Despite the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season having ended less than a month ago, teams have already taken to the track to prepare for North America’s most prestigious sports car race – the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA – on Jan. 25-26.
Fresh off their driver, team and manufacturer titles, Acura Team Penske was among the teams practicing this week on the 3.56-mile road course at Daytona International Speedway.
“We have good momentum on our side,” said Juan Pablo Montoya, who wheeled the No. 6 for Acura Team Penske to the 2019 championship in the DPi class with co-driver Dane Cameron. “We’re here preparing the best we can for the (Rolex) 24 hours. One of the main goals for 2020 is to get this win with, hopefully the No. 6, but either (Acura Team Penske) car, honestly. It’s exciting. I think we have a realistic chance of winning it.”
Montoya’s teammate, Ricky Taylor, is entering his third year as co-driver of the No. 7 Acura ARX-05 for Acura Team Penske. Even though the Orlando-area resident earned a Rolex in 2017 with Wayne Taylor Racing, Ricky Taylor is hungry for another win.
“The (Rolex) 24 hours is a bit of unfinished business,” said Taylor. “I think we’re more prepared than we have been over the last two years. For me (the Rolex 24) has always been the biggest race of the year. It’s such a special event. I live 30 minutes away and having had success here, it really does change your career a bit. It’s such a difficult race – it’s one of those where you can be in great equipment your whole life and still never win it. I’ve been lucky enough to be in great equipment and this year I feel we have as good of a chance as ever. It just puts a little more pressure on you to get the job done.”
Also testing was AIM Vasser Sullivan, who announced this week that 2015 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch will join them for the twice-around-the-clock challenge.
“The nice thing about (the Rolex 24) is you get guys like Kyle (Busch) coming over from NASCAR, guys from F1, IndyCar, they come and do this race,” said Jack Hawksworth, co-driver of the No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 who will co-drive with Busch in January. “It’s great for them to test their skills against a different set of competition and a different rule set. We embrace that – that’s what makes the race special.”
The racing season will officially kick off when teams return to the “World Center of Racing” Jan. 3-5 to participate in the Roar Before the Rolex 24, the three-day test session that includes all cars participating in the Rolex 24 weekend.
Tickets for the 58th Anniversary of the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA, and all Daytona International Speedway events, can be purchased online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP. Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Snapchat, and by downloading Daytona International Speedway’s mobile app, for the latest Speedway news throughout the season.