Ryan Hunter-Reay will have plenty of photos of his newborn son to show all who inquire this weekend during testing for the 51st Rolex 24 At Daytona.
The reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion is the latest IZOD IndyCar Series driver confirmed for the race on the 3.56-mile, 12-turn circuit at Daytona International Speedway later this month. Other competitors include Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Charlie Kimball, James Hinchcliffe, Sebastien Bourdais, Simon Pagenaud, Alex Tagliani and Justin Wilson (who co-drove the 2012 winning car for Michael Shank Racing).
Hunter-Reay will drive the No. 10 Velocity Worldwide Corvette Dallara DP for Wayne Taylor Racing along with Max Angelelli and Jordan Taylor. It will be the seventh consecutive year that Hunter-Reay competes in the endurance race and will mark his 16th Grand-Am race. He co-drove the winning car in the 2007 season-ending 1,000-mile race, and has a best finish of third in the 2010 Rolex 24.
“I look forward to once again be driving for Wayne and working with the team that catapulted my career resurgence in 2006,” said Hunter-Reay, who will be back in his Andretti Autosport-prepared car for the first time in 2013 during a Jan. 14 test at Sebring International Raceway. “After winning the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series championship with Team Chevy, I’m delighted to be an integral part of Chevrolet’s biggest U.S. endurance event of the year.
“This will be my seventh Rolex 24 and I have come close to victory in the past with a podium. But joining this team and driving a Corvette DP alongside Max Angelelli and Jordan Taylor should provide the best opportunity, yet, at competing for the overall win and getting on the top step.”
Last year, Hunter-Reay teamed with Marco Andretti, Michael Valiante and Scott Mayer for a 10th-place finish in a Starworks Motorsport car.
“I’ve known Ryan for years and have always thought he was a tremendously underrated driver,” team owner Wayne Taylor said. “He proved to the world what he’s truly made of by winning the IndyCar championship last season. It’s very important for our mutual partner General Motors to have him with a top team in the Daytona 24-hour.”
On Dec. 28, Hunter-Reay's wife, Beccy, gave birth to the couple's first child, Ryden. He checked in at 6 pounds, 8 ounces and 19.5 inches.
“I thought we would be dealing with this in mid-January, so it was unexpected,” Hunter-Reay said. “His name is Ryden because my wife Beccy really wanted him to have the initials RHR. He’s amazing. It was such an amazing experience.
"He was born on Dec. 28, which is my car number, so I guess it was meant to be. The first time through is a magic experience, but as a dad standing alongside it was very nerve-racking.”