- Front row for Weathertech GTD, Pole for Michelin Pilot Challenge
DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (January 24, 2020) - The iconic Rolex 24 at Daytona event kicks off the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Daytona International Speedway this weekend. The count of teams using AERO™ Sustainable Paint Technology continues to grow in the paddock as squads utilize the revolutionary paint to deliver performance.
The weekend will see strong representation from AERO squads as the fans will be treated to races from Ferrari Challenge, Michelin Pilot Challenge, as well as the headline WeatherTech Championship for the 58th running of the Rolex 24.
With the international attraction that Daytona generates with the twice around the clock annual event, the race continues to grow in prestige and interest from teams and drivers alike. Attracting drivers from all four corners of the globe, a huge range of talents including the defending NASCAR Cup Champion Kyle Busch and 2019 Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud have thrown their hats in the ring in the quest for the fabled Rolex Daytona Chronograph that goes to the winner.
Using motorsports as a high-speed laboratory to learn and prove itself while working with factory teams, AERO has also seen its standing continue to rise. The growth of the brand in motorsport has led to the opportunity to work with OEM manufacturers, with AERO recently being the specified supplier for the incredible Land Rover Defender 90 as the company continues to innovate based on its proven advantages.
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
Competing for the overall win is Mazda Motorsports’ “Soul Red” Mazda RT24-P. The No. 77 driven by Johnathan Bomarito, Harry Ticknell, and Ryan Hunter-Reay will look to use the AERO advantage to sail to the front of the field in search of the first win of the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.
Corvette Racing brings the new-for-2020 mid-engine Corvette C8.R to make its race debut at the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The dual line-up features two striking AERO liveries on the Corvette beasts. The No. 3 of Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg showcases the iconic yellow while the No. 4 of Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Marcel Fassler bring a new look with a silver scheme featuring yellow highlights.
Returning to Daytona International Speedway to defend its 2019 Rolex win, BMW Team RLL brings the signature red, white and blue livery of the No. 25 BMW M8 GTE as well as a dynamic red, black and blue livery on the No. 24 BMW.
The two-car lineup will see Connor de Phillippe, Bruno Spengler, Philip Eng and Colton Herta combine in the No. 25 BMW M8 GTE and Jesse Krohn, John Edwards, Augusto Farfus and Chaz Mostert in the No. 24 BMW M8 GTE team car.
“A new season has brought a new team-mate for the #25 BMW M8 GTE in Bruno Spengler. I am looking forward to working with him,” said de Phillippe. “The 24-hour race at Daytona will kick off the third season for the BMW M8 GTE and we enter the race as last year’s winners. Obviously, we have high expectations for the race as we’ve proven ourselves and the car already.”
A stacked GTD field will see a fierce fight all the way through the 18-car field. Entering the year with a new chassis platform is the No. 63 WeatherTech Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 Evo. A skilled combination of talent will see Cooper MacNeil, Jeff Westphal, Alessandro Balzan and Toni Vilander combine for the twice around the clock event. The effort got off to a fast start as Westphal planted the Ferrari on the front row with a strong run in qualifying on Thursday.
"It was a good run,” said Westphal. "The car was instantly comfortable even on cold tires which is a good sign in the changes we are making for a better race car in all conditions. That is essential for a 24-hour race. The Ferrari 488 GTE Evo is a machine that is a pleasure to drive. To be able to put it on the front row for the opening race is a special feeling. We have a good position but it is a long race, so we are happy for our success today but Saturday is a new day.”
IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge
The race weekend leads off with the season opening BMW Endurance Challenge on Friday as an impressive 51 car field of TCR and GS machines take the green flag for the four-hour enduro.
With the goal to defend its title after the opening round, the No. 38 Carbahn with Peregrine Racing Audi R8 will once again carry its signature green and grey AERO livery. Doing double duty with responsibilities in both the WeatherTech and Michelin Pilot Challenge races, Jeff Westphal will pair with Tyler McQuarrie amongst the 33 GS class competitors.
McQuarrie got the weekend off to a favorable start with a run to the front row in qualifying with his fast lap time of 1:53.483-seconds to secure the outside pole for Friday’s four-hour race.
#5 KMW Motorsports with TMR Engineering Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR, TCR: Roy Block, Tim Lewis Jr. Snaring the TCR class pole was the No. 5 KMW Motorsports with TMR Engineering Alfa Romeo of Roy Bock and Tim Lewis as Lewis scored the pole for the category in his AERO-liveried Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR. He broke through the two-minute mark with his quick time of 1:59.296-seconds to claim the Motul Pole award.
The IMPC BMW Endurance Challenge will kick off the race weekend on Friday at 1:00pm ET. Full, live race coverage can be found through TrackPass by NBC Sports Gold. The 58th annual Rolex 24 At Daytona is set for a green flag time of 1:35pm ET on Saturday with live race coverage beginning on NBC at 1:30pm ET. The entire race will also be on the TrackPass by NBC Sports Gold App.