January 2021 News
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Drivers in the Rolex 24 at Daytona

The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship's first
race of 2021 is at the end of this month -
the
Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Teams show up a week ahead of time and test over Friday
and Saturday - those sessions are called the “Roar Before
the Rolex 24”  (It sort of rhymes...)

This is the sportcar series' premier race and their only 24-
hour race.  It attracts other teams and drivers too.

From
IndyCar comes drivers Simon Pagenaud, Colton
Herta, Alex Rossi, Rinus VeeKay, Helio Castroneves and
Jimmie Johnson.

Johnson, who will be racing for Chip Ganassi's IndyCar
team this year, will pair up with Simon Pagenaud who
drives for Team Penske in Indycar.  They will be driving
for Action Express in the #48  Ally Cadillac DPi-V.R   
This will be Johnson's 8th Rolex 24 and Pagenaud's 7th.

Chase Elliott, AJ Almendinger and Austin Dillon from
Nascar will be racing too.

Other great drivers appearing include Kevin Magnussen
from Formula 1 and Juan Montoya, who is also entered in
this year's Indy 500.

This will be the 59th running of the race, which began in
1962.
The 24-hour endurance race is ran on Daytona's 3.56-mile
road course which uses much of the facility's tri-oval,
including the steep banking.
2019 Rolex 24
A Car Race With No Drivers

Jan 11 - IMS announced last year that a driverless auto race would take place at the
Speedway this year.

College teams will compete using Indy Light Dallara chassis.  

The qualifying path for the teams consists of:
Round 1 – Write a paper explaining how they will turn a car into a robot.

Round 2 – Create a video showing how they’ve modified a vehicle to drive by itself, or,
they can compete in a self-driving go-kart race at IMS.

Round 3 – The teams will create game code and compete against each other in a simulated
computer race, with $150k in prize money.

Round 4 – The finalists get to test their race cars at IMS, perhaps during Indy 500 week.

After that, they will race at the Indy Speedway for
twenty laps on Oct 23 of this year.  

$1 million goes to the winner, 2nd place receives a quarter mill and third place wins $50k.

I found no mention of how many teams will compete.

It will be the fastest autonomous car race and I imagine many race fans will be interested
in seeing what happens.  
Supposedly, the project was created to aid in the development of
driver aids for future street cars.  I think it's just a publicity stunt.
Marco Andretti Quits Full-Time IndyCar
Racing


Jan 15 -   
Marco Andretti, the 2020 Indianapolis 500 Pole
Sitter, to refocus racing career, stepping away from full-
time IndyCar competition for the 2021 season.

However, the third-generation racer is set to race in the
105th Running of Indianapolis 500-Mile Race.

Andretti will assist Andretti Autosport with pre-season
testing and development, including the Jan. 19 Sebring test
day.
STATEMENT FROM MARCO ANDRETTI:
"Upon careful thought over the past couple of months, I have made the decision to make some changes to my racing activities
and focus for 2021. I recently shared this decision and the changes that I want to make with my Dad and have spoken at length
with him about it. I appreciate his openness and for allowing me the flexibility to map out my own course going forward.

"I am fortunate to be in a position at Andretti Autosport to run the full INDYCAR season if I want to. But, instead, I have
decided to change up my direction somewhat – to reset – to do something a little different - look at everything fresh and see
where that takes me. And, to me, now seems like the appropriate time to do that.

"I definitely am going to keep driving. I still have a deep passion for it and have unfinished business to take care of and some
boxes that I want to check before I consider retiring as a driver.

"First and foremost, I remain very hungry to win the Indy 500. It is our biggest stage and the place that I feel I bring the most
to the table as a driver. I’ve come close there and am in the mix there it seems each year. Winning the pole there last year was
awesome but that isn’t enough - I know that a victory there is in my future so we’ll try to get that done in the coming years.
As such, I have committed to and am looking forward to running the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport this year. In addition to
being squarely focused on the Indy 500, I might also take a look at running some other races on the INDYCAR schedule as the
season progresses, in order to remain “car fit.” I have also offered to help the team with some testing and other activities along
the way. And, I may look at different opportunities in all of motorsports.

"My involvement in my Andretti Autosport entry will continue.

"I also want to do some sports car racing - maybe even get the chance to do IMSA events with my cousin Jarett, which would
be a lot of fun for me. I’ll be looking into other sports car opportunities as well in the coming months and welcome discussions
in that regard. Marquee events like the 24 Hours of Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring, and Le Mans would be on that list for sure.  

"I am excited for what the future holds for me both on and off the track and, again, am grateful to Dad and Andretti Autosport
for allowing me the freedom to change things around as I’d like and to proceed forward a little differently this upcoming season."