IMSA released the official entry list for the ROAR Before the 24 Wednesday (Jan. 12). 61 teams will be testing at Daytona International Speedway the weekend of Jan. 21-23, an increase of 12 entries over 2021. As per IMSA rules, any team that plans to compete in the Rolex 24 at Daytona must participate in the ROAR Before the 24 as well. As a result, the entry list for the test weekend tends to be very similar to the race entry list.
The headlining DPi class has seven entries in the final year for the class before the LMDh cars take over in 2023. The entire class driver lineup has already been announced previously. Part-time and one-off drivers in the class include Scott Dixon, NTT IndyCar Series champion Alex Palou, Marcus Ericsson, Mike Conway, Jimmie Johnson, Jose Maria Lopez and Helio Castroneves.
The LMP2 class has 10 entries, roughly equal to last year. However, this class is constituted differently. Five of the 10 entries are European teams that will be making the trip for the race. One of these teams is Racing Team Nederland, which has committed to the four Michelin Endurance Cup races.
United Autosports has also committed to the endurance events with the No. 22 ORECA. Phil Hanson, Jim McGuire and Guy Smith will drive in all four events. William Owen joins in for Daytona. High Class Racing is back as well with Fabio Scherer and Nico Mueller joining team regulars Dennis Andersen and Anders Fjordbach.
Algarve Pro Racing has entered two ORECA 07-Gibsons, Nos. 68 and 69. These cars will be fielded under the G-Drive Racing by APR banner.
The No. 68 will be led by Rene Rast, current factory racer for Audi in Formula E, three-time DTM champion and 2016 GTD class winner (with Magnus Racing). He’ll be joined by Ed Jones, Francois Heriau from the Ultimate squad in the European Le Mans Series (moving to the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2022) and Oliver Rasmussen, who competed for HWA Racelab in the FIA Formula 3 Championship last year. The No. 69 has veteran James Allen, along with John Falb, Tijmen van der Helm and Luca Ghiotto, who finished third in Formula 2 points in 2018 before transitioning to sports cars.
DragonSpeed has announced that they will field an entry full-time in 2022. This will feature Juan Pablo Montoya as the lead driver.
However, the Rolex 24 at Daytona doesn’t count towards full-season points for the LMP2 class. Montoya (along with his son Sebastian) will debut at Sebring. For Daytona, DragonSpeed has a completely different lineup with INDYCAR drivers Devlin DeFrancesco, Colton Herta and Patricio O’Ward, along with Eric Lux. DeFrancesco, despite turning 22 on Monday, has three previous Rolex 24 starts with a best finish of fifth overall in 2019. He finished third in LMP2 last year. Herta’s previous Daytona experience has come in the GT Le Mans class with BMW Team RLL. O’Ward ran full-time in 2017 for Performance Tech Motorsports in the final year for the PC class. He won the class as part of a championship season.
The LMP3 class has nine entries. Muehlner Motorsports America is back with two entries. Former Mazda factory racer Joel Miller and Moritz Kranz are the lead drivers in the No. 6, along with Efrin Castro, a past teammate of Kranz in what is now Pirelli GT4 America SprintX that is making his series debut. Ayrton Ori drove for Performance Tech in last year’s race. The second car has European Le Mans Series racer Ugo de Wilde along with Nolan Siegel, who raced part-time with CarBahn Motorsports with Peregrine Racing in Michelin Pilot Challenge. Charles Crews and Cameron Shields complete the lineup.
Sean Creech Motorsports returns after missing the remainder of the season after Mid-Ohio last year, while Andrew Wojteczko Autosport moves up from Michelin Pilot Challenge.
The new GTD Pro class, which replaces the GT Le Mans class, has 13 entries. Corvette Racing has two cars, but only the No. 3 will be full-time. The No. 4 will run full-time in the FIA World Endurance Championship as the No. 64 in full GTE spec.
Multiple teams have split efforts between the GTD Pro and GTD classes. The Heart of Racing is one with the No. 23 Aston Martin, along with TR3 Racing’s No. 63 Lamborghini and Vasser Sullivan’s No. 14 Lexus.
Risi Competizione confirmed the return of their No. 62 Ferrari Wednesday with the all AF Corse lineup of James Calado, Alessandro Pier Guidi, Davide Rigon and Daniel Serra. BMW Team RLL, now being referred to as BMW M Team RLL, is back with two BMW M4 GT3s.
WeatherTech Racing was originally going to have two cars, one a Porsche and the other being a Mercedes. However, a third entry was announced earlier this week.
For Porsche fans, PFAFF Motorsports is running an all-new lineup featuring Matt Campbell, Felipe Nasr and Mathieu Jaminet. Finally, there is a one-off entry from KCMG with Alexandre Imperatori, Dennis Olsen, Patrick Pilet and Laurens Vanthoor.
The regular GTD class is once again the biggest class in the field with 22 cars. However, there is no realistic mechanical difference between these cars and the cars in the GTD Pro class. It is easily possible for the teams to intermix.
New squads include TR3 Racing’s No. 19, which will make their IMSA debut. Giacomo Altoe, John Megrue, Jeff Segal and Bill Sweedler all drove for the team last year in Fanatec GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS.
GMG Racing, which made a one-off start last year, is back with a Porsche. Team owner James Sofronas is joined by Kyle Washington, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Klaus Bachler. CarBahn Motorsports with Peregrine Racing announced Wednesday that Corey Lewis (formerly of Paul Miller Racing) and Sandy Mitchell will join the team for the race.
Today, we welcome two drivers who are no strangers to @lamborghinisc performance.
— Peregrine Racing (@PeregrineRace) January 12, 2022
T3 Motorsport, a European team, has set an American base and will compete in the series for the first time. Franck Perera and Misha Goikhberg, who drove together last year for GRT Grasser Racing Team, will be joined by Mateo Llarena and Maximilian Paul.
Finally, Kenny Habul‘s SunEnergy1 is returning for another go around with their Mercedes. Joining Habul are three Mercedes factory drivers in Raffaele Marciello, Fabian Schiller and Luca Stolz. Stolz, Marciello and Habul raced together last year and finished second in GTD. Schiller raced for DragonSpeed in LMP2.
The ROAR Before the 24 test session starts with the first test session on Jan. 21 at 11:15 a.m. The weekend will consist of four test sessions, a regular qualifying session, and a 100-minute sprint race that will set the field for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
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Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.
Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.