Legacy of the Daytona prototype

Legacy of the Daytona prototype - Motorsport

The Daytona prototype was the main prototype car of the Rolex sports car championship and later the Tudor sportscar championship. The car was mainly used for American endurance racing and the 24 hours of Daytona. The car lasted from 2003-2016 and was replaced by the new DPI European prototype style car.

The beginning gen 1

Legacy of the Daytona prototype - Motorsport

In 2003 the Rolex sports car championship introduced Daytona prototype. A closed cockpit prototype to replace the open cockpit SRP-II cars. The SRP-II where modified Le Mans prototypes that where getting to be expensive for teams so Grand-Am decided to make a closed cockpit model of the prototypes while also being very inexpensive for the teams

And example of a SRP-II
And example of a SRP-II

The Mk 1 had 7 manufacturers that where approved for the Gen 1 chassis

  • Chase CCE
  • Crawford DP03
  • Doran JE4
  • Fabcar FDSC/03
  • Multimatic MDP1
  • Picchio DP2
  • Riley MkX1

The Daytona prototypes got their debut at the 2003 24 hours of Daytona. Only six DP prototypes where present, A Fabcar-Toyota, a Picchio- BMW, 2 Fabcar-Porsches, and a Multimatic Ford (a second Multimatic was planned but did not participate )The Multimatic was the fastest of the other DPs in qualifying, but still slower than the heavily restricted SPR-II. Grand Am reserved the front 3 rows for the DPs even though the cars did not achieve overall pole position. The race was problematic for the DPs as only 2 cars made it to the checkered flag with the lead car finishing behind the grand touring cars. The teams found the car teething issues and once they where resolved the DPs took their first overall wins.

Fabcar porshe Daytona prototype
Fabcar porshe Daytona prototype

In the 2004 season the SRP-II where completely abolished leaving the DPs as the main prototype car in the Rolex sportscar championship. The low cost nature of the DPs increased the amount of entries to 17 cars and in 2006 it rises to more than 30 entries. Finally in 2007 the Mk1 Daytona prototypes where discontinued for the new mk 2 Daytona prototypes for the 2008 season

The gen 2

Legacy of the Daytona prototype - Motorsport

In 2008 grand am approved the next generation of the Daytona prototype with the entries for this year including

  • Crawford DP08
  • Coyote CC/08
  • Dallara DP01
  • Proto-Auto Lola B08/70
  • Riley MkXX
  • Sabre RD1

The Daytona prototype gen 2s where the replacement of the older gen 1’s and where able to be modified in very specific areas, the cars lasted from 2008 until 2011 when the cars where getting a big makeover before the merge to the Tudor sports car championship

The Gen 3

The action express corvette Daytona prototype
The action express corvette Daytona prototype

In 2012 the Daytona prototypes where updated one more time before Grand Am merged ALMS (American Le Mans Series) with the Rolex sports car championship In 2013. This pitched the DP against the LMP2 cars in the new Tudor Sports car championship. This time only 2 chassis where made for the new Gen 3’s

  • Riley MKXXVI Ford
  • corvette chevy

The gen 3’s had a better resemblance to their road car counterparts. Also the new gen 3’s have less restrictive regulations on the car’s design in the side pods and vents. Finally in 2016 it was announced that the Daytona prototypes would be replaced by the new DPI (Daytona prototype international) meaning the ban of the old style Daytona prototypes. In 2015 chip ganssi 02 car won the final 24 Daytona 24 hours in a Daytona prototype and the action express racing won the final Daytona prototype team championship.

The car that won the final 24 hours of Daytona in a Daytona prototype
The car that won the final 24 hours of Daytona in a Daytona prototype

The future

The new DPI bodystyle
The new DPI bodystyle

For the 2017 season the DPIs took over the weathertech sports car championship. The cars now use a LMP2 style chassis insted of a road car. The new chassis included

  • Cadillac DPi-V.R
  • Nissan Onroak DPi
  • Mazda RT24-P

This marked the end of the original Daytona prototype as the old bodystyle was discontinued for the European style cars. The low cost nature of the older Daytona prototypes was a turning point for grand Am and their legacy will never be forgotten for long term fans