NASCAR, Indy testing plus F1, TUDOR launches make for busy January


The month of December is pretty much an off month for the entirety of the motorsports world. Most posts on MotorSportsTalk have been on quotes, with little in the way of actual on-track action. That changes in January, and here’s what there is to look forward to:

  • TUDOR’s big launch: The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship gets the ball rolling with the Roar Before the 24 test this weekend, January 3-5, at Daytona International Speedway. The Rolex 24 at Daytona, one of North America’s longest-running sports car races, drops the green flag on Jan. 25 to launch a new era in North American sports car racing as the combination of teams from the GRAND-AM Rolex Series and American Le Mans Series come together. Throughout the past 16 months, the process of merging the assets together has occurred, and final details are emerging this month. It should be interesting to watch.
  • NASCAR preseason testing: Six days of mostly primer-only cars and trucks going in circles doesn’t sound exciting on paper, but considering it’s the first on-track activity in six or so weeks, NASCAR Preseason Thunder at Daytona always seems to wake fans from their offseason slumber. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams test Jan. 9-10, Nationwide Series teams Jan. 11-12 and Camping World Truck Series teams Jan. 13-14. The first three days will see 12 total hours televised on FOX Sports 1.
  • F1 comes close to filling its field, and begins launches: As of this writing, no Formula One team has yet announced its launch date for its 2014 car. But from renderings that have followed their way around the Internet, and based on the technical changes that come into play for 2014, they should be shaken up from what’s been out the last five years. The first launches will likely occur toward the end of the month, and run into February. Additionally, Marussia (second seat) and Caterham (its two seats) still need to confirm their drivers to round out the 22-car field.
  • IndyCar testing resumes: IndyCar testing is blacked out until January 8 and the first major bit of on-track action after it resumes will occur on January 17 at Sebring International Raceway with a Chevrolet manufacturer’s test. The Ganassi, Penske, Carpenter, KVSH and Panther teams are currently slated for that test.
  • IndyCar’s silly season continues: Since our last silly season update, the IndyCar driver market has quieted down. But over the next few weeks, there could be news from some or all of the Barracuda, Coyne, Rahal Letterman Lanigan, KVSH and Panther teams.
  • Elsewhere: The Dakar Rally commences soon, with TV broadcasts on NBCSN … NHRA testing will occur before its first race at Pomona Feb. 6-9 … the FIA World Rally Championship has its annual landmark event, Rally Monte Carlo, Jan. 14-19 … the Pirelli World Challenge Championships will likely see some driver and team announcements over the month considering its projected car count north of 80 cars across its five classes and one subcategory

IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta: How to watch, start times, schedule, entry list

AUTO: NOV 13 IMSA - Motul Petit Le Mans
David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Start times, TV schedule: The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will conclude the 2022 season this weekend with the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta, which also will mark the end of the line for the DPi class.

The premier Daytona Prototype international category, which started in 2017, will be replaced by the new Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class with its LMDh cars that will establish a bridge to Le Mans.

For the third time in four years, an Acura will be crowned the champion in DPi as the No. 10 of Wayne Taylor Racing holds a 19-point edge over the No. 60 of Meyer Shank Racing.

Last year, WTR’s No. 10 entered the season finale with a 19-point lead but lost the title to the No. 31 Cadillac of Action Express.

Full-time WTR drivers Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor (who will be joined by Brendon Hartley in the No. 10 this weekend) have a series-leading four victories this season. The MSR duo of Tom Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves this weekend) won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and have five runner-up finishes this year.

Championship scenarios in the other four categories:

GTD Pro: Points leaders Matt Campbell and Mathieu Jaminet will clinch the title by starting in their No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.

–GTD: There are 140 points separating the top four teams with Roman De Angelis and the No. 27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 leading by 45 points.

–LMP2: John Farano is first in the driver standings by 33 points over Dwight Merriman and Ryan Dalziel. In the team standings, the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports leads by 19 points over the No. 8 Tower Motorsport (Farano’s team).

–LMP3: No. 54 CORE autosport drivers Jon Bennett and Colin Braun lead by 83 points over the No. 74 Riley Motorsports of Gar Robinson.

With the 10-hour race requiring an extra driver, several stars from other racing series have been added. In addition to Castroneves, Scott Dixon and Ryan Hunter-Reay will serve as third drivers in Chip Ganassi Racing’s pair of Cadillacs.

Jimmie Johnson also will be making his last DPi start in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac with Mike Rockenfeller and Kamui Kobayashi. Petit Le Mans could mark the last start in an IMSA prototype for Johnson, who has said limited inventory likely will keep him out of the GTP category in the Rolex 24 next year.

Here are the start times, starting lineup, schedule and TV info for the IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta (all times are ET):

Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta start times, schedule, TV info

When: Saturday, 12:10 p.m. ET

Race distance: Ten hours on the 12-turn, 2.54-mile road course

TV: Noon-3 p.m., NBC; 3-10:30 p.m., USA Network. Peacock, the NBC Sports App,and will have streaming coverage of the event from flag to flag beginning at noon. Leigh Diffey and Dave Burns are the play by play announcers with analysts Calvin Fish, Townsend Bell, James Hinchcliffe and Brian Till. The pit reporters are Kevin Lee, Hannah Newhouse, Dillon Welch and Matt Yocum. live TV qualifying stream: Friday, 3:35 p.m. ET.

IMSA Radio: All sessions are live on and; SiriusXM live race coverage will begin Saturday at noon (XM 207, Internet/App 992).

Forecast: According to, it’s expected to be 63 degrees with an 85% chance of rain at the green flag.

Entry list: Click here to see the 48-car field for the IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta

Daily schedule IMSA Petit Le Mans

Here’s a rundown of the Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia:

Wednesday, Sept. 28

9:30 a.m.: Mazda MX-5 practice

10:25 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup

12:30 p.m.: Prototype Challenge practice

1:15 p.m.: Mazda MX-5 practcice

2 p.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup practice

3:30 p.m.: Michelin Challenge practice

Thursday, Sept. 29

8 a.m.: Prototype Challenge practice

9 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup qualifying

9:50 a.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

11:40 a.m.: Prototype Challenge qualifying

12:10 p.m.: Michelin Challenge practice

1:50 p.m.: Mazda MX-5, Race 1

2:55 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

5 p.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup, Race 1

6 p.m.: Michelin Challenge qualifying

7:30 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

Friday, Sept. 30

8 a.m.: Prototype Challenge race

9:50 a.m.: Mazda MX-5, Race 2

10:55 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup, Race 2

1:10 p.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race

3:40 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying

Saturday, Oct. 1

9:15 a.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

12:10 p.m.: Petit Le Mans