The Line Up: 53rd Rolex 24 At Daytona


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(LAT Photo USA for IMSA)
Fifty-three racing machines representing ten different automotive manufacturers are slated to take the green flag in the 53rd Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 24-25 at Daytona International Speedway. The annual season opener for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship is also the first round of the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup. More than fifteen hours of live FOX Sports coverage will be available to viewers in the United States beginning with a two-hour FOX network block at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 24.

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(John Thawley  ~  Motorsports Photography @  ~ 248.227.0110)

We’re thrilled to be able to showcase photographer extraordinaire John Thawley’s talents once again in the pages of Autoextremist in 2015. John was at the annual TUDOR United SportsCar Championship “Roar Before the Rolex 24” test at Daytona International Speedway over the weekend (Jan. 9-11). The three-day test is the lone official IMSA test of the off season and the final dress rehearsal for teams competing in the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona on Jan. 24-25. Check out John’s images from the weekend here.
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Chevrolet will sponsor John Force Racing, Inc. starting with the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season. The multi-year agreement will include all three John Force Racing Chevrolet Camaro Funny Cars as well as the JFR Top Fuel dragster.
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(McLaren Automotive)
The track-only McLaren P1™GTR will make its debut at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show in March. Watch a high definition video that shows the latest stages in the McLaren P1™GTR development program here.
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Porsche will begin an extensive testing program for the second generation of its 919 Hybrid Le Mans prototype on January 18, on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit. Porsche plans several performance and endurance tests before the WEC season opener on April 12 in Silverstone, Great Britain. Porsche says that the new 919 Hybrid is a comprehensive evolution of the machine that made its debut in 2014. It will continue on with the same drivetrain concept consisting of a 2-liter V4 turbocharged petrol engine, an electric motor powering the front wheels and two energy recovery systems. The new generation Porsche 919 Hybrid had its first rollout on December 15, 2014.
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McLaren has introduced a limited edition model to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the McLaren F1 GTR victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. With a design and styling inspired by the race-winning chassis #01R McLaren F1 GTR – including the iconic roof-mounted ‘snorkel’ air intake – only 50 models, all coupés, will be made available globally. The project was undertaken in collaboration with Peter Stevens, famed designer of the McLaren F1. The McLaren F1 GTRs crossed the line to finish 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 13th at the world’s greatest endurance race in 1995. Other details of the 650S by McLaren Special Operations? Besides the fully-integrated ‘snorkel,’ unique ‘Le Mans Edition’ lightweight wheels – 19-inch at the front, 20-inch at the rear – are styled around the design of the motorsport rims fitted to the 1995 racers. The rims wear the McLaren-developed Pirelli P Zero™ Corsa tired and are mounted in front of the standard carbon ceramic brakes, with McLaren Orange calipers, of course.
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(McLaren Automotive images)
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(McLaren Automotive images)
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(McLaren Automotive images)
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BMW Team RLL will help BMW celebrate a very special anniversary at this weekend’s 53rd annual Rolex 24 at Daytona. The race marks the 40th anniversary of BMW’s first race in the US and BMW Team RLL will race with the numbers 24 and 25 on its two BMW Z4 GTLM machines in honor of the iconic BMW 3.0 CSL race cars that debuted at the same race four decades ago. “40 years ago, while BMW of North America was still in its infancy, BMW’s first national marketing program in the United States was to go racing,” commented Ludwig Willisch, Chairman and CEO of BMW of North America, LLC. “BMW Motorsport introduced two BMW 3.0 CSL race cars in North America for the 1975 IMSA season at 24 Hours of Daytona. Those cars became legends and laid the foundation for success BMW has enjoyed in the past four decades, where today we are the number-one luxury brand.” (The No. 59 BMW 3.0 CSL Group 4 racing machine with driver Brian Redman, winners of the 1976 24 Hours of Daytona, can be seen above.) 2015 is the third (and undoubtedly last) season of competition for the BMW Z4 GTLM, and this year two new chassis have been constructed for the 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and tested extensively at two preseason tests at the Daytona International Speedway. BMW will have current BMW DTM stars Augusto Farfus and Bruno Spengler co-driving the No. 25 BMW Z4 GTLM with season-long drivers Bill Auberlen and Dirk Werner. Jens Klingmann and Graham Rahal will join John Edwards and Lucas Luhr in the No. 24 BMW Z4 GTLM. Edwards and Luhr will drive the car for the season.
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The No. 56 BMW Z4 GTLM shown during last year’s running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
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(Mazda Motorsports)
Mazda has announced the addition of Liam Dwyer as a full-time racer in the 2015 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge.  Dwyer teamed up with Tom Long to co-drive their Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5 to victory in the Lime Rock Park Continental Tire ST race on Memorial Day weekend last year.  The win was a made-for-Hollywood storyline as Dwyer was not only competing in just his second professional race, he was doing so with an artificial leg, having been injured while serving as a U.S. Marine Staff Sergeant in Afghanistan just three years previously. Dwyer will be paired up with Andrew Carbonell for the entire ten-race 2015 season beginning January 23rd at Daytona International Speedway.  Carbonell scored two wins with Freedom Autosport and Mazda in 2014. 
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(Lamborghini images)
Automobili Lamborghini has introduced the new Lamborghini Huracán GT3 in a world premiere at its headquarters in Sant’Agata Bolognese. The Huracán GT3 will compete in the Blancpain Endurance Series in 2015 that runs over five venues in Europe, including the Spa-Francorchamps 24-hours race. The Lamborghini Huracán GT3 is equipped with an Alu-Carbon chassis and a fully integrated FIA-compliant roll-cage. The subframe has been modified both at the front and rear to accommodate a high-performance water radiator (front), and for a better positioning of the gearbox (rear), improving aerodynamics. The curb weight is 1239 Kg with a 42/58 front/rear weight distribution. The final weight will be set by the FIA BOP.
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