Roar Before the 24 - the first racing event in 2018
The first weekend in 2018 will mark the beginning of a new racing season. The first racing event this year is the Roar Before the 24, the traditional official mandatory practice session for the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Fifty cars in three categories are on the entry list with a star-studded line-up of drivers from all over the world, ready to hit the 3.56-mile track at Daytona International Speedway from Friday to Sunday (January 5-7). The 56th edition of the 24-hour race is scheduled for January 27-28.
Together with Prototype, GTLM and GTD entries from IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, there will be also forty cars from the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and twenty-five cars from the IMSA Prototype Challenge, who will have their season-opening race on Saturday.
The entry list for the Roar features a field of 20 Prototypes and 30 GT race cars (9 GTLM, 21 GTD). This official test offers race fans their first glimpse at machinery and crews for the 2018 season. The results from qualifying session on Sunday will determine garage and pit lane allocations for each team in the Rolex 24 race.
Some of the last year’s winners of the Rolex 24 are returning to Daytona. The 2017 overall winners were Jordan Taylor, Ricky Taylor, Max Angelelli and Jeff Gordon. Taylor brothers will race again at Daytona but not together. Jordan stayed with Wayne Taylor Racing in the #10 Cadillac DPi-V.R while his brother Ricky moved to Team Penske to drive the #7 Acura ARX-05. Jordan’s co-drivers in the #10 car would be Renger van der Zande and Ryan Hunter-Reay. Ricky will share the #7 car with Helio Castroneves and Graham Rahal.
Last year’s GTLM class winners Joey Hand, Dirk Muller and Sebastien Bourdais are returning together in the #66 Ford GT. Alegra Motorsports, the GTD class winners from 2017, will not be back at Daytona.
The 20-car Prototype field will include a total of 10 DPi cars, with four Cadillacs, two Acuras, two Nissans and two Mazdas set to participate. There will be 10 LMP2 machines as well (six Oreca, three Ligiers, one Multimatic/Riley). Probably the biggest star among LMP2 drivers is former F1 champion Fernando Alonso who will drive the #23 Ligier for United Autosports.
In the 9-car GTLM field, there will be two Fords, two Corvettes, two BMWs, a pair of Porsches and a single Ferrari 488 GTE of Risi Competizione. BMW Team RLL will run two brand-new BMW M8 GTLM machines.
The GTD class again will feature the largest field with a total of 21 entries. There will be no last year’s winning Porsche but three teams will run with the iconic German brand – Wright Motorsports, Manthey Racing and Park Place Motorsports. One of the drivers in the #58 Wright Motorsports Porsche would be defending GTD champion Christina Nielsen who left Scuderia Corsa.
Scuderia Corsa will run a pair of Ferrari 488 GT3s, next to two other Ferrari teams (Spirit of Race and Risi Competizione). The GTD field includes three Acuras, three Mercedes-AMGs and three Lamborghini. Lexus and Audi each will have two cars in the GTD field, while BMW has one.
Here’s the complete entry list for the Roar.