By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer
DAYTONA BEACH, FL– Ahead of the 57th Rolex 24 at Daytona, it’s time to make some random predictions about the twice around the clock classic.
DPi/overall winner: No. 7 Acura Team Penske DPi. The combination of Helio Castroneves, Ricky Taylor and Alexander Rossi is very hard to beat and if the Mazdas falter, they will be right there to pick up the pieces.
DPi dark horse candidate: No. 77 Mazda Team Joest DPi. The Mazdas have been very fast but their reliability has been in question. After a fast-paced offseason, we could see a surprise from the Joest squad.
LMP2 off the podium: With only four cars in LMP2, it would be better to predict which car will not be on the podium. I’m picking PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports because their team has a number in the name. Completely random, I know, but DragonSpeed will have at least one car on the podium and Performance Tech won their class a couple of years ago in Prototype Challenge.
GTLM winner: Flip a coin between either Ford GT. Granted, the team didn’t qualify well (third and sixth), the team might be holding their pace back a bit, especially based on how they performed last year.
GTLM dark horse candidate: No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari. The Houston-based squad isn’t competing in the full championship so the 488 GTE will not hold anything back out of caution.
GTD winner: No. 57 Meyer-Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3. The No. 57 has perhaps one of the best lineups in any class and with all four drivers being female, the team will make history if they win.
GTD dark horse candidate: No. 13 Via Italia Racing Ferrari. The polesitters in GTD, the mostly Brazilian team also led a couple of sessions at the Roar Before the 24.
Last place finisher: Moorespeed Audi R8. All four Audis are on the bottom half of the GTD qualifying results and it might not lead to good fortune for Audi.
Random car(s) to look out for: Either BMW Team RLL M8 in GTLM. The BMW cars have had a year of development and might show something for the race. Granted, the No. 911 Porsche qualified on pole in GTLM, but the Fords dominated last year.
Another car to be on the lookout for is the No. 50 Juncos Racing Cadillac DPi. The team qualified seventh in their first sports car race and team principle Ricardo Juncos is looking for a good race.