December 13, 2016 | 10:38 P.M. EST
Once again, Jeff Gordon (right) has come out of retirement and once again, he’s in the Rolex 24 At Daytona field. Here, he discusses Tuesday’s test session with IMSA teammate Jordan Taylor. (Photo: Getty Images)
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Once again, Jeff Gordon has come out of retirement and once again, he’s in the Rolex 24 At Daytona field.
As a high-profile part of the Wayne Taylor Racing lineup that will wheel a new Cadillac DPi in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s premier Prototype class, Gordon is at Daytona International Speedway this week for a two-day test session in advance of the Jan. 28-29 endurance classic.
He will co-drive the No. 10 entry with brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor, and Max Angelelli. It will be Gordon’s second appearance in the Rolex 24. In 2007 he co-drove a Pontiac Riley to a third-place finish with Angelelli, Wayne Taylor and Jan Magnussen.
After retiring from NASCAR competition following the 2015 season, Gordon returned for eight races this year as a substitute for former teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr., who was recovering from a concussion. Gordon’s return to sports cars, surprising on the surface, probably shouldn’t be. He had talked in the past about racing in the Rolex 24 again.
“I had so much fun the first time,” Gordon said. “At this point of my life and career, (winning the Rolex 24) would be huge. When I came here in 2007, I was just along for the ride.
“When you realize how important this race is – on race day when you see the hype, the build-up and then the challenges you face over 24 hours, that’s what makes this race so thrilling.”
The DPi (Daytona Prototype international) entries are new to the WeatherTech Championship this year. Four DPi cars highlight a solid turnout of 29 cars across four classes for this this week’s test.
The No. 10 Cadillac initially had telemetry issues on Tuesday, delaying its on-track debut. Eventually, it made some short runs around the 3.56-mile DIS road course. Gordon’s stint yielded one of the fastest laps of the day.
This week’s test is the second of three pre-season sessions for the Rolex 24, IMSA’s season-opening event. The final test will be the annual “Roar Before the Rolex 24” on Jan. 6-8.