IMSA’s New Era Comes To Life With Rolex 24 Testing

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - JANUARY 27:  The #01 Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabetes TELMEX/Target BMW Riley driven by Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas, Juan Pablo Montoya, Charlie Kimball and Scott Dixon drives during the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway on January 27, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

DAYTONA BEACH, FL – JANUARY 27: The #01 Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabetes TELMEX/Target BMW Riley driven by Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas, Juan Pablo Montoya, Charlie Kimball and Scott Dixon drives during the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway on January 27, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The “Roar Before the Rolex 24” went off without a hitch this past weekend as 66 cars tested for the Jan. 25-26 Rolex 24 At Daytona International Speedway, the inaugural race for the IMSA-sanctioned TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

Cars in four classes tested on the DIS road course — Prototype, Prototype Challenge, GT Le Mans and GT Daytona. The first-year TUDOR Championship is the result of the merger of the American Le Mans Series and the GRAND-AM Rolex Series.

2014 marks the 52nd running of the Rolex 24, which for years opened the IMSA season. That ended with a split of the North American sports car series between the ALMS and GRAND-AM that lasted 14 years, with IMSA sanctioning aligning with the ALMS. With the merger however, IMSA and Daytona are together again.

The Rolex 24 typically is the ultimate all-star race, with drivers from a variety of motor racing disciplines gathered for very special “one-off” appearances. This year is again expected to attract a number of major names from other series.

As always the Prototype class will headline the event. The class featuring the respective all-time victory record holders from the ALMS and Rolex Series, Lucas Luhr and Scott Pruett. Luhr will co-drive an ORECA prototype for Pickett Racing with Klaus Graf. Pruett and Memo Rojas will team in the No. 01 Ford/Riley DP for Chip Ganassi Racing. Luhr won 49 races in the ALMS while Pruett won 41 in the Rolex Series.

“I absolutely consider the Rolex 24 to be an incredible event,” said Pruett, who scored his fifth overall Daytona victory in 2013, which tied Hurley Haywood’s all-time mark. “It’s got international flair, and it kicks off all racing for the year. It’s a big event for us at Ganassi and for me personally; this test is very important to ensure we’re good to go when we return in three weeks for the race.”

In addition to the TUDOR Championship, 41 teams are entered for the “Roar” weekend in the production-based IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, IMSA’s top developmental series.

 

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