2022 Rolex 24 at Daytona: Schedule, TV info, start times, entry lists, notable additions, more

Rolex 24 start schedule
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DAYTONA BEACH, Florida — Like the swallows returning to San Juan Capistrano, the sports cars have returned to Daytona International Speedway, and the Rolex 24 at Daytona schedule signals the unofficial start of the major-league 2022 U.S. racing season.

The 60th edition of the 24-hour race again will be a star-studded affair featuring many of the biggest names in motorsports driving some of the coolest cars across five sleek categories. The 61-car field will include Le Mans champions, Formula One veterans and winners of the Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 500.

Here’s what you need to know ahead of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener Jan. 29-30 at Daytona International Speedway:

WHAT’S NEW

The GTD Pro class essentially has replaced the GT Le Mans class for the 2022 season, creating a division exclusively for professional drivers and with much of the factory backing that once made GTLM so competitive.

There are 13 entries in GTD Pro with Corvette, Porsche, Lexus, Mercedes, Aston Martin, Ferrari and Lamborghini among the featured brands in the class that will run the same car specifications as the GTD category (which will retain a mix of professional and amateur drivers one each team).

A few GTD teams — Vasser Sullivan and Pfaff Motorsports — have moved at least one entry into the GTD Pro category, which also will feature a swath of big-name drivers.

Felipe Nasr will spend the 2022 season in the Pfaff Motorsports Porsche before moving to the new LMDh class with Team Penske in 2022. Tristan Nunez has taken Nasr’s spot as the teammate to Pipo Derani in the No. 31 Cadillac that won the 2021 DPi championship for Action Express.

Other moves in the top prototype division:

–Chip Ganassi Racing has added a second full-time Cadillac for 2022 and hired winning IndyCar and IMSA veteran Sebastien Bourdais to its lineup along with former GTLM Porsche champion Earl Bamber.

–The three-time defending Rolex 24 champion Wayne Taylor Racing will return three of the winning drivers last year at Daytona in the No. 10 Acura: Filipe Albuquerque, Ricky Taylor and 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi. Will Stevens will replace Helio Castroneves, who has moved over to the No. 60 Acura of Meyer Shank Racing (also his new full-time IndyCar ride for 2022).

–Simon Pagenaud also will join with Castroneves, former Mazda Motorsports winner Oliver Jarvis and Tom Blomqvist on MSR’s No. 60.

NOTABLE DRIVER ADDITIONS

The Rolex 24 will feature 12 drivers from the NTT IndyCar Series, including rising stars Colton Herta and Pato O’Ward teaming on an LMP2 entry for DragonSpeed that also will include IndyCar rookie Devlin DeFrancesco. Rinus VeeKay, the 2020 IndyCar rookie of the year, will be in the LMP2 class for the second consecutive year.

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, Jimmie Johnson, who is moving to a full-time IndyCar schedule this year, will be making his second consecutive Rolex 24 start in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac with Action Express.

Defending IndyCar champion Alex Palou will be racing the Rolex 24 with teammates Scott Dixon and Marcus Ericsson across Chip Ganassi Racing’s two Cadillacs in the DPi class.

Indy 500 winners and Meyer Shank Racing teammates Helio Castroneves and Simon Pageanud will be teamed on MSR’s No. 60 Acura in the Rolex 24. Alexander Rossi will return on the No. 10 Acura with Wayne Taylor Racing after joining the team’s overall victory in 2021.

A.J. Foyt Racing rookie Kyle Kirkwood also will be racing the Rolex 24 for Vasser Sullivan in GTD Pro.

NASCAR Xfinity Series champion and Cup Series rookie Austin Cindric will be racing a Mercedes in the GTD Pro class.

CAR COUNT

The Rolex 24 field will be the largest in eight years at Daytona International Speedway.

The Roar before the Rolex 24 testing and qualifying race weekend drew an entry list of 61 cars. That would mark the largest car count since 67 cars finished the Rolex 24.

Click here for the 2022 Rolex 24 entry list.

RACE BROADCAST

The Rolex 24 at Daytona will be streamed across the NBC Sports AppNBCSports.com and Peacock, which will have coverage of the event from flag to flag.

HOW TO WATCH IMSA ON NBC SPORTS: Broadcast schedule for 2022

Broadcast coverage of the race coverage will begin Jan. 29 at 1:30 p.m. ET on NBC and move to Peacock at 2:30 p.m. USA Network will pick up coverage from 4-7 p.m. and then Peacock again from 7-10 pm. Coverage will return to USA Network from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. and then move to Peacock until 6 a.m.

From 6 a.m. until noon on Jan. 30, Rolex 24 coverage will be available on USA.

The Jan. 30 conclusion of the Rolex 24 will run from noon through 2 p.m. on NBC.

Other events that will be streamed on Peacock from Daytona during January (all times ET):

Jan. 22: IMSA Prototype Challenge, noon

Jan. 23: Roar Before the Rolex 24, 2 p.m.

Jan. 28: BMW Endurance Michelin Pilot Challenge, 1:35 p.m.


ROLEX 24 COVERAGE FROM NBC SPORTS

No longer ‘weak link,’ Jimmie Johnson feels ‘better than ever’ about winning

Jarett Andretti, Robin Pemberton celebrate an emotional LMP3 pole position

‘Neurotic’ Wayne Taylor on the verge of making Rolex 24 history

Robert Wickens returns to racing for the first time since Pocono crash

Jordan Taylor’s unforgettable Rolex 24 restroom story

Colton Herta and Pato O’Ward relish transition from rivals to teammates

IMSA opener offers valuable experience for 12 full-time IndyCar drivers

Why is there only one NASCAR driver in this year’s race?


ROLEX 24 DAILY SCHEDULE, START TIMES

Here’s a rundown of everything happening at Daytona International Speedway over the last two weeks in January, starting with the Roar test session. Rolex 24 start times and full schedule:

Wednesday, Jan. 19

4 p.m.: Garages open

4 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship haulers load-in (park only)

6:30 p.m.: Garages close

Thursday, Jan. 20

7 a.m.: Garages, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship haulers open

8:30 a.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship safety inspection

10 a.m.: Rolex 24 Media Day

2 p.m.: Michelin Pilot Challenge driver briefing

3 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship team briefing

5:15 p.m.: Track walk

7:30 p.m.: Garages close

Friday, Jan. 21

7 a.m.: Garages open

8:45-9:30 a.m.: Prototype Challenge practice

9:45-11 a.m.: Michelin Pilot Challenge practice

11:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

1:45-2:30 p.m.: Prototype Challenge practice

2:45-4 p.m.: Michelin Pilot Challenge practice

4:15-6 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice (GTD/LMP3/LMP2 4:15-5:45; 4:30-6: GTD Pro, DPi)

6:15 p.m.: Prototype Challenge qualifying

8 p.m.: Garages close

Saturday, Jan. 22

7 a.m.: Garages open

8:45-9:45 a.m.: Michelin Pilot Challenge practice

10-11 a.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

12:05-3:05 p.m.: Prototype Challenge at Daytona race (streaming on Peacock)

3:25-4:30 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying

4:50-5:50 p.m.: Michelin Pilot Challenge practice

7-9 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

10 p.m.: Garages close

Sunday, Jan. 23

7 a.m.: Garages open

8:30 a.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship driver and team manager briefing

10-10:20 a.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship warmup

10:35-11:50 a.m.: Michelin Pilot Challenge practice

2:05-3:45 p.m.: Motul Pole Award 100 (Rolex 24 at Daytona qualifying race, all classes, two drivers, 100 minutes; streaming on Peacock)

7 p.m.: Garages close

Wednesday, Jan. 26

6 a.m.: Garages open

8-11 a.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship safety inspection

8:30 a.m.: Mazda MX-5 load-in

9:45-11:15 a.m.: Track walk

10 a.m.-noon: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship car photos

11 a.m.: Michelin Pilot Challenge team manager briefing

11:30 a.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship team manager briefing

1:45-2:45 p.m.: Michelin Pilot Challenge practice

3-3:30 p.m.: Mazda MX-5 practice

3:45 p.m.: Track walk

6:45 p.m.: Garages close

Thursday, Jan. 27

7 a.m.: Garages open

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

9:45-10:45 a.m.: Michelin Pilot Challenge practice

11:05 a.m.-12:35 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

12:55-1:25 p.m.: Mazda MX-5 qualifying

2:25-3 p.m.: Michelin Pilot Challenge qualifying

3:20-5:05 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice (3:20-4:50: GTD, LMP3, LMP2; 3:35-5:05: GTD Pro, DPi)

5:30-6:15 p.m.: Mazda MX-5, Race 1

7:15-9 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

10:15 p.m.: Garages close

Friday, Jan. 28

7 a.m.: Garages open

9:25-9:55 a.m.: Michelin Pilot Challenge practice

10:15-11 a.m.: Mazda MX-5, Race 2

11:20 a.m.-12:20 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

1:35-5:35 p.m.: BMW M Endurance Challenge at Daytona (Michelin Pilot Challenge; streaming on Peacock)

8:45 p.m.: Garages close

Saturday, Jan. 29

6:30 a.m.: Garages open

7-8:45 a.m.: DIS Daytona 5K

9:45 a.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship driver and team manager briefing

11:50 a.m.-12:10 p.m.: Rolex 24 grid assembled in reverse order: GTD, GTD Pro, LMP3, LMP2, DPi

12:30-12:40 p.m.: Rolex 24 engine warmup

1:15 p.m.: Rolex 24 prerace

1:30-1:40 p.m.: Rolex 24 formation laps

1:40 p.m.: The 60th Rolex 24 at Daytona (starting on NBC; also streaming on Peacock)

Sunday, Jan. 30

1:40 p.m.: Finish of the 60th Rolex 24 at Daytona

7:30 p.m.: Garages close

New Chip Ganassi driver Marcus Armstrong will team with boyhood idol Scott Dixon

Marcus Armstrong Scott Dixon
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Marcus Armstrong was a Scott Dixon fan his entire life, and when he was 8, the aspiring young racer asked his fellow New Zealander to autograph a helmet visor that he hung on his bedroom wall.

Next year, Armstrong will be Dixon’s teammate.

Armstrong was named Friday as the fourth IndyCar driver in the Chip Ganassi Racing lineup and will pilot the No. 11 next season on road and street courses.

A driver for the five oval races on the 17-race schedule will be named later.

The No. 11 is essentially the No. 48 that seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson drove the last two seasons, with Chip Ganassi making the change to run four cars numbered in sequential order. Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson drives the No. 8, six-time champion Dixon drives the No. 9, and 2020 IndyCar champion Alex Palou drives the No. 10.

So just who is the second Kiwi in the Ganassi lineup?

A 22-year-old who spent the past three seasons in Formula One feeder series F2, a Ferrari development driver in 2021, and former roommate of Callum Illot and former teammate of Christian Lundgaard – both of whom just completed their rookie IndyCar seasons.

“I’ve always been attracted to the IndyCar championship because it’s one of those championships that’s been really well televised in New Zealand since I was young, mainly because of Scott and his success,” Armstrong told The Associated Press. “As time progressed, as I got closer to F1 and single-seaters, the attraction to IndyCar grew just because of how competitive the championship is – I like to challenge myself and the level of competition in IndyCar is remarkably high.”

Armstrong, from Christchurch, New Zealand, was set to travel from his current home in London to Indianapolis this weekend to meet his new team. He won’t need an introduction to Dixon, the 42-year-old considered the best IndyCar driver of his generation and Armstrong’s unequivocal childhood hero.

Last season, Dixon earned his 53rd career victory to pass Mario Andretti for second on the all-time list. Dixon has driven for Ganassi in all but 23 of his 345 career starts.

“For a long time I’ve been a Scott Dixon fan. I don’t want to make him cringe with our age difference,” Armstrong told the AP.

Despite the two-decade age difference, Armstrong never considered someday racing with Dixon a fantasy.

He convinced his father after winning five national karting championships to allow him to leave New Zealand for Italy at age 14, where he moved by himself to pursue a racing career. Armstrong said as soon as he’d received parental permission, he’d never look back.

Armstrong was in Formula 4 two years after his move to Italy and won that title in his first season. He won four races and four poles in F3 in the 2018 and 2019 seasons, then collected four wins and eight podiums in three seasons of F2.

“Maybe it’s a strength, or maybe it’s a weakness, but I always thought I was capable of doing great in the sport,” Armstrong told the AP. “I think you probably have to succeed in the sport, you need to believe in yourself. I always pictured myself being in IndyCar.

“As Scott’s teammate? I can’t specifically say I saw that. It’s an extraordinary chain of events.”

Armstrong becomes just the latest driver to leave Europe, where F1 is the pinnacle but has only 20 seats each year. Alexander Rossi began the trend in 2016 when the American left F1 and won the Indianapolis 500 as a rookie. He’s been followed by Ericsson, last season’s Indy 500 winner, Romain Grosjean, Illot, Lundgaard, and on Thursday three-time W Series champion and Williams F1 reserve driver Jamie Chadwick was announced as driver for Andretti Autosport in IndyCar’s second-tier development series.

Armstrong said he could have remained in F2 for a fourth season, but he’d been watching IndyCar for so long, and after conversations with Illot and Lundgaard, he decided to make the move to what he believes is the most balanced racing series in the world. He tested for Dale Coyne Racing at Sebring in October.

He doesn’t know if European racing is done for good, just that he wants to be in IndyCar right now.

“I don’t want to think too far into the future, I’m just grateful for this opportunity that is standing right in front of me,” Armstrong said. “I want to perform as well as I can in the near future and just consolidate myself in the fantastic chance that is IndyCar and just do my best.

“I’m not looking at F1 as a landing spot – I am looking at IndyCar, and that’s exactly why I am here.”