DPi’s musical chairs see changes throughout the class for 2022

It started with a team’s decision, but it didn’t end there.

It continued with a 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 rosters for the final season of the Daytona Prototype (DPi) International Class were different than just a few months ago.

Of the 10 full-time drivers in the class, only five will return to their 2021 seats when the Roar Before the Rolex 24 kicks off the 2022 season of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship this weekend at Daytona International Speedway. Only one car – the reigning Rolex 24 At Daytona winner – returns with the same two full-time drivers.

Other queues are different to some degree. One team, Mazda Motorsports, left. Another team, Chip Ganassi Racing, added an entry. Other teams have slightly different rosters with some remaining 2021 elements. A team has a completely different set of drivers. The song came to a halt in DPi’s ubiquitous musical chairs, and things have been rearranged a bit as the class prepares for its final season.

Wayne Taylor Racing is the only entry that brings back its two full-time drivers from last year to the 60th edition of the Rolex 24. Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque also happen to be the defending winners of the Konica Minolta Acura ARX-05 No. 10. Naturally, they would like 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 made sense to continue.”

The other 2022 DPi ranges (and their modifications from 2021) are:

  • No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi-VR Felipe Nasr has joined Team Penske’s Porsche LMDh program, replaced by Tristan Nunez as Pipo Derani’s new full-time driver with the Action Express Racing entry which won the 2021 DPi championship. Mike Conway returns as a specialist in endurance.
  • #01 Cadillac V-Performance Academy Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac DPi-VR Renger van der Zande remains, while his full-time co-driver from last year, Kevin Magnussen, moves into an endurance role in the team’s new No.02 entry. Sébastien Bourdais joins van der Zande in the n°01, with Scott Dixon and Alex Palou as endurance drivers.
  • No. 02 Cadillac Accessories Ganassi Racing Cadillac DPi-VR Chip The new entry for 2022 includes Earl Bamber and Alex Lynn in full-time roles, with Magnussen and Marcus Ericsson filling in for the longer runs.
  • #5 JDC-Miller MotorSports Cadillac DPi-VR Mustang Sampling Tristan Vautier returns to join Richard Westbrook, replacing Loïc Duval, who takes the place of endurance occupied last year by Bourdais. Ben Keating, fresh out of his Le Mans Prototype 2 championship in 21, joins Daytona.
  • No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-05. Taylor, Albuquerque and Alexander Rossi return for the Rolex, with Will Stevens in the endurance role. Helio Castroneves, the team’s fourth driver at Daytona last year, holds a similar role with Meyer Shank Racing.
  • No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-05. Complete overhaul here. Dane Cameron, Olivier Pla, Juan Pablo Montoya and AJ Allmendinger disappeared from last year’s Rolex entry, replaced by Oliver Jarvis, who rode the #55 Mazda DPi to victory in its final race, the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. in November. Tom Blomqvist joins Jarvis in the full-time seat, with Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud in endurance roles.
  • No. 48 Ally Cadillac DPi-VR The IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup team reunites with three of its riders 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 busier than ever in terms of driver movement. The overall field for the January 29-30 race includes 61 entries across five classes, up from 48 in 2021.

For the team that remains more or less the same, the motivation for the Rolex comes from the disappointment of Petit Le Mans, where the championship slipped away on the last lap.

“It was still a successful year,” Albuquerque said. “Sometimes in racing we just want 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 treble. We can’t ask ourselves the same. It’s still very positive.”