The Rolex 24 at Daytona will feature the largest grid in eight years, with 61 cars registered for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener.
The capacity grid, released by IMSA on Wednesday, features seven DPis, ten LMP2s, nine LMP3 cars, 13 GTD Pro machines and 22 GTD entries.
Defending race winners Wayne Taylor Racing return with its Acura ARX-05 featuring Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque, Alexander Rossi and new recruit Will Stevens, with Helio Castroneves moving to Meyer Shank Racing’s Acura, which features an all-new lineup.
The pair of Acuras are joined by five Cadillac DPi-V.Rs, including a newly expanded two-car effort for Chip Ganassi Racing and the return of Action Express Racing’s championship-winning No. 31 Whelen Engineering car as well as its Ally-sponsored entry for the Michelin Endurance Cup races as well as JDC-Miller Motorsports’ entry.
All ten LMP2 entries are Oreca 07 Gibsons although feature diversity in the eight different teams represented.
It includes defending class winners Era Motorsport and series champions PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports, which expands into a two-car operation with the absorption of Steven Thomas’ WIN Autosport effort.
LMP3 features five Ligier JS P320 Nissans and four Duqueine D08 Nissans, with the class and championship-winning Riley Motorsports entry returning to defend its crown.
Forty7 Motorsports is the only new addition to the list, with Mark Kvamme, Austin McCusker and Trenton Estep so far three of the four confirmed drivers in the No. 7 Duqueine.
IMSA’s new-for-2022 GTD Pro class is set for a strong start with a 13-car entry represented by eight GT3 manufacturers.
Aston Martin, BMW, Chevrolet, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lexus, Mercedes-AMG and Porsche all have cars featuring factory drivers in the category that replaces the now-defunct GT Le Mans class.
A total of 33 FIA GT3-spec cars will be on the grid, thanks in large part to a 22-car field in GTD.
Acura and McLaren are represented in GTD in addition to all but Chevrolet from the GTD Pro contingent of manufacturers, making GTD the most diverse category out of the five classes in this year’s race.
GMG Racing has been confirmed with a Porsche for James Sofronas, Kyle Washington, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Klaus Bachler while Northwest AMR’s Aston Martin will feature factory driver Nicki Thiim alongside Charlie Eastwood, David Pittard and Paul Dalla Lana.
A handful of additional drivers were also confirmed in the class including Corey Lewis and Sandy Mitchell in the No. 39 CarBahn with Peregrine Racing Lamborghini and Jonny Adam completing Magnus Racing’s lineup with its new Aston.
The 60th running of the race will mark the second-largest Rolex 24 entry in the modern-day post-merger era of the WeatherTech Championship, with 67 cars having been permitted to compete in the 2014 event.
IMSA’s supplementary regulations, however, detail that a maximum of 61 cars for Daytona.
“The racing world turns its eyes to the Rolex 24 every year since it typically kicks off the season for everyone in the industry and draws such an immense amount of international driver and team talent together,” IMSA President John Doonan said.
“That’s even truer in 2022 with more cars on the grid than we’ve seen at Daytona in the last eight years.
“It shows that the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and sports car racing around the world continues to grow and thrive.
“We’re very excited for what should be a memorable 60th Rolex 24 at Daytona and the season ahead.”
The annual Roar Before the Rolex 24, including the 100-minute qualifying race, will kick off track action on Jan. 21-23 ahead of the race week from Jan. 27-30.