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Will Power enters Rolex 24 at Daytona as IndyCar champ makes IMSA sports car debut

Leigh Diffey and 2022 NTT IndyCar Series Champion Will Power discuss the difference in his mindset this season, what it takes to be a champion and whether or not he would be content with his career if it ended today.

Fresh off conquering the NTT IndyCar Series yet again, Will Power will try a new series -- entering the Rolex 24 at Daytona for his IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship debut.

The Team Penske driver, who won his second IndyCar championship four months ago, will be in the lineup of the No. 75 Mercedes-AMG in the GTD class. The SunEnergy1 Racing entry was the last addition to the 61-car field on the preliminary entry list for the 61st running of the prestigious season opener at the Daytona International Speedway road course.

Power is a longtime friend of SunEnergy1 Racing team owner and fellow Australian Kenny Habul, who also will be one of the car’s co-drivers.

“The Daytona 24 is an iconic event on the bucket list of most drivers, and I have to thank Kenny for the opportunity,” Power said in a release.

“I am looking forward to driving the heavier GT car and getting experience for, hopefully, a lot more drives like this in the future – including the Bathurst 1000 and Bathurst 12 Hours back in Australia. It is quite funny when you look back at how Kenny and I raced Formula Ford against each other all those years ago, and now we are going to be teammates.

“He chose a business route instead of chasing his racing dream and has obviously been incredibly successful. It has been great to watch him enjoy his racing later in life and actually improve as he gets older. Kenny obviously knows what it takes to be successful in business and is applying all those lessons to his racing. His win in the Bathurst 12 Hour last year is proof of that.”

Said Habul, a sports car veteran: “Will is a monster talent and genuine person, and we look forward to him being a valuable contributor to our 24-hour campaign at Daytona. He has a reputation of being fast in anything he drives and I am sure he will be up to speed in our gear in no time. Will and I have been friends since we raced Formula Ford in the late 90s, and it is quite ironic that we now have houses only a few miles apart from each other in North Carolina.

“We stood on the podium together as kids, in the 1999 Formula Ford race at the Gold Coast IndyCar event, dreaming of racing Indy cars someday, Will made that dream happen and then some. I’m so proud of him.”

Power will become the 11th IndyCar driver in the field of the 24-hour race Jan. 28-29. He will join his two Penske teammates in the race -- Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin are teamed on the Tower Motorsports No. 8 Oreca in the LMP2 class.

Other IndyCar drivers in the 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona: Meyer Shank Racing teammates Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud (on MSR’s No. 60 Acura ARX-06 in the premier GTP category); Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 1 Cadillac in GTP); Colton Herta (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing BMW in GTP); Devlin DeFrancesco (Rick Ware Racing’s LMP2, No. 51 Oreca); Romain Grosjean (Iron Lynx Racing’s GTD Pro, No. 63 Huracán GT3 EVO2); Kyle Kirkwood (Vasser Sullivan’s No. 12 Lexus RC F GT3 in GTD); Rinus VeeKay (TDS Racing’s No. 11 Oreca in LMP2).

Aside from a handful of starts in the Supercars Series (two in 2010 and two in 2012), Power hardly has dabbled outside of IndyCar since he began racing the series full time in 2008. The 2018 Indy 500 winner is active in go-karting (and owns a company that builds karts). Though Penske had an Acura DPi team in IMSA from 2018-20, Power, 41, didn’t get a shot at the premier category.

In addition to his second title, Power broke Mario Andretti’s IndyCar with his 68th career pole position by qualifying first in the 2022 season finale at Laguna Seca Raceway. Power has 41 wins, ranking fifth on the all-time win list for IndyCar.

IMSA is expected to unveil a finalized entry list soon with the full lineup of drivers in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, which will be broadcast across NBC, USA and Peacock.