No. 14 Lexus and No. 46 Lamborghini. Photo courtesy of IMSA

Here’s the 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona entry list, so far

Leave a comment

Because there’s been an avalanche of announcements ahead of next year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, which is barely more than a month away, you might have lost track of who’s all driving where and what driver lineups are set.

Luckily, we’re keeping track on our end.

Here’s what we know, via a mix of team releases and news reports. Lineups that have yet to be formally confirmed, but have participated in Daytona testing, have an asterisk by them.

PROTOTYPE (13-14 expected)

Most of the Prototype field is already set. Mazda is due to announce their full lineups before the end of the year and it’d be a surprise if it didn’t feature some familiar faces as the extra drivers.

PR1/Mathiasen and JDC/Miller, which step up from PC, also are due formal reveals of their lineups, expected to feature similar names. Starworks’ Peter Baron has a habit of pulling some incredible lineups out for the Rolex 24 and he would figure to do so with at least one of his entries in 2017.

Full season

2, Tequila Patron ESM, Ligier JS P217 Nissan, Dalziel/Sharp/Derani
22, Tequila Patron ESM, Ligier JS P217 Nissan, E. Brown/van Overbeek/B. Senna/Hartley
5, Action Express Racing, Cadillac DPi-V.R, Barbosa/Fittipaldi/Albuquerque
31, Action Express Racing, Cadillac DPi-V.R, Cameron/Curran/S. Morris/Conway
10, Wayne Taylor Racing, Cadillac DPi-V.R, J. Taylor/R. Taylor/Angelelli/J. Gordon
55, Mazda Motorsports, Mazda MRT24-P, Bomarito/Nunez (extra driver to be announced)
70, Mazda Motorsports, Mazda MRT24-P, T. Long/J. Miller (extra driver to be announced)
52, PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports, Ligier JS P217 Gibson, Kimber-Smith/Gutierrez/Guasch*
85, JDC/Miller Motorsports, Oreca 07 Gibson, TBA
90, VISIT FLORIDA Racing, Riley Mk. 30 Gibson, van der Zande/Goossens (extra driver to be announced)
TBA (7, 8 or 88 expected), Starworks Motorsport, Riley Mk. 30 Gibson, TBA

Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup/Daytona only

TBA (21 or 81 expected), DragonSpeed, Oreca 07 Gibson, Lapierre/Hanley/Hedman/Duval
TBA (12 or 13 expected), Rebellion Racing, Oreca 07 Gibson, Heidfeld/Buemi/Jani/Sarrazin

GT LE MANS (10-13 expected) 

Corvette, BMW and Porsche have formally revealed all their full lineups. Ford’s is expected in the next couple weeks. Risi is traditionally the latest of the bunch, and often revolves around what Ferrari factory drivers are available.

Per Sportscar365, Ford is planning a four-car run at Daytona for its GTLM program. Proton Competition has reportedly planned a one-car outing for Daytona and Scuderia Corsa ran a Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup GTLM program last year with a 488 GTE.

Full season

3, Corvette Racing, Corvette C7.R, Magnussen/Garcia/Rockenfeller
4, Corvette Racing, Corvette C7.R, Gavin/Milner/Fassler
19, BMW Team RLL, BMW M6 GTLM, Auberlen/Sims/Farfus/Spengler
25, BMW Team RLL, BMW M6 GTLM, Edwards/Tomczyk/Wittmer/Catsburg
62, Risi Competizione, Ferrari 488 GTE, Vilander*
66, Ford Chip Ganassi Racing, Ford GT, Hand/D. Mueller*
67, Ford Chip Ganassi Racing, Ford GT, Briscoe/Westbrook/Dixon*
911, Porsche GT Team, Porsche 911 RSR, Pilet/D. Werner/Makowiecki
912, Porsche GT Team, Porsche 911 RSR, Vanthoor/Estre/Lietz

Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup/Daytona only

TBA, Ford Chip Ganassi Racing, Ford GT, TBA
TBA, Ford Chip Ganassi Racing, Ford GT, TBA
TBA, Proton Competition, Porsche 911 RSR, Ried

GT DAYTONA (Widest range: 22-30-plus possible) 

Of the teams that have announced a full-season program for 2017, Stevenson, TRG and Turner Motorsport haven’t put out their full-season lineups. It’d be a surprise if Stevenson shifts from its 2016 lineup. At least eight extra entries will join the fun at Daytona, likely with more to follow.

Full season

6, Stevenson Motorsports, Audi R8 LMS, Liddell/A. Davis*
9, Stevenson Motorsports, Audi R8 LMS, Aschenbach/M. Bell (U.S.)*
14, 3GT Racing, Lexus RC F GT3, Karam/Pruett/I. James/Menezes
15, 3GT Racing, Lexus RC F GT3, Hawksworth/Alon/Cindric/D. Farnbacher
27, Dream Racing, Lamborghini Huracán GT3, Sbirrazzuoli/DeGeorge/Ruberti/Giammaria*
48, Paul Miller Racing, Lamborghini Huracán GT3, Sellers/Mad. Snow/B. Miller/Caldarelli
33, Riley-Team AMG, Mercedes-AMG GT3, Keating/J. Bleekemolen (extra drivers to be announced)
50, Riley-WeatherTech Racing, Mercedes-AMG GT3, Jeannette/MacNeil/van Gisbergen (extra driver to be announced)
75, SunEnergy1 Racing, Mercedes-AMG GT3, Vautier/Habul/Said (extra driver to be announced)
54, CORE autosport, Porsche 911 GT3 R, Braun/Bennett (extra drivers to be announced)
73, Park Place Motorsports, Porsche 911 GT3 R, J. Bergmeister/Lindsey/McMurry
TBA, TRG, Porsche 911 GT3 R, TBA
63, Scuderia Corsa, Ferrari 488 GT3, Balzan/Nielsen/Cressoni (extra driver to be announced)
86, Michael Shank Racing, Acura NSX GT3, Segal/Negri/Dyer/Hunter-Reay
93, Michael Shank Racing, Acura NSX GT3, Lally/Legge/Wilkins/Rahal
96, Turner Motorsport, BMW M6 GT3, TBA
97, Turner Motorsport, BMW M6 GT3, TBA

Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup/Daytona only

11, GRT Grasser Racing Team, Lamborghini Huracán GT3, Engelhart/Ineichen/Bortolotti/E. Companc
TBA, GRT Grasser Racing Team, Lamborghini Huracán GT3, Engelhart/Ineichen (extra drivers to be announced)
21, Konrad Motorsport, Lamborghini Huracán GT3, Basseng/Mapelli/Willsey (extra driver to be announced; Trebing has tested)
28, Alegra Motorsports, Porsche 911 GT3 R, Morad/Lazare/M. de Quesada (extra driver to be announced)
29, Montaplast by Land-Motorsport, Audi R8 LMS, De Phillippi/Mies/Gounon/Schmidt
46, Ebimotors, Lamborghini Huracán GT3, Babini/E. Busnelli (extra drivers to be announced)
59, Manthey Racing, Porsche 911 GT3 R, Reimer/Renger/Proczyk/S. Smith* (testing only thus far)
98, Aston Martin Racing, Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3, Dalla Lana/Lamy/Lauda (extra driver to be announced)

PROTOTYPE CHALLENGE (5-7 expected)

No PC team has yet announced a driver for next year other than Performance Tech Motorsports running James French in its No. 38 Oreca FLM09. Despite CORE’s absence and PR1/Mathiasen and JDC/Miller both stepping up to Prototype, PC should field anywhere from five to seven cars at Daytona between Starworks Motorsport, JDC/Miller, Performance Tech and BAR1 Motorsports.

ADDITIONAL TEAMS OF NOTE

There are still several teams that raced in 2016 are yet to reveal their full 2017 intentions and scale of program. Some may turn up at Daytona and others may have turned their final wheel in IMSA for the time being.

Of note, the GTD programs of Magnus Racing, Alex Job Racing (and Team Seattle), Black Swan Racing, Change Racing and Lone Star Racing are a festival of TBD.

The above list is always subject to change, and only figures to expand from what’s already listed.

Daniel Ricciardo frustrated to crash out of home F1 qualifying

Leave a comment

Daniel Ricciardo made no secret of his frustration after crash out of Formula 1 qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix, resigning himself to a 10th-place start for his home race on Sunday.

Ricciardo entered the Melbourne weekend aiming to become the first Australian to finish on the podium at his home race since the event became part of the F1 world championship in 1985.

Despite struggling with the setup on his RB13 car on Friday, Ricciardo looked poised to claim a top-five grid slot for Sunday’s race, only to lose control of his car at Turn 14 in Q3 and end the session in the wall.

“That was a tough one today. I don’t crash into the barriers often and the last place I want to do that is at home,” Ricciardo said after the session.

“But I feel I crashed for the right reason, as I was basically pushing and trying to find the limit and these things happen, so let’s say I’m not disappointed by the approach, it was just more of a frustrating outcome, starting 10th instead of being under the top five.”

Ever the optimist, Ricciardo said the difficult qualifying will only serve as greater motivation to fight back up the order and give his home fans a result to celebrate on Sunday.

“I knew the crowds would have also preferred to see me further up the grid and it would have been nice to put on a better performance than that but tomorrow is where the points are,” Ricciardo said.

“It’s a chance to create a bigger headline if I have a good race so that’s what will motivate me to do better tomorrow. I made it a bit more difficult for myself but it’s going to be alright.

“To get a good start in the race will be the key. I saved a set of ultra-softs in Q2, I know that not everyone in front of me has, so maybe that gives me a chance.”

The Australian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports App from midnight ET.

Valtteri Bottas disappointed with P3 start for Mercedes F1 debut

Leave a comment

Valtteri Bottas came away from qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix feeling disappointed despite securing third place on the grid for his first Formula 1 race as a Mercedes driver.

Bottas joined Mercedes over the winter following world champion Nico Rosberg’s decision to retire from racing, and made his first official race weekend appearance for the Silver Arrows on Friday.

The ex-Williams driver made a splash in qualifying by running teammate Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel close, but was left to settle for third on the grid after finishing three-tenths of a second off the pole time.

“Third position is not ideal. In general I’m not happy with the result,” Bottas admitted after qualifying.

“But what I’m really happy about and proud about [is] what the team has done again with this car. I only saw a very small part of the preparation with the new car and the new era of Formula 1, and it’s really nice to see that all the work has paid off and we’re fighting at the very front.

“It seems to be very close this year, especially here. Myself I didn’t get any perfect laps in, so not that satisfied.

“Tomorrow’s the day that matters. It seems like in the race starts we’ve been quite strong. If we can keep that form I had in practice, and have a nice and clean race and get some really good points.”

Bottas’ best finish in Australia currently stands at fifth place in 2014 with Williams, with the Finn never qualifying any higher than sixth at Albert Park in his four previous attempts.

The Australian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports App from midnight ET.

Vettel: Front-row grid slot for Australia proof of Ferrari’s progress

Leave a comment

Sebastian Vettel believes that his charge to second place on the grid for Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix acts as proof of the progress Ferrari’s Formula 1 operation has made over the winter.

Vettel arrived in Australia as one of the favorites to take pole following an impressive showing in pre-season testing, prompting three-time champion Lewis Hamilton to name Ferrari as the leading team.

Hamilton rallied in qualifying to take pole position for Mercedes, beating Vettel by two-tenths of a second, but the Ferrari driver managed to fend off Valtteri Bottas in the second Silver Arrow and clinch a front-row berth.

The result marked Ferrari’s best qualifying result since the 2015 Singapore Grand Prix – Vettel’s and Ferrari’s last pole and victory in F1 – and the German was encouraged by the result.

“I think we have a good car. I think we are working well as a team,” Vettel said.

“Things are improving. Obviously it’s nice to see that things are working, the car is working. I had a mixed day yesterday, but the confidence in the car was there from testing and I think we showed that again today.”

Vettel conceded that he felt his final lap in qualifying could have been faster, but doubts it would have been enough to catch pole-sitter Hamilton.

“In the end I was not entirely happy with my lap. I was pretty happy with the end, maybe not so much with the opening of the lap where we lost a bit too much,” Vettel said.

“But I think Lewis did a very good lap. I would have loved to, but I don’t think pole was up for grabs. Tomorrow I think we can do something in the race. The car feels good, we’ve improved it so the pace should be much better than it was yesterday when we had practice.

“It’s been a big winter for us, lots of change we’ve gone through as a team in the last 12 months, and for the better. I think the team is getting stronger.

“Obviously everyone is pushing very hard and it’s not so easy to come here with a long journey to get to Australia, but I think people are fired up and we are motivated for tomorrow.

“I think it’s the first good opportunity.”

Hamilton buoyed by sixth Australia F1 pole, ready for tight race

Leave a comment

Three-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton was buoyed by his charge to pole position in Australian Grand Prix qualifying on Saturday, but is braced for a tight race at the front of the pack.

Hamilton saw off a challenge from Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and new Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas to capture his sixth pole at Albert Park, and the 62nd of his F1 career.

Hamilton had doubts over Mercedes’ advantage over Ferrari heading into the new year, making his charge to pole all the more meaningful as he paid tribute to the team members after qualifying.

“It’s been a fantastic weekend so far. It’s quite amazing to come here for I think the 11th time, and it feels like it was only yesterday that I came here and had my first race here in 2007,” Hamilton said.

“I’m just incredibly proud of my team. This rule change has been huge and such a massive challenge for everyone. The guys have just worked so hard to make this car what it is today.”

Despite taking pole by almost three-tenths of a second in Q3, Hamilton is braced for a close fight on Sunday with Vettel and Bottas, the latter starting his first race for Mercedes from third on the grid.

“Valtteri did a fantastic job given it’s his first qualifying session with the team. He did a great job and it’s great for Mercedes,” Hamilton said.

“Looking forward to the race, it’s close between us all. As you can see, there’s going to be a tight race this year I think.

“I think tomorrow is about putting all the work that’s gone in over the winter, all the work that’s gone through testing and this whole weekend and really put it to work tomorrow.

“I’ll make sure I get a good night’s sleep and come back tomorrow stronger than ever.”

The Australian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports App from midnight ET on Sunday.