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The future of motorsports prepare for the 2014 Rolex 24 at Daytona

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With just over a month until the inaugural TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season begins at the Daytona International Speedway, drivers, teams, and the racetrack itself are busily preparing for what is bound to be an exciting year.

If history is any indication, the Rolex 24 at Daytona will undoubtedly attract the best and brightest in the world of auto racing. A veritable who's who of motorsports make up the roster for teams that have already announced their driver line-ups. DeltaWing Racing Cars, a team whose very existence acts as a rolling demonstration of the future of racing, recently announced their 2014 Rolex 24 at Daytona driver line-up. The team consists of young American F1 reserve driver Alexander Rossi, who will be joining Andy Meyrick and Katherine Legge for the endurance classic.

“The 24 Hours of Daytona is an important motorsport event and I’m honored to be driving for Don Panoz and his DeltaWing project,” said Rossi. “Being able to race and work with Panoz is a bit surreal for me, as I grew up karting and watching his rich history in American motorsport and the cars he designed. I’m fairly new to endurance / sports car racing, but after the success of Le Mans I’m looking forward to the new challenge of Daytona. It’s also a privilege to work with experienced teammates like Katherine Legge and Andy Meyrick. I especially want to thank Don Panoz and David Price for their confidence in my abilities.”

The trio will share driving duties in the revolutionary DeltaWing coupe at the inaugural TUDOR United SportsCar Championship event. The new sports car racing circuit unites the former Grand-Am and American Le Mans Series.

“I think that we can be competitive in terms of speed and if the reliability is there, we can really be competitive" said Legge. "Andy and I are very excited to be working with Alexander – it will be great to see his reaction to the car, as I’m sure it was to see mine back in May! The team has worked extremely hard and is looking to come back and prove what we’re made of in Daytona, to start the season on a high note.”

Both Meyrick and Legge were pleased with the DeltaWing coupe’s performance at the Daytona test session last month, putting in 131 laps and a quick time of 1:40.883. This will be Meyrick’s first race at Daytona, while Legge looks forward to her second Rolex 24, having driven a Daytona Prototype in 2007.

“Katherine and I are looking forward to having Alexander join us at Daytona,” agreed Meyrick. “He’s one of the most promising single seat drivers in the world and it will be fascinating to see him in the DeltaWing. As an American driver, it will be great for him and for the team. We had a very strong test in November; we set some good times, very consistent times, especially since it was our first time on the banking. The Roar gives us a great chance for the three of us to work together, to continue to learn about the Continental tires, make sure the car is reliable and to work on performance and consistency. I'm very excited.”

Team manager David Price was happy to add Rossi to the DeltaWing team – and especially pleased with how quickly the deal came together.

“It wasn’t complicated,” said Price. “I asked him if he wanted to do Daytona and he said yes! There are not an abundance of American drivers in Formula One right now, so to have someone of his ability to drive for us is significant. Daytona is a circuit that suits the characteristics of this car; we were competitive at the test last month so we will focus on reliability and build on that going forward.”

DeltaWing Racing Cars Managing Partner Don Panoz, who founded the ALMS in 1999 and was instrumental in uniting North American sports car racing, is enthusiastic about the team’s prospects for Daytona.

“We’re really looking forward to running at Daytona and we’re very excited about our driver lineup,” said Panoz. “Alexander has a lot of experience. He’s well known on both sides of the Atlantic and in addition to his great reputation, he has some terrific skills. We look forward to having him on the team, joining Katherine and Andy, who know this car so well. We had a very good showing at the test last month, with some good times so we look forward to confirming the car’s performance in January.”

The 52nd anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the debut event for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, will start at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 25. Other schedule highlights include Rolex 24 At Daytona qualifying on Thursday, Jan. 23 at 3:45 p.m., the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race on Friday, Jan. 24 at 1:45 p.m. and a pair of IMSA Ferrari Challenge races on Friday, Jan. 24 at 10:30 a.m. and Saturday at 9:35 a.m.

Tickets, including infield camping and parking, for the 52nd anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the Roar Before The Rolex 24 three-day test session scheduled for Jan. 3-5 can be purchased online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.

Fans can follow sports cars at www.imsa.com, go on Twitter at TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and the Sunoco Rolex 24 At Daytona Challenge. Fans can also stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest for the latest news all season long.

Of course, a twenty-four hour event is bound to make race fans hungry. Held during the 52nd running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Taste of the 24 presented by Halifax Health helps to raise funds for a new scholarship program benefiting Volusia County (Fla.) high school seniors who plan to enroll full-time in a two- or four-year college, university or vocational-technical school in Florida during the 2014-2015 academic school year.

This all-new scholarship program is driven by The NASCAR Foundation’s commitment to serving communities in which children live, learn and play. Through its fundraising efforts and events like Taste of the 24, The NASCAR Foundation has contributed more than $17 million in charitable support to initiatives that further this mission.

This year’s event will feature 23 of Central Florida’s finest restaurants showcasing their best menu items. Restaurants include Amber’s Jewel Catering; Backyard Boys Bar-B-Que; Bahama Breeze; Blue Grotto; Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.; Café Heavenly; Chart House; Cornerstone Café; Daytona Taproom; Dimitri’s Bar Deck & Grill; Heavenly Cheesecakes & Chocolates, Inc.; Hidden Treasure Rum Bar & Grille; Joe’s Crab Shack; Lost Lagoon Wings & Grill; Mai Tai Bar; Malcolm’s at LPGA; Outriggers Tiki Bar and Grille; Panheads Pizzeria; Sinatra’s L’Aldila Ristoranté; Sloppy Joe’s Daytona Beach; SoNapa Grille; Stonewood Grill & Tavern; and Sweet Marlays’ Coffee.

Offering Central Florida residents and racing fans a unique dining experience in the corporate suites high atop the backstretch grandstands, attendees will enjoy a variety of menu items along with music and views of non-stop racing. All-inclusive admission to the Taste of the 24 includes one weekend pass to the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Sprint FANZONE access, Budweiser Party Porch access, free premier parking and a chance to win a Rolex watch. Event tickets are limited and are $95 for adults and $24 for children 12 and younger and can be purchased at www.NASCAR.com/Foundation.

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