New season kicks off in Florida

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The opening round of the new Tudor United Sports Car Championship takes place this weekend at the Daytona International Speedway and Silverstone’s John Martin will be in the thick of the action, writes James Beckett.

The Daytona 24-Hour Race, known as the Rolex 24, has attracted a huge entry of sports prototype and GT cars for its 2014 running.

Martin will be making his debut in the famous race, driving a Corvette Daytona Prototype car for the Action Express Racing team. He will share driving duties with Frenchman, Fabian Giroix, and Americans Burt and Brian Frisselle.

Speaking this week, Martin said: “Daytona is an awesome place and I can’t wait to get started. The Rolex 24 is such a famous event and I am pleased I am able to drive in it this year. It’s good to start the year with something like this before I start to think about the FIA World Endurance Championship and the Le Mans 24-Hours.”

Also taking part in the event are two former winners of Silverstone’s end-of-season showcase event, the Walter Hayes Trophy, with 2008 champion, Conor Daly, driving an Oreca FLM09, while 2012 winner, Tristan Nunez, will drive the brand new diesel-powered Mazda LMP2 prototype.

Both racers won the Walter Hayes Trophy representing the Team USA Scholarship. As a result, Nunez has been awarded a factory contract from Mazda, and he hopes to be at Le Mans in June with the Japanese manufacturer.

He said: “I am really keen to put on a good show for everyone. The Mazda is a great package and I hope I can show that it has great potential as a long distance racer. If we have a good result at Daytona then I think we could have a good race at Le Mans. The official entry list for Le Mans will be published next month and I hope my team will be listed.”