Photo courtesy: IMSA

What you need to know about Roar Before the Rolex 24, including entry lists, schedules

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The first racing action of the new year – not counting snowmobiles or dog teams in blizzard-laden areas – takes place Friday through Sunday with the IMSA Roar Before the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway.

The three-day event is the kick-off for the sports car world’s season. Not only will there be plenty of practice sessions, there will also be a first-ever race as part of the Roar: the IMSA Prototype Challenge (Saturday, 1:25 p.m. ET to 3:10 p.m. ET).

A field of 20 Prototypes and 30 GTLM/GTD class cars are featured in what is a mandatory test session for the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, which takes place Jan. 27-28.

There’s plenty to see over the next three days, including the debut of Team Penske’s IMSA sports car team, featuring Helio Castroneves, Juan Pablo Montoya, Simon Pagenaud, Ricky Taylor and Graham Rahal.

The weekend will feature a number of practice sessions, as well as qualifying Sunday for pit road spots and garage assignments for the Rolex 24.

And then there’s the IMSA Prototype Challenge, which will be a timed (one hour, 45 minutes) race on Saturday, starting at 1:15 p.m. ET.

Also taking part during the weekend is testing for the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge.

Among other notable drivers that will be taking part in this weekend’s action are IndyCar drivers Ryan Hunter-Reay and Sebastian Bourdais (who was part of last year’s GTLM-winning team), as well as Formula One drivers Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll.

Here’s the information you need:

ENTRY LISTS

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship – Prototype (20 entries), GT Le Mans (9 entries), GT Daytona (21 entries)

IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge – Grand Sport (28 entries), Touring Car (7 entries), Street Tuner (5 entries)

IMSA Prototype Challenge – Le Mans Prototype 3 (14 entries) and Mazda Prototype Challenge (11 entries)

 

DAY-BY-DAY SCHEDULES

FRIDAY, JANUARY 5TH

9:00 am – 9:30 am

IMSA Prototype Challenge practice session #1

9:45 am – 10:45 am

IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge practice session #1

11:00 am – 12:15 pm

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice session #1

1:15 pm – 1:55 pm

IMSA Prototype Challenge practice session #2

2:10 pm – 3:10 pm

IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge practice session #2

3:30 pm – 5:30 pm

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice session #2

8:00 pm

Garages close

 

SATURDAY, JANUARY 6TH

9:00 am – 9:20 am

IMSA Prototype Challenge qualifying

9:35 am – 10:35 am

IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge practice session #3

10:50 am – 12:20 pm

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice session #3

1:25 pm – 3:10 pm

IMSA Prototype Challenge At DAYTONA (1 hour 45 minutes)

3:30 pm – 4:15 pm

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice session #4

4:30 pm – 5:15 pm

IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge practice session #4

6:30 pm – 8:00 pm

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice session #5

9:00 pm

Garages close

 

SUNDAY, JANUARY 7TH

9:00 am – 10:30 am

IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge practice session #5

10:45 am – 11:15 am

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice session #6

11:25 am – 11:40 am

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying session (GTD)

11:50 am – 12:05 pm

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying session (GTLM)

12:15 pm – 12:30 pm

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying session (P)

1:30 pm – 2:30 pm

IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge practice session #6

2:45 pm – 3:45 pm

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice session #7

7:00 pm

Garages close

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.