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2016 Rolex 24 To Christen New DIS

| , RacinToday.com Thursday, March 5 2015

The Rolex 24 will be first big event at revamped Daytona next year.

RacinToday.com

The 54th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the first event scheduled for the new motorsports stadium at Daytona International Speedway, is scheduled Jan. 30-31, 2016, track officials announced Thursday.

The twice-around-the-clock sports car classic staged on the track’s 3.56-mile road-course and “roval” will serve as kick-off event to the 2016 IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season.

“We’re excited to finalize the dates for the Rolex 24 at Daytona for 2016, the first event in the new stadium,” said Joie Chitwood III, DIS president. “Sports car enthusiasts will be able to enjoy all the new amenities from the DAYTONA Rising project as well as view the racing action that comes with the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The challenge is North America’s most prestigious sports car event and attracts the world’s best drivers to compete lap-after-lap for 24 hours in the ultimate test of driver and machine.”

Testing dates for the 2016 Rolex 24 also have been finalized. The Roar Before the Rolex 24, a critical three-day test session in advance of the race, is scheduled for Jan. 8-10. And the BMW Performance 200, season-opening event to the IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge and part of the Rolex 24 weekend, will go green on Friday, Jan. 29.

Scott Dixon tracked down and passed Jordan Taylor with just over one hour to go and went on to win the 2015 Rolex 24 on Jan. 25. Dixon, driving the No. 02 Ford-powered Riley fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, took the checkered flag at the end of a three-and-a-half hour stint that saw him make up what had been a 6-second deficit to Taylor and his No. 10 Corvette Daytona Prototype with two hours to go.

The victory was sealed for Dixon and his teammates when Taylor had to pit to change drivers with under 10 minutes to go, as Taylor was up against the mandated maximum time limit for drivers. That put the No. 5 Corvette Daytona Prototype of Action Express in second place and gave it the runner-up finish. Sebastien Bourdais drove the final stint for Action Express. The margin of victory was 2.67-seconds.

Sharing the top step of the podium with Dixon were Verizon IndyCar Series teammate Tony Kanaan and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regulars Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray.

“The Rolex 24 at Daytona is an event where fans can enjoy close competition and witness the latest and greatest in automotive technologies,” said Scott Atherton, president of the International Motor Sports Association. “Our world-class Prototypes racing alongside a new crop of GT cars for the first time following the DAYTONA Rising project will make next year’s Rolex 24 a must-see.”

DAYTONA Rising is a $400-million redevelopment project of the Daytona International Speedway frontstretch. Five expanded and redesigned entrances, or “injectors,” will lead fans to a series of escalators and elevators, transporting them to three different concourse levels. Each level features spacious social areas, or “neighborhoods,” along the nearly mile-long frontstretch.

At conclusion of the redevelopment, Daytona International Speedway will have approximately 101,000 permanent, wider and more comfortable seats, twice as many restrooms and three times as many concession stands.

Ticket and complete schedule information for the 2016 Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Roar Before the Rolex 24 will be released at a later date. Additional information on tickets to events at the “World Center of Racing” can be accessed online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.

Fans can follow sports cars racing at www.imsa.com and on Twitter at TUDOR United SportsCar Championship (@UnitedSportsCar).

| , RacinToday.com Thursday, March 5 2015
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