Chip Ganassi Racing announced Wednesday (Jan. 10) that two-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Alex Palou will drive the No. 01 Cadillac VSeries.R in this month’s Rolex 24 at Daytona. The INDYCAR champ will be the fourth member of the team alongside full-time drivers Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande, along with Palou’s INDYCAR teammate Scott Dixon.
“I’m very excited to return to Daytona after competing with the team in the DPi era in 2022,” Palou said in a press release. “I can’t wait to get behind the wheel of the new Hybrid and it will be a great way to start the year early with such a great team and with such great teammates.”
Palou has only one career start in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. That came in the Rolex 24 two years ago with Ganassi in the Cadillac DPi-V.R. under similar circumstances to now. Palou was fresh off of his first INDYCAR championship at the time and had never raced a prototype before.
In the race, the No. 01 team ran well, leading the race overall for a time. Just past halfway, Bourdais took the car to the garage for what appeared to be a brake change. The car ended up requiring an alternator belt replacement that ultimately cost the team a full hour, ending any chance at victory. The team returned to the race, but finished seventh in class (14th overall), 39 laps down.
Outside of his previous experience in the DPi, Palou has very limited experience in closed-cockpit race cars. In 2019, Palou raced a McLaren 720S GT3 in SuperGT’s GT300 class. There, Palou and former Le Mans overall winner Seiji Ara finished 15th in points with a best finish of second at Autopolis. Palou also briefly raced in Ferrari Challenge Europe.
Despite the unfamiliar equipment, Palou will be in familiar ground. His teammates are the same three co-drivers that he had in 2022. Bourdais, Dixon and van der Zande all drove the VSeries.R in 2023 and can impart a significant amount of knowledge to the young INDYCAR champion.
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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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