Roar Before the 24: Times Close at Daytona

Daytona 24h Prototypes.jpg

The first major sportscar race of 2019 is in the final stages of preparation as Harry Tinknell and Mazda Team Joest set fastest time in the Rolex 24hr preceding 'Roar before the 24' test session.

Tinknell, driving the top tier category #55 Mazda RT24-P finished day three of the pre-race test session at Daytona today, topping out the times ahead of Fernando Alonso's WTR Cadillac by just 0.127 - the Spaniard himself a further half second ahead of #77 Mazda of former Audi DTM driver Olli Jarvis.

Just behind the top three would be the pair of Action Express Cadillac prototypes, ahead of the Team Penske Acura of Alex Rossi in seventh, the American just edging out the third Cadillac of Devlin DeFrancesco, running under the satellite JDC-Miller Motorsports banner.

Although purely a pre-event test session, the 'Road before the 24' still holds much prestige with racing fans in the USA, and is often seen as one of the key indicators as to the respective performance of the teams ahead of the main event later this month.

If the three days of running held so far are anything to go by, the biggest 24 hour race in American motorsports should be a thrilling affair at the front of the field, made more intriguing still by the prospect of a competitive Fernando Alonso gunning for outright victory on just his second visit to the race.

Daytona 24h GTLM.jpg

Although likely to receive the lions share of the headlines come race day on January 26th, the top tier Prototype category isn't the only show in town, with both LMP2 and GTLM taking starring roles in the big race. Representing the best of North American closed top GT cars, the GTLM field was once again an impressive show of close and competitive action during the Roar test, with Porsche and Corvette taking the top three times separated by just 0122, the #912 Porsche 911 RSR of Mathieu Jaminet fastest in class, just ahead of the lead Corvette of Antonio Garcia by 0.007.

Behind the top three would be the Ferrari, Ford and BMW, with just under 6 tenths of a second separating the GTLM class today.

All in, it looks like the Rolex Daytona 24 hour race this January 26th could well be a very impressive start to the 2019 endurance racing season - I can't wait!

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RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief, occasional YouTuber, commentator and broadcaster, with a passion for motorsport on both the real and virtual racetrack.


Feb 6, 2017
Excited for the GTLM battle, by far my favorite class.
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Filip Carlén

Jan 6, 2014
Anyone knows if there will be any free, legal streams online? And if not, what channels are showing it in Europe?


Jun 4, 2017
IMSA is usually spot on with BOP in GTLM but last year Daytona was probably the only race where they got it totally wrong. I mean Ford's were in the class of their own, Corvette's in 2nd class and 3rd class for Porsche's and BMW's. I'm extremely excited for the race so hopefully they get it right!


May 17, 2014
uhh what about GTD? its the biggest class and even the irrelevent p2s got a mention!
Feb 2, 2018
Anyone knows if there will be any free, legal streams online? And if not, what channels are showing it in Europe? should have you covered. They are much more intelligent than the FIA in that respect, they understood that there is no point to have cars run in circles (no oval racing joke, I love it!) with nobody watching.


Sep 29, 2008
Looking forward to my first Daytona 24. I will be driving from Atlanta :D
I just back from three days at the 'ROAR'. You're gonna love it although jam packed full of people. My favorite places to watch are Turn 3 along the fence when you leave the garage area, and Turn 5. At Turn 5 you can also see them on the banking. Have fun sir!