For the third consecutive year, the BMW Performance 200, the opening round of the 2014 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, will begin the North American racing season as drivers from all over the world assemble at the Daytona International Speedway for the 52nd Annual Rolex 24 at Daytona weekend.
Anthony Royer, President of Allstate Roadside Services, will serve as the Grand Marshal of the race and give the “Start Your Engines” command to the field of 64 cars that include 16 BMW race cars.
“Allstate Roadside Services is extremely proud of the roadside assistance program we provide for BMW,” said Royer. “We value the relationship and are true believers in The Ultimate Driving Machine.”
During the weekend, BMW of North America will feature race cars that have highlighted the brand’s competition history and three new road cars that continue to expand its Motorsport foundation – the all-new 2014 BMW M235i Coupe and the fifth-generation 2015 BMW M3 Sedan and BMW M4 Coupe.
Of special note, fans at the Speedway will be able to view one of BMW’s 2013 M3 DTM race cars. BMW returned the German Touring Car Series in 2012, winning the manufacturer’s title for two consecutive seasons. 2013 BMW DTM drivers Joey Hand, Andy Priaulx and Dirk Werner as well as 2014 BMW DTM driver Maxime Martin will drive for BMW Team RLL as the Z4 GTLM makes its TUDOR United SportsCar Championship debut. Augusto Farfus, who finished second in the 2013 DTM chamionship, will join Turner Motorsport in the team’s GTD-class Z4. Joining the roster of BMW Team RLL drivers for the Rolex 24 will be Indy Car driver Graham Rahal.
In support of David Hobbs, Grand Marshal of this year’s twice-around-the-clock classic, BMW will display two very important cars Hobbs piloted when he served as a BMW factory driver. The flame-throwing BMW 320i Turbo that he drove in the 1978 and 1979 IMSA seasons as well as the radical BMW Powered M1-C, the very first IMSA prototype, will be on hand in the Speedway’s Fan Zone.
Instructors from the BMW Performance Driving School, in Spartanburg, SC, will bring a number of ultra-high performance BMW M6 Gran Coupes to give rides around the 3.56-mile Speedway road circuit to lucky fans.
“BMW couldn’t be more excited about starting the 2014 racing season at Daytona and the debut of the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship,” said Gordon McDonnell, BMWNA Motorsport Manager. “Although this is our first 24hr race with the Z4 GTLM, BMW Team RLL is no stranger to endurance racing and we have one of the best driver line ups I can recall. BMW always goes big at Daytona and fans will have plenty to see on and off the track this weekend. The BMW Performance 200 will be just one of the highlights as we expect our privateer BMW teams to be right up front, fighting for a win. The excitement starts to build as soon as you drive through the tunnel; good luck to all the BMW teams this weekend.”
The BMW Performance 200 takes the green flag at 1:45 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24th. The 52nd annual Rolex 24 at Daytona starts at 2:10 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25th with FOX Sports 1 covering the first two hours of the race live. A total of 15 hours of the race will be broadcast on FOX Sports channels.