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Ford CEO Jim Farley makes pro racing debut at Daytona as motorsports legends watch Starting lineup for 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona

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DAYTONA BEACH, Florida. In the far corner of the Daytona International Speedway outpost stood Jim Farley, chief executive of the Ford Motor Company, leaning against a cart, chatting casually with the executives of the Wood Brothers Racing team.

Farley was dressed in a fire-fighting suit and hardly looked like a powerful businessman.

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On Saturday he was a racer.

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The 60-year-old made his professional racing debut by placing 12th in the IMSA VP Racing SportsCar Challenge in Dayton. An accomplished historic driver, Farley drove a Multimatic Motorsports-driven Ford Mustang GT4 in the GSX class in the support race during the Roar Before the Rolex 24 test session in Daytona.

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ROLEX 24 DETAILS: How to watch, lists of participants, IMSA season opening schedule.

This was the first sprint race in the new multi-class series to feature bronze or silver rated riders.

Farley tried to fly stealthily and roam Daytona like any other “gentleman driver” rather than the head of one of motorsport’s most active automakers. Like his bio on Twitter indicates, he is, of course, a longtime racing fan.

But he’s still the head of Ford, which is why Eddie and Leonard Wood traveled from Friday’s NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Charlotte, North Carolina to Daytona to watch Farley race.

Through the speedway in their motor home, Roger Penske and Tim Sindrik watched the Farley race on a huge TV screen, with the timing and scoring displayed on a second screen.

“I had to use a fake name on the application,” Farley joked in an interview with The Associated Press.

He said motorsport is a vital part of Ford Motor Co., especially for employee morale. Last year, Ford won the Daytona 500 with Austin Sindrik and the NASCAR Cup with Joey Logano.

“It’s so good that he’s interested,” Penske said of the Farley races at Dayton. “It’s good for Ford because he understands what motorsport means to the company. You know both General Motors and Ford have top management that really invests in motorsport and how it can evolve to create better cars.”

Reigning race winner Meyer Shank Racing will take pole position in the starting lineup for the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona, looking to start a new era in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship just as the team started last year.

The Acura No. 60 ended the 2022 season with wins in the Rolex 24 (second for team co-owner Mike Shank) and the Petit Le Mans season finale, winning the latest DPi class championship.

The premium prototype category has been renamed the Grand Touring Prototype and will feature new hybrid engines that have doubled the number of manufacturers vying for overall victory. Since Acura and Cadillac returned from DPi last season, Porsche and BMW will also enter GTP for the opening of the 24-hour season on January 28-29 (which will air and air on NBC, USA and Peacock).

STARTING GRID: Click here to view the Rolex 24 l Range by Car Number

ROLEX 24 DETAILS: How to watch, lists of participants, IMSA season opening schedule.

After Tom Blomkvist won his fourth career pole In the top IMSA class and third for Team Rolex 24, the No. 60 Acura ARX-06 starts first, ahead of the No. 7 Porsche 963 of Porsche Penske Motorsports.

No. 10 Waye Taylor Racing Acura ARX-06 starts third, followed by Cadillac Racing No. 01 Cadillac V-LMDh with Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac Racing No. 02 V-LMDh.

Whelen Engineering Action Express Racing’s No. 31 Cadillac V-LMDh starts sixth ahead of a pair of BMW M Hybrid V8s from BMW M Team RLL.

FIVE THINGS TO SEE IN GTP: Rolex 24 in Dayton ushering in a new golden era of sports cars

The No. 6 Porsche 963 of the Porsche Penske Motorsport team starts last among nine GTP cars after a qualifying crash on a 3.56-mile, 12-turn track.

No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA starts 10th after taking the LMP2 pole position.

Starting positions for pole holders in other categories: No. 33 Ligier JS P320 from Seach Creech Motosport (LMP3) starts 20th, No. 57 Mercedes-AMG GT3 from Winward Racing starts 29th, and No. 79 Mercedes-AMG 20th. AMG GTE from WeatherTech Racing starts 32nd.

Click here to view the Rolex 24 at Daytona starting grid.

Click here to view the Rolex 24 at Daytona starting lineup grid by car number.


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