 Ferrari 488 GT3 grew to five with the addition of Matt Griffin to a fifth slot alongside Miguel Molina, Ricardo Perez de Lara, Martin Fuentes and Santiago Creel.
Turner Motorsport’s No. 96 BMW M6 GT3 included a to-be-announced driver slot on the pre-event entry list before Cameron Lawrence was added alongside Jens Klingmann, Martin Tomczyk, Mark Kvamme and Don Yount.
Following two days of practice and qualifying, the Rolex 24 itself will run Jan. 27–28, 2018.