Get Ready for the 2019 IMSA Rolex 24 at Daytona

January 23, 2019 Updated: January 23, 2019

The wait is over, sport car racing fans! The 2019 IMSA season is about to begin.

The IMSA Rolex 24 at Daytona takes the green flag at 2:35 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 26, and finishes up Sunday afternoon.

Forty-seven cars are scheduled to take start the race: 11 Daytona Prototype internationals and 4 LMP2 prototypes, along with 9 GT Le Mans and 23 GT Daytona Gran Touring cars.

The DPis were hitting 195 mph on the banking
The DPis were hitting 195 mph on the banking, with the GTs averaging about 20 mph slower. (Bill Kent/Epoch Times)

The race will be carried in full by IMSA’s new broadcast partner, NBC.

The first three hours will be on cable TV, on NBCSN. The NBC Sports app takes over until 9 p.m., when the actions shifts back to NBCSN until 3 a.m. Sunday. The NBC Sports app picks up coverage again from 3 until 6 a.m., and NBCSN takes the race to its finish.

Oliver Jarvis set an unofficial track record
Oliver Jarvis set an unofficial track record, driving the #77 Joest Mazda RT24-P to a lap of 1:33.398 seconds at 137.212 mph. (Bill Kent/Epoch Times)

Qualifying will also be broadcast on NBCSN starting at 3 p.m. on Jan 25.

NBCSN will also air a 2019 season preview at 2 p.m. on Jan. 24.

As usual, all the action will also be available on IMSA.com.

Cars will be on track at Daytona’s 3.56-mile combination oval- and road course starting at 9 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 24, with night practice ending at 8:30 p.m.

Check IMSA.com for the complete entry list and a detailed schedule of all the weekend’s activities.

Visit the Daytona International Speedway website for ticket information.

Magnus Racing is back
Magnus Racing is back with its GTD Audi R8. (Bill Kent/Epoch Times)

Michelin Pilot Series Debuts

Fans of door-banging GT action will be able to get their fill over the Rolex weekend.

The Michelin Pilot Challenge season opener, the four-hour BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona, starts at 12:15 p.m. on Jan. 25.

The BMW Endurance Challenge features a field of 35 Gran Sport and 14 Touring car entries. As was the case when the series was run on different tires under a different name, this event promises to offer the most intense four hours of action of the weekend.

This race will be broadcast live in IMSA.com and re-aired on Feb. 6 at 1 p.m. on NBCSN.

GTD racing at its best
GTD racing at its best: the #99 NGT Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R leads a pair of competitors side-by-side into Turn 3. (Bill Kent/Epoch Times)

The Roar Before the 24

Every year, Rolex contenders come to Daytona early in January to test their latest equipment and give new drivers a chance to learn how the cars behave on Daytona’s banking.

This year the Roar ran from Friday, Jan. 4, to Sunday, January 6.

Veteran motorsports photographer Bill Kent attended the event to get the first shots of the latest cars. A few samples of his work are below.

Several cars will be wearing historic liveries
2019 is the 50th year of operations of IMSA, the International Motor Sports Association. Several cars will be wearing historic liveries to honor the anniversary. (Bill Kent/Epoch Times)
The GTLM Fords will both be sporting throwback liverie
The GTLM Fords will both be sporting throwback liveries. Unfortunately, the new paint schemes were not revealed until after the Roar. (Bill Kent/Epoch Times)
AIM Vasser Sullivan has taken of the Lexus program. (Bill Kent/Epoch Times)
AIM Vasser Sullivan has taken of the Lexus program. (Bill Kent/Epoch Times)
The GTLM Fords hit 177 mph on the banking
Though the Fords were painted plain white, they still looked good—and were quick, hitting 177 mph on the banking. (Bill Kent/Epoch Times)
The #81 Dragonspeed Oreca was quickest of the LMP2s.
The #81 Dragonspeed Oreca was quickest of the LMP2s. (Bill Kent/Epoch Times)

 

 

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