The 2024 international motorsport season will roar into life at the Rolex 24 at Daytona on January 27, with no fewer than six Kiwis on the provisional entry list for the famed endurance race on the Daytona International Speedway Road Course.
Ten GTP Hypercars will compete at the event, with Tom Blomqvist, Scott Dixon and Brendon Hartley in the mix. Scott McLaughlin and Hunter McElrea are confirmed amoung a 12-strong LMP2 field, while Earl Bamber will race amongst 13 GT Daytona Pro entries.
The number of Kiwis competing at the event may yet increase, with several teams yet to announce their lineups. This includes Porsche GT Pro entry Kelly Moss with Riley, whom newly-announced Supercars driver Jaxon Evans has competed for in the past.
Dixon returns for the Chip Ganassi Racing-affiliated Cadillac Racing entry, sharing the #1 V-Series.R with Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande, making for the same trio that finished third in 2023’s event.
Blomqvist, who stood atop the podium at the same event with Meyer Shank Racing, will also share a V-Series.R, joining Jack Aitken and Pipo Derani at Action Express Racing and Whelan Engineering.
Meyer Shank Racing will not compete in the 2024 IMSA season, instead opting to focus on their IndyCar commitments, where Blomqvist will race full-time.
Hartley, meanwhile, returns to the same Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport Acura ARX-06 that finished second at this year’s event. Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque return to the team, while Marcus Ericsson replaces Louis Delatraz.
In the LMP2 class, McLaughlin rejoins the Tower Motorsport squad that drove to class honours and third overall at the 2023 12 Hours of Sebring. John Farano will again lead the team, with Michael Dinan and Ferdinand Habsburg joining the team in place of Kyffin Simpson and Josef Newgarden.
Tower Motorsport will be seeking redemption for their 2023 outing, where a water bottle leak put them 11 laps down in the opening hour. They recovered to finish fifth in class, regaining 9 of the 11 laps they lost.
McElrea is the new addition to the LMP2 class and joins Steven Thomas and Mikkel Jensen at TDS Racing. Their fourth driver is yet to be confirmed.
Bamber will be behind the wheel of a Corvette Z06 GT3.R for Corvette Racing, which he will share with Nicky Catsburg and Tommy Milner.
Teams will get their chance at an official pre-season hitout at the ‘Roar Before the 24’ test at the same venue on January 19-21 before the season shifts into gear from January 24-28.