The 24 Hours of Daytona is one of the most exciting events on any motorsport calendar, so Last Lap guides you through what you need to know.

After a month into the new year, the Daytona 24 is one of the first major motorsport highlights on the calendar.

It comprises of a multi-class car field competing for their respective wins inside the Daytona International Speedway (Road Course).

The event itself reaches out to almost 240 drivers, over 61 entries, and across five ultra competitive classes.
The 60th running of the Daytona 24 is on to celebrate all that is exhilarating about the North American sportscar environment.

What is the 24 Hours of Daytona?

It is widely recognised amongst motorsport’s global roster of 24 hour races, and Daytona is a constant battle through back marker traffic as well as for position.

A driver’s 30-minute lead could easily be diminished with one slight lapse of concentration when lapping, or letting through, a car from a different class.

Add in the factor of rain, or cooler temperatures, then the race is well and truly spiced up. The latter of which is an eye-opener for this weekend as the conditions are expected to reach down into freezing temperatures…

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The inaugural 24 hour race at Daytona was held in 1966 following previous three-hour (1962, ’63) and the 2000 km distance events (1964, ’65).

It was won by Ken Miles and Lloyd Ruby in a Shelby Ford GT 40 Mk. 2.

Hurley Haywood claiming the event’s maiden crown, one of his record-leading five wins.

Daytona is one of the first highlights of a driver’s calendar year. The track only measures at 3.56km, which is just over three times shorter than the Le Mans 24 Hours venue, the Circuit de la Sarthe.

The 24 Hours of Daytona is also one-third of the informal ‘Triple Crown of Endurance’ (Le Mans 24H, Daytona 24H, Sebring 12H).

What are the competing car classes?

All five classes will run around the infamous Daytona International Speedway infield circuit during the entire race.

IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship calendar is comprised of seven events this year, with some labelled as GT-only races, and others bringing in the large grid.

It will only be the four Endurance Cup events which will feature all five of these classes, kicking off with the 24 Hours of Daytona.

Here are the classes competing this year.

DPi:

The DPi class, or Daytona Prototype International, is the top of the food chain in the unforgiving habitat that is the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Savagely-built and designed, this unique class will be fighting for the overall victory to the end of the race, including the likes of reigning winner Filipe Albuquerque taking on Richard Westbrook behind their respective machineries.

Debutants include reigning IndyCar champion Alex Palou, and bronze-rated legend Ben Keating who will fulfill a ‘Double Duty’, additionally driving the #52 LMP2.

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LMP2:

The LMP2 class, or the ‘Le Mans Prototype 2’, is the second class competing at Daytona.

The cars are designed and created to be used by independent teams that are separate to the major manufactures and engine suppliers, therefore keeping the cost of running a competitive entry as low as possible.

LMP2 is starring some of endurance racing’s hottest names right now. At 10 cars in the field, it will be all to play for in such a competitive category.

There are a various number of great talents in this field recognised from all sides of the motorsport sphere, such as two-time DTM runner-up Nico Muller, Pato O’Ward, and the return of United Autosports since 2018.

LMP3:

The common entry point to international prototypes features two of the four LMP3 makes in this race – Ligier and Duqueine.

An LMP3 car makes roughly 18% less power than an LMP2 car with a 5.6 litre naturally aspirated engine making around 500 BHP compared to the LMP2 car, which is bolstering a 4.2-litre naturally-aspirated engine producing over 560 BHP.

LMP3 had a mixed ‘Roar Before the 24’ (qualifying weekend) as nearly half the field finished out of position behind the GTD-Pro cars and some GTD cars as well.
It is worth noting everyone but the GTD classes will start with their pack, as GTD-Pro and GTD will be mixed.

Nevertheless, it will be undoubtedly house some of the key moments when they lap both GTD classes, whilst anticipating being lapped by the prototypes.

Recall the ‘Roar Before the 24’:

GTD-Pro:

With GTLM a thing of the past, the GTD-Pro class is setting up to be the most hotly-contested class in Daytona with 13 entries and 8 manufacturers.

They include BMW, Porsche, Aston Martin, Lexus and many more. This is the class to watch in the field for robust wheel-to-wheel racing.

Corvette Racing modified their C8.R to a GT3 package to continue their usage, primarily featuring ABS as the most notable addition; they will be keen to defend their win last year.

As usual, some of the most talented professional factory drivers are taking part for the highest honours of the Grand Touring field.

The same technical GT3 regulations apply across the class relative to a ‘Balance of Performance’ implementation from IMSA. It will be down to the drivers to make the difference on the circuit.

GTD:

GTD, or GT Daytona, is the fifth class that will run in the race mixing in Professional and Amateur GT drivers.

These entries are represented by green car number decals, unlike GTD-Pro’s which are red.

The entry list is huge for this class, with FIA GT3 rules and builds, there is heavy competition within the class with cars from leading manufacturers such as BMW, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lexus, McLaren, Mercedes-AMG, and Porsche.

Some of the top GT drivers are taking part in their respective outfits such as Russell Ward, Jon Miller and Patrick Gallagher.

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What is the schedule for the Daytona 24 Hours?

With ‘The Roar before the 24’ qualifying race completed last Sunday, ‘The Big One’ is coming up on Saturday 29 January and runs for 24 hours straight.

Lights are due to go out at 1:40pm ET, or 6:40 pm GMT for the UK.

Last Lap will have regular reports alongside live text commentary to keep you up to date with the latest action.

Free broadcast coverage will be available on IMSA with Alkamel Live Timing.

Must haves for the race itself

Entry List and Spotter’s Guide Having the full entry list or even better, the spotter’s guide, for the Daytona 24 can be a real lifesaver when it comes to knowing exactly who to look out for in each category. It helps any new fans acclimatise to the vast number of drivers and their respective cars.

Live TimingA crucial tool that anyone can access will inform where on the track each driver is, and of information easy to go amiss such as every pit stop and all awarded penalties.

IMSA Reddit Whilst rather less important when it comes to your racing accessories, this Reddit page has one of the most active communities for endurance racing fans in the world and any questions you have will be answered in mere seconds.

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Whether you’re a new fan or a regular endurance fanatic, this year’s Daytona 24 is not something you’ll want to miss as it stands as a perfect watch at this weekend.

We hope you enjoy the 60th edition of the Daytona 24 Hours, and the best of luck goes out to all 237 drivers and 61 competitors.

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