Roar Report: Roar Before The Rolex 2019

David S.
By David S. Wallens
Jan 8, 2019 | Audi, BMW, Ford, Porsche

What was once a simple practice session has grown up. IMSA’s pre-season Roar Before the Rolex 24 has blossomed into its own event: healthy crowds yet still plenty of access. The Roar has grown into a mini Rolex weekend–and the prices are smaller, too. Infield access is free for those already holding a Rolex ticket. Otherwise, it’s just $15 per day. Here are some of the highlights from the January 4-6 weekend.


Alex Zanardi: The weekend’s big star had to be Alex Zanardi–the most buzz, the most smiles–who will be driving a BMW M8 GTE. His driver change video can be watched here.

Alsonso! The weekend’s other big star was two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso, who will drive the Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R alongside Jordan Taylor, Renger Van Der Zande and Kamui Kobayashi.

IMSA Prototype Challenge: While the weekend mostly serves as a test for the WeatherTech and Michelin Pilot Challengeteams, last year a three-hour Prototype Challenge race was added to the schedule–complete with its own prerace fan walk. For the season year in a row, ANSA Motorsports team won the season-opener.


Michelin: Speaking of Michelin, starting this year they will become the sole tire supplier for the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship as well as the Michelin Pilot Challenge series. Word on the street is that teams are happy–very happy.


Scouts: The Roar also welcomes Scouts, complete with camping and a Saturday evening movie. End result: Lots of people new to the sport wereat the track.


Mazda Is Fast: The DPi prototypes saw eight sessions over the weekend–seven for practice plus a qualifying outingthat determined pit and garage spots. Mazda drivers topped the times in five of those eight sessions.

Not Much NASCAR: AJ Allmendinger is the biggest NASCAR star signed up for the Rolex. No Jeff Gordon, no Tony Stewart, no Kyle Petty.

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David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/10/19 5:18 p.m.

We were discussing our Rolex plans today, specifically the tours. So, what do you want to see? 

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