It began with one team’s decision, but it didn’t end there.
It continued with one driver’s decision to join another team. One by one, the dominoes began to fall, each move affecting another. By the time everything was sorted and signed, the driver lineups for the final season of the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class were different than just a few months ago.
Of the 10 fulltime drivers in the class, only five will return to their 2021 seats when the Roar Before the Rolex 24 kicks off the 2022 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season this weekend at Daytona International Speedway. Only one car – the defending Rolex 24 At Daytona winner – returns with the same two fulltime drivers.
The other lineups are different to some extent. One team, Mazda Motorsports, is gone. Another team, Chip Ganassi Racing, added an entry. Other teams have slightly different lineups with some elements of 2021 remaining. One team has a completely different set of drivers. The song has stopped in the ever-present musical chairs of DPi, and things have been a bit rearranged as the class prepares for its final season.
Wayne Taylor Racing is the only entry that returns its two fulltime drivers from last year to the 60th running of the Rolex 24. Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque also happen to be the defending race winners in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-05. Only natural that they would want to continue.
“We were lucky with how me and Ricky worked with (WTR technical director) Brian (Pillar) and Wayne,” Albuquerque said. “It was fantastic. It just made sense to continue.”
The other 2022 DPi lineups (and their changes from 2021) are:
- No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R. Felipe Nasr has joined Team Penske’s Porsche LMDh program, replaced by Tristan Nunez as Pipo Derani’s new fulltime driver with the Action Express Racing entry that won the 2021 DPi championship. Mike Conway returns as the endurance specialist.
- No. 01 Cadillac V-Performance Academy Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R. Renger van der Zande stays, while his fulltime co-driver last year, Kevin Magnussen, moves to an endurance role in the team’s new No. 02 entry. Sebastien Bourdais joins van der Zande in the No. 01, with Scott Dixon and Alex Palou as endurance drivers.
- No. 02 Cadillac Accessories Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R. The new-for-2022 entry features Earl Bamber and Alex Lynn in the fulltime roles, with Magnussen and Marcus Ericsson filling in for longer races.
- No. 5 Mustang Sampling JDC-Miller MotorSports Cadillac DPi-V.R. Tristan Vautier returns to join Richard Westbrook, replacing Loic Duval, who moves to the endurance spot filled last year by Bourdais. Ben Keating, fresh from his Le Mans Prototype 2 championship in ‘21, joins for Daytona.
- No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-05. Taylor, Albuquerque and Alexander Rossi return for the Rolex, with Will Stevens joining in the endurance role. Helio Castroneves, the team’s fourth driver at Daytona last year, moves to a similar role with Meyer Shank Racing.
- No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-05. Full revamp here. Gone from last year’s Rolex entry are Dane Cameron, Olivier Pla, Juan Pablo Montoya and A.J. Allmendinger, replaced by Oliver Jarvis, who led the No. 55 Mazda DPi to victory in its final race, the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta in November. Joining Jarvis in the fulltime seat is Tom Blomqvist, with Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud in the endurance roles.
- No. 48 Ally Cadillac DPi-V.R. The IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup entry returns three of its drivers from last year – Jimmie Johnson, Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Rockenfeller – with Jose Maria Lopez replacing Pagenaud.
The final season of the DPi format, which will be replaced next year by LMDh, is as busy as ever in terms of driver movement. The overall field for the Jan. 29-30 race includes 61 entries in five classes, up from 48 in 2021.
For the team that stays mostly the same, the motivation for the Rolex comes from the disappointment of Petit Le Mans, where the championship slipped away on the final lap.
“It still was a successful year,” Albuquerque said. “Sometimes in racing we just want more and more and more. We forget that we won Daytona and we won the endurance championship. We just missed the championship by half a second, which would have been the hat trick. We cannot ask so much of ourselves. It’s still very positive.”