Champions from Grand-Am, NASCAR, IndyCar and international motorsports headline a star-studded lineup for the 48th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, set for Jan. 30-31 at Daytona International Speedway.
The event kicks off the 2010 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 – and the international motorsports schedule – when the green flag waves at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday. Live SPEED coverage begins at 3 p.m. and runs through 10 p.m., and resumes Sunday from 7 a.m.-4 p.m.
Champion-packed Daytona Prototype lineups from GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing, TELMEX/Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, SunTrust Racing, Michael Shank Racing, Spirit of Daytona Racing, Crown Royal/NGN Motorsports, Krohn Racing and Doran Racing will challenge the defending champion Brumos Racing team, led by five-time Rolex 24 winner Hurley Haywood in what he has announced as his final race at Daytona.
TRG – 1-2 finishers in GT in last year's Rolex 24 – brings a five-car lineup to lead that class, with challengers coming from Stevenson Motorsports, SpeedSource, Dempsey Racing, Team Sahlen, Alex Job Racing and Godstone Ranch Motorsports.
"I couldn't believe how big it was winning the Rolex 24," said David Donohue, who won the 2009 edition of the event with Darren Law, Buddy Rice and Antonio Garcia for Brumos Racing. "We've enjoyed our year of being Rolex 24 champs, and we hate to see it end. The whole team knows what we have to do, and we fully intend to repeat."
Donohue and Law will co-drive the No. 59 Brumos Porsche Riley this weekend, joined by Butch Leitzinger, Raphael Matos and Hurley Haywood, who is running for the final time in the event he first won in 1973.
"This will be my first race in the No. 59, and also the first time I've ever been in the same car with Hurley," Donohue said. "That's extra special for me, because of the meaning and history of the No. 59 for Brumos, and because Hurley has been my friend for almost 20 years."
Haywood is the leading winner in the history of the event, following up his 1973 triumph with victories in 1975, 1977, 1979 and 1991 – in addition to winning his class in 1972.
"There is so much hype about this being my last race and there are a lot of emotions running through my mind, but racing has many ups and downs," said Haywood, who won the 2009 Rolex Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway for Brumos. "The smallest thing can knock out the best efforts. Regardless of this week's outcome, I've won this race before and can go out with my head held high. But it would be terrific to end a 40-year career by getting that sixth victory at Daytona."
Donohue took last year's checkered flag only 0.167sec ahead of Juan Pablo Montoya. The 2007 and 2008 winner returns in the No. 02 Ganassi BMW Riley, joined by fellow Indianapolis 500 winners Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti, and fellow NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jamie McMurray. Three-time Rolex 24 winner Scott Pruett will be joined in the team's No. 01 BMW Riley by Memo Rojas, Max Papis and Justin Wilson.
Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty won the Dayonta Prototype title for Stallings in 2007 and 2009, but are still looking for their first Rolex 24 triumph in the No. 99 Chevrolet Riley co-driven by four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson and Champ Car titlist Jimmy Vasser.
SunTrust Racing's Max Angelelli was fastest in January's Roar Before the Rolex 24 testing in the No. 10 Ford Dallara, he will co-drive with two-time Rolex 24 winner Wayne Taylor, 20-year-old Ricky Taylor and Pedro Lamy. Wayne Taylor won the event in 1996 and co-drove with Angelelli in 2005.
Michael Shank Racing has a pair of Ford-powered Rileys. Former Rolex 24 pole winner Ozz Negri is joined by John Pew, Mark Wilkins and Burt Frisselle in the No. 60, with Michael Valiante, AJ Allmendinger, Mark Patterson and Brian Frisselle sharing the No. 6.
Rice and Garcia will seek their second consecutive Rolex 24 victory in the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Racing Porsche Coyote, joined by NASCAR's Paul Menard.
Christophe Bouchut – the 1995 Rolex 24 winner – and Scott Tucker are entered in both Crown Royal/NGN Motorsports entries. Four-time Champ Car titlist Sebastien Boudais, Sascha Maassen and 2005 Rolex 24 winner Emmanuel Collard are in the No. 55 BWM Riley, with Ryan Hunter-Reay, Lucas Luhr and Richard Westbrook in the No. 95.
Krohn Racing's No. 75 Proto-Auto Ford Lola will be driven by Nic Jonsson, Ricardo Zonta, Tracy Krohn and NASCAR's Colin Braun, while Sunoco Rolex 24 Driver Challenge winner Derek Johnston joins Memo Gidley, Fabrizio Gollin and Brad Jaeger in Doran Racing's No. 77 Ford Dallara.
A pair of new Daytona Prototype teams will debut in the event. Joao Barbosa, Terry Borcheller, Ryan Dalziel and Mike Rockenfeller co-drive the No. 9 Action Express Racing Porsche Riley, while Mike Forest, Bill Lester and Don von Moltke share the No. 7 Starworks Motorsport BMW Riley.