SportZanardi stars in heavyweight lineup at Rolex 24 at Daytona

23:15  26 january  2019
23:15  26 january  2019 Source:   ap.org

All-female team out to prove women racers aren't a gimmick

All-female team out to prove women racers aren't a gimmick Every racing series in the world is full of wealthy enthusiasts with ideas that sound too good to be true. Expensive promises to fund life-changing opportunities are usually broken before cars even make it to the track. Jackie Heinricher has defied those odds and turned an outlandish idea into one of the most highly anticipated debuts in racing. She has put together an all-female team of drivers that will debut later this month at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, one of the most prestigious endurance races in the world.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Alex Zanardi slid into his BMW for a second stint around Daytona International Speedway and reached for his steering wheel as it was passed to him through the window. For one anxious moment, everyone waited to see if the wheel connected.

Alex Zanardi slid into his BMW for a second stint around Daytona International Speedway and Full of nervous energy when he finally got to race in the Rolex 24 at Daytona , Zanardi 's first stint was After losing his legs, Zanardi took up hand cycling and has won four gold medals - six total medals

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The Rolex 24 at Daytona has started with a heavyweight lineup that includes beloved champion Alex Zanardi in a field full of superstars.

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Don’t know the Rolex 24? You should. Here’s why. A primer for those new to North America's premier endurance race.

The 24 Hours of Daytona —known as the Rolex 24 since the watch company started sponsoring the race in 1991—has been America’s premier sports car race since its first race back in 1962. Former F1 Stars Fernando Alonso and Kamui Kobayashi Teaming Up .

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - - Starters for Saturday's 37th Rolex 24 At Daytona at Daytona International Speedway, Round One of the USRRC Can-Am and GT Championships with qualifying position, car number in parenthesis, team, drivers with hometowns, class, car, time and speed in miles per hour.

The two-time CART champion and former Formula One driver is racing in North America for the first time since both legs were severed in a 2001 crash in Germany. BMW designed a steering wheel that allows Zanardi to race without his prosthetics using levers to brake, accelerate, shift and adjust the fuel parameters in the engine.

The Bobby Rahal-owned team didn't reveal its driver rotation before the start of Saturday's race but Zanardi was expected to get in the car at the first driver change. The team has choreographed the stops to roughly 15 seconds and that includes swapping the steering wheel for his teammates.

The Italian has been swarmed by fans and competitors in Daytona and has been an inspiration for his attitude and accomplishments -- he's won four gold medals in hand cycling in two different Olympics -- and he's overshadowed all the other drivers in the field. John Edwards, his teammate on RLL, went to the grocery store in his uniform Friday night and was stopped by a fan who wondered if Edwards had ever met Zanardi.

Zanardi looks ahead with realistic expectations

Zanardi looks ahead with realistic expectations Motor racing: Zanardi looks ahead with realistic expectations

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – It’s finally here. Ten days from now, on Saturday, Jan. 26 at 2:30 p.m. ET, the green flag will fly over a 47-car field in the 57th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona . It marks both the start of the IMSA 50th Anniversary Celebration and the beginning of an exciting new era for the

Zanardi targets rolex 24 at daytona bid in 2019 The former Indy car star – who lost his legs in a horrifying CART crash at Lausitz in 2001 – is to

Edwards opened the race with Zanardi on deck based on the rotation the team used when practicing driver swaps.

Chip Ganassi Racing's reigning class champion team had the first major problem of the event when Ryan Briscoe went off course roughly an hour into the event. His Ford GT suffered damage and Briscoe went down three laps from the leaders. The team of Briscoe, Richard Westbrook and Scott Dixon won the GT Le Mans class last season.

Mazda Team Joest broke a 26-year-old track record in qualifying for the pole and driver Oliver Jarvis led the field to the green flag at the start of the twice-round-the-clock endurance race. He had a pair of Acura's from Team Penske right behind him and Juan Pablo Montoya, a three-time overall Rolex winner, needed roughly 40 minutes to get past Jarvis and take over the lead.

Ricky Taylor started the race in the second Penske car and followed his teammate past Jarvis to put the Penske cars 1-2 in the opening hour. Watching from his perch on the pit stand was team owner Roger Penske, who promised he'd watch the entire 24-hour event and not take a nap for the second consecutive year.

Rolex 24 such a party Roger Penske vows to pull all-nighter

Rolex 24 such a party Roger Penske vows to pull all-nighter Someone has to throw the first party of the year and IMSA has built its Rolex 24 at Daytona into a bucket-list event on a calendar full of motorsports elite races. 

Originally known as the 24 Hours of DAYTONA , the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA is a 24 -hour sports car endurance race held annually that kicks off the new IMSA Weather Tech SportsCar Championship season at Daytona International Speedway. There are traditionally around 60 cars in the field

*Must purchase Rolex 24 At DAYTONA admission ticket. Admission not included with garage wristbands. Will Call tickets can also be picked up at any of the frontstretch ticket booths beginning at 9 a.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday with the ticket booth outside of the Chevrolet injector being open

Penske, who turns 82 next month and will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Friday night, said he refused to risk stepping away and missing a critical moment for his race cars.

"It would be my luck to look at the scoring, see we are 25th and have no idea what happened," Penske said roughly an hour before the race. "I'm here to be part of the solution if there's a problem."

Jordan Taylor was at the wheel for Wayne Taylor Racing in the opening stint. Waiting for his chance in the Wayne Taylor car was Fernando Alonso, retired from Formula One in November, back at the Rolex for a second consecutive season.

Bia Figueiredo started the race for an all-female lineup driving for Meyer Shank Racing, a project formed by scientist Jackie Heinricher in her bid to promote women in the sport. Heinricher is the amateur on the team but hurt her back testing the car in December and is not driving at Daytona. She brought in two-time IMSA class champion Christina Nielsen to fill the gap. The lineup also includes Katherine Legge and Simona de Silvestro.

IMSA is celebrating its 50th anniversary season this year, and the Rolex is considered the kickoff of the motorsports calendar. The star-studded field and debut of NBC Sports as the series' television partner has raised the enthusiasm around this event. NBC had Townsend Bell and AJ Allmendinger, who are both driving in this race, open the coverage as contributing analysts.

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