Anticipation is high for the 61st Rolex 24 At Daytona, which kicks off the 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.
The GTD PRO and GTD classes always provide some of the best racing, and both classes thrilled last year. Combined, 33 cars (nine GTD PRO, 24 GTD) represent 11 different manufacturers. All but one of those are in GTD, while eight manufacturers make up the nine-car GTD PRO field.
Here is a closer look at each of the GT cars entered. A second installment will cover the prototype field.
GT Daytona Pro (GTD PRO)
Antonio Garcia/Jordan Taylor/Tommy Milner
Corvette Racing has a single entry for the 2023 Rolex 24, as it begins its 25th season as a team. Corvette will race this Rolex 24 in search of a fifth class victory (2001 GTS/overall; 2015, 2016, 2021 GTLM).
Both Garcia (2009 overall, 2015 and 2021 with Corvette) and Taylor (2017, 2019 overall and 2021 with Corvette) have three Rolex 24 wins to their name and multiple championships. Milner returns back to North America for 2023 in a dual role. He’ll share this car at Daytona, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and Motul Petit Le Mans, while extensively testing the new Corvette Z06 GT3.R, available to racing customers in 2024. Milner’s lone Rolex win, in 2016, came in a classic battle against the second Corvette C7.R in GT Le Mans (GTLM).
No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R (992)
The Steve Bortolotti-managed Pfaff Motorsports team has set the standard for GT3-spec Porsches in IMSA the last several years. Pfaff has back-to-back titles across GTD and GTD PRO, and now heads into 2023 in search of a three-peat with its new car, the newest generation Porsche 911 GT3 R (992).
The team’s first of five 2022 victories came at last year’s Rolex 24, where Mathieu Jaminet beat Vanthoor in another Porsche in a thrilling fight to the finish. Jaminet, Matt Campbell and Felipe Nasr are on to Porsche Penske Motorsport in 2023, which opens a second straight all-new driver lineup for the iconic “Plaid Porsche.” Bachler has substantial GT experience with Porsche but hasn’t driven a full season in IMSA. Pilet, the 2015 GTLM champion and 2014 Rolex 24 GTLM winner, returns to the paddock fulltime for the first time in several years; he also came up short last year, having co-driven with Vanthoor. Vanthoor, who won the 2019 GTLM title with Porsche and 2021 GTD title with Pfaff, makes it a case of “if you can’t beat ‘em, rejoin ‘em” as he returns to Pfaff for the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup rounds and looks to capture his first Rolex 24 win.
Ben Barnicoat/Jack Hawksworth/Mike Conway
Vasser Sullivan always knows how to showcase its vibrant livery on its two Lexus RC F GT3 cars, split one apiece between GTD PRO and GTD. They ended last year on a high, scoring an elusive first Michelin Endurance Cup win to cap off the year at Motul Petit Le Mans with Barnicoat, Hawksworth and Kyle Kirkwood.
Hawksworth is known as one of the fastest drivers in IMSA, and the English driver has eight wins with the team since 2019. Barnicoat took to his maiden IMSA season like the proverbial duck to water, winning three times across both GTD PRO and GTD and ending second in GTD PRO points behind the Pfaff pair. Toyota factory prototype driver Conway, who has five prior Rolex 24 starts in DPi, joins as third driver for this race. His biggest career accolade is an overall win at the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Ross Gunn/Alex Riberas/David Pittard
The Heart of Racing, formerly Team Seattle, has always had a dual purpose: strive to win on the track and work to raise funds and awareness for the financial demands of quality pediatric medical care. The results were solid again in 2022 with its flagship No. 23 Aston Martin.
Gunn and Riberas won at Long Beach and the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, and the pair is back to look to improve upon a fourth-place finish in GTD PRO last season. Pittard, an Aston Martin-affiliated driver, joins for the Rolex 24 and has a wealth of GT, prototype and single-seater experience.
Daniel Serra/Davide Rigon/James Calado/Alessandro Pier Guidi
While Risi Competizione was the last GTD PRO team to confirm its lineup for the 2023 Rolex 24, the all-star quartet is no surprise to longtime followers of Giuseppe Risi’s team or international sports car racing. Risi celebrates 25 years at the Rolex since its 1998 debut and remains in search of an elusive first win, and adds the new Ferrari 296 GT3 to a legacy that includes the 333 SP prototype and a 20-year run of GT cars that includes the Ferrari 360, 430, 458 and 488 models.
Serra, Rigon, Calado and Pier Guidi finished second in GTD PRO last year at the Rolex 24 and look to go one better in 2023, as all mirror Risi in hopes of capturing their first Rolex win. The four Ferrari factory drivers are overflowing with championships and wins in their careers, most recently Pier Guidi and Calado taking the final FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) GTE Pro title in 2022.
Mirko Bortolotti/Andrea Caldarelli/Romain Grosjean/Jordan Pepper
The Andrea Piccini-led Iron Lynx outfit serves as Lamborghini’s most populous entry in this year’s Rolex 24, with three cars spread across GTD PRO (one) and GTD (two, including the Iron Dames all-female lineup). Lamborghini has enjoyed a wealth of success at the Rolex 24, having won three consecutive times from 2018 to 2020.
Bortolotti and Caldarelli have been part of all of those winning lineups, Bortolotti with GRT Grasser Racing Team in 2018 and 2019 and Caldarelli with Paul Miller Racing in 2020. The lineup excitement grows with current IndyCar and former Formula 1 driver Grosjean in his Rolex 24 debut. Newly named Lamborghini factory driver Pepper has starred in Lamborghini, Bentley and McLaren GT3 machinery and won last year’s Michelin Endurance Cup GTD championship with McLaren.
Ted Giovanis/Hugh Plumb/Matt Plumb/Owen Trinkler
Team TGM makes its third consecutive Rolex 24 start and first in the GTD PRO class as it switches from Porsche to Aston Martin machinery. The longtime IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge team partners with Tom Ferrier’s TF Sport for this entry; TF has a pair of 24 Hours of Le Mans class wins on its résumé as well as several significant GT titles, including last year’s WEC GTE Am class.
The TGM lineup is its quartet of Michelin Pilot Challenge drivers, with team owner Giovanis, Trinkler and the Plumb brothers seeking to improve upon a seventh-place finish in GTD last year.
Jules Gounon/Daniel Juncadella/Maro Engel/Cooper MacNeil
WeatherTech Racing continues with Proton Competition running the program. MacNeil plans to focus on a management role postrace, and he seeks to sign off this chapter (for now) with an elusive first Rolex watch achieved. “In 2015 we finished second at Daytona, so the Rolex 24 is one of the last events to win on my racing to-do list. I will forever love the sport of racing but after 15 years it is time for me to turn the page and focus on the more important things in life like family and work at our company,” MacNeil said.
All four drivers have 24-hour race wins on their record, but none at Daytona. Gounon and Juncadella, the full-season drivers, won the Spa 24 Hours last year. Michelin Endurance Cup driver Engel has a Nurburgring 24 win. MacNeil has won a 24-hour race at Circuit of The Americas. After this quartet was in the No. 97 car last Rolex 24, they’re in the No. 79 car this year.
Bill Auberlen/Chandler Hull/John Edwards/Bruno Spengler
Turner Motorsport expands back to two cars for the Rolex 24, with an adjusted lineup and an entry for this car into GTD PRO for Michelin Endurance Cup rounds. The winningest driver in IMSA history, Auberlen remains part of the foundation and looks to add to his 65 top-tier series wins this year. He now has a new full-season IMSA co-driver in Hull. Edwards’ near decade run at BMW M Team RLL comes to a close for now, with a 2020 Rolex 24 win to his name. He reunites with not one but two former RLL teammates in Auberlen and Spengler, the latter of whom won the 2012 DTM title and raced the full 2020 WeatherTech Championship GTLM season.
GT Daytona (GTD)
Bryan Sellers/Madison Snow/Corey Lewis/Maxime Martin
One of the top family teams in IMSA is back at the Rolex 24 after a year’s hiatus. The Paul Miller Racing team didn’t receive its new BMW M4 GT3 until after the 2022 Rolex 24 but scored its first win in just its second start with the new car at Long Beach. The team looks for another Rolex 24 win with three of its 2020 lineup back, in the form Sellers and Snow and returning Michelin Endurance Cup driver Lewis, another longtime PMR extended family member. The lone newcomer is Martin, back with BMW after several years with Aston Martin. As Snow summarized, “Bryan is someone I have always looked up to (not literally, of course), so being with him for another year is special. He is the longest relationship I have had in my life!
Frankie Montecalvo/Aaron Telitz/Parker Thompson/Kyle Kirkwood
A season of bad luck for the otherwise fast No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus began at the 2022 Rolex 24, when Montecalvo got clipped by another car. Montecalvo and Telitz finished second here in GTD in 2019 with Townsend Bell and Jeff Segal. Thompson steps up to the WeatherTech Championship as Michelin Endurance Cup driver, following his 2022 Porsche Carrera Cup North America Presented by The Cayman Islands title. Kirkwood, who won a GTD round with Ben Barnicoat at Detroit last year and a GTD PRO round at Motul Petit Le Mans with Barnicoat and Jack Hawksworth, completes a very strong four-driver GTD lineup.
Ryan Hardwick/Jan Heylen/Zacharie Robichon/Dennis Olsen
Hardwick, Heylen and Robichon combined with Richard Lietz to capture the Rolex 24 GTD win for John Wright’s eponymous program in 2022. Each of the first three are back this year to defend their crown, joined for the Rolex 24 by one of Porsche’s leading drivers in Olsen, who has Bathurst 12 Hour, DTM and IMSA wins on his résumé. The first three are set to contest the Michelin Endurance Cup.
Raffaele Giammaria/Rolf Ineichen/Franck Perera/Claudio Schiavoni
Like the Iron Lynx’s No. 63 car in GTD PRO, its No. 19 GTD car has a pair of Rolex 24 winners behind the wheel in Perera (2018) and Ineichen (2018 and 2019). Giammaria is a junior open-wheel and sports car veteran, while Schiavoni has significant Ferrari GT experience including four 24 Hours of Le Mans starts.
Simon Mann/Luis Perez Companc/Miguel Molina/Francesco Castellacci
A Mann-driven No. 21 AF Corse Ferrari makes its third consecutive Rolex 24 appearance, and after finishes of eighth in 2021 and fourth last year, the team seeks a podium bow in 2023 with the new Ferrari 296 GT3. Molina will share the car with the other three, who have built up 24-hour race experience at Daytona and Le Mans. One of Ferrari’s longest serving pros, Molina has been a part of its factory GT lineup in the WEC for several years and was recently named one of its Hypercar drivers.
Andrea Bertolini/Alessio Rovera/Charlie Scardina/Onofrio Triarsi
Triarsi Competizione enters one of the new Ferrari 296 GT3 cars for the Michelin Endurance Cup. It has a lineup with a wealth of Ferrari experience, including longtime GT star and former Ferrari Formula 1 test driver Bertolini, who started on the GTD pole for his most recent Rolex 24 appearance in 2019. Rovera is one of Ferrari’s emerging young stars and captured a 24 Hours of Le Mans GTE Am class win in 2021. Driving in another GT3 series last year, Scardina and Triarsi dominated their class with double-digit victories and a class championship.
Roman De Angelis/Marco Sorensen/Ian James/Darren Turner
The Heart of Racing’s GTD class entry has been consistently strong the last two years. The team won the WeatherTech Sprint Cup title in 2021 and the full-season WeatherTech Championship GTD title last year, both times with De Angelis behind the wheel. The young Canadian remains on for another full season, now joined by Sorensen as he prepares for his first full season of IMSA. The Dane’s sports car highlights include three WEC titles and the 2022 24 Hours of Le Mans GTE Am class win. Team principal James and longtime Aston Martin ace Turner, a living legend with three Le Mans wins among his career highlights, complete another solid four-driver lineup.
Mike Skeen/Mikael Grenier/Kenton Koch/Maximilian Goetz
Team Korthoff Motorsports was nearly the Cinderella story of the 2022 WeatherTech Championship GTD season, leading the points for most of the year before fading to third. Longtime GT veteran and versatile driver Skeen leads the team’s return in 2023, now joined by a trio of newcomers. Grenier joins for a full season after accumulating a handful of starts in other Mercedes-AMG entries. Koch, a past Rolex 24 class winner (2016 Prototype Challenge), and Goetz, another Mercedes-AMG veteran and 2021 DTM champion, round out the car.
Don Yount/Jaden Conwright/Kerong Li/Alessio Deledda
NTE Sport increased its participation to most WeatherTech Championship races in 2022. Yount has the best finish of this quartet at the Rolex 24, third in Prototype Challenge in 2017, and continues with the program he’s been with for most of its tenure. Inaugural IMSA Diverse Driver Development Scholarship winner Conwright has potential and speed well in hand. Li and Deledda make their Rolex 24 debuts after both have gained sports car experience the last couple years.
Andy Lally/John Potter/Spencer Pumpelly/Nicki Thiim
Magnus Racing seeks its third Rolex 24 victory (2012, 2016) in its 13th year with its consistent lineup of Lally, Potter and Pumpelly in the No. 44 Aston Martin for the Michelin Endurance Cup. This entry finished second last year at the Rolex 24. Lally, with five Rolex 24 wins, has the most of any driver in the field while Potter and Pumpelly have two apiece. Fourth driver Thiim, an Aston Martin veteran, has 24-hour wins at Le Mans and the Nurburgring, a pair of WEC championships and a Supercup title to his name.
Roberto Lacorte/Giorgio Sernagiotto/Alessandro Balzan/Antonio Fuoco
Cetilar Racing has impressed in limited WeatherTech Championship starts, and shifts to the new Ferrari 296 GT3 model for this year’s Rolex 24. Lacorte, Sernagiotto and Fuoco captured the GTD win at the 2022 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Fuoco’s 2022 season was one of the best for GT drivers worldwide. Making a welcome IMSA return alongside this trio is Balzan, the 2013 GT champion and 2016 and 2017 GTD champion, who has only raced a limited schedule for several years.
Mark Kvamme/Trenton Estep/Jan Magnussen/Jason Hart
The MDK Motorsports program, set for at least the Michelin Endurance Cup, marks the culmination of efforts led by Kvamme, who has started a WeatherTech Championship race in each of the last nine years, to build his own team after years running different classes and programs. Estep, who won multiple Porsche Carrera Cup North America races with MDK, shares the car. The father-son pairing of IMSA champ and Rolex 24 winner Jan Magnussen and Haas Formula 1 driver Kevin Magnussen was meant to complete the car but fell through late when hand surgery sidelined Kevin from racing. MDK tapped sports car veteran Jason Hart to fill in. Hart is set for his first Rolex 24 start in nearly a decade, since 2014, and first WeatherTech Championship start since 2015 at Circuit of The Americas.
Philip Ellis/Russell Ward/Indy Dontje/Lucas Auer
Winward Racing made a splash in 2021 when it won in GTD on debut in the Rolex 24. In its first full season in 2022, it was frequently unlucky but also broke through late in the year. Ellis and Ward have established themselves as one of the top Mercedes-AMG GT3 pairings in North America, winning multiple races across multiple series, and ending up fifth in last year’s GTD points. Dutch driver Dontje, who had success with Winward in its Michelin Pilot Challenge Grand Sport (GS) program, joins for the Michelin Endurance Cup rounds while Auer completes the lineup for the Rolex 24.
Katherine Legge/Sheena Monk/Mario Farnbacher/Marc Miller
Gradient Racing ended 2022 on a high with a popular win at Motul Petit Le Mans. Farnbacher is the only member of that winning trio back for the 2023 Rolex 24, but he and longtime Gradient driver Miller have had some good runs together including second on Acura’s home soil in Long Beach in the “Chiaki’s Journey” NSX. Traditional Gradient blue cedes to the recognizable green-and-white of new partner JG Wentworth, aboard the entry for Gradient’s new full-season lineup of Monk and Legge. Legge’s runner-up finish at the 2018 Rolex is both her and Acura’s best GTD finish in the race, and this car looks to go one better in 2023.
Brendan Iribe/Frederik Schandorff/Ollie Millroy/Marvin Kirchhofer
Inception Racing looks to carry momentum of a second-place finish at Motul Petit Le Mans, where Iribe and Jordan Pepper secured the Michelin Endurance Cup in GTD. Iribe anchors the lone McLaren entry again for 2023, with Schandorff set for the full season after making selected 2022 starts. Millroy (Michelin Endurance Cup) and Kirchhofer (Rolex 24) round out the traditionally black-and-red McLaren car.
Kenny Habul/Fabian Schiller/Axcil Jeffries/Luca Stolz
Racing lifer Habul’s SunEnergy1 program was a late add as the 61st entry to the Rolex 24. Its lineup has undergone a late change too, due to unforeseen circumstances. Habul was meant to share the car with Will Power, who was set to make his IMSA and major sports car debut. The two-time and reigning IndyCar Series champion has withdrawn as he tends to wife Liz, who was hospitalized due to complications following surgery. This rules Power out, but this car still has a solid remaining trio in the form of two Mercedes-AMG GT championship-winning drivers in Schiller and Stolz, as well as Jeffries, who’s shifted from junior open-wheel racing into sports cars.
Alan Brynjolfsson/Trent Hindman/Max Root/Kevin Estre
The vibrant highlighter Volt Lighting colors have made waves across multiple IMSA series over the years, and after winning the 2022 Michelin Pilot Challenge GS crown they’ll be stepping up to the WeatherTech Championship in 2023. It gives Brynjolfsson and longtime co-driver Hindman, a multiple-time IMSA champion including WeatherTech GTD in 2019, a chance to go for another title this year with John Wright’s program. Root, traditionally Wright’s plug-and-play fill-in ace, will run the Michelin Endurance Cup rounds. Estre’s record includes 24-hour triumphs at Le Mans, Nurburgring and Spa as a Porsche factory driver, and additional wins in Porsche’s factory WEC GTE Pro program.
Misha Goikhberg/Loris Spinelli/Benja Hites/Marco Mapelli
Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America regular US RaceTronics fields a strong solo entry for this year’s Rolex 24. The lineup includes Goikhberg, a Rolex 24 class winner (Prototype Challenge, 2016), Hites, a young Chilean who has already taken Lamborghini GT3 wins, Spinelli, a multi-time Lamborghini Super Trofeo champion, and Mapelli, who has a Lamborghini championship to his name with Andrea Caldarelli in a leading European GT3 series.
PJ Hyett/Seb Priaulx/Gunnar Jeannette/Harry Tincknell
Tech entrepreneur Hyett and sports car veteran Jeannette have helped launch the new AO Racing outift as one of the six Porsche 911 GT3 R cars in class. Hyett and Seb Priaulx, the 2021 Porsche Carrera Cup North America champion who was second on his Rolex 24 debut last year in LMP3, are in for the full year. Jeannette joins for the Michelin Endurance Cup rounds. Tincknell has achieved Michelin Endurance Cup race wins at Sebring, Watkins Glen and Petit Le Mans with Mazda, but hasn’t yet conquered the Rolex 24. He did win the WeatherTech 240 At Daytona sprint race in 2020.
Sarah Bovy/Rahel Frey/Michelle Gatting/Dorian Pin
The Iron Dames will field the lone all-female lineup at this year’s Rolex 24. Its quartet of drivers enjoyed a great 2022 season, winning their class at the Spa 24 Hours. Bovy, Gatting and Pin won the European Le Mans Series finale. Pin will race the Rolex 24 only, with Bovy, Frey and Gatting set for the full Michelin Endurance Cup slate.
Alan Metni/Kay van Berlo/Jaxon Evans/Julien Andlauer
Two more Porsche Carrera Cup North America race winners and graduates in Metni (Pro-Am class champion) and van Berlo (two-time series runner-up) are set for this car’s full-season entry. Van Berlo has a Rolex 24 win to his name already, with Riley Motorsports in LMP3 last year. Porsche-affiliated young drivers Evans and Andlauer complete the quartet.
David Brule/Alec Udell/Andrew Davis/Jeroen Bleekemolen
Announced initially for the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup, Brule and Udell appear poised to expand into a full-season effort. Udell has raced a variety of sports cars for nearly a decade and has won a class championship in a Porsche before. Davis and Bleekemolen have voluminous sports car experience and victories and will add their insights to the team.
Danny Formal/Ashton Harrison/Kyle Marcelli/Ryan Briscoe
There are a lot of families that unite in the “Rely on Red” Harrison Contracting No. 93 Acura. Harrison captured a Pro-Am class championship last year in another series in the red Acura, one of several class titles she’s won en route to this Michelin Endurance Cup effort. The Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport family has had Marcelli, Formal and Briscoe in either its Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America or WeatherTech Championship DPi program efforts, and the WTRAndretti partnership with Racers Edge continues for a second year after making its IMSA debut at the 2022 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Harrison, Marcelli and Formal are set for the endurance season with Briscoe, a three-time Rolex 24 winner including overall in 2020, on as the fourth driver this week.
Robby Foley/Patrick Gallagher/Michael Dinan/Jens Klingmann
For the last few years, Foley and Bill Auberlen in a No. 96 Turner BMW were as close to a sure thing to win races and contend for the championship. A reframed Turner lineup and an expansion to two cars provides Foley the chance to emerge as the finishing driver of the trademark No. 96. Foley and Dinan have extensive experience as co-drivers and Dinan will continue as the Michelin Endurance Cup driver once more in 2023. Gallagher, Foley’s new full-season co-driver, has worked tirelessly for every opportunity and has racked up several Michelin Pilot Challenge wins along the way. Klingmann has a long history with BMW, making him a natural to return to Turner for this race.
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