IndyCar drivers in 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona (UPDATED)

IndyCar Rolex 24 Daytona
IndyCar Rolex 24 Daytona

The NTT IndyCar Series still is more than two months away from dropping the green flag, but the 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona again will provide a season preview.

There are at least 11 active IndyCar drivers entered in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener Jan. 28-29 at Daytona International Speedway, including four in the rebranded premier GTP category that will feature the debut of the LMDh prototypes.

Meyer Shank Racing teammates Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud will return to the No. 60 Acura that won last year’s Rolex 24. The former Indy 500 winners will be teamed with MSR full-time sports car drivers Tom Blomqvist (who also was in last year’s winning car) and Colin Braun.

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They will be joined in the top class by six-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon and seven-time winner Colton Herta.

Entering his 23rd season at Chip Ganassi Racing, Dixon will be making his 20th Rolex 24 start and his third consecutive in Ganassi’s No. 01 Cadillac. Dixon is a three-time overall winner, most recently in 2020 with Wayne Taylor Racing.

Herta will be making his debut in the premier prototype division as BMW moves up with its team at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. This will mark the fifth Rolex 24 start for Herta, who was part of BMW’s winning GTLM entry in 2019 and the LMP2 winner last year.

Other IndyCar drivers entered in the 2023 Rolex 24:

–Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin will make their Daytona debuts together on the No. 8 Oreca entry of Tower Motorsports in LMP2.

–Teammate and defending series champion Will Power will make his IMSA Rolex 24 at Daytona debut in GTD.

–Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay will make his third consecutive Rolex 24 start in LMP2, returning to the No. 11 of TDS Racing.

–Romain Grosjean will make his Rolex 24 debut in his new role as a factory driver for Lamborghini Squadra Corse. Grosjean will run endurance events in GTD with the No. 63 of Iron Lynx this season while also testing the team’s new Lamborghini LMDh that will make its 2024 debut in IMSA and the FIA World Endurance Championship.

–Kyle Kirkwood will return with Vasser Sullivan, teaming on the No. 12 Lexus in GTD with Aaron Telitz, Frankie Montecalvo and Parker Thompson.

–Devlin DeFrancesco, who won the LMP2 category last year with Herta and Pato O’Ward, announced he will race LMP2 at the Rolex 24 and the Michelin Endurance Cup races for Rick Ware Racing.

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Though he has yet to be confirmed, Andretti Autosport’s Kyle Kirkwood is a candidate to return to the No. 14 Lexus of Vasser Sullivan in GTD Pro. A team spokesman said the endurance racing teammate of Jack Hawksworth and Ben Barnicoat for Daytona will be announced next month.

Though IndyCar will be well represented at the 61st Rolex 24, the series is slightly down from the 12 drivers in last year’s race at Daytona.

New McLaren teammates in IndyCar, Alexander Rossi (a 2021 Rolex 24 winner with Wayne Taylor Racing) and Pato O’Ward (who won last year with Herta) aren’t entered in the 2023 Rolex 24.

Because Chip Ganassi Racing elected for three-driver lineups on its Cadillacs to prepare for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Alex Palou and Marcus Ericsson also didn’t return after making their Rolex 24 debuts last year.

With the LMDh, entering the Rolex 24 at Daytona has become a more coveted and exclusive process. Because the new cars require larger pit stalls, IMSA capped the entry list at 61. And with increased manufacturer involvement from BMW and Porsche, drivers with factory contracts have gotten priority on earning slots in IMSA’s new premier GTP division.

As of Jan. 10, 2023, here is the list of IndyCar drivers confirmed for the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona (Driver, category, car/team):

Helio Castroneves: GTP, No. 60 Acura ARX-06, Meyer Shank Racing

Devlin DeFrancesco: LMP2, No. 51 Oreca, Rick Ware Racing

Scott Dixon: GTP, No. 1 Cadillac, Chip Ganassi Racing

Romain Grosjean: GTD Pro, No. 63 Huracán GT3 EVO2, Iron Lynx Racing

Colton Herta: GTP, BMW, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

Kyle Kirkwood: GTD, No. 12 Lexus RC F GT3, Vasser Sullivan

Scott McLaughlin: LMP2, No. 8 Oreca, Tower Motorsports

Josef Newgarden: LMP2, No. 8 Oreca, Tower Motorsports

Simon Pagenaud: GTP, No. 60 Acura ARX-06, Meyer Shank Racing

Will Power: GTD, No. 75 Mercedes AMG GT3, Sun Energy 1

Rinus VeeKay: LMP2, No. 11 Oreca, TDS Racing

IndyCar drivers in 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona (UPDATED) originally appeared on NBCSports.com