Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing to field six entries at 2022 Rolex 24
You'll see a record number of Mercedes-AMG GT3's at Daytona in the coming weeks
As we inch closer to the start of racing season and the Rolex 24, we're finding out more and more information. Today the entry list came out and it's at a record 60 cars with 6 of those being Mercedes-AMG GT3's.
Last year's Rolex 24 was won by the debuting Winward Racing and was the first Rolex 24 victory for the Mercedes-AMG GT3. They crossed the finish line just ahead of the SunEnergy1 Racing entry for a Mercedes-AMG GT3 one-two in the IMSA WeatherTech Championship GTD class finish.
Winward and SunEnergy1 are returning to Daytona this year along with four additional AMG GT3 competitors. This marks the largest field of Mercedes-AMG GT3 competitors in an IMSA WeatherTech race since the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing program made it's North American debut in 2017.
Not only are Mercedes making history this year but so is IMSA. Not only does this year mark the 60th running of the Rolex 24 with a very full field of 60 cars but IMSA is debuting it's all new GTD Pro class at Daytona.
The traditional Pro-Am format of the original GTD which debuted in 2014 is continuing while GTD Pro will showcase top ranked professional sports car drivers in similar cars to those used in in GTD.
Four of the AMG GT3 entries including Winward and SunEnergy1 will compete in GTD while two additional entries will be part of GTD Pro's inaugural race.
Winward will defend it's 2021 Daytona victory with winning drivers of the No. 57, Russell Ward and Philip Ellis. Ward and Ellis will be joined by teammates Mikael Grenier and Lucas Auer.
Grenier was part of SunEnergy1's runner up finish in Daytona last year but joined Winward later on in the 2021 season for races in Europe and the US. After finding success in the GT World Challenge Europe, Ward and Grenier co drove to a breakout GT World Challenge America victory at VIR last June.
Auer is another familiar Winward driver in Europe that brings a pair of wins with the team in last year's DTM championship. Along with that he will be bringing his Formula 1 test driver experience as he makes his Rolex 24 debut.
SunEnergy1 is returning with three of the four drivers that carried them to their second place finish in last year's Rolex 24. Kenny Habul, Raffaele Marciello and Luca Stolz will be joined by Fabian Schiller who is making his first Rolex 24 start in an AMG GT3 since 2019.
The GTD Pro contenders include a pair of GT3's prepped and entered by winning European team Proton Competition. Cooper MacNeil, Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella will co drive the No. 97 Proton Competition Mercedes-AMG GT3 while Patrick Assenheimer, Austin Cindric and Dirk Müller drive as a trio in the No. 15 Proton Competition Mercedes-AMG GT3.
Maro Engel was part of Winward's winning 2021 lineup, Assenheimer is a successful European driver making his Rolex 24 debut and Austin Cindric is an emerging star in NASCAR who brings road racing skills back to the Rolex.
Alegra Motorsports is returning for a second season with Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing and is committed to at least the 2022 Michelin Endurance Cup in the No. 28 Alegra Motorsports AMG GT3. The Michelin Endurance Cup is a four race battle within the WeatherTech Championship that rewards the top performers in the long distance races at Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
We will see Michael de Quesada and Daniel Morad return as Alegra's lead drivers at Daytona and they will be joined by Mercedes-AMG DTM Champion Maximilian Götz and young, emerging talent Linus Lundqvist.
Götz sealed the 2021 DTM championship for Mercedes-AMG with three victories and is making his Rolex 24 debut. Lundqvist is a multi time champion in international open wheel development series competition and has one previous career GTD start at the 2019 Rolex 24.
Gilbert Korthoff Motorsports is looking to build on an encouraging partial 2021 season and will run their first full season in the No. Gilbert Korthoff Motorsports AMG GT3. The No. 32 will make their Rolex 24 debut with full season co drivers Mike Skeen and Stevan McAleer, Endurance Cup teammate Guy Cosmo and Daytona addition Scott Andrews.
In addition to all of the GT3 entries, Mercedes will see four AMG GT4 teams compete in Daytona at in the traditional season opening IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge four hour race that sets the stage for the Rolex 24 on Friday. News on the GT4 teams entered into the top tier Grand Sport class for Daytona will be announced in the coming days.
Team preparations for the 60th Rolex 24 At Daytona officially begin at Daytona International Speedway, January 21 -23, with the traditional Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona for both WeatherTech Championship and Pilot Challenge teams. The three-day weekend test also includes a 100-minute qualifying race to set the Rolex 24 field that closes out the Roar on Sunday.
The 60th Rolex 24 At Daytona official schedule begins Wednesday, January 26, with a one-hour Michelin Pilot Challenge practice session. Four WeatherTech Championship practice sessions are scheduled over Thursday and Friday in addition to GS qualifying Thursday and the four-hour season-opening Pilot Challenge race Friday at 1:35 p.m. EST.
The 60th Rolex 24 at Daytona kicks off at 1:40 pm EST on Saturday January 29th with live coverage beginning at 1:30 pm EST on NBC.
For international viewers, you can catch all of the action from the Rolex 24 on www.IMSA.tv ,