2015 Rolex 24 Preview: PC class

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We continue our look at the runners slated to compete in the 2015 Rolex 24 at Daytona with the second prototype category, Prototype Challenge. Of the four classes, this is the one with the single biggest odds-on favorite.

2014 RECAP

WINNERS: No. 54 CORE autosport, Colin Braun, Jon Bennett, Mark Wilkins, James Gue

PODIUM: No. 25 8Star Motorsports, Enzo Potolicchio, Tom Kimber-Smith, Rob Huff, Michael Marsal, No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports, Raphael Matos, David Ostella, Tomy Drissi, Gabriel Casagrande, Julio Campos

POLE: No. 54 CORE autosport, Colin Braun

2015 FORECAST

ROAR RECAP: CORE autosport was a regular atop the sessions with Braun, although either Bruno Junqueira (RSR Racing) or Renger van der Zande (Starworks Motorsport) made the occasional impression to top the orange-and-white No. 54.

RACE OUTLOOK: Armed with an identical lineup as last year, CORE is odds-on favorite for a repeat and is poised to do so provided they have another trouble-free run. RSR or Starworks could upset the apple cart, but if someone other than those three factors into win or podium contention, it would serve as a fairly big surprise.

WIN CONTENDERS: As mentioned above, CORE, RSR and Starworks seem the only realistic win contenders, with CORE having a sizeable advantage over the others. The other five cars entered in class have some combination of new drivers, inexperienced drivers, or race inexperience as a team.

THE REST OF THE RUNNERS: Neither 8Star nor Performance Tech had what you would deem an “all-star” lineup last year but made it to the podium via largely trouble-free races. That’s the hope here for the leftover five. Some standout drivers to watch should include a trio of Englishmen in Kimber-Smith (No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen), Martin Plowman (No. 61 BAR1) and Johnny Mowlem (No. 16 BAR1). The Performance Tech and JDC-Miller entries will be looking, mainly, to avoid staying out of trouble. Performance Tech features a quartet of drivers all making their first Rolex 24 starts.

CLASS ENTRY LIST (8 cars, all Oreca FLM09)

  • 8 Renger van der Zande, Mirco Schultis, Alex Popow, Mike Hedlund, Enrique Bernoldi, Starworks Motorsport
  • 11 Bruno Junqueira, Chris Cumming, Jack Hawksworth, Gustavo Menezes, RSR Racing
  • 16 Johnny Mowlem, Tom Papadopoulos, Tomy Drissi, Brian Alder, BAR1 Motorsports
  • 38 Jerome Mee, James French, James Vance, Sean Johnston, Performance Tech Motorsports
  • 52 Mike Guasch, Andrew Novich, Andrew Palmer, Tom Kimber-Smith, PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports
  • 54 Colin Braun, Jon Bennett, Mark Wilkins, James Gue, CORE autosport
  • 61 Martin Plowman, Marc Drumwright, Chapman Ducote, Cody Ware, BAR1 Motorsports
  • 85 Stephen Simpson, Chris Miller, Rusty Mitchell, Mikhail Goikhberg, JDC-Miller Motorsports

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.