From Jeff Dorman – With COVID precautions top of mind at Daytona Speedway, 2021 Rolex 24 Hour ticket holders were offered the option of rolling their 2021 purchases over to the 2022 race week or attend the 2021 edition. This year masks are required, the garages and the grid are off-limits to spectators, and the PCA tent will not be offering its traditional benefits (live TV feed, raffles, honored guests). I decided I’d wait for the 2022 Rolex 24 Hour race. But I did give a visit to the Roar Before The 24 weekend on Saturday. The crowd was sparse and the adjustments for COVID were abundant – social distancing in all the right places (every other row of bleachers was marked off, with 6 ft. spacing on the available rows) and restrictions on infield parking locations and infield spectating access (infield road course and turn 1-2 only).
The new season offers an abundance of excellent machinery and driving talent. I had not heard these cars run since the race last year and it was glorious. The GTLM cars sounded great as usual, particularly the screaming Porsche 911 RSR now in privateer hands with WeatherTech sponsorship. Sadly, there is no Porsche factory effort in GTLM this year. Former Porsche factory driver Nick Tandy is now driving in the #4 Corvette and he is very fast in it. I wound not bet against him in next week’s big race.
There is the new LMP3 class added, so the number of prototypes was really outstanding. I took a few pictures of Session 3 of the Michelin Pilot Series from the bleachers, and a ton of pictures of Session 3 of the WeatherTech Series (all classes), at the international horseshoe, and on the Turn 1 banking. I hope you enjoy them. I wish I were going to the race next weekend. If you are, it should be another fantastic event even with the pandemic restrictions.