With 2019 only a few days old, racing fans across the world have their eyes and ears drawn to one place this weekend: Daytona International Speedway.
More than 150 drivers from across the globe will gather this weekend at the speedway for pre-season IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship and Michelin Pilot Challenge testing, an event that gives fans a preview of what is to come at the end of this month. The test serves as a huge milestone for IMSA, as it officially kicks off its 50th anniversary celebration.
47 cars will take the track over the three day test session in preparation for this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona. Of those 47 cars, the ultra-fast prototype cars make of 11 of them. The LMP2 class, which will be ran as a separate class in 2019, boasts a four car entry list. 9 GTLM cars will take the track for the test, including two cars from Porsche, Corvette, Ford and BMW respectively. Last, and certainly not least, 23 GT Daytona cars will participate in testing with manufacturers such as Ferrari, Mercedes, Audi, Lamborghini Lexus, Acura, Porsche and BMW represented.
The Michelin Pilot Challenge, formerly known as the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, will also conduct numerous test sessions across the three-day event. A large 40-car field, headlined by 31 GS (Grand-Sport) class cars will put down laps in preparation for their 4-hour race the Friday before the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Also included in the test will be nine TCR class cars. The TCR class will see an increase in manufacturer involvement, with entries from Alfa Romeo, Honda and Hyundai to join Audi for the 2019 season.
The IMSA Prototype Challenge will contest their first race of the season this weekend at Daytona with a three hour race on Saturday. The event boasts an entry list of 19 LMP3 cars and is sure to start the 2019 IMSA season with a bang.
Stay tuned to the Game Changer Sports Network for an in-depth 2019 IMSA season preview, as well as race-by-race coverage throughout the year.
Photos by Matthew Boyce Photography
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