Regular 24 Hours of Le Mans drivers have always had a love affair with the winter meeting for the 24 Hours of Daytona, under the warm Florida sun between the end of January and beginning of February. This year, 21 drivers who have taken part in both races are on the entry list. The latest addition is German driver Mike Rockenfeller, who won both races in the same year in 2010. After winning at Daytona in a Porsche-Riley, four and a half months later he helped establish the current distance record at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in an Audi, with teammates Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Daytona and Le Mans were the two big 24 hour races making up part of the World Championship. Thanks to the birth of the Tudor United SportsCar Championship (TUSCC), the arrival of the LM P2 and LM GTE (rebadged GTLM in the U.S.) classes symbolise the new direction taken by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, NASCAR (creators of the Grand-Am series, former home of the Daytona Prototype), and of Scott Atherton and Don Panoz, former directory and founder of the American Le Mans Series, respectively.
To honor this new merger, Jim France, founder of Grand-Am and NASCAR vice president, gave the start to the 90th anniversary edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans last June 22nd. In return, on Jan. 25, Pierre Fillon, president of the ACO, will give the start of the first endurance race of the season. In the meantime, these tests will bring the first real answers to how the various, and very different, prototypes (Morgan, Honda HPD, Oreca, Corvette DP, Ford-Riley, DeltaWing) and GT cars (including the debut of the seventh generation of the Corvette, which won at Daytona overall in 2001) will compare.
For more on the 24 Hours of Daytona and TUSCC, go to www.imsa.com.
Jean-Philippe Doret / ACO - Translated by Rainier Ehrhardt / ACO
Photo : DAYTONA (FLORIDA, USA), DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY, OFFICIAL TUDOR UNITED SPORTSCAR CHAMPIONSHIP TESTS, MONDAY NOV. 18 AND TUESDAY NOV. 19, 2013. Already present at Daytona during testing last November, the Honda HPD ARX-03b (LM P2 class at Le Mans, P class in TUSCC) will be joined by the Morgan of OAK Racing and Oreca of Pickett Racing.