The Rolex24 is coming up this weekend. In fact the Ferrari Challenge and Continental Sportscar Challenge entrants will be on track today with practice for both series, before the WeatherTech IMSA Sportscar series hits the track tomorrow.
With major changes coming in 2017. The Prototype (P) class in 2016 is in somewhat of a waiting year in terms of massive changes although some changes have taken place.
The change is Mazda’s switch from the SkyACTIV production diesel the team has tried very hard to make competitive the past couple of seasons to a petrol powered 2.0T MZ-R unit in the teams ‘Mazda’ Prototypes.
Quite honestly if the Roar Before the 24 is anything to go by in terms of showing the potential competitiveness in the race then I have substantial confidence in Mazda’s capability to challenge with this unit in the race.
The bigger changes in the series over the winter come in the form of the GT classes. The two major changes are the evolved effectively new GTLM regulations and IMSA’s introduction of full GT3 regulations to the GTD class.
In GTLM the highlight of the new regulations for many is the re-introduction of Ford to international GT competition with the new Ford GT in its highly-anticipated competition debut due at Daytona. Ford Chip Ganassi are not the only GTLM contenders with new toys however.
BMW announced last year a switch from the BMW Z4 platform to the BMW M6 and that switch has now occurred with BMW RLL giving the M6 the competition debut this weekend, whilst Turner Motorsport (pictured) will run the GT3 version of the car in GTD.
Meanwhile Ferrari’s representatives in GT racing Scuderia Corsa, Risi Competizione and SMP racing are racing the brand new Ferrari F488 GTE in the GTLM class. Whilst the body shape of the Corvette C7.R at Corvette Racing remains the same as the previous iterations it has seen substantial upgrades. Finally CORE Autosport will continue to represent Porsche under the Porsche North America banner.
The introduction of full GT3 regulations into GTD in 2016 has seen the class explode in popularity. The class forms 22 entrants of the 54 car grid this weekend with representation from Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Porsche, Audi, BMW and Riley Technologies – SRT Vipers.
- It would also appear that this season will be the swansong for the Chip Ganassi Ford DP entrants, with the focus of the operation moving over fully to the Ford GT (GTLM) programme.
- Rubens Barrichello is a late addition to the grid joining the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Konica Minolta entrant alongside Ricky & Jordan Taylor and Max Angelelli.
Ok so with all that in mind enjoy the race. It is the most excited I’ve felt about the Rolex24 in a number of years, with the competition looking incredible. The link below is to a resources thread, held on our FBC Forum featuring links to Spotters guide, T&S etc etc and how to view the race.
Additionally throughout the weekend I’ll be posting some updates on the event and will be here to discuss any questions you might have on the event, the series or the wider world of sportscar racing.