The 50 cars that participated in last weekend’s Roar Before the Rolex 24 test have been sorted into the garages and pit stalls of the Daytona International Speedway for this month’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The final day of the mandatory Roar test included 15-minute qualifying sessions for all three IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship classes, with the fastest car in each class earning its team the most favorable garage and pit locations for the season-opening race.
Action Express Racing, which won its first appearance at the Rolex 24 in 2010, will occupy the first two garages and pit stalls during the first edition of the historic race in which the allocations were qualified for.
The No. 31 Cadillac DPi-V.R from Action Express, pedaled to an unofficial lap record by Felipe Nasr in qualifying at the Roar, will utilize the 50th pit box (first at pit-in). The team’s No. 5 entry, despite qualifying third, will take up Box 49.
The next two pit stalls have been issued to Grasser Racing Team’s pair of Lamborghini Huracan GT3s thanks to Mirko Bortolotti’s GT Daytona-leading 1:47.374 lap in qualifying. Joey Hand was the quickest GT Le Mans driver, earning Chip Ganassi Racing’s Ford GT duo the next two pit stalls behind GRT’s.
GTD teams will separate Prototype and GTLM entrants in this manner all the way down pit lane due to IMSA’s updated yellow-flag pit-stop procedure for 2018. Put in place to maximize safety by spacing out cars that will commonly come in for service together, the new method is outlined in Rule 46.3.1 of the 2018 IMSA Sporting Regulations & Series Supplementary Regulations:
The Race Director instructs Officials to re-open the pits for the “Standard FCY.” Only P and GTLM Cars are permitted to pit on the first lap after the pits are declared open. Only GTD Cars are permitted to pit on the subsequent lap. Any Car is permitted to pit on laps after the first two class-specific opportunities to pit are concluded.
No matter the class and qualifying position of its second car, all teams running multiple cars will have both their cars pitted in successive boxes, with the exception of Team Penske’s Acura ARX-05 duo. The Roger Penske-led team has chosen to separate its cars on pit lane for maximum room when pitting simultaneously.
The two Mazda RT24-Ps, for example, were qualified eighth and 20th, but will be the ninth and 10th Prototype cars on pit lane. The No. 2 Tequila Patron ESM entry qualified 16th but will be the eighth-pitted Prototype since its sister car set the seventh-fastest lap in qualifying.
Risi Competizione, the only team fielding cars in separate classes, will fill Boxes 21 and 20 with its GTD and GTLM entries, respectively, despite the cars being separated by 11 others in the qualifying results.
The staggering of classes will only be seen on pit lane, with the paddock being organized by class.
These garage and pit allocations will be in effect during the Rolex 24 race weekend, set for Jan. 24–28, 2018.