More than a dozen IndyCar or IndyCar-related drivers from 2013 and 2014 will be participating in next week’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, the opening round to the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
The confirmed 2014 IndyCar drivers in action include:
- Simon Pagenaud (No. 2 Extreme Speed Motorsports, HPD ARX-03b, P class, 2nd start)
- Sebastien Bourdais (No. 5 Action Express Racing, Corvette DP, P, 5th)
- Justin Wilson (No. 60 Michael Shank Racing, Ford EcoBoost Riley, P, 7th)
- James Hinchcliffe (No. 70 SpeedSource Mazda SKYACTIV-D Coupe, P, 3rd)
- Scott Dixon (No. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford EcoBoost Riley, P, 11th)
- Tony Kanaan (No. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford EcoBoost Riley, P, 3rd)
- Ryan Briscoe (No. 3 Corvette Racing, Corvette C7.R, GTLM, 7th)
- Graham Rahal (No. 56 BMW Team RLL, BMW Z4 GTLM, GTLM, 6th)
- Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 91 SRT Motorsports, SRT Viper GTS-R, GTLM, 8th)
- Mikhail Aleshin (No. 72 SMP/ESM Racing, Ferrari 458 Italia GT3, GTD, 1st)
That’s 10 drivers right there. Then add in these drivers who competed in one or more IndyCar Series events in 2013:
- Katherine Legge (No. 0 DeltaWing Racing Cars, DeltaWing DWC13, P, 2nd)
- AJ Allmendinger (No. 60 Michael Shank Racing, Ford EcoBoost Riley, P, 9th)
- Tristan Vautier (No. 07 SpeedSource Mazda SKYACTIV-D Coupe, P, 2nd)
- Alex Tagliani (No. 08 RSR Racing, ORECA FLM09, PC, 2nd)
- Conor Daly (No. 08 RSR Racing, ORECA FLM09, PC, 1st)
- James Davison (No. 007 TRG-AMR, Aston Martin Vantage GT3, GTD, 1st)
- Townsend Bell (No. 555 Level 5 Motorsports, Ferrari 458 Italia GT3, GTD, 1st)
After those seven, the top two from Indy Lights in 2013 are making their Rolex 24 debuts:
- Sage Karam (No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford EcoBoost Riley, P)
- Gabby Chaves (No. 0 DeltaWing Racing Cars, DeltaWing DWC13, P)
Aleshin, Karam, Chaves, Daly, Davison and Bell are all making their Rolex 24 debuts. Considering Bell has been active in North America since the 1990s, his name on that list is the biggest surprise.
Four of the above drivers, Dixon (2006), Rahal (2011), Wilson and Allmendinger (2012) have overall wins at the Rolex 24. Dixon will be making his 11th straight Rolex 24 start with CGR.
Some other interesting tidbits: Hinchcliffe, by running a Mazda prototype, will have run three different types of Mazdas in three classes in three years (Mazda RX-8 in GT in 2012, Mazda6 in GX in 2013). Kanaan makes his third class appearance in as many starts, after running a GT1 Ford Mustang Cobra in 1998 and a Porsche GT3 Cup last year. Briscoe (six prior starts) and Hunter-Reay (seven) have only driven Daytona Prototypes; this year marks their first run in a GTE-spec car. Tagliani will start his first Rolex 24 since 2007, when he debuted in a Ford Mustang Cobra in the GT class.
Other IndyCar drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Charlie Kimball were part of the overall-winning team in 2013, but neither returns for 2014. Allmendinger has shifted back fully to NASCAR for 2014, but we’re including him in this list after his six races with Team Penske’s IndyCar program in 2013. There are others in the full entry list with past IndyCar or Indy Lights experience, but that would drag this post out even longer.