A total of 12 drivers from junior single-seater racing will be part of IMSA’s Daytona 24 Hours race this weekend.
Many of them are coming from the Road to Indy, and are in fact regulars of the race and its sportscar supports on Daytona’s roval layout.
Some drivers are arriving from further afield though, with Oliver Rasmussen and Tijmen van der Helm both arriving from FIA Formula 3 and racing for the Algarve Pro Racing-run G-Drive Racing team in the LMP2 class.
Rasmussen will do IMSA’s four endurance races in LMP2 and race for Jota Sport in the World Endurance Championship where 17-year-old van der Helm will also make his full-time sportscar move with Slovakian team ARC Bratislava.
Also racing in LMP2 at Daytona is IndyCar-bound Devlin DeFrancesco, who came sixth in Indy Lights last year and has a best finish of fifth overall from his three previous Daytona starts, and 15-year-old USF2000 racer Josh Pierson who plans to become the youngest ever driver to do the Le Mans 24 Hours after paying for a United Autosports seat for this year’s race.
Daytona’s LMP3 grid includes Cameron Shields and Nolan Siegel, who both appeared in Indy Pro 2000 last year and will share one of Muehlner Motorsport America’s cars.
Andretti Autosport fields Rasmus Lindh, who is currently without an Indy Lights drive for 2022 after starring in a part-season last year, and Performance Tech Motorsports will enter one-time Euroformula racer Nico Pino.
The GT Daytona class for GT3 cars is split into ‘Pro’ and non-pro classifications, and Indy Lights champion Kyle Kirkwood will be the only driver coming from junior single-seaters to battle for ‘Pro’ honours. For the third successive year he appears in IMSA with leading Lexus team Vasser-Sullivan Racing. After Daytona, Kirkwood will debut in IndyCar with AJ Foyt Racing.
His Indy Lights rivals Linus Lundqvist and Robert Megennis are in a Mercedes-AMG and a Lamborghini respectively for Daytona, and reigning Formula Regional Americas champion Kyffin Simpson has earned a seat in an Acura after going through the brand’s junior driver scheme last year.
In the grid-setting 100-minute qualifying race Pierson was the highest placed junior single-seater racer in ninth, with DeFrancesco finishing on the same lap. Lindh will start from LMP3 pole after his team-mates took the car to class victory by a lap.