Briscoe, Bell gear up for weekend with ALMS, then IndyCar

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Although IndyCar isn’t racing this weekend, some of the drivers who are entered for this year’s Indianapolis 500 are. Practice for the race begins on Saturday.

Ryan Briscoe and Townsend Bell will race in the American Le Mans Series event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. on Saturday.

Briscoe already has a class win (Sebring 12 Hours) and pole (Long Beach) in two starts for Level 5 Motorsports, where he will compete in the full season and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Briscoe rejoins the Chip Ganassi Racing squad for Indianapolis for the first time since 2005, in the No. 8 NTT Data Honda.

Also Thursday, Discovery Channel announced a MythBusters IndyCar special will air Wednesday, May 22, at 9 p.m. ET, featuring Briscoe at IMS.

Bell recaps his crazy last few weeks and the two most recent IndyCar races here, but his focus this weekend is on his GT class Ferrari F458 Italia for the West/Alex Job Racing/Boardwalk Ferrari team. Bell paced his class in the ALMS official test session Thursday, at a time of 1:23.802 in the Yokohama-shod No. 23 Ferrari around the 2.238-mile road course (pictured right, ALMS Photo).

“This is our first chance to try some things that I hadn’t been able to try so far,” Bell said. “The Ferrari is just a fantastic car out of the box, and it’s the third year of the 458. Development-wise, the guys have a really nice car and it’s a matter of adapting our brake, damper and tire partners to this platform, which we know is a winning one.”

Briscoe and Bell are expected to leave immediately after the race Saturday night to catch flights to Indianapolis, where their on-track preparations for the 500 will begin in earnest.

Katherine Legge, who raced in IndyCar in 2012, is also competing in Monterey this weekend, aboard the revolutionary DeltaWing prototype.

Final 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona results, stats

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona overall results were all streaks: two consecutive victories in the endurance classic for Meyer Shank Racing and three in a row for Acura.

And Helio Castroneves became the second driver to win three consecutive Rolex 24s and the first to win in three straight years (Peter Gregg won in 1973, ’75 and ’76; the race wasn’t held in ’74 because of a global oil crisis).

Starting from the pole position, Tom Blomqvist took the checkered flag in the No. 60 ARX-06 that led a race-high 365 of 783 laps with co-drivers Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Colin Braun.

RESULTS: Click here for the finishing order in the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona l By class

Meyer Shank Racing now has two Rolex 24 victories and the 2022 championship since entering the premier prototype category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2021.

“I think what’s so special about this team is we are a small team compared to some of our opponents, but the atmosphere, the way we work, enables people to get the best out of themselves, and I think that’s why we’re such high achievers,” Blomqvist said. “I think there’s no egos. It’s a very open book, and that just enables each and every one of us to reach our potential. I think that’s why we’ve achieved so much success in really a short time at this level of competition.”

It’s the 16th IMSA victory for MSR.

The 61st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona marked the debut of the Grand Touring Prototype category that brought hybrid engine technology to IMSA’s top level.

In other categories:

LMP2: James Allen passed Ben Hanley on the final lap and delivered a victory in the No. 55 ORECA by 0.016 seconds. It’s the second IMSA victory for Proton Competition, which last won at Sebring in 2012. It was the first Rolex 24 victory for Allen and co-drivers Gianmaria Bruni, Fred Poordad and Francesco Pizzi.

GTD Pro: Cooper MacNeil won in the last start of his IMSA career as the No. 79 Mercedes-AMG GT3 scored the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for WeatherTech Racing and the team’s fourth career victory.

MacNeil, who co-drove with Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella, earned his 12th career victory and first at the Rolex 24.

“Winning by last IMSA race is tremendous,” MacNeil said.

GTD: The No. 27 Heart of Racing Team delivered the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for Aston Martin, which has been competing in endurance races at Daytona International Speedway since 1964. Drivers Marco Sorensen, Roman De Angelis, Darren Turner and Ian James (also the team principal) earned the victory in the English brand’s 13th attempt.

It’s also the first Rolex 24 at Daytona win for Heart of Racing, which has seven IMSA wins.

LMP3: Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill drove the No. 17 AWA Duqueine D08 to victory by 12 laps for the team’s first class win in IMSA.


STATS PACKAGE FOR ROLEX 24 HOURS OF DAYTONA:

Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race (over the weekend)

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Lap chart

Leader sequence

Race analysis by lap

Stint analysis

Time cards

Pit stop time cards

Best sector times

Race distance and speed average

Flag analysis

Weather report

NEXT: The 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will resume with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 18 with coverage across NBC, USA and Peacock.