The third-year Andretti Autosport driver was scheduled to team with fellow IZOD IndyCar Series drivers Tony Kanaan and E.J. Viso, in addition to Maurizio Scala, in the No. 2 Starworks Motorsport Daytona Prototype this weekend. But funding for the entry fell through earlier this week, disappointing everyone associated with the team that tested in early January on the 2.56-mile, 12-turn course.
Hunter-Reay then received a call from team principal Peter Baron, asking if he would continue with the program for the weekend. Baron’s SAMAX Motorsport team ran a partial IZOD IndyCar Series season in 2007 with Milka Duno.
“This race means a lot to me; I’ve driven in it every year since 2006," Hunter-Reay said. “I’m really good friends with Peter and the team and they’re in a tight situation. It is what it is; there’s nobody to blame. It’s a tough circumstance."
Hunter-Reay qualified the car and will drive the first stint of the twice-around-the-clock race.
“The Daytona 24 has all the best drivers from around the world going at it for one full day of racing," said Hunter-Reay, who drove for Baron’s team in the 2006 endurance race and earned a podium finish in 2010 with Level 5 Motorsports. “This event really sets the tone for the upcoming season.
“It’s good to start your year off with 24 hours of racing, a lot of seat time and shaking all the cobwebs off from the two months we were off. Testing went well, and it will be interesting to see how the new generation Daytona Prototype compares with the old one. We’re in the old one, but 24 hours is about endurance and I kind of like the cards we’re holding right now. We’re in something that is tried and true and could be in a good position."