IMSA’s first race of 2020 takes place this weekend with the opening round of the IMSA Prototype Challenge six-race season at the iconic Daytona International Speedway as part of the annual Roar Before the 24 event.
The race on Saturday, Jan. 4 starts at 12:15 p.m. ET and can be seen live in the United States on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold (nbcsports.com/gold/trackpass) and internationally on IMSA.tv. IMSA Radio also will provide live flag-to-flag coverage of the race. NBCSN will broadcast the race on Monday, Jan. 14 at 4:30 pm ET.
Last year’s team champions – the No. 47 Forty7 Motorsports entry – returns to defend its title albeit with a different lineup behind the wheel. JJ Jorge, Joel Janco and Kyle Kirkwood take over as the pilots of the Norma M30 after Rodrigo Pflucker and Austin McCusker won in 2019.
Jorge and Janco are no strangers to the class as they teamed up in 2019 to win the Bronze Drivers Cup driving for another team in a Ligier JS P3.
“We have some strong drivers in Joel and Jonathan and we have already raced with them at the Encore and won,” said team owner Garrett Kletjian. “So that was a good start right out of the box. We are hoping for good things with these guys.
“This is the most prepared we have come into a season. We have all our crew returning and have limited ourselves to two cars in this class this year after running three, or even four, last year. We have this Norma dialed in and we are comfortable with the car. We really feel prepared this year.
“This is one I would really like to win,” Kletjian added. “The last two years we have finished second so it would be nice to move up one more spot on the podium. We would love to win at Daytona. We feel our best opportunities will be in these three hour races with Kyle Kirkwood as our third driver.”
Including last year’s champions, four of the top five teams from 2019 return to the championship and are entered into Saturday’s season-opening race.
Last year’s third-place team returns to the grid as the No. 60 Wulver Racing Ligier JS P3 is features the familiar lineup of Tonis Kasemets and Bruce Hamilton as co-drivers. Tristan Viidas will be joining the team for the season-opening race.
The No. 54 MLT Motorsports entry finished fourth last year and returns driver Dakota Dickerson who will be joined by new co-driver Dean Baker. Veteran driver Cameron Cassels is back in the No. 75 from Performance Tech and will be joined by Max Hanratty. The team rounded out the top five in 2019.
Forty7 Motorsports, Performance Tech and Sean Creech Motorsports lead the 18-car grid with two entries each.
New rules for 2020 include the requirement of at least one Bronze-rated driver in every car in the field. Teams also will be required to have two drivers per car for any race and may have up to three drivers for any three-hour race. Any car with two Bronze-rated drivers will be eligible for a separate, Bronze Cup championship.
Tickets for the Roar and the 58th Rolex 24 At Daytona (Jan. 23-26) are available by visiting daytonainternationalspeedway.com.