The 2020 national motorsports schedule is about to come to life with the 58th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway.
High-speed runs over Daytona’s 3.56-mile road course began Wednesday with practice laps for cars participating in Rolex 24 ancillary events, such as the Michelin Challenge and Ferrari Challenge featuring an all-Ferrari (NYSE:RACE) field.
After those sports cars break the ice, the Rolex 24 field will take to the famed Speedway course for practice then qualifying Thursday.
The track qualifying record could fall thanks to the speed within the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class.
Oliver Jarvis established a new track record last year in time trials while his teammate Olivier Pla, wheeling the same No. 77 Mazda Team Joest Mazda DPi, went faster during the Roar Before the Rolex 24 test session held on 3-5 January
He was timed at 1 minute, 33.324 seccs over the 3.56-mile road course, which converts to 137.321 mph in the Mazda DPi.
His speed topped the track record set by Jarvis during 2019 Rolex 24 time trials. Jarvis produced a 136.792 mph effort last year.
That was a history-making day because Jarvis pushed P.J. Jones out of the Daytona record book. In Y 1993 Jones set the mark of 136.521 mph in Dan Gurney’s Toyota Eagle MKIII.
Pla was just happy he had a fast car.
“It’s always nice to be on the top (of the board) as a driver,” Pla said. “We are in a business where you are always being judged, so you better perform at your best. It’s nice for the team, for all our confidence.”
International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) WeatherTech Championship officials were quick to say Pla’s effort was an unofficial lap. Jarvis remains as Daytona’s all-time Top qualifier.
Pla had ideal speed conditions during the Roar. The air temperature was in the 60’s and the Sun was shining.
When Pla climbs into the exotic prototype Thursday, the high is expected to be around 70F and there will be more moisture in the air. There’s a 30% chance of showers.
The National Weather Service predicts a clear weekend with highs in the 60’s, which means no race-ending typhoons like Y 2019.
While Pla’s lap wasn’t “official” it did come with a perk. The No. 77 Mazda will have 1st choice of garage area and pit stall location.
The overall Rolex 24 winner is expected to come from the DPi pool of eight cars. There are 4 Cadillac DPi entries, 2 from Mazda and a pair of Acura Team Penske machines.
There are 6 former Indianapolis 500 winners in this grouping. Roger Penske has paired 2 Indy 500 winners to each of his cars.
The No. 6 Acura DPi features Simon Pagenaud and Juan Pablo Montoya while the No. 7 car has Helio Castroneves and Alexander Rossi.
Meanwhile, Scott Dixon will be part of the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi lineup. Team Taylor is trying to defend its 2019 Rolex 24 crown.
The other Indy 500 winner is Ryan Hunter-Reay, who is part of the No. 55 Mazda DPi driver roster.
NASCAR will be represented by current Cup Series champion Kyle Busch, 34 anni,who is racing for GT Daytona class honors.
Mr. Busch will be part of a 4-driver roster on the No. 14 Lexus RC-F GT3.
“The braking is certainly the biggest adjustment,” he said. “With our big heavy stock cars, you have to start the slowdown process way early, the braking zone is forever, and by the time you turn in you have to be off the brakes, otherwise the inside wheels will lock up.”
The GTD class also features an all-female team, led by Katherine Legge, who is one of the most accomplished female drivers of this generation.
Sandwiched between the DPi and GTD classes are the Le Mans Prototype 2 and Grand Touring Le Mans cars.
The entire LMP2 field (6 cars) will all have the same chassis-engine package, an ORECA LMP2 07 powered by Gibson engines.
The competition promises to be fierce, if not ferocious, in the GTLM class. These are factory-backed cars with professional drivers.
Chevrolet has entered 2 newly engineered Corvettes to the field. The 8th generation model features a mid-engine design. The engine is now situated behind the driver instead of being under the front hood.
Enzo Ferrari’s iconic Italian Supercar manufacturer claimed the title according to the latest Brand Finance Global 500 2019 report launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
HeffX-LTN overall technical outlook for RACE is Bullish to Very Bullish, there is no overhead resistance, and Key support is solid at 173.21, 4 of our Key indicators are Very Bullish, and the stock has established strong long term support ahead of this coming breakout North.
Ferrari broke out, and finished at 173.12, -1.03 Wednesday in NY.
Ferrari will continue to create value in the long term. Ferrari is a quality 1st long term luxury products investment, and I have call it at it at 200+/share long term, adjusting it to 200/share short term and siding with BAML to 230 long term for now.