Next generation cars?
It’s always Next Gen when the Rolex 24 rolls into town and hits the big track.
We say it every year and will continue until further notice: It’s a loud and lightning irony, but if you’re a fan of stock car racing – as in something you’ll see in stock at the dealership – the International Motor Sports Association and his flagship Rolex 24 is where you should hang your officially licensed cap.
When will the Rolex 24 be on Daytona?
It’s a major reason you’ll see so many “car people” roaming the grounds of Daytona International Speedway during this weekend’s Rolex testing sessions, and why the floodgates will be wide open for next Thursday through Sunday (27-30 January) Rolex 24 weekend.
The 60th Rolex 24 is scheduled for Saturday, January 30 at 1:30 PM
It’s mostly been about the machines these two weekends, unlike NASCAR, where it’s been about the cockpit celebrities for a few generations. Not that another attempt isn’t to set your sights on the cars.
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TRAFFIC JAM:Roar Before the Rolex 24 starts the clock in the 2022 motorsport season
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In addition to a lot of tinkering and hanging and welding, NASCAR and its manufacturing partners have put a big promotional effort into the new Mustangs, Camrys and Camaros that debut next month.
Or maybe I should say Mustangs, Camrys, and Camaros …
Yes, the Next Gen rides are stockier than any predecessors dating back to at least Gen 4, maybe Gen 3 in the ’80s. But in Rolex Week in Daytona, you can kick the tires off a Lexus RC F to the auto center, or sniff a new Corvette around town at Jon Hall Chevy, then head to the Speedway paddock and check out a pretty decent copy of the same car, all decked out in race team colors and logos.
Yes, you have to squint and imagine it without that rear wing, but still.
Lineup Rolex 24 2022 drivers
Among the vast selection of 61 entries for the Rolex are 25 prototypes – the fastest and most futuristic cars in the garage. You won’t find this version of the Cadillac next to Hyde Park valet parking.
The other 35 entries—that nearly stock-car portion of the field—all carry the GTD flag (as in Grand Touring Daytona). But since this is IMSA and sports car racing, it can’t be that simple. Of those 35, 13 have been lumped together in the GTD Pro class – factory backed teams with fully professional drivers.
The remaining 22 GTD teams are a mix of privateers, semi-privateers, professional drivers and the old staple of sports car racing: The Gentleman Racer.
The 26 prototypes are again divided into three classes as this is sports car racing and there has never been a shortage of sports car racing.
The Daytona Prototype International (DPi) has only seven entries, remains the big Rolex class, but does not fall in love. The DPi will disappear after this year as the North American sports car rulers enter a whole new world and introduce us to the Le Mans Daytona Hybrid.
Whatever, whenever, whoever…this time of year let’s get the Inside Baseball folks discussing necessary and unnecessary changes, and have them discuss things like grid placement, driver ratings, and the thankless Balance of Performance -efforts.
The rest of us (maybe you included) just stand against a railing or fence and enjoy the unique sights and sounds of January in Daytona, where the Porsche deftly navigating the chicane looks a lot like the one the bejeezus did out of you last week. scare on I-4.
— Reach Ken Willis at email@example.com