Congratulations are in order for NBC Sports Formula One commentator David Hobbs, who will serve as the Grand Marshal for this coming January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway – the inaugural race for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
Hobbs was an 11-time starter in the famous sports car race, with his best finish being a pair of third-place showings in 1971 (co-driver Mark Donahue) and again in 1984 (co-drivers Doc Bundy and Bob Tullius).
Additionally, Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) president Pierre Fillon has been named as the honorary starter for the race on Jan. 25-26, 2014. Fillon invited International Speedway Corporation president Jim France to fill the same role at the 24 Hours of Le Mans this past summer.
“David Hobbs’ starting command and the waving of the starter’s flag by Pierre Fillon will kick off a new era in North American sports car racing,” said Daytona International Speedway president Joie Chitwood III in a statement.
“The anticipation for the upcoming Rolex 24 is at an all-time high and we’re looking forward to kicking off the new season with a historic event.”
The TUSC began a two-day test session at Daytona this morning, which will be followed by the bigger “Roar Before the Rolex 24” sessions from Jan. 3-5, 2014.
Daniel Ricciardo believes Red Bull stands a “decent chance” of signing off from the 2017 Formula 1 season with a victory in next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
After a slow start to the year, Red Bull made massive gains across the course of the season by developing its RB13 to end the season as front-runners, rivaling Mercedes and Ferrari for pace.
The Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi has a number of slow-speed sections that should suit the RB13 car, with Ricciardo optimistic about his chances of not only ending his podium drought at the track, but even winning the race.
“Yas Marina has actually been one of my favorite tracks over the years,” Ricciardo said in Red Bull’s pre-race preview.
“It’s been a bit like Suzuka for me though, a track that I’ve always enjoyed and gone well on but not quite reached the podium at. I broke that trend in Suzuka this year so hopefully I can do the same in Abu Dhabi.
“When you have so much time away from the car in the off season it helps to sign off with a strong result as it makes you feel like you really deserve a break.
“I think we should have a strong car in Abu Dhabi. I said I want another win before the season is out and I think we have a decent chance of achieving that.”
Red Bull has claimed three race wins through 2017, with Ricciardo’s victory in Azerbaijan being followed up by successes for teammate Max Verstappen in Malaysia and Mexico.