Guide to the 41st Daytona Rolex 24

Daytona Prototype debut The 41st anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Feb. 1-2 will be the first race for the Daytona Prototype, which is replacing the open-cockpit SportsRacing Prototypes as the new premier class of the Rolex Sports Car ...

Daytona Prototype debut

The 41st anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Feb. 1-2 will be the first race for the Daytona Prototype, which is replacing the open-cockpit SportsRacing Prototypes as the new premier class of the Rolex Sports Car Series. The Daytona Prototype field entered in the most prestigious sports car race in the United States consists of the No. 58 and No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche FABCAR Daytona Prototypes, the No. 88 Multimatic Ford Focus Daytona Prototype, the No. 80 G&W Motorsports BMW Picchio, the No. 54 Bell Motorsports Chevrolet Doran and the No. 3 Cegwa Sport Toyota FABCAR.

Race weather looks excellent

The weather outlook for this weekend's Rolex 24 At Daytona should entice plenty of fans to attend the twice-around-the-clock challenge. Forecast on Saturday and Sunday has temperatures in the 70s with no precipitation.

Grand Marshal, Honorary Starter and National Anthem

Former Rolex 24 At Daytona champion and open-wheel legend Bobby Rahal will serve as the grand marshal of the Rolex 24. Rahal, one of the few Americans to compete in Formula One, captured the overall title in the 1981 Rolex 24 driving a Porsche Turbo with Brian Redman and Bob Garretson. He has also won the 1986 Indianapolis 500 and is a three-time CART champion Serving as the honorary starter of the Rolex 24 is Walter Fischer, the President of Rolex U.S.A. Fisher will wave the green flag to start the Rolex 24 on Saturday, Feb. 1 at 1 p.m The national anthem for the Rolex 24 will be performed by S-Curve recording artists The Beu Sisters of New Smyrna Beach, Fla. Candice, Christie, Jilaine and Danielle make up The Beau Sisters.

NASCAR drivers in attendance

There will be a NASCAR feel to the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Among the NASCAR drivers slated to compete in the Rolex 24 are Kyle Petty (No. 43 Orbit Racing Porsche GT3 R in the GT class), 1990 Daytona 500 champion Derrike Cope (No. 21 Archangel Motorsport Services Nissan Lola in the SportsRacing Prototype II), Kevin Lepage (No. 48 Heritage Motorsports Mustang in GTS), Lance Norick and Rob Morgan (No. 46 Morgan Dollar Motorsports Corvette in GTS), Rick Carelli (No. 05 Team RE/MAX Racing Corvette in GTS) and Christian Fittipaldi (No. 54 Bell Motorsports Chevrolet Doran Daytona Prototype).

Other notable competitors

Some other familiar names competing in the Rolex 24 are Indy Racing League driver Airton Dare (No. 7 Konrad Motorsport Saleen in GTS), open-wheel driver and part of the overall 2002 Rolex 24 At Daytona winning team Max Papis (No. 20 JMB Racing USA Team Ferrari 360 in GT), road racing warrior Boris Said (No. 8 G&W Motorsports BMW Picchio Daytona Prototype), 1996 Indy Lights champion David Empringham (No. 88 Multimatic Ford Focus Daytona Prototype) and three-time Rolex 24 champion Derek Bell (No. 40 Derhaag Motorsports Corvette in GTS).

IRL stars Scott Goodyear and Scott Sharp are part of the driving team on the No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche FABCAR Daytona Prototype while David Donohue, the son of legendary Mark Donohue, is part of the No. 58 Brumos Racing Porsche FABCAR Daytona Prototype.

Youngest Rolex 24 starter

With his participation in this weekend's Rolex 24, Tom Hessert III of Cherry Hill, N.J. will become the youngest driver to compete in the race. The 16-year-old Hessert (born 5-22-86) is part of the driving team on the No. 68 The Racers Group Porsche with his father Tom Hessert Jr., Richard Valentine and Jim Michaelian. The previous mark for the youngest starter in the Rolex 24 was held by Clint Field, who started the 2001 Rolex 24 at the age of 17 (6-16-83)

Haywood goes for six

Five-time Rolex 24 champion Hurley Haywood stands a good chance at pulling off a sixth Rolex 24 At Daytona victory. Haywood, who was last part of an overall winning Rolex 24 team in 1991, will co-drive the No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche FABCAR Daytona Prototype with Sharp, Goodyear and J.C. France.

If you want to go

The best way to attend the Rolex 24 At Daytona is through the Advanced Super Ticket that includes all four days of action. The Super Ticket offers savings over daily admissions and allows race fans to get up close to all the action including access to the garage. The Advance Super Ticket includes four days of general admission to the infield and/or unreserved grandstand, paddock and garage access and free infield car/van parking. The ticket sells for $75 and must be purchased by 7 p.m., Friday, Jan. 31.

Wine & Cheese

Helping aid the Speedway's mood of good taste and sights will be the Wine and Cheese tasting. The Speedway's Wine and Cheese tasting will take place on Saturday, Feb. 1 between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. and is included in the admission ticket. Also under the same tent, fans can enjoy the smooth sounds of live jazz, view an exhibit from ISC Publications-Archives, view motorsports art and chat with head archivist Buz McKim.

Etc.:

SPEED Channel will provide 16 hours of live coverage of the Rolex 24 on Saturday, Feb. 1, 12:30 p.m.-9 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 2, 6 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. * The Grand American Road Racing Association will provide live timing and scoring through its Website www.grandamerican.com

-dis-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Derrike Cope , Kyle Petty , Boris Said , Kevin Lepage , Scott Sharp , Airton Daré , Scott Goodyear , Max Papis , Bobby Rahal , Christian Fittipaldi , Lance Norick , Hurley Haywood , Rick Carelli , David Empringham , Derek Bell , Rob Morgan , Clint Field , Brian Redman , Jim Michaelian , Richard Valentine , Tom Hessert III , Tom Hessert , J.C. Fra , Bob Garretson , Mark Donohue