Many cars have a chance to win the 2017 Edition of the 24 Hours of Daytona
The 55th edition of the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona sports car race will take place this weekend and motor racing fans worldwide will be watching. Daytona’s 24-hour race is considered one of the most grueling motorsport events in the world and is included in the unofficial ‘triple crown’ of endurance racing, along with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and 12 Hours of Sebring.
The FOX Sports family of networks will televise 23 of the 24 hours of racing action, while the entire event will be simulcast LIVE on the FOX Sports GO App with FS1 authentication is the best way to see all of the race.The race starts Saturday at 2:30 p.n. and ends of course 24 hours later at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Well in the 55 years that the race has been held in Daytona, only 12 drivers have ever won all three events, but no one has won more than two in the same year.
Most race fans know the track as the massive super-speedway where the Daytona 500 kicks off the NASCAR season. But while the familiar banked tri-oval will be used the course for the “24 Hours,” includes a very challenging 3.56-mile circuit with 12 corners, each more difficult than the other.
For those new to the race, it features a starting grid that is spilt into four classes: Prototype, Prototype Challenge, GT Le Mans and GT Daytona. The fastest group is the Prototype class, which consists of 12 cars from six different manufacturers, including Nissan, Cadillac, Mazda and Oreca.
This year the kings of the track are of course the Prototype’s and so far, the team to beat looks like the duo of Max Angelelli, who won the race in 2005 and four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon.
They will pilot the Cadillac that many experts feel could easily be the class of a very strong field.
Ex-Formula 1 drivers Sebastien Buemi and Nick Heidfeld will be in the number 13 Oreca for Rebellion Racing, a car they are sharing with Neel Jani, who set the fastest time of the trio in most of the pre-season tests.
This year will be the last to feature the Prototype Challenge category, which is made up of just five Orecas. This is not likely to be a class that many fans will be watching.
But a class that each year everyone follows is the GT Le Mans class, because it always is so very competitive. There will be 11 cars, specifically two Corvette C7 Rs, two BMW M6 GTLMs, four Ford GTs, two Porsche 911 RSRs and a Ferrari 488 GTE.
The car to beat in this class is led by three-time World Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx, who will share a seat in a Ford GT with Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan. With their biggest challenge coming from Bruno Spengler, who won the 2012 DTM championship and his team will be flying high in a BMW M6 GTLM.
Four of the Chip Ganassi Racing-run Ford GTs are ready for action, as the team boosts its IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship entries with its FIA World Endurance Championship cars.
Last year they won six races including Laguna Seca, Watkins Glen, Mosport, Fuji and Shanghai to its famous Le Mans 24hr triumph.
That brings us to the GT Daytona class, which is by far the biggest category, made up of 27 cars from nine different manufactures.
Finally, every year we see a new car show up at Daytona that will be in a showroom near you very soon. This year that car is Porsche’s radically new 911 RSR. This GT car is unlike almost every 911 race and road car that’s gone before, as rather than having its engine positioned behind the rear wheels, it is situated ahead of the rear axle.
A great deal is expected from the new Porsche but running at top pace for 24 hours could be too much to ask for.
Video from IMSA