Ten current NTT IndyCar Series drivers took to the grid for the Rolex 24 at Daytona this weekend, with Andretti Autosport‘s Alexander Rossi and Meyer Shank Racing‘s Helio Castroneves claiming two of the iconic timepieces as a part of the overall race winning No. 10 Konica Minolta / Wayne Taylor Racing Acura machine in the Daytona Prototype International (DPi) class. This is WTR’s third straight overall win in the event, and fourth in five years.
Rossi spent only four hours and nine minutes behind the wheel of the car, while Castroneves spent five hours and thirty minutes piloting the car. Majority of the time went to Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque, who brought the car home to the checkered flag at the end of the race.
Seven of the ten drivers all found themselves in the DPi field, and two more drivers finished second with Chip Ganassi Racing‘s Jimmie Johnson and Team Penske‘s Simon Pagenaud in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac Racing car. Johnson started the race behind the wheel for the team and spent a total of three hours and forty-eight minutes in the car, by far the least of any driver on the team. Pagenaud, a veteran in sports car racing, spent six hours and forty-nine minutes behind the wheel.
Both looked very impressive especially Johnson, who has been learning all kinds of new disciplines since his departure from the NASCAR Cup Series, where he won seven championships.
Juan Pablo Montoya, who will be running the 2021 Indianapolis 500 with Arrow McLaren SP, finished fourth in the Meyer Shank Racing w/Curb-Agajanian Acura DPi car. As a veteran of the series, he carried a bulk of the time behind the wheel, spending a total of six hours and forty-six minutes in the No. 60 machine along with
Chip Ganassi Racing also made their return to IMSA racing, with Scott Dixon teaming up with Renger van der Zande and Kevin Magnussen in a Cadillac DPi machine that was on the cusp of winning, but a right rear puncture for the team inside of twenty minutes to go for van der Zande, their second of the day, saw them hit pit road and finish fifth.
Dixon was strong when in the car, spending seven hours and twenty four minutes behind the wheel looking as dominant as the six time IndyCar champion does in his primary discipline. Unfortunately, Dixon was behind the wheel when the first right rear puncture occurred around hour twenty two.
Sebastien Bourdais was a part of the very strong Mustang Sampling / JDC-Miller MotorSports DPi team, but a wreck nine hours in with a GT Daytona (GTD) class car in turn one sent them behind the wall, and a flat tyre with three hours to go all but sealed the fate of the all-French driven entry with Loic Duval and Tristian Vautier. The team finished last in the DPi class and thirty-fourth overall, not how they wanted to go out. Bourdais spent six hours and thirteen minutes on track for the team.
2020 IndyCar Rookie of the Year Rinus VeeKay was a part of the No. 81 DragonSpeed team in the Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) category. However, the Ed Carpenter Racing driver wasn’t even able to turn a single lap, as the car retired a little over three hours into the event after teammate Ben Hanley made contact with the wall in turn one.
Hanley and DragonSpeed ran an entry in the 2020 Indianapolis 500, finishing twenty third.
Colton Herta and the returning Ed Jones both competed in the GTD class, with Herta being the highest finisher out of the two. Herta would spend six hours and seven minutes in the car as a part of the No. 96 Turner Motorsports BMW team to finish sixth in class.
Jones paired with former IndyCar driver Ryan Briscoe as a part of the Scuderia Corsa team, piloting their No. 63 Ferrari 488 GT3 machine for five hours and thirty-two minutes as the team finished fourteenth in class.
Spencer Pigot and Oliver Askew, two more former IndyCar drivers on the grid, took the victory in the new Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3) category as a part of Riley Motorsports. Pigot, who suffered a scary crash into the pit wall during the 2020 Indianapolis 500, spent five hours and thirty-eight minutes behind the wheel and was the man to take the car to the checkered flag.
Askew, who also suffered a very scary crash earlier in the same Indy 500, spent just seconds shy of five hours in the car at four hours and fifty-nine minutes behind the wheel. While they may not be in IndyCar, both had a strong showing and some beautiful new watches to show for it.
In a legendary race where drivers come from all around the world to compete, IndyCar drivers past and present proved at Daytona International Speedway once again that they are one of the premier series in all of motorsport, and you can catch these drivers in action once again on 18 April, when the IndyCar season begins with the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park.