Race Weekend Central

Entry List: ROAR Before The 24/Rolex 24 At Daytona

IMSA released the official entry list Wednesday (Jan. 11) for next week’s ROAR Before the 24 at Daytona International Speedway. There are 61 teams on it between the five different classes. Since the ROAR Before the 24 is mandatory for all teams intending on competing in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the list more or less can stand as an entry list for the race as well. That said, driver lineups can change between the ROAR and the race weekend.

In the GTP class, there are nine teams entered, an increase of two as compared to the seven DPi teams from last year. There will be three Cadillacs from Chip Ganassi Racing and Action Express Racing, two Acuras from Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport and Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian, and the factory entries from Porsche and BMW.

All of the GTP driver lineups have been set in stone for quite a while. However, Action Express Racing’s No. 31 has a TBD on there. That is Alexander Sims. At the time the entry list was published, Sims’ IMSA license had not been issued. This will be the case for drivers in other classes as well.

In LMP2, there will be 10 teams on the grid, all of which will be driving ORECA 07-Gibsons. The two European squads making the trip have now revealed at least partial driver lineups. For Proton Competition, James Allen, Gianmaria Bruni and Fred Poordad are in the No. 55 entry. Allen’s recent experience is primarily in LMP2 equipment, while Bruni is a factory Porsche racer that will race for Proton Competition in their customer Porsche 963 later this year once the team receives their equipment. Poordad, 58, spent last year racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s GTE-Am class in one of Proton’s Porsches. Daytona will be his very first time racing a prototype in his 13-year career.

AF Corse is bringing over their squad that won the LMP2 Pro-Am subclass championship in the WEC last year. Nicklas Nielsen, who just earned a Ferrari Hypercar seat for 2023, will share with Francois Perrodo and Matthieu Vaxiviere. A fourth driver will be announced later.

In LMP3, there will be nine teams on the grid. The entry list locks up a number of pairing. Andretti Autosport will have Jarett Andretti paired up with Gabby Chaves once again. This time, they’ll be joined by Dakota Dickerson and Rasmus Lindh, both of whom have significant experience in LMP3 equipment.

JDC-Miller MotorSports has four drivers making their IMSA LMP3 debuts on the entry list. Till Bechtolsheimer moves over from Gradient Racing to drive the team’s Duqueine M30-D08-Nissan. He’ll be joined by Tijmen van der Helm, who drove for Algarve Pro Racing (under the now-forbidden G-Drive Racing banner) in the LMP2 class last year. Finally, two Michelin Pilot Challenge regulars, Mason Filippi and Luca Mars will be making their WeatherTech debuts. Mars will be the youngest driver in the field at 16. 

FASTMD Racing has James Vance back in the fold. He is joined by veterans James French and Nick Boulle. Finally, Yu Kanamaru will round out the team in his IMSA debut. Kanamaru’s background is in open-wheeled racing in his native Japan. His last major races came in 2020 in the F3 Asian Series, where he finished sixth in points with a victory at the Dubai Autodrome.

MRS GT-Racing’s No. 43 has not announced any drivers for their entry. There has been little to no information about the effort since it was announced, but there has no information released to indicate that they would be unable to make the test sessions.

The GTD Pro class originally only had eight teams entered. The only remaining TBD driver slot in the class was officially filled Wednesday when Vasser Sullivan announced that Mike Conway will drive the No. 14 Lexus alongside regulars Ben Barnicoat and Jack Hawksworth.

As Lexus is Toyota’s luxury brand, there is some synergy with the move. However, Conway has not raced a GT car in nearly 15 years. His racing experience since then has been in prototypes and INDYCAR.

Since then, Turner Motorsport announced that they are switching their No. 95 from the GTD class to the GTD Pro for the four Michelin Endurance Cup races in 2023, giving the class a potent ninth entry. That is due to the team being unable to acquire the services of a funded silver or bronze-rated driver, the services of which the team openly posted on Twitter that they were looking for last week.

Bill Auberlen and Chandler Hull, who raced as teammates with BimmerWorld Racing in Fanatec GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS last year, will share the car for the full season. John Edwards, who previously drove with BMW M Team RLL, will join the duo for Daytona. Bruno Spengler will join the effort for the four endurance events.

The GTD class is the largest class with 24 teams entered (down from 25 due to Turner’s No. 95 moving to GTD Pro). Paul Miller Racing just confirmed Wednesday that Corey Lewis will be back in the No. 1 BMW for the Michelin Endurance Cup events, while Maxime Martin will drive at Daytona only.

NTe/SSR announced their Rolex 24 lineup earlier this week with Jaden Conwright leading the team. However, they’ve run into some problems. The team plans to race the new EVO2 upgrade on their Lamborghini. However, the team posted on Reddit that their EVO2 upgrade kit just got released from customs Wednesday after being held up since Christmas. The team has four days to build their car up before leaving for Daytona from Dallas.

The SunEnergy1 Racing No. 75 is listed with four TBD drivers. However, that effort was already announced earlier this week as being the IMSA debut of Will Power in the Kenny Habul-owned Mercedes.

See also
Will Power to Make Rolex 24 Debut With SunEnergy1 Racing

US RaceTronics’ No. 78 Lamborghini will be spearheaded by Loris Spinelli, who drove for the team last season in Fanatec GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS. Spinelli will be joined by Misha Goikhberg, Benjamin Hites and Marco Mapelli.

In the No. 96, Robby Foley will team up with his Fanatec GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS teammate Michael Dinan. Jens Klingmann returns for another go around with the team, while Patrick Gallagher will make his Turner debut.

IMSA WEATHERTECH SPORTSCAR CHAMPIONSHIP ROAR BEFORE THE 24/ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA ENTRY LIST

Teams will be on-track starting Friday, Jan. 20 for five practice sessions over two days during the ROAR. The test will end with qualifying for the Rolex 24 at Daytona on Sunday, Jan. 22. That session will be streamed live on Peacock.

About the author

Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.

Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.

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