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Rolex 24 at Daytona: Outsiders to watch

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Rolex 24 at Daytona: Outsiders to watch
By:
Jan 22, 2015, 12:34 AM

The Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway is just one of those events that everybody wants to be a part of, and that includes racers.

The TUDOR United Sportscar Championship group photo
A.J. Allmendinger
Kyle Larson
#02 Chip Ganassi Ford/Riley: Scott Dixon, Kyle Larson, Jamie McMurray, Tony Kanaan
Tony Kanaan
#22 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America: Cooper MacNeil, Leh Keen, Andrew Davis, Shane van Gisbergen, #4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, Simon Pagenaud
Bruno Spengler (CAN) BMW Team Schnitzer BMW M4 DTM
#24 BMW Team RLL BMW Z4 GTE: John Edwards, Lucas Luhr, Jens Klingmann, Graham Rahal
Shane van Gisbergen, Tekno Team VIP Holden

The Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona always attracts drivers from other disciplines, especially since it is still the middle of the offseason for many, and they are looking for ways to satisfy their thirst for speed.

NASCAR presence

From the NASCAR ranks, three stars of note are entered into the event. A.J Allmendinger may be a so-called 'outsider', but he's also the overall winner from 2012 after an epic duel with the legendary Allan McNish. He returns with Michael Shank, but the team has traded their DP for a bright new Ligier.

In the second Ganassi car, two more NASCAR stars will join forces with two champions of IndyCar. Rising stock car driver Kyle Larson and former Daytona 500 champion Jamie McMurray will team up with Tony Kanaan and Scott Dixon, two open-wheel icons who have both tasted the milk at Indy and stood on the podium at Daytona.

IndyCar invasion

The IndyCar presence in the Rolex 24 doesn't stop there though. Current full-time drivers such as Ryan Hunter-Reay (Starworks P2), Sebastien Bourdais (Action Express DP), James Hinchcliffe (SpeedSource P2), Simon Pagenaud (Corvette GTLM), Charlie Kimball (Ganassi DP), Graham Rahal (BMW GTLM), and Jack Hawksworth (RSR PC) are all in this field. Former Indy Lights champions Gabby Chaves (DeltaWing P) and Sage Karam (Ganassi DP) will also take part.

After making his Rolex 24 debut in 2013, 11x Formula One race-winner and newly crowned Brazilian stock car champion Rubens Barrichello returns for another attempt, but this time behind the wheel of a Starworks-Martini prototype.

Touring car aces

On the touring car side, two names really stand out. The first is Australian V8 Supercar superstar Shane Van Gisbergen, who will be making his second attempt in the famed race. Along with his touring car exploits, the Kiwi made headlines after some daring moves during the Bathurst 12 hour race last year, eventually finishing fourth in a McLaren MP4. He will pilot the Alex Job Racing Porsche this weekend.

The second name I alluded to is a touring car champion, claiming the DTM title with BMW in 2012. Yes, I'm referring to Bruno Spengler. He will join the BMW squad in the GTLM class with former DTM teammate Dirk Werner.

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Rolex 24 at Daytona: Impossible to predict

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Rolex 24 at Daytona: Impossible to predict

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