The 2017 motorsports slate gets going this weekend at Daytona International Speedway with the Roar Before the 24. There are a total of 50 cars entered so far, with half of them coming from the GT Daytona class. There are 12 in Prototype, 11 in GT Le Mans, and two in the PC class, fielded by the BAR1 Motorsports team
The usual suspects will be on hand, such as Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Porsche. There are also seven new cars from Acura, Lexus, and Mercedes-AMG that will raise some eyebrows. This three-day testing event will prepare teams and drivers for the Rolex 24 race on January 28-29, which kicks off the 2017 IMSA season..
While many of the drivers on the entry list released today show “TBA” there have been many announcements already made by the teams themselves, and more that will be coming in the future. Several Verizon IndyCar Series drivers will be participating again this year, with some former open-wheel stars as well.
Tony Kanaan will compete in the No. 69 GT Le Mans entry with Chip Ganassi Racing. He’ll be sharing the ride with Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell. Ganassi has four cars entered in the event, with a few more IndyCar drivers lined up. Scott Dixon and Ryan Briscoe will join Richard Westbrook in the No. 67 car, while Sebastien Bourdais shares the No. 66 machine with Joey Hand and Dirk Moller.
Ryan Hunter-Reay and Graham Rahal will drive for Michael Shank Racing in the Acura NSX GT3. Last year Hunter-Reay drove a Corvette DP, and Rahal was behind the wheel of the Team RLL MBW M6 GTLM. Both Hunter-Reay and Rahal have already driven for Shank’s team at the Rolex 24 in Daytona Prototype competition.
This will be Hunter-Reay’s 11th consecutive start in the event, the Texas native having scored three podium results with a best finish of second in 2013. Rahal has made eight starts in the race and won it in 2011 with Ganassi.
James Hinchcliffe and Spencer Pigot will drive for the two-car Mazda RT24-P factory team. Hinchcliffe will be in the No. 70 machine, while Pigot joins the crew of the No. 55 car. Despite missing last year, Hinchcliffe has raced for Mazda five times since 2012. Sage Karam, Jack Hawksworth, and Scott Pruett will pilot the two Lexus 3 GT Racing machines.
Townsend Bell will drive the No. 23 Alex Job Racing entry, and Tristan Vautier will be with Sun Energy 1 Racing in the No. 75 Mercedes AMG. It was also just announced that 19-year old RC Enerson has joined PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports, where he will drive their new Ligier JS P217 Gibson Prototype.
More familiar names include Mike Conway, Scott Sharp, Katherine Legge, Austin Cindric, and Jeff Gordon.
The schedule of events for all three days is listed below.
Tickets for the event this weekend are $15 each day, and are available for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Kids 12 and under are free with a paid adult admission. You can purchase your tickets here.