Once again, this race serves as the season opener for the IMSA season and we have 38 cars entered for this year's race across the Daytona Prototype international, LMP2, GT Le Mans and GT Daytona classes. GT Daytona will be the largest class in this year's race with 18 entries with DPi following with eight entries, GTLM with seven entries and LMP2 has the fewest entries, five. Thirty-eight entries are the fewest in the history of the 24 Hours of Daytona.
Daytona is the first of 12 IMSA rounds this season with the 12 Hours of Sebring following on March 21st. Long Beach will be April 18th and this year's Long Beach race will include the GTD class along with DPi and GTLM. Long Beach will only count toward the WeatherTech Sprint Cup for the GTD class. All four classes will be back together at Mid-Ohio on May 5th.
Belle Isle will be May 31st and it will be the second Sprint Cup-only round for GTD while it will be the fifth round for the DPi class. The 6 Hours of the Glen marks the midway point of the season and it will feature all four classes on June 28th. On July 5th, DPi, GTLM and GTD will be at Mosport.
On July 18, GTLM and GTD will be at Lime Rock Park. All four classes will be at Road America on August 2nd before another GT-only round at Virginia International Raceway on August 23rd. Laguna Seca will host the penultimate round on September 13th. Petit Le Mans closes the season on October 13th.
This preview will look at all 38 entries for Daytona, give a few reasons why each entry could win their respective class, a few reasons why each entry cannot win its class and what expectations each entry can have for the 2020 season.
Daytona Prototype international
#5 JDC-Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R.
Drivers: João Barbosa, Sébastien Bourdais, Loïc Duval
Why this car could win: Barbosa and Bourdais won this race together in 2014. Barbosa has also won this race in 2010 and 2018. Bourdais won in the GTLM class with the Ford GT program in 2017. Duval was third overall with CORE Autosport in 2018. Duval has won at Le Mans, a World Endurance Drivers' Championship. Barbosa had the seventh fastest lap at the Roar with Bourdais and Duval ranking 11th and 13th.
Why this car will not win: While having the same, number and paint scheme, this is a new team. The Mustang Sampling program has moved from Action Express Racing to JDC-Miller Motorsports. JDC-Miller has been respectable in DPi competition. It won the 6 Hours of the Glen two years ago. There could be some growing pains in race one.
What to expect for the full season: I could say every DPi entry could win the championship. That is how good this class is on paper for 2020. Barbosa has won plenty of championships and Bourdais has been fantastic in his career between IndyCar and sports cars. A sports car title would give Bourdais some great hardware to an already decorated career. I worry early teething problems could set this car back. It could win a race or two but be too far in the hole to get out of it.
Drivers: Dane Cameron, Juan Pablo Montoya, Simon Pagenaud
Why this car could win: These are the defending Daytona Prototype international champions. Montoya has won this race three times before and he was third in the Roar. Cameron is stud and rarely puts a wheel wrong. Pagenaud is coming off a tremendous 2019 season that saw him win the Indianapolis 500 and two other IndyCar races on his way to finishing second in the championship.
Why this car will not win: It always seems like Team Penske cannot put together a complete 24 hours without any major hiccups. Penske has not won this race since 1969 and while the team has not been running it consecutively it has put together some pretty stout lineups and not broken through. Also, while Montoya was quick at the Roar, Cameron and Pagenaud were 24th and 27th out of 27 DPi drivers that participated.
What to expect for the full season: Cameron and Montoya should be up there defending their championship. A win at Daytona would be a great way to start a title defense and it could put the title out of reach on day one. These two could pick up another two or three victories and end up with a second title in as many years to boot.
#7 Acura Team Penske Acura ARX-05
Drivers: Hélio Castroneves, Ricky Taylor, Alexander Rossi
Why this car could win: Because after going winless in 2018 while the sister car won the championship the #7 Acura needs to respond and this is the best way to do it. Add to it Taylor has won this race before and he was second fastest in the test. Castroneves is trying to do all he can to secure his place as a Team Penske Indianapolis 500 entrant and winning this race could give him some leverage. Rossi was great last year in this car and he has a knack for being quick and competitive in anything he jumps in.
Why this car will not win: Similar to the #6 Acura, Team Penske struggles to put together a successful 24-hour race and this car seems to be the one that loses out the most between the two entries. On top of that, while Taylor was second, Rossi was 12th and Castroneves was 23rd at the test.
What to expect for the full season: This car has to win at least one race but it really has to keep up with the #6 Acura. It can win one race but if it is mostly a consolation to a season with mostly fourth and fifth place finishes than it is not going to bode well for Castroneves and Taylor. I think those two can match Cameron and Montoya and they could finish next to each other in the championship with each car winning multiple times.
#10 Konica Minolta Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R
Drivers: Renger van der Zande, Ryan Briscoe, Scott Dixon, Kamui Kobayashi
Why this car could win: It won this race last year and while it lost Jordan Taylor and Fernando Alonso it picked up two-time Daytona winner and all-time great Dixon and brought in the ever-reliably Briscoe, who has won this race twice in the GTLM class. Van der Zande is aggressive and Kobayashi had an unheralded drive last year and he is coming off a strong year in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Why this car will not win: Too many changes and outside of Daytona, Wayne Taylor Racing struggled in 2019. Daytona was the team's only victory last season and its only other podium finishes were second at Sebring and second at Petit Le Mans, a great track record for the endurance races but a worrying sign across the board. Add to it this was the slowest DPi car at the Roar, granted within a second of the top time and van der Zande and Kobayashi were eighth and ninth overall.
What to expect for the full season: Last year still leaves a bad taste in my mouth and this team wasn't necessarily sold on van der Zande returning in 2020. I can easily envision a version of this season where the #10 Cadillac does not win a race and a lot of people saying this is the disappointment of 2020. This car can win but I am not sure it is going to be spectacular. Briscoe is a smart driver who can win races but he is not flashy. Briscoe isn't known for dominating in terms of pole positions and being the driver to watch. I think this car will win one race but this season could look a lot like 2019.
#31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R
Drivers: Felipe Nasr, Pipo Derani, Filipe Albuquerque, Mike Conway
Why this car could win: Derani and Nasr are a fantastic pair and adding Albuquerque and Conway makes this a four-headed monster that will be tough to beat. Derani won this race in 2017 and he just seems to have a way with endurance races. Derani and Nasr won at Sebring and Petit Le Mans last year. Nasr won the DPi title two years ago. Albuquerque won this race in 2018 with Action Express Racing. He also won the GT class in 2013. Conway has been remarkable with Toyota in WEC.
Why this car will not win: Nasr was fourth overall in the test but his three co-drivers were all outside the top twenty.
What to expect for the full season: Derani and Nasr will be in the championship fight. This car can win multiple races and I think it will lead the Cadillac collection.
Drivers: Jonathan Bomarito, Harry Tincknell, Ryan Hunter-Reay
Why this car could win: Mazda is quick. Bomarito and Tincknell won twice in 2019. Hunter-Reay has had good runs in sports cars.
Why this car will not win: Mazda cannot find success in the long endurance races. Last year, Mazda did not score a top five finish at Daytona, Sebring or Petit Le Mans. Last year, Mazda had a dramatic exit from Daytona, one with a mechanical and the other with a fire.
What to expect for the full season: We do not know if Mazda will contest the full season. Team Joest will field the team through Sebring and after that it is unclear. Mazda is not rushing to announce a new customer team. If one does come up there is no guarantee Bomarito and/or Tincknell will be back.
#77 Mazda Team Joest Mazda RT24-P
Drivers: Oliver Jarvis, Tristan Nunez, Olivier Pla
Why this car could win: This car was fastest again in testing. Pla set the fastest lap. Jarvis was tenth-fastest. Jarvis and Nunez won at Mosport last year.
Why this car will not win: Again... Mazda's unreliability. It can be fast for one-lap, 60 minutes or three hours but can it last a full 24 hours? We have yet to see Mazda do it.
What to expect for the full season: Since we do not know Mazda's plans beyond Sebring, I just want to say it would be fitting if this was the year everything clicked and Mazda won at Daytona. One, it would force Mazda to get on it and find a new customer program. Two, it would likely save the jobs of Jarvis, Nunez, Bomarito and Tincknell. It would be a popular victory.
#85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac DPi-V.R
Drivers: Chris Miller, Juan Piedrahita, Matheus Leist, Tristan Vautier
Why this car could win: It will be on the grid. Vautier has been one of the underrated drivers of the 2010s. Miller has been a good driver in DPi competition. Also, we may be due for a surprise winner. When was the last time we had a 24 Hours of Daytona shocker?
Why this car will not win: This field is too stacked for this car to win. It will require a lot of attrition and this car not experiencing any trouble.
What to expect for the full season: On paper, this is the weakest car in class. It is hard to see it winning a race but perhaps it could get on a podium at least once. It could have one race that goes its way.
#8 Tower Motorsports By Starworks Oreca 07-Gibson
Drivers: Ryan Dalziel, John Farano, David Heinemeier Hansson, Nicolas Lapierre
Why this car could win: Starworks has a history of success. It has brought in two top drivers in Dalziel and Lapierre. Those two were second and third in class at the test. Farano and Heinemeier Hansson are two respectable amateur drivers. Both have had great levels of success.
Why this car will not win: It is a new team to the LMP2 class and this is a 24-hour race. It might have a great 12 hours but lose it in the final twelve.
What to expect for the full season: This car will only compete in the endurance races.
#18 Era Motorsports Oreca 07-Gibson
Drivers: Ryan Lewis, Dwight Merriman, Nicolas Minassian, Kyle Tilley
Why this car could win: Minassian is a veteran. Lewis is a quick driver.
Why this car will not win: Minassian and Lewis will not be enough and this is a new team competing against some tough competition.
What to expect for the full season: Minassian and Tilley will be full-time. I think they will be off the podium more times than not. There will be at least one race where Minassian is the best driver in class and carries this car to an impressive finish, perhaps a victory even.
#38 Performance Tech Motorsports Oreca 07-Gibson
Drivers: Cameron Cassels, Kyle Masson, Robert Masson, Don Yount
Why this car could win: Cassels and Kyle Masson did a good job last year in the LMP2 class.
Why this car will not win: These four drivers were 11th, 17th, 18th and 19th out of 22 drivers that participated in the LMP2 class at the Roar test. This class is much more difficult than it was in 2019.
What to expect for the full season: Not as many victories and not as many podium finishes as in 2019. With DragonSpeed full-time, Era Motorsports full-time, Starworks in the endurance races and PR1/Mathiasen still around I am not sure this car will win any of the six LMP2 championship races on the IMSA schedule.
#52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca 07-Gibson
Drivers: Gabriel Aubry, Nick Boulle, Ben Keating, Simon Trummer
Why this car could win: This team won the championship last year. Aubry ran some races and he is a strong prototype driver, same as Trummer. Boulle is good. Keating is attempting double duty splitting this entry with a GT Daytona entry (more on that later) and he had a respectable pace in this car.
Why this car will not win: This will be contending for the race victory and Keating might have this planned out but perhaps this team hits a snag and either needs Keating or it gets to the point where if this car is too far behind Keating will focus on the GTD effort and this one cannot comeback.
What to expect for the full season: I do not know who the full-time drivers will begin this car and I think it will be competitive but this is not going to be a two-car class. There are going to be tougher days and weekends when this car is not going to be the fastest in the class off the truck.
#81 DragonSpeed Oreca 07-Gibson
Drivers: Colin Braun, Ben Hanley, Henrik Hedman, Harrison Newey
Why this car could win: This is the favorite. DragonSpeed comes in with a slew of LMP2 success in the European Le Mans Series and some in the FIA World Endurance Championship. Braun landed a ride and he knows this rodeo. Newey won the Asian Le Mans Series championship not long ago. Hanley was fastest in the LMP2 class at the Roar and Braun and Newey were fourth and fifth.
Why this car will not win: For DragonSpeed, it is tough to repeat. If we learned anything from last year it is the LMP2 class is a mixed bag and everyone will have at least one mistake. I think DragonSpeed has the lineup with the least chance of making multiple mistakes.
What to expect for the full season: I already said I think DragonSpeed is going to win this championship and win it handily. It is a new championship in terms of a full season for DragonSpeed but this team is coming in after running against the best LMP2 teams in the world and IMSA's LMP2 class is not up to that level.
GT Le Mans
#3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R
Drivers: Antonio García, Jordan Taylor, Nick Catsburg
Why this car could win: García has won it before. Taylor has won it before. Catsburg has been successful in touring cars. Corvette is due for a victory.
Why this car will not win: This is a new lineup, while Taylor has been with this program before it has been a while and Catsburg is a late addition after Mike Rockenfeller's DTM schedule led him to be unavailable for the 2020 season. Add to it this was the slowest car in the GTLM class at the Roar test.
What to expect for the full season: I think Corvette is going to win this year and García and Taylor are going to figure it out. There are only six full-time cars in this class. A championship is possible and Corvette proved it does not need to win a race to take a championship. That seems likes a stretch for a second time in three seasons.
#4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R
Drivers: Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, Marcel Fässler
Why this car could win: Gavin, Milner and Fässler have plenty of experience together. These three won this race in 2016. Milner was third fastest in the test.
Why this car will not win: This is a new car and, since their 2016 victory, the #4 Corvette has not finished better than fourth in class in this race. Add to it the #4 Corvette has not had a podium finish since it was third at Long Beach last year.
What to expect for the full season: Last year was a rough year for Corvette across the board but it was especially tough for the #4 Corvette. One podium finish and it was eighth in five of the first six races and it had top five finishes in only two of the final five races. I think things will be better but a victory could still be out of grasp for Gavin and Milner.
#24 BMW Team RLL BMW M8 GTE
Drivers: John Edwards, Jesse Krohn, Chaz Mostert, Augusto Farfus
Why this car could win: Krohn was fourth in the test. Farfus won this race last year in the sister car. Mostert has had some success in BMW sports cars around the globe and he had a good year in Supercars in 2019.
Why this car will not win: While Krohn was fourth, Edwards and Mostert were 20th and 22nd out of 22 GTLM drivers in the test. This car had two runner-up finishes in 2019 but it also finished outside the top five in seven of 11 races.
What to expect for the full season: Kind of like the #4 Corvette, last year was tough and things should be better. There are only six cars in class full-time. Both cars are going to get more top five finishes but it is hard to see this car going from bottom of the class to fighting for the championship.
#25 BMW Team RLL BMW M8 GTE
Drivers: Connor De Phillippi, Philipp Eng, Colton Herta, Bruno Spengler
Why this car could win: It won last year. De Phillippi is a competent driver. Spengler has had plenty of DTM success. Eng is coming off a good DTM season. Herta had a wonderful 2019 with two IndyCar victories to add to his 24 Hours of Daytona triumph in 2019.
Why this car will not win: This car won at Daytona and didn't get another podium finish until Petit Le Mans in 2019. It was sixth fastest in a seven car class at the test.
What to expect for the full season: Spengler is going to be full-time this year and these are going to be a lot of new tracks for him. I think this car will get more podium finishes in 2020 than 2019 but I think it could finish behind the #24 BMW because Spengler will be learning tracks while Edwards and Krohn will be fully up to snuff.
#62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE Evo
Drivers: James Calado, Daniel Serra, Alessandro Pier Guidi, Davide Rigon
Why this car could win: It won Petit Le Mans as a one-off last October. It was fastest in the test with Calado taking the top time and Serra was fifth overall. This group knows each other very well from AF Corse's WEC program. Calado, Pier Guidi and Rigon were second at Daytona last year with Miguel Molina.
Why this car will not win: Pier Guidi and Rigon did not participate in the Roar test, which is not the end of the world but that testing could come in handy. This program is not full-time, which can be a positive but it could be a negative. It wasn't a problem last year at Road Atlanta.
What to expect for the full season: This car is only scheduled for Daytona. It would be great if it did all the North American Endurance Championship races. It would be better if it ran the full season. Everyone would love to have the Risi Competizione program back full-time.
#911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR-10
Drivers: Nick Tandy, Frédéric Makowiecki, Matt Campbell
Why this car could win: Porsche has been fantastic. Tandy is fantastic. Makowiecki might be new to this car full-time but he knows how this race goes. Campbell was the darling of 2019 and it has led to a factory shot in 2020. These guys were second, tenth and 11th at the test.
Why this car will not win: The sister car might be better and sometimes it just will not be your day.
What to expect for the full season: Multiple victories but looking across the garage to the sister car it is going to be really tough for the #911 Porsche to take the championship. It was second last year to the #912 Porsche and that very well could happen again.
#912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR-19
Drivers: Earl Bamber, Laurens Vanthoor, Mathieu Jaminet
Why this car could win: Defending champions. Bamber and Vanthoor were stellar in 2019. If the rain had not ended Daytona early last year this car could have won this race. Jaminet is a quiet, young driver. This team does not make many mistakes. At the test, Vanthoor and Bamber were sixth and seventh respectively.
Why this car will not win: In the other three NAEC races in 2019, the #912 Porsche had finishes of fifth, sixth and fifth. The #911 Porsche was quicker in the test and 2020 could be the year the #911 is best of the Porsches. Add to it the #62 Ferrari is looking ood.
What to expect for the full season: Repeating is hard to do but this car could do it. Bamber and Vanthoor are not going to have a season full of boneheaded mistakes. This car is going to win a few races. I feel like this could be another season of Porsche dominance with Corvette getting a win or two because somebody else has to win and maybe BMW wins one but I do not expect every entry to win once and this championship to be wild open heading into the final few races.
#9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R
Drivers: Patrick Pilet, Zach Robichon, Lars Kern, Dennis Olsen
Why this car could win: Pfaff Racing has a strong 2019. Robichon was third in the championship and won two races. Olsen is coming off the Intercontinental GT Challenge title and he was second fastest at the test. Pilet moves down from the Porsche GTLM program but he can still hold his own.
Why this car will not win: Oof... that is a tough one. This is a tough class. We have seen it the last few years where one GTD team starts out strong and then in the race has one thing go wrong and cannot turn it around. This car was caught in an accident not of its making last year. That could happen again.
What to expect for the full season: This could be the championship winning car. Olsen will pair with Robichon for the full season. Olsen was tremendous in 2019 and it is a surprise he didn't get a call to drive with the GTLM Porsche program. If this car wins the championship or wins multiple races, which I think it will, I bet Olsen gets a promotion in 2021.
#11 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo
Drivers: Albert Costa, Richard Heistand, Franck Perera, Steijn Schothorst
Why this car could win: This car has won this race the last two years, it also won at Sebring last year and this entry is running the NAEC races.
Why this car will not win: This is a completely new lineup compared to the last two yeas for GRT Grasser Racing Team. Perera was the fastest of this entry in 22nd.
What to expect for the full season: It is only running the NAEC races but I think there will be at least one race where this car is at the front.
#12 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3
Drivers: Townsend Bell, Frank Montecalvo, Aaron Telitz, Shane van Gisbergen
Why this car could win: At the test, Bell, Telitz and Montecalvo were 14th, 15th and 16th with van Gisbergen in 28th, a pretty consistent lineup. Bell has won this race before and he has plenty of sports car success. Telitz is a driver on the verge of a breakthrough. This team got a Supercars champion in van Gisbergen to come over from Australia.
Why this car will not win: While taking three consecutive spots in class, 14th, 15th and 16th is still a little off the top and this car might be quick but only quick enough for 5th in class. I think this car will do well but it could be a year where this car does nothing wrong all race but lacks that little bit of pace.
What to expect for the full season: Bell and Montecalvo had three podium finishes in 2019 but its best finish over the final five races was seventh. I think this car will win at least one race but just be outside of the championship fight.
#14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3
Drivers: Jack Hawksworth, Parker Chase, Kyle Busch, Michael de Quesada
Why this car could win: Hawksworth might be the most underrated driver in IMSA. Busch did not take long adjusting to this car. De Quesada has won this race in this class before. Chase has been an emerging GT driver the last few years and this is his big break.
Why this car will not win: I am afraid this team might lean too much on Hawksworth. This is Busch's first endurance race. He might be quick but how will he handle being in the slowest class? That is a crazy question but could he be caught out of his element with faster cars around him? I don't think so but there could be something that bites him. Add to it Chase was 59th out of 69 drivers in the test.
What to expect for the full season: This car won two races this year but Richard Heistand has moved to GRT Grasser Racing Team. Hawksworth can win races and I think Chase will find the pace but I do not think this car will be fighting for the championship, at least not this year.
#16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R
Drivers: Patrick Long, Ryan Hardwick, Anthony Imperato, Klaus Bachler
Why this car could win: Wright Motorsports has had plenty of success and Long is a veteran. Hardwick was ok last year in a partial season. Blacher has run Porsche SuperCup and some WEC. Imperato did well in GT World Challenge America last year.
Why this car will not win: This is a good but not a great lineup. There just are stronger entries out there.
What to expect for the full season: Long and Hardwick is a good pairing. Any entry Long is in I think can win a race. I do not think this entry could be in the championship discussion.
#19 GRT GEAR Racing Team Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo
Drivers: Katherine Legge, Christina Nielsen, Rahel Frey, Tatiana Calderón
Why this car could win: GRT Grasser Racing Team has won this race the last two years. Legge was eighth in the test, Frey was 12th and Nielsen is a past champion.
Why this car will not win: This is the first time Frey and Calderón have run this race. Frey has endurance race experience but this is Calderón's first time out. In this class you cannot afford too weak of a weakest link.
What to expect for the full season: Legge and Nielsen are a great pairing. Last year with Meyer Shank Racing, Legge and Nielsen were not full-time together and that might be why the results were not terrific in 2019. I think Legge and Nielsen could win a race and be close to fifth in the championship.
#23 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3
Drivers: Ian James, Roman de Angelis, Alex Riberas, Nicki Thiim
Why this car could win: James has plenty of sports car experience. Riberas has GTD success. De Angelis won the Porsche GT3 Cup Canada championship in 2019. Thiim is one a world champion with a Le Mans victory and is leading the World GT Endurance Drivers' championship.
Why this car will not win: Of the four drivers, Thiim was the only one in the top 40 at the test and he was 40th. It is a return for the Heart of Racing Team. It is asking a lot to come out and win the first time back on track.
What to expect for the full season: Riberas and de Angelis will be the full-time drivers and this could be the sleeper of 2020. I am not saying this car will win three or four races but this car could be closer to the front of the grid than many are expecting.
#44 GRT Magnus Racing Team Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo
Drivers: Andy Lally, John Potter, Spencer Pumpelly, Marco Mapelli
Why this car could win: This is Magnus Racing. It has won this race before. It can win it again. Lally was sixth in the test.
Why this car will not win: There might be a few stronger entries. Pumpelly and Potter were 51st and 53rd respectively at the test.
What to expect for the full season: A typical Magnus Racing season, top five in the championship and I think this car will get more than two top five finishes, the total this entry got in 2019.
#47 Precision Performance Motorsports Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo
Drivers: Brandon Gdovic, Eric Lux, Johnathan Hoggard, Mark Kvamme
Why this car could win: It will be on the grid and Lamborghini has been one of the best manufactures in GTD the last few seasons.
Why this car will not win: This is the weakest Lamborghini in the field and Hoggard and Kvamme are refugees after the Rick Ware Racing LMP2 entry withdrew.
What to expect for the full season: This will not be a full-time entry.
#48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo
Drivers: Bryan Sellers, Madison Snow, Corey Lewis, Andrea Caldarelli
Why this car could win: Sellers and Snow won the GTD championship in 2018. Caldarelli is coming off a sweep of the Blancpain GT Series championships. Lewis has plenty of experience with the Lamborghini. Sellers was fastest in the test with Lewis in third.
Why this car will not win: This is one of the class favorites. I just wonder after all the games Lamborghini was playing and not using the correct gear ratios is going to cause a significant slap on the wrist before the race and that takes this car out of contention before the race starts.
What to expect for the full season: Sellers and Snow won the title two years, Snow stepped away in 2019 when he lost his silver-rating and I think these two will be back in the title fight.
#54 Black Swan Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R
Drivers: Jeroen Bleekemolen, Trenton Estep, Sven Müller, Tim Pappas
Why this car could win: Bleekemolen is one of the best GT drivers in the world and he was ninth in the test. Müller is a promising Porsche driver. Estep won the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge championship in 2018.
Why this car will not win: Estep was 47th in the test with Pappas in 60th and Müller in 64th.
What to expect for the full season: This is not a full-time entry.
Drivers: A.J. Allmendinger, Misha Goikhberg, Trent Hindman, Álvaro Parente
Why this car could win: Hindman is the defending GTD champion. Parente has won GT World Challenge America championship and he was fourth in the test. Allmendinger is still a talented road course driver. Goikhberg has plenty of experience in sports cars.
Why this car will not win: This is a class favorite but it is the first time this group of drivers has been brought together and it might not gel the first time out. While Parente was fourth, all three other drivers were outside the top 35 in the test.
What to expect for the full season: Parente and Goikhberg will be full-time with Hindman in the NAEC races. This car could win a few races and get the title. Parente is one of the best drivers in this class and Goikhberg is an IMSA veteran. I just wonder if Goikhberg will not be able to run a competitive pace to Parente's.
#63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020
Drivers: Cooper MacNeil, Toni Vilander, Alessandro Balzan, Jeff Westphal
Why this car could win: MacNeil and Vilander were fifth in the championship last year. Vilander has won a world title and multiple times at Le Mans. Balzan and Westphal are Daytona veterans.
Why this car will not win: Amazingly, Vilander has never won this race before. There are a stronger entries in this race.
What to expect for the full season: MacNeil and Vilander did not win a race in 2019 but I think that will change in 2020, however, I do not think these two will improve their championship finish.
#74 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley with Robinson Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3
Drivers: Lawson Aschenbach, Ben Keating, Felipe Fraga, Gar Robinson
Why this car could win: Keating and Fraga have established a great partnership. Aschenbach has GT World Challenge America championships. Robinson was a good in GT4 America last year.
Why this car will not win: Keating is splitting his attention between two classes. Aschenbach is not known for endurance race success.
What to expect for the full season: Aschenbach and Robinson will be full-time. I feel like this car will get one or two podium finishes but nothing spectacular.
#86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo
Drivers: Mario Farnbacher, Jules Gounon, Matt McMurry, Shinya Michimi
Why this car could win: Farnbacher is the defending GTD champion. McMurry is coming off an LMP2 title last year. Gounon has won the 24 Hours of Spa, is an ADAC GT Masters champion and won at Circuit Paul Ricard last year in the Blancpain Endurance Series. Michimi has been a Lamborghini Super Trofeo champion.
Why this car will not win: Testing pace was not encouraging and the sister car appears to be much stronger.
What to expect for the full season: Farnbacher could not have asked for a better new driver to join him in his title defense with McMurry. Defending is tough but I think Farnbacher will but up a respectable defense with McMurry with at least one or two victories and end up somewhere in the top five of the championship.
#88 Audi Sport Team WRT Speedstar Audi R8 LMS Evo
Drivers: Mirko Bortolotti, Rolf Ineichen, Daniel Morad, Dries Vanthoor
Why this car could win: Bortolotti and Ineichen have won the last two years but with GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini. Morad won this race in GTD in 2017. Vanthoor has won the 2018 Bathurst 12 Hour and he won the 2019 24 Hours Nürburgring.
Why this car will not win: This is a one-off. Bortolotti was seventh in testing but the next best from this entry was Morad in 41st.
What to expect for the full season: This is a Daytona-only entry.
#96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3
Drivers: Bill Auberlen, Robby Foley, Dillon Machavern, Jens Klingmann
Why this car could win: Auberlen, Foley and Machavern ended the 2019 season strong with a Petit Le Mans victory. Aberdeen is tied with Scott Pruett for most IMSA victories, both having 60 victories and what better place to get the record than at Daytona?
Why this car will not win: Auberlen has not won a class in the 24 Hours of Daytona since 1998 and the law of averages would suggest that should change. Testing results were good; all four drivers were in the top 40 with Auberlen quickest in 13th. Maybe this will be Auberlen's year and 2020 will start with a record-breaking performance at Daytona.
What to expect for the full season: I think Auberlen and Foley could be a sneaky championship contender.
Drivers: Ross Gunn, Pedro Lamy, Mathias Lauda, Andrew Watson
Why this car could win: Lamy and Lauda have experience with one another. Gunn is having a good year in the GTE-Am class in WEC with three podium finishes from four races. Watson has a GTE-Am podium finish this season. Watson will substitute for Paul Dalla Lana, who suffered an injury skiing.
Why this car will not win: It just seems like this entry never has a good one-off at Daytona.
What to expect for the full season: This is not a full-time entrant.
Practice for the 24 Hours of Daytona begins Thursday January 23rd at 10:05 a.m. ET. Second practice will take place at 12:45 p.m. ET with qualifying following at 4:15 p.m. ET. Night practice is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. ET.
Final practice is scheduled for 9:50 a.m. ET on Friday January 24th.
The 58th 24 Hours of Daytona will begin at 1:40 p.m. ET on Saturday January 25th.