Tony Kanaan confirmed on his twitter page that the No. 2 Starworks Motorsports team that he was one of three IZOD IndyCar drivers will now not be contesting the 50th Anniversary of the Rolex 24 at Daytona race due to a lack of sponsorship. “Guys, unfortunately I will not race at the Daytona 24H this Saturday. “The funding that the Starworks Motorsports team had went away…,” said the 2004 Indy car champion.
The Brazilian was set to race this weekend, along with Ryan Hunter-Reay, E.J. Viso, Miguel Potolicchio and Maurizio Scala for the twice-around-the-clock season opener of the Rolex Grand-Am Series. No word if the Starworks No. 2 Ford Riley entry has actually been pulled or if a sponsor still might be found in time as the field is ready to take on the challenge on the infield road course in Daytona Beach, Florida.
This will be the first time I have missed the 24hrs of Daytona since 2006!
Viso posted on his twitter: “Disappointed. We had a good lineup going on for the 24h.A shame that there still are people that don't follow what they agree. Shame on them.”
The No. 8 team car with the team’s driver Ryan Dalziel is not affected by today’s news. Dalziel’s co-drivers included Allan McNish and team owner Peter Baron said after the Scotsman agreed, “We weren’t going to add a fifth driver, but Allan is a friend and we heard he was interested. You just do not pass on the opportunity to put Allan McNish in the car. He is a legend. He brings much more than his speed—he elevates the other guys, gets the others even more motivated and it is great to work with someone with that kind of history in sports car racing.”’
In early January, Baron also admitted, “The other car was a bit last-minute. We wanted to put together the most interesting car that would give us good visibility and bring interest to the series. We had worked with Ryan and EJ before and it worked out well. We wanted a third IndyCar driver. I have tried for three years to get Tony in the car and it has not worked out, so it is great to get it done.”
Hunter-Reay was looking forward to racing the 24 hour race again and he commented on his twitter page, “This will be the first time I have missed the 24hrs of Daytona since 2006! Good news is I'll be back in the IndyCar Monday in Sebring.”
It would have marked the debut of Kanaan in a Daytona Prototype and while he appears to be out of the Daytona 24 hour race, he did a second tweet saying, “On the other hand, I will be testing my #11 KV Racing IndyCar on Monday again!”
Update: Baron has not yet pulled the No. 2 Ford Riley entry. About the fall out of the IndyCar drivers, he said, “It is a real shame. The funding didn’t come through to make the drives happen. It would have been very exciting, but that is motor sport. Sometimes these things happen. Everybody worked very hard to get everything in place, but at the last minute it didn’t come together.”