DragonSpeed’s LMP2 entry for the Rolex 24 At Daytona will feature two IndyCar driver who combined for five wins last season, a promising team veteran who is making the leap to IndyCar next year, and another tenured DragonSpeed driver who helped the team stand on the Daytona podium in January.
The line-up, assembled by Andretti Autosport’s newest IndyCar rookie Devlin DeFrancesco, reunites former Andretti Indy Lights teammates Pato O’Ward and Colton Herta in their DragonSpeed ORECA 07-Gibson. DeFrancesco also pairs once again with Eric Lux, who brings the experience earned in 130 sports car races to support the young open-wheelers.
“This gives our streak of attracting the best driving talent to DragonSpeed another massive bump said team principal Elton Julian. “We already know how well Eric and Devlin can perform with us at Daytona from last year, and adding two of IndyCar’s brightest stars to our 2022 squad makes our prospects even more exciting. Most of our LMP2 rivals are capable of delivering a fast, efficient, and reliable run. We aim to do the same and give our all-stars — all with plenty of Daytona experience — the platform they need to make the difference.”
After Lux, O’Ward is the closest thing to an IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship veteran after winning all but one race on the way to earning the LMPC title in 2017 before going on to partner with and compere against Herta in Indy Lights the following year.
“I think it’s a great line-up which gives us a real shot at winning,” said O’Ward, who finished third in the 2021 IndyCar standings as the lead driver at Arrow McLaren SP. “We’re all part of the same generation, so coming together for this race makes a very cool reunion.”
For Herta, who joins DragonSpeed as Andretti’s lead IndyCar driver after placing fifth last season, he’ll get his first taste of racing a prototype while going for his second Rolex watch after winning the 24-hour race in the GT Le Mans class with BMW in 2019.
“I’m pretty comfortable at Daytona, but I’ve never driven a prototype before so I’ll be focused on getting to grips with that,” he said. “I can’t wait to get stuck in with Devlin and Pato. I’ve been really good friends with them for a long time and to team up together at the Rolex is going to be a lot of fun, and I’m looking forward just a much to working with Eric as one of the top Bronze drivers.
“Driving in races like the Rolex is so good for your development as a driver, preparing you for different situations and making you more adaptable in terms of race strategy and driving approach.”
DeFrancesco has made the Rolex 24 a regular part of his racing activities, which is rare for a 21-year-old chasing open-wheel glory.
“The Rolex 24 is always an awesome way to kick off the racing season and I’m really looking forward to returning in 2022 with DragonSpeed and having my old friends Pato and Colton as part of the package,” he said.
“I have a big season ahead stepping into IndyCar but I always find Daytona an energizing start to the. I expect that will be even more so this January sharing the experience with Colton and Pato! I really enjoyed driving with Elton and the team last year and to return with this line-up in 2022 is just brilliant.”
The upcoming January 27-29 race represents a significant milestone for Lux, who made his first Rolex 24 start at the age of 16.
“2022 marks my 19th season competing in sportscars and my 12th Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona,” he said. “I’ve come so close to winning this race on several occasions, and for it to become a reality you need the right team, the right car, and the right teammates.
“I’ve known Elton as a teammate, team owner, and friend over the past ten years, and I’m confident that with DragonSpeed, Devlin, Colton, and Pato, we have what it takes to fight for the win. It’s truly an honor to share the car with these guys, and I can’t wait to get down to business at the Roar!”