IndyCar drivers Pato O’Ward, Colton Herta and Devlin DeFrancesco have joined DragonSpeed for the American team’s bid to return to the top step of the Rolex 24 at Daytona LMP2 podium.
O’Ward and Herta, both former Daytona class winners, will team up with 2022 IndyCar rookie DeFrancesco and Bronze-rated driver Eric Lux in the No. 81 Oreca 07 Gibson.
DragonSpeed is aiming to reclaim the LMP2 Rolex after scoring back-to-back victories in 2019 and 2020. It finished third this year as Era Motorsport won for the first time.
O’Ward took a Prototype Challenge class win at Daytona in 2017 driving for Performance Tech Motorsports, at the top of a title-winning season for the Mexcian driver.
Now racing with Arrow McLaren SP, O’Ward finished third in the NTT IndyCar Series standings this year behind Josef Newgarden and champion Alex Palou.
Herta, meanwhile, formed part of the BMW Team RLL factory crew that won the GT Le Mans class in 2019 with a BMW M8 GTE.
The 21-year-old American recently placed fifth in the IndyCar championship table and won the final two races at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and Long Beach.
Herta is set for his prototype racing debut, while O’Ward got behind the wheel of an Oreca twice during the 2018 IMSA season.
DeFrancesco will join the pair on next year’s IndyCar grid after signing with Andretti Autosport for his series debut. The Canadian formed part of DragonSpeed’s Daytona squad in January, sharing the LMP2 ride with Lux, Fabian Schiller and Christopher Mies.
“This gives our streak of attracting the best driving talent to DragonSpeed another massive bump,” said team principal Elton Julian.
“We already know how well Eric and Devlin can perform with us at Daytona from last year, and adding two of IndyCar’s brightest stars to our 2022 squad makes our prospects even more exciting.
“I can’t help but think it’s too bad we couldn’t secure a DPi for this race, as this line-up clearly deserves one – we certainly tried!
“Most of our LMP2 rivals are capable of delivering a fast, efficient and reliable run. We aim to do the same and give our all-stars – all with plenty of Daytona experience – the platform they need to make the difference.
“I’m super impressed by IMSA and the turnaround for LMP2 they’ve achieved going into 2022.
“The Rolex and the rest of the WeatherTech season look to be incredibly competitive, in LMP2 and across the board.”
DragonSpeed has already committed to a full season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s LMP2 class with Juan Pablo Montoya and Henrik Hedman.
Because Daytona only counts for points towards the Michelin Endurance Cup, the team was able to create a different lineup for the season-opening Florida enduro.
As announced last week, Sebastian Montoya will join his Indianapolis 500-winning father Juan Pablo and Bronze driver Hedman for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in March.