As major racing fans, we have no idea what’s going to happen going into the Rolex 24 at Daytona this weekend. That’s one of the reasons why WE’LL BE THERE! This is one of the most intriguing Daytona 24’s since the ALMS/GRAND-AM split and we can’t wait to see what happens. With a packed field, balance of performance issues, two sports car racing series coming together, it promises to be a tempest and it will be amazing.
As BMW fans, there are a few cars for us to cheer for. While there aren’t any M4s or M3s in sight, there will be three Z4s to cheer for. And these sure ain’t the Z4’s you see on the street! Two from the factory-backed Rahal-Letterman-Lanigan team and one, from Turner Motorsport in GT-Daytona. We can’t wait!
GT-Le Mans: Team RLL #55 & #56
The major talking point in racing media is about how this team has never been tested in a 24 Hour race before. Plus, given the car’s major downforce, they’re saying that the Z4 will be a beast on the infield but a kitty on the super speedway portion of the track.
However, with an all-star international driver lineup in the 55 car with Bill Auberlen, Andy Priaulx, Joey Hand and Maxime Martin, the #55 Z4 is not to be trifled with. Team RLL runs cars in several series, so the team’s ready to go and the drivers are top-notch, so we could have a fight on our hands.
As for the 56 car, it has arguably the weaker driver lineup, but Graham Rahal is coming off of a resurgent Indycar year in 2013, so he would be hungry to add a Rolex Daytona to his wrist. He’ll also be looking to start 2014 off with a bang to continue to relative roll. Dirk Muller is an absolute stud behind the wheel, so the 56 has as much of a shot as the 55 in the GTLM. Can they unseat the Corvettes at Daytona? Time will tell.
We’ll be there to tell you.
GT-Daytona Class: Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 #94
In the GT-Daytona class (or, the artist formerly known as the GRAND-AM GT Class) Turner Motorsport is switching to an entirely new platform with the GTD version of the GT3 Z4. However, Turner does have three aces up its sleeve – its drivers. Dane Cameron, Augusto Farfus and Markus Palttala are all extremely talented drivers. Paul Dalla Lana’s no slouch, either, but Cameron, Farfus and Palttala are on a whole different level that just might put the GTD Z4 on the podium for the 24.
However, given the newness of the platform, as BMW fans, we must temper our expectations. This is a new car in a new series, so craziness might ensue. This race might be used as a shakedown period for the car however, given Turner’s winning past in both the GRAND-AM and Continental Tire series, it would be wise not to count them out. With the sheer number of cars on the grid, there might be a lot of crash outs. If they can make it to hour 20, all bets might be off.