It appears that the 2012 IndyCar champion, Ryan Hunter-Reay, will be racing in this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, the opening race to the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. The question is in what car.
He tweeted out this this morning: “Daytona bound. Time to get to work.”
Hunter-Reay has 17 prior starts in the GRAND-AM Rolex Series, including seven straight in the Rolex 24 (2007-2013).
Last year, Hunter-Reay raced alongside Max Angelelli and Jordan Taylor in Wayne Taylor’s No. 10 Corvette Daytona Prototype, and the team finished second overall. In 2012, he was a last-minute add to Starworks Motorsport’s second-generation Ford Riley DP as that team sorted through various combinations. In 2010 and 2011, he raced with Scott Tucker’s Level 5 Motorsports team, when they ran DPs.
Level 5 has three confirmed entries for this year’s Rolex 24, with two cars in the PC class and a Ferrari 458 Italia in GT Daytona to be driven at this weekend’s Roar Before the 24 test by Tucker and the team’s three confirmed GT class drivers, Townsend Bell, Bill Sweedler and Jeff Segal. Starworks also has two PC class cars entered, with three confirmed drivers (Isaac Tutumlu, Sam Bird, Rob Huff). Both Level 5 (Ferrari GTD) and Starworks (Riley DP) have second alternate cars as well.
The WTR Corvette is out with Angelelli and three Taylors – Jordan, Ricky and father Wayne – in the No. 10 car this time around.
Hunter-Reay, we should also note, is now a Honda driver in IndyCar for Andretti Autosport, and has some HPD prototype experience. But the only HPDs in the field, at Extreme Speed Motorsports, have already confirmed their full Rolex 24 lineups.
The six Corvette DP lineups for this year’s Rolex 24 – save for Marsh Racing – are currently at their projected capacities of either three, four or five drivers depending on the team’s preference. The two Corvette Racing GTLM cars are also booked up.
Another possible landing spot is at SRT Motorsports, in one of the team’s GTLM class Viper GTS-Rs. Hunter-Reay has a past history with Riley Motorsports and Bill Riley, and drove an SRT Viper in the 2012 Petit Le Mans. His IndyCar team, Andretti Autosport, has a prior relationship with SRT as well as SRT was presenting sponsor of the Andretti Sports Marketing-promoted Grand Prix of Baltimore in 2012 and 2013. The team has a spot open with Ryan Dalziel moving onto Extreme Speed Motorsports in 2014; Dalziel was an endurance race driver at SRT in 2013.
Confirmed IndyCar drivers at the Rolex 24 thus far are Simon Pagenaud at Extreme Speed Motorsports (No. 2 HPD ARX-03b, P), Sebastien Bourdais at Action Express (No. 5 Corvette DP, P) and Ryan Briscoe at Corvette Racing (No. 3 Corvette C7.R, GTLM). Upwards of at least a half dozen more are expected to find rides for the race.
Let the speculation begin. At least until either “RHR” or the team announces.