Alex Palou set to make his Daytona 24 Hours debut with Chip Ganassi

After making history for becoming the first Spaniard to win the IndyCar in 2021, Alex Palou has set himself a new all-American challenge. The Catalan driver is to enter the 60th edition of the 24 Hours of Daytona on the 30th of January at the Daytona International Speedway 

The news was confirmed this Friday by his team Chip Ganassi Racing as part of their line-up big reveal for the queen category of American endurance. The champion from San Antonio Vila Major will sit behind the wheel of the Cadillac Dpi-VR #1 at his debut of the IMSA SportsCar Championship inaugural round.

Palou will be sharing his vehicle with a team highly experienced in endurance racing. Accompanying the Spaniard on his debut of the legendary race will be his New Zealand IndyCar teammate and three-time Daytona winner, Scott Dixon, the French Sebastien Bourdais and the Dutch Renger Van Der Zande 

His trusted track data engineer Danielle Shapherd, who has been by his side throughout his intense and victorious IndyCar season, will also be there to make Alex Palou’s debut even more comfortable. Earl Bamber, Alex Lynn and two ex-Formula 1 drivers, Kevin Magnussen and Marcus Ericsson, will take the second vehicle of the team, the Cadillac #2 to fight for spreading the champagne 

Although Van der Zande, Lynn, Bamber and Magnussen make up Chip Ganassi Racing’s official driver line-up for the entire season, they could get some extra support for the longest and most demanding rounds of the calendar (Daytona, Sebring and Petit Le Mans), leaving the door open for Alex Palou to make another IMSA appearance during 2022.  

The popularity of the 24 Hours of Daytona, always celebrated on the last weekend of January, tends to attract a great number of drivers from other famous competitions such as IndyCar and NASCAR and this year, the Spaniard will come head-to-head with some of his IndyCar rivals from last season such as Colton Herta or Pato O’Ward, his greatest crown challenger.  

Both the above will be joining forces with Devlin DeFrancesco to try and defeat Palou. If they were to do so, this would signify a small revenge for O’Ward after the Catalan defeated him at the IndyCar.  

A successful test that catapulted Palou to Daytona  

Álex Palou completed two days of tests at the beginning of December with Chip Ganassi Racing’s Cadillac at the Daytona International Speedway Circuit and his positive sensations exceeded all expectations. It was after those key trials that his participation in the most important endurance race on the other side of the Atlantic began to take shape. 

His team, Chip Ganassi Racing, is putting forward two vehicles for next season’s IMSA with the ultimate objective of arriving to 2023, debut year of the LMDh, as best prepared as possible. 

The race will be held on the 30 of January at the Daytona International Speedway’s mixed track, or ‘roal’, a combination of road circuit with the interior oval, and will bring together a total of 60 cars, 25 Dpi, LMP2 and LMP3 prototypes and 35 GTDs. 

Images of Alex Palou: Alex Palou Twitter.

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