Thursday, January 24, 2019

2019 Daytona 24 Hours - DPi Class Preview

And we've made it to the last of our class previews, this time for the DPi class. You'll remember that the top class for the last few years has been called "Prototype", but this has now been split into the "off the shelf" LMP2 subclass and the manufacturer supported DPi subclass. Unless there is some crazy nonsense that happens this weekend, the overall winner will come from the DPis. Let's get to it:

The Not-So-Likelys

#50 Juncos Racing Cadillac DPi - The winning marque from the last two years, but with a team making its IMSA debut. Juncos winning, against the other ten cars they're up against...would be a shock. Odds - 60 to 1.

#84 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac DPi - Not a new team to IMSA, and in fact, JDC-Miller actually won a race just last year. BUT, it's their first outing with their new Caddys. Could they win? I mean, yeah. But is it likely? Odds - 40 to 1.

#85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac DPi - I'll give the #85 the edge over the #84, due to the presence of Tristan Vautier and ex-F1 driver Rubens Barrichello. Odds - 35 to 1.

The Very Definitely More Likely Than Befores

#55 Mazda Team Joest Mazda DPi -  Sooo...the Mazdas have found an awful lot of pace this year, breaking the 26 year old track record to take the pole and put the other car on the outside of Row 2. But, the open question is "can they run that pace for 24 hours?" It's true that they finished 2nd and 3rd at the very last race of last season, so they seem to have a bunch of their reliability issues sorted as well, but...this is another 14 hours on top of that. Can they win? Can they hold together for a full day? The answers to those two questions go hand in hand. Odds - 20 to 1.

#77 Mazda Team Joest Mazda DPi - See above. This is the pole winner, in the hands of Oliver Jarvis, but the outlook is the same. Odds - 20 to 1.

#54 Core Autosport Nissan DPi - The "little team that could" from last year has taken over the Nissan DPi from the now-closed ESM team. They scored some shock results last year, nearly winning the championship outright after winning two races. But, can they take a car that's new to them to Victory Lane at Daytona? Odds - 12 to 1.

The Lead Pack

#6 Acura Team Penske DPi - I would rate the Penske Acuras just a touch higher, if they had managed to win more than one race in 2018. Granted, another year of development is in the books since their encouraging "debut" season, so they're liable to have found some more pace and reliability (they have, after all, qualified 2nd and 3rd here, with the #7 barely dipping below the all time track record as well). But, to my mind, somebody has to dethrone the top Cadillac teams before I'm gonna pick somebody else ahead of them. Odds - 7 to 1.

#7 Acura Team Penske DPi - Goes in the "more prestigious" later slot, due to the addition of Alexander Rossi. Get 'em, Alex. Odds - 7 to 1.

#10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R - The Wayne Taylor guys had a rough season (for them) last year, winning but a single race (Petit Le Mans), and coming in 3rd in the championship. And they blew up early at Daytona last year. It's this last point that lingers in my mind, and banishes them to 3rd on the depth chart. Odds - 6 to 1.

#5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi - The defending champs come back intact this year, with the addition of Mike Conway to their driver roster. That's a tough combo. Are they the favorites, though? Odds - 5 to 1.

#31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi - Answer: no. Because the teammate car to the #5, the #31, has essentially swapped Conway across the garage (and lost Stuart Middleton, who popped up out of British GT4 racing and promptly didn't appear again on this side of the Atlantic in 2018), and brought in Luis Felipe "Pipo" Derani, arguably one of the fastest 2-3 drivers in the paddock. Holy smokes. Also, Pipo and Felipe Nasr are gonna roll everybody in the championship this year. Odds - 4 to 1.

We made it! Come on back tomorrow, for the start of our full Blogathon silliness!

1 comment:

Pat W said...

Ooh. I would've laid money on you picking a Mazda, if not the Nissan!

I think Penske will get it. I can't pick which one though. It kind of depends how "enthusiastic" Montoya gets, if he drives it like he drove the old Daytona Prototypes which could take a lot of contact, they won't win.

I reckon Mazda Joest will take off into the distance and then hit problems. They seem to hit a lot of problems.
And the same for the Nissan, team still learning the car and they only have one. And they've got Jon Bennett driving for some reason - now is not the time for team owner privilege.

Cadillac seem to be a smidge off the pace but as you say you can never count them out.

Stuart Middleton: There's a thing called the Sunoco Whelen Challenge, involving British GT, British F3 and some other UK national series. The winner used to get placed in the Whelen DP and the winner of a secondary competition (for British GT3 Am class drivers, GT4 drivers, and some other stuff) got a ride in Friday's Challenge race. The only notable name I remember before is Felipe Nasr who won and did the 24 just before his Sauber F1 stint.

2018 winner is British F3 champ Linus Lundqvist who was placed in the no.47 GTD Lambo. I only know this because I have just this second looked it up...

Nice job on the previews. I should be working on ARFL draft prep finding out who these NASCAR people are but I'd like to spend an hour or two first writing something of my own.