Alexander Rossi

Simple math and recent history indicate an NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver could start their 2022 racing season with a victory four weeks before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding on Feb. 27.

First, the math. Twelve NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers – nearly half of the full-time series grid in 2022 – will compete Saturday and Sunday in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the annual IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship endurance classic on the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road course.

Seven of those drivers will race on five of the seven teams in the premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class and contend for overall victory in the 24-hour race. The other five drivers are sprinkled throughout the LMP2, LMP3, GTD Pro and GTD classes and will race for class victory.

Now, the recent history. An active NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver has driven for the winning Rolex 24 overall team in seven of the last 11 years, including the last two events. Six-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Scott Dixon was a member of Wayne Taylor Racing’s winning team in 2020, while Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winners Helio Castroneves and Alexander Rossi helped to drive WTR to its third consecutive Rolex 24 victory last January.

Dixon, Rossi and Castroneves are all back this weekend for this race, which will feature the added challenge of unseasonably frigid Florida temperatures. The low air temperature Saturday night is forecast for 31 degrees, with north-northwest winds at 10 to 15 mph plunging wind-chill temperatures below freezing.

2016 Indy 500 winner Rossi will join IMSA veterans Ricky Taylor and Felipe Albuquerque and Will Stevens in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura fielded by reigning champs WTR. Dixon will share the No. 01 Cadillac with reigning NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion and Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Alex Palou, former INDYCAR driver and past Rolex 24 winner Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande. Bourdais was quickest in final practice Friday.

Four-time Indy 500 winner Castroneves and 2019 Indy winner Simon Pagenaud will be teammates on the No. 60 Acura fielded by Meyer Shank Racing, the team for which both drive in INDYCAR. Jimmie Johnson will be behind the wheel of the No. 48 Cadillac fielded by Action Express Racing.

Two-time 2021 race winner Marcus Ericsson rounds out the INDYCAR contingent in DPi by sharing the No. 02 Cadillac with Earl Bamber, Alex Lynn and former Formula One driver Kevin Magnussen.

In the LMP2 prototype class, expected 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES title rivals Colton Herta and Pato O’Ward will join forces in the No. 81 ORECA fielded by former Indy 500 entrant DragonSpeed. Indy Lights veteran and Andretti Autosport 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES rookie Devlin DeFrancesco will join Herta and O’Ward in the team’s lineup, along with sports car veteran Eric Lux.

2021 INDYCAR race winner Rinus VeeKay will drive the No. 29 ORECA of Racing Team Nederland in the LMP2 class.

Reigning Indy Lights champion and 2022 AJ Foyt Racing rookie Kyle Kirkwood will race in the new GTD Pro class at Daytona, driving the No. 14 Lexus of INDYCAR SERIES and Indy 500 entrant Vasser-Sullivan Racing.

Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires also will feature a solid contingent this weekend at Daytona with four drivers either who raced in the series in 2021 or confirmed to seats in 2022 among the drivers in the 61-car field.

Rasmus Lindh was quickest in final practice in the LMP3 class, driving the No. 36 Andretti Autosport Ligier he will share with Jarett Andretti (son of John Andretti), Josh Burdon and 2014 Indy Lights champion Gabby Chaves.

The GTD class will feature two current Indy Lights drivers. Linus Lundqvist will race for Alegra Motorsports in its No. 28 Mercedes-AMG, while Kyffin Simpson will share Gradient Racing’s No. 66 Acura. 2021 Indy Lights competitor Robert Megennis is among the driver lineup for the No. 39 Lamborghini fielded by CarBahn with Peregrine Racing.

Live coverage of the Rolex 24 starts Saturday at 1:30 p.m. (ET) on NBC.

Rolex 24 at Daytona broadcast schedule (all times Eastern):

1:30-2:30 p.m. Saturday: NBC

2:30-4 p.m.: Peacock

4-7 p.m.: USA Network

7-10 p.m.: Peacock

10 p.m.-3 a.m.: USA Network

3-6 a.m. Sunday: Peacock

6 a.m.-noon: USA Network

Noon-2 p.m.: NBC