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Lights Come On At The Roar Before The 24

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, January 11 2015

Wayne Taylor Racing's Corvette was fastest on the track in Daytona on Saturday. (File photo)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
RacinToday.com

The lights went on at the Roar Before the 24 sports car test at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday night, but the fastest lap of the day was recorded when the Corvette Daytona Prototype of Wayne Taylor Racing drove lights out on Saturday morning.

The Roar – a three-day open test for those planning to compete in the Tudor United SportsCar Championship’s season-opening Rolex 24 at DIS – held four sessions on Saturday with three being conducted during the day and the final being a 90-minute nighttime job.

At the wheel of Wayne Taylor’s No. 10 Corvette DP for the fast lap was Jordan Taylor. His lap was timed at 1:39.181 (129.218 mph). Sharing the seat of the car at Daytona is brother Ricky Taylor and Max Angelelli.

“These days you need to have the fastest car because when you get to the final hour [of the race] you need to race everyone,” said Taylor. “Five years ago we wouldn’t focus on a lap-time car; we’d just make it as comfortable as possible. Now you need to work on lap times and race pace because you know you’re going to come to that last hour having to race for the win.”

Jordan Taylor was asked if he was encouraged by the way he and his team have been running this weekend.

“Yesterday we did a lot of work that wasn’t going to show lap time, but it was things we needed to get through,” he said. “Today we could actually work on the car on set-up things. We have always had a pretty good car at Daytona. We were quick this morning which was nice to see over one lap. From there we have been working on long run stuff for 24 hours. We never go for a qualifying car here, but we are trying to make it as comfortable as possible. We have been doing aero stuff, mechanical stuff trying to get in a window where all three of us are comfortable. Thankfully we have all been together we all know each other so it doesn’t matter who is testing it each session. I certainly think it is going in the right direction.”

The second fastest lap of the day was recorded in the cool of the evening and with lights turned on.

Sebastien Bourdais ran that lap in the closing minutes of night practice, running 1:39.310 (129.050 mph) in the defending champion No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP. He was followed by Ozz Negri the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian Ligier JS P2/Honda, 1:39.342 (129.009 mph).

Other class leaders were Colin Braun in Prototype Challenge, running 1:41.769 (125.932 mph) in the No. 54 CORE autosport ORECA FLM09; Earl Bamber in GT Le Mans, 1:44.316 (122.857 mph) in the No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR; and Marc Goossens in GT Daytona at 1:47.373 (119.360 mph) in the No. 33 TI Automotive/ViperExchange.com Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R.

The Roar will hold two sessions on Sunday’s final day of testing.

Notes

– Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian is proving the viability of the new No. 60 Honda-powered Ligier JS P2 this weekend.  AJ Allmendinger led the afternoon session with a lap of one minute, 39.418 seconds, edging out Sebastien Bourdais’ No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP, 1:39.445.

And Allmendinger, a NASCAR regular, is having a ball.

“This is the type of racecar that throughout the last 10, 11 years of car racing I’ve done, I’ve always wanted to try driving. So when Mike [Shank] and I were talking and he said he was going to make this move, for me, I was pumped up to do it just for the pure excitement of trying to drive one of these cars.”

– Porsche Motorsport North America is celebrating Alex Job Racing’s first 25 years in sports car racing this weekend. “From his experience in the automotive retail business to his success as a driver and mechanic, Alex has all the tools to run a productive motorsports operation, and his championships over the 25 years of Alex Job Racing have proven he can put that rubber to the road,” said Porsche Motorsport North America president and CEO Jens Walther. “And we’re proud that he has chosen Porsche as his preferred marque.”

Alex Job Racing is one of the most successful teams in sports car racing with 70 wins (since 1995); including two Rolex 24 GT Class wins in 1999 and 2013. This record is supported by 48 pole positions and 106 podium finishes. The team has won five championships (GT in 2002-2004 and GTC in 2012-2013) complimented by their two GT class wins at Le Mans. The team also boasts nine Sebring 12-hour wins.

For this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, Alex Job Racing will enter two Porsche 911 GT America race cars. In the No. 22 Alex Job Racing/WeatherTech entry, Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.), Leh Keen (Atlanta), Andrew Davis (Athens, Georgia) and Shane van Gisbergen (New Zealand) will contest the race, while drivers in No. 23 Team Seattle/Alex Job Racing car will be Ian James (Phoenix), Mario Farnbacher (Germany) and Alex Riberas (Spain).

– The No. 0 DeltaWing Racing Cars with Claro/TracFone DWC-13 team was forced back to its race shop in Braselton, Georgia after an incident in Saturday’s afternoon session. The prototype sustained damage after another car hit the wall on the front straight just ahead of driver Memo Rojas. The team was working through the resulting differences in downforce when Rojas lost control in the kink and tapped the wall. The team decided the damage was too significant to repair at the track.

“We had some damage from that incident this morning that affected the underfloor, and that had a negative effect on the balance of the car,” team manager Tim Keene said. “But overall, everything was good. It was unfortunate at the end, but we got a lot of good data and we’re confident in that area. We have a good package – we’re quicker than we’ve ever been here.”

The car had been running consistently fast laps before the crash.

Byron DeFoor escaped injury when he flipped the No. 50 Fifty Plus Racing Endures for a Cure Dinan/Riley after encountering a mechanical problem entering Turn 1 in the morning session. Other drivers evaluated and released from the infield care center after on-track incidents were Francois Perrodo, driver of the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia and Jerome Mee, driver of the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA FLM09.

– With GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing opting to compete in the Pirelli World Challenge instead of the Tudor series this year, driver Jon Fogarty will be spending the 24 sharing time in the seat of the No. 2 Tequila Patrón ESM HPD ARX-04b/Honda.

He will be doing so happily.

“I’m super-excited about this opportunity and the car is great to drive,” Fogarty, a two-time Grand-Am champion, said. “It’s comfortable, it’s quiet, there are a lot of things to like about it, but it’s still an evolving process getting used to it. I have driven a lot of different cars so it wasn’t totally foreign to me.”

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, January 11 2015
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