The third part in our four-part series detailing the field for the 58th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona takes a look at the factory-supported GT Le Mans (GTLM) class).
The Rolex 24 At Daytona gets under way later this week on the 3.56-mile road course at Daytona International Speedway. Practice and qualifying starts Thursday, Jan. 23, with the green flag flying on the twice-around-the-clock battle just past 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 25.
NBC will have live network coverage of the start of the race beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 25, and also will televise the race finish beginning at 12 p.m. ET on Sunday, Jan. 26 as part of NBC Sports’ complete coverage of the event that includes windows on NBCSN and the NBC Sports App and TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.
IMSA Radio also will have live coverage throughout race weekend on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com, with complete race coverage also airing on SiriusXM Radio.
Without further ado, here’s a look at what to expect in GTLM:
No. 3 Corvette Racing
Chevrolet Corvette C8.R
Antonio Garcia/Jordan Taylor/Nicky Catsburg
There’s a whole lot of new with the No. 3 Corvette team in 2020. For starters, the team is introducing a pair of new, midengined C8.R race cars after decades of front-engined machinery.
Two-time WeatherTech Championship GTLM champion Garcia is back aboard the bright yellow Corvette, which he is sharing with a new co-driver, Taylor. The younger of the two sports car racing Taylor brothers, Jordan is joining the team after eight years driving for his father’s Wayne Taylor Racing team – including the past three seasons aboard the No. 10 Cadillac DPi.
But Taylor is no stranger to Corvette Racing. He drove for the team at the 24 Hours of Le Mans every year from 2012 through 2017, winning the GTE Pro class in 2015 with co-drivers Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner.
Speaking of endurance co-drivers, the No. 3 duo will have a new one of those as well in Catsburg. The Dutchman won the Spa 24 Hours in 2015 and was a runner-up in the GT Daytona (GTD) class at Daytona in 2016. He raced for BMW Team MTEK in the 2018-19 FIA World Endurance Championship.
The No. 3 squad and its sister program, the No. 4, are looking to deliver Corvette Racing’s 100th IMSA victory, which most certainly will come with the C8.R. The only question is “When?”
No. 4 Corvette Racing
Chevrolet Corvette C8.R
Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fassler
Whereas much has changed with the No. 3 Corvette team, there are two major changes to the No. 4. One is the shift to the midengined C8.R and the other is the car’s new, silver livery for 2020.
Gavin and Milner return as co-drivers, comprising the longest-running driver lineup in the WeatherTech Championship. The duo has been paired since 2012 and has shared the No. 4 Corvette with Fassler in endurance races since the beginning of 2016, which is when he, Gavin and Milner won the Rolex 24 At Daytona by 0.034 seconds over the No. 3 Corvette.
Gavin and Milner also hold the distinction of delivering Corvette Racing’s 100th victory – combining the team’s results in IMSA and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans – and scored the team’s most recent victory at Long Beach in 2018. That win turned out to be the last for the C7.R model.
Now, the race is on to see which team will become the first to win in the C8.R, and who will deliver the Corvette Racing’s 100th IMSA win.
No. 24 BMW Team RLL
BMW M8 GTE
John Edwards/Jesse Krohn/Augusto Farfus/Chaz Mostert
There was much fanfare around the No. 24 BMW team at the 2019 Rolex 24 At Daytona, when the legendary Alex Zanardi joined the team for his first race in North America since losing his legs in a Champ Car crash in Germany in 2001. Unfortunately, various issues during the race prevented the No. 24 squad from contending for the victory, but their teammates in the No. 25 went on to win.
In 2020, Edwards and Krohn are paired in the No. 24 machine for the third consecutive season. Edwards is the longest-running BMW Team RLL driver, having joined the team for a partial season in 2012 and as a full-time driver since 2013.
Australian Supercars standout Mostert returns to the No. 24 team for the second consecutive year, with Brazilian Farfus joining the team in 2020. Farfus was part of the 2019 Rolex 24 GTLM class-winning lineup in the No. 25 BMW.
No. 25 BMW Team RLL
BMW M8 GTE
Connor De Phillippi/Bruno Spengler/Philipp Eng/Colton Herta
The undisputed highlight for the No. 25 team in 2019 was its victory in the Rolex 24 At Daytona. For 2020, the No. 25 team returns three of the four drivers from its race-winning lineup – De Phillippi, Eng and Herta – along with De Phillippi’s new, full-season co-driver, Spengler.
The Canadian is racing full-time on his home continent for the first time in several years after racing in DTM – and winning the 2012 title – for the first time in nearly two decades. He’ll be paired with De Phillippi, who is entering his third consecutive season in the WeatherTech Championship.
California teenager Herta is a rising IndyCar star, who won twice during his rookie season in that series in 2019 after winning the Rolex 24. Eng, from Austria, is a BMW works driver who has competed in the FIA World Endurance Championship and the Blancpain GT Series in recent years.
No. 62 Risi Competizione
Ferrari 488 GTE
James Calado/Alessandro Pier Guidi/Daniel Serra/Davide Rigon
The Risi team comes into the Rolex 24 looking for its third straight WeatherTech Championship GTLM podium result and its second consecutive win.
Ferrari factory drivers Calado, Pier Guidi and Serra won the 2019 season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. It capped a successful year for the trio, which also won the GTE Pro class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Calado and Pier Guidi also won the FIA WEC championship in the GTE Pro class in 2017. Brazilian driver Serra is a two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner with a 2017 GTE Pro victory with Aston Martin and also is a two-time Motul Petit Le Mans winner, also winning the GTD class in 2018. Rigon has been a Ferrari works driver in the FIA WEC since 2013.
No. 911 Porsche GT Team
Porsche 911 RSR
Nick Tandy/Frederic Makowiecki/Matt Campbell
The No. 911 squad features a new season-long driver lineup, with Makowiecki – who previously raced for the team in IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup races – joining Tandy, who is entering his third consecutive full season of WeatherTech Championship GTLM competition.
Tandy and Makowiecki have won the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts each of the past two years, and Tandy is a 2014 GTLM class winner in the Rolex 24. Joining the team for Michelin Endurance Cup rounds in 2020 is Australian driver Campbell, who worked his way up from Porsche Junior Driver status to become a full works driver. Campbell helped the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports team and co-driver Zacharie Robichon win last year’s GTD race at Road America.
Both Porsche GT Team entries will use the new-for-2020 911 RSR race car.
No. 912 Porsche GT Team
Porsche 911 RSR
Earl Bamber/Laurens Vanthoor/Mathieu Jaminet
“Bamthor” is back. After winning the 2019 WeatherTech Championship GTLM title on the strength of three victories and a total of seven podiums results, the driving duo will share the brand-new No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR.
Both drivers are 24 Hours of Le Mans winners, as well. Bamber won overall in 2015 and 2017, while Vanthoor took GTE Pro class honors in 2018. They’re looking to add another big 24-hour race trophy this weekend in Daytona and will go in search of it with Frenchman Jaminet as their co-driver for the second straight year. Like teammate Campbell in the No. 911 entry, Jaminet is another driver to move from Porsche Junior to full works driver status with the German manufacturer.