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Ally Cadillac drivers Jimmie Johnson (El Cajon, Calif.), Kamui Kobayashi (Japan), Mike Rockenfeller (Germany), and José María López (Argentina) will start third in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s 60th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona Jan. 26-30. The No. 48 Ally Cadillac will also compete in series’ four Endurance Cup Championship races this season starting with the Rolex 24.

The No. 48 Cadillac finished second in last year’s twice around the clock race. This year, the team will try to put the Ally entry in victory lane. To do that, it will start third on the DPi grid and will have to navigate a 61-car field to make it to the finish. Johnson and Kobayashi helped the foursome take the first step in that endeavour by scoring a third-place finish in last weekend’s 100-minute qualifying race.

Johnson, a seven-time NASCAR Champion, will make his ninth Rolex 24 start and is excited to make his second in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac DPi-V.R.

“I am excited to be back,” Johnson said. “We were able to get our commitment done early so we really have everything in place to do well. We know we will be running the four endurance races, so we were able to put together a strong team. We have a strong driver lineup, great support from Ally and the guys at Action Express Racing. My own journey – I am much more competitive this year than last. So, I am looking forward to helping the team. It is about executing well and dialing the car and team in perfectly. I think our team is stronger this year than last and we finished second in 2021.”

Kobayashi, the two-time defending World Endurance Co-Champion along with WEC teammates Lopez and Mike Conway, hopes to earn his third Rolex 24 title (2019 and 2020). But, Kobayashi says that navigating traffic and keeping the car in one piece will be key.

“Traffic will be key,” Kobayashi said. “Keeping the car in one piece is one of the most important things. I think everyone in this field is a professional driver. So, we don’t need to take a lot of risk, just try to manage it [the risk]. At the end of the day, the team that has the best car has the best chance to win the 24-hour. But still, anything can happen in 24 hours. We’ll see what happens.”

Rockenfeller looks to capture his second Rolex 24 win. He was part of the Action Express Racing team that won it in 2010. Rocky knows what it takes to win this race and knows just how tough the competition is.

“The Roar was good for us as a team,” Rockenfeller said. “The drivers got some good seat time, which is important because we won’t get much more time in the car for race week. Jimmie and Kamui did a great job to come in third in the 100-minute race. We saw the strengths and weaknesses of the Ally Cadillac, so we can improve for the race. I am looking forward to getting some stints in the car and fight for the victory. It is going to be tough. The competition is strong.”

Lopez will make his first start in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac this weekend.“The Roar went OK,” Lopez said. “We worked hard and made a lot of improvements through the practice sessions. We had a good run in the qualifying race. Jimmie and Kamui did a great job. They had a strong run in the qualifying race finishing third in the Ally Cadillac, which gives everyone confidence. Now we will keep working. The weather is supposed to be very cold. That will always be a challenge to keep the tires up to operating temperature. We will have to set-up the car for consistency for the whole race.”

Source. Kyle Chura Associates/Photo. Brian Cleary


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