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Daly Staying Sharp by Adding Another Race to IMS Resume

It may be just the beginning of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES offseason, but that’s not stopping Conor Daly from continuing to learn and add a layer of competition to his resume this weekend in the Indianapolis 8 Hour Presented by AWS.

The sports car race, which features both the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli and the Fanatec GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS, will use a different course than Daly is used to. The race will take place on a 15-turn road course featuring the inner loop after Turn 5 as opposed to the 14-turn course featuring the Turns 5-6 chicane that the NTT INDYCAR SERIES uses for the GMR Grand Prix and the Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix.

Still, Daly thinks there’s a benefit to getting reps this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway around the road course, even if it is on a different configuration and in a different race car.

“Any time you can do laps out here at IMS is super important,” he said. “It helps build your level of experience. The track changes all the time, every year, and you want to make sure that you’re out there as much as possible. I think that’s a massive part of why we’re here.”

Daly is competing for Random Vandals Racing in a BMW M4 GT4 alongside co-drivers Paul Sparta and Al Carter. Sparta is the team entrant, whom Daly said has sponsored him before, and Daly used to compete against Carter in the Skip Barber Racing School.

That rekindling of friendly competition is part of the appeal for Daly this weekend. He is driving one of 41 cars entered in this weekend’s race. It’s the largest-ever entry for an Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli round in North America.

The Racing Capital of the World has lured a wide array of race car drivers from across the world to Indianapolis this weekend. Some are familiar faces for Daly, such as Callum Ilott, Pippa Mann and Jack Hawksworth, all of whom have competed in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.

“The Indianapolis 8 Hour is such a cool event for a very, very diverse group of drivers to come out here and get a shot at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” Daly said. “It’s really great to come out here and race against a lot of guys that I have not seen in years, as well.

“There’s a lot of incredible talent from Europe with guys that have driven in Formula One and guys that have driven all the sports car series around the world, Le Mans, everything like that. It’s an awesome event to be a part of.”

Daly did not compete in this race last year, making it a new notch in his belt of events he’s driven at IMS. Daly has a best finish of sixth on the IMS road course in the GMR Grand Prix in 2016, as well as a best finish of 10th in the Indianapolis 500 in 2019. This year, he led a race-high 40 laps before finishing 13th for Ed Carpenter Racing. He also has raced in the Driven to Save Lives BC39 Powered by NOS Energy Drink on The Dirt Track at IMS.

Daly, from Noblesville, Indiana, wants to compete in any event he can at the famed racetrack. He also would race year-round if he could, making this weekend’s fall racing event a perfect race for him.

“I live by that mantra of race anything, anytime, anywhere,” he said. “So, this fits perfectly into that category, and it’s just down the road from my house.

“I would hope to be able to do this race for many, many years to come. The most annoying part about the offseason is that you don’t get to drive as much. So, if we can come out here and do something and keep busy, keep the old body sharp, that’s super important leading into whatever we have in the future.”

Weekend tickets are available at IMS.com. The schedule (all times ET):

 

Friday, Oct. 15

9:20-9:50 a.m.: Bronze Test Session

11:20 a.m.-12:50 p.m.: Free Practice

Saturday, Oct. 16

8:30-10 a.m.: Pre-Qualifying

2-2:15 p.m.: Qualifying 1

2:22-2:32 p.m.: Qualifying 2

2:45-3 p.m.: Qualifying 3

4:20-4:35 p.m.: Pole Shootout top-15

Sunday, Oct. 17

10 a.m.-6 p.m.: Indianapolis 8 Hour Presented by AWS

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