57th Rolex 24 At Daytona – Prototype Team-By-Team
Wednesday, January 23, 2019

You’ve got previous Rolex 24 winners. You’ve got previous IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship champions. You’ve got a two-time Formula 1 World Champion. You’ve got Indianapolis 500 winners. You’ve got 24 Hours of Le Mans winners.

The prototype fields for the 57th Rolex 24 At Daytona have all of that. It’s become one of the biggest races in the world, and it’s this weekend at Daytona International Speedway.

And if you’re in the area, you’ve gotta be there. Tickets are available now at DaytonaInternationalSpeedway.com.

If you’re not, NBC Sports will show you all of it between NBCSN and the NBC Sports App, beginning with a 2019 season preview show at 2 p.m. ET on Thursday, Jan. 24, followed immediately by a first-time telecast of Rolex 24 qualifying at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Live coverage of the Rolex 24 race begins on NBCSN at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 26.

On top of that, IMSA Radio will bring you live action throughout race week on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com, with Rolex 24 race coverage also available on SiriusXM Radio Channel 202 (Streaming 972).

The WeatherTech Championship will have two prototype classes in 2019. The Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class includes professional teams and drivers with manufacturer-backed programs from Acura, Cadillac, Mazda and Nissan. After running in a combined Prototype class each of the past two seasons, LMP2 teams now will shift to its own class with Pro-Am driver lineups.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at this year’s Rolex 24 prototype field:

 

DPi Class

No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing

Cadillac DPi-V.R

Joao Barbosa/Mike Conway/Filipe Albuquerque/Christian Fittipaldi

Barbosa, Albuquerque and Fittipaldi return to defend their 2018 Rolex 24 victory and welcome Conway – who has previously been part of the Action Express Racing sister No. 31 Cadillac team – to the No. 5 driver lineup. A victory this weekend would be Barbosa’s fourth overall Rolex 24 win and fifth class victory and would send Fittipaldi into retirement as a four-time overall Rolex 24 winner as well. It would be the third Rolex 24 win (he won the GT class in 2013 in addition to last year’s overall and Prototype class victory) for Albuquerque and would be the first for FIA World Endurance Championship regular Conway. Barbosa and Albuquerque will continue into the rest of the WeatherTech Championship as full-time drivers of the No. 5 Cadillac.

 

No. 6 Acura Team Penske

Acura ARX-05 DPi

Juan Pablo Montoya/Dane Cameron/Simon Pagenaud

The same trio who shared the No. 6 Acura DPi in its maiden voyage at last year’s Rolex 24 are back and hungry for more in 2019. Season-long teammates Montoya and Cameron came oh-so-close to victory a number of times in 2018, but a win this weekend would be their first as teammates. In addition to being a two-time Indy 500 winner, Champ Car champion and race winner in both F1 and NASCAR, Montoya owns three Rolex 24 winner’s watches. Cameron is a two-time WeatherTech Championship champion (2016 Prototype and 2014 GT Daytona) and Pagenaud won an American Le Mans title in 2010, but a Rolex 24 win would be their first.

 

No. 7 Acura Team Penske

Acura ARX-05 DPi

Ricky Taylor/Helio Castroneves/Alexander Rossi

Taylor and Castroneves are reunited for a second consecutive season in the No. 7. They delivered the first win for the Acura DPi program last year at Mid-Ohio in a 1-2 sweep for Acura Team Penske, but like their teammates in the No. 6, they’re hungry for much more in Year 2. For IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup rounds like this weekend’s Rolex 24, they’ll be joined by none other than the winner of the 100th Indianapolis 500, Rossi, who is back for his first Rolex 24 since 2014 when he was part of the DeltaWing driver lineup.

 

No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R

Renger van der Zande/Jordan Taylor/Fernando Alonso/Kamui Kobayashi

We’ve already talked about past Rolex 24 winners, WeatherTech Championship series champions and Indy 500 winners among the first three DPi cars on the entry list. Now, we’ve arrived at the two-time F1 World Champion, Alonso, who returns to the Rolex 24 with the No. 10 team after racing a United Autosports LMP2 machine last year. Of course, the car also has a former Rolex 24 winner in Taylor, and past IMSA champions in both Taylor and van der Zande. The stacked driver lineup is further enhanced by Kobayashi, an F1 vet who’s now a Toyota factory LMP1 driver (and Alonso’s teammate) in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

 

No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing

Cadillac DPi-V.R

Felipe Nasr/Eric Curran/Pipo Derani

The last time we saw Nasr and Curran (before the Roar Before the Rolex 24 anyway) they were standing onstage at Chateau Élan in Braselton, Georgia holding Bishop-France Trophies as 2018 co-champions of the WeatherTech Championship Prototype class. It was Curran’s second Prototype title in three seasons, while Nasr’s title came in his first full year in the championship. This year, Nasr will be joined for the full season by his Brazilian countryman, Derani, with Curran moving to an IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup-only role with the team. Derani won the 2016 Rolex 24 with the Patrón ESM team. Curran and Nasr finished second to their No. 5 teammates last year. They’re hoping to go one spot better this year.

 

No. 50 Juncos Racing

Cadillac DPi-V.R

Will Owen/Rene Binder/Agustin Canapino/Kyle Kaiser

Newcomers to WeatherTech Championship competition in 2019, Juncos Racing brings a wealth of IndyCar and other open-wheel development series experience. Among the driver lineup, Owen is the only one with previous Rolex 24 experience, scoring a fourth-place result in his race debut last year with United Autosports. Kaiser won the 2017 Indy Lights title and made four IndyCar starts last year. Austrian driver Binder made six IndyCar starts last year with Juncos Racing and won four World Series Formula V8 races in 2017. Canapino has won 12 championships and 81 races in his native Argentina over the past 11 years.

 

No. 54 CORE autosport

Nissan DPi

Jon Bennett/Colin Braun/Romain Dumas/Loic Duval

Season-long co-drivers Bennett and Braun came within a whisker of winning the Prototype championship last year with an ORECA LMP2 car. This year, they’ll go into battle for the DPi championship with the field’s lone Nissan. Bennett and Braun have won the Rolex 24 before, back in 2014 as part of the Prototype Challenge (PC) class. Dumas and Duval have not, but they do have overall victories in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

 

No. 55 Mazda Team Joest

Mazda RT24-P DPi

Jonathan Bomarito/Harry Tincknell/Olivier Pla

Bomarito finished the 2018 season with a strong, third-place showing in the No. 55 Mazda DPi at Motul Petit Le Mans, and that performance coupled with a productive offseason has the 2010 Rolex 24 GT winner thinking he might be in line for another timepiece come Sunday afternoon. He’s the only one of the driving trio with a previous Rolex 24 win, but Tincknell and Pla are both Le Mans winners, so this group knows how to get it done in 24-hour races.

 

No. 77 Mazda Team Joest

Mazda RT24-P DPi

Oliver Jarvis/Tristan Nunez/Timo Bernhard/Rene Rast

If the Roar Before the Rolex 24 was any indication, the No. 77 Mazda is the car to beat in the DPi class. If anybody is going to do it, they’ll have to be quick, because Jarvis unofficially broke PJ Jones’ 1993 track record in garage and pit stall qualifying at the Roar. Jarvis already has won endurance racing’s crown jewels at Daytona, Le Mans and Sebring, but an overall Rolex 24 win would be his first. Ditto for Rast, who has two Rolexes from GT category wins in 2012 and 2016. Bernhard scored an overall Rolex 24 win in a GT car back in 2003, one of two Rolex 24 wins he owns along with three Le Mans victories and two Sebring victories. Nunez, meanwhile, is the driver with the most Mazda prototype experience, dating all the way back to the manufacturer’s first WeatherTech Championship Prototype effort in 2014.

 

No. 84 JDC-Miller Motorsports

Cadillac DPi-V.R

Simon Trummer/Stephen Simpson/Chris Miller/Juan Piedrahita

Fans of JDC-Miller Motorsports’ “Banana Boat” look will be seeing double this year, with both of the team’s new Cadillac DPi entries sporting the bright yellow color scheme. In the No. 84 Cadillac DPi, Trummer, one of the drivers of the team’s No. 85 entry in 2018, will team with Simpson for the full season. Simpson shared the No. 99 ORECA last year with Misha Goikhberg for the full season and with Miller for the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup rounds. That trio scored a popular victory in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and Simpson and Goikhberg combined to finish inside the top five in the Prototype driver standings in both 2017 and 2018. Trummer, meanwhile, competed in the full 2018 season with co-driver Robert Alon, scoring a season-best result of sixth in the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Piedrahita, from Colombia, is a four-year veteran of Indy Lights with a pole last year at Gateway Motorsports Park and two career podium results.

 

No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports

Cadillac DPi-V.R

Misha Goikhberg/Tristan Vautier/Devlin DeFrancesco/Rubens Barrichello

Goikhberg, the 2017 and 2018 Jim Trueman Award winner for the top-performing Prototype sportsman driver, continues his longstanding relationship with JDC-Miller Motorsports with Vautier as his new-for-2019 full-season co-driver. Frenchman Vautier is embarking on his first full WeatherTech Championship season since running the full 2017 campaign in the GTD class with SunEnergy1 Racing and was the 2012 Indy Lights champion. DeFrancesco, the 19-year-old Canadian is back for his second straight Rolex 24 with JDC-Miller Motorsports after racing GP3 and Formula 3 last year. Brazilian fan favorite Barrichello – and 11-time F1 Grand Prix winner – is back for his first Rolex 24 since finishing second in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP in 2016.

 

LMP2 Class

No. 18 DragonSpeed

ORECA/Gibson LMP2

Roberto Gonzalez/Pastor Maldonado/Sebastian Saavedra/Ryan Cullen

As part of a two-car DragonSpeed LMP2 lineup for the 2019 Rolex 24, the No. 18 squad brings an intriguing mix of experience. Gonzalez has raced in Champ Car, the American Le Mans Series and each of the past two 24 Hours of Le Mans. Last year, the Mexican driver finished 12th in the Prototype class in the Rolex 24 alongside Saavedra in the No. 52 entry. Colombian Saavedra ran the full WeatherTech Championship season last year, scoring a best result of fifth at Mid-Ohio. He too has raced IndyCar and was a four-time Indy Lights race winner. Maldonado, another Colombian, is making his Rolex 24 debut in 2019, but owns 95 career Formula 1 starts and took a victory in the 2012 Grand Prix of Spain at the Catalunya circuit. Irish racer Cullen brings experience from GP3, Porsche Supercup and European Le Mans Series experience.

 

No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports

ORECA/Gibson LMP2

Kyle Masson/Robert Masson/Cameron Cassels/Kris Wright

If your last name is Masson and you’re a part of this driver lineup, you’re already a Daytona winner. Kyle Masson took a PC class victory in the 2017 Rolex 24 at the age of 19. Last year, his father, Dr. Robert Masson, won the IMSA Prototype Challenge MPC class in the series’ inaugural race at Daytona. Cassels also is a Daytona winner, taking the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Grand Sport (GS) victory in 2017. Wright is the 2018 IMSA Prototype Challenge LMP3 champion. He finished second in class at Daytona last year.

 

No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports

ORECA/Gibson LMP2

Matthew McMurry/Gabriel Aubry/Mark Kvamme/Enzo Guibbert

Although he’s just 21 years old, McMurry is already competing in his fifth Rolex 24 At Daytona. His best result of fifth came in his debut in a Michael Shank Racing Prototype back in 2015. It will be Kvamme’s sixth consecutive Rolex 24 with a best result of third in the PC class in 2017. French racers Aubry and Guibbert each will make their Rolex 24 debut this weekend, but both have previous 24 Hours of Le Mans experience.

 

No. 81 DragonSpeed

ORECA/Gibson LMP2

Henrik Hedman/Ben Hanley/Nicolas Lapierre/James Allen

You could say Lapierre had a pretty decent 2018. He won both the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He still needs a Rolex 24 win to complete the trifecta, though. He’ll be joined by Hanley, who previously raced in the Rolex 24 with DragonSpeed back in 2017 and also will drive DragonSpeed’s new IndyCar in five races later this year. Hedman raced for DragonSpeed at Sebring in 2016 and at Daytona in 2017 as well as the 24 Hours of Le Mans each of the past two years. Australian driver Allen finished sixth overall and fifth in the LMP2 class in his 24 Hours of Le Mans debut in 2017. This will be his first Rolex 24 At Daytona attempt.

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