Rejoice racing world, for the resurgence of sports cars is among us. In the aftermath of the collapse of LMP1 and GTE classes around the world, I’d figured we were heading for a racing doldrums for a while, at least in sports car competition. IMSA seems to be the exception proving the rule, considering it today told Racer.com that the field for the Daytona 24 was at capacity with 60 cars confirmed, and several more on the wait list. 60 cars taking the start will be an improvement of 11 cars over the 2021 running of the twice-round-the-clock endurance classic.
Last year’s race saw just six cars in the dying GTLM category, and the class replacing it for 2022, GTD Pro, will make up an impressive 13 cars on the grid from factory-backed teams with all-pro driver lineups. Impressively, the proliferation of GTD Pro does not mean there will be fewer GTD Am cars, either, as that class also grows from 19 in 2021 to 22 in 2022. That means 35 cars on the grid will be GT3 machines, improving the race’s road car relevance to the average fan.
The top flight Prototype category will be a Cadillac Vs. Acura affair, with seven cars total and five of them from the performance/luxury GM brand. This is why it’s all the more devastating to see the Mazda drop off the entry list. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still going to be a good fight between the two manufacturers, and DPi still holds the same seven cars as it did in January of this year. It’ll be really exciting to see what happens when the LMDh cars debut in 2023, but for now let’s focus on the DPi swan song. It’s bound to be a good one.
Add in 10 pro-am entries in the LMP2 category, and eight more in LMP3, and it’s looking like a pretty full grid for the Daytona race. I’m guessing any series in the racing world would be ecstatic to see a 22 percent bump in participation year over year.