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Day 2 At The Roar: Shank Keeps Cranking At DIS

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, January 10 2016
Michael Shank Racing's Honda Ligier remained the fastest car at the Roar Before the Daytona 24 on Saturday.

Michael Shank Racing’s Honda Ligier remained the fastest car at the Roar Before the Daytona 24 on Saturday.


Michael Shank Racing’s Oliver Pla led the scoring charts for the second day in a row Saturday during the annual Roar Before the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway’s infield road course.

bugnotesPla, driving the No. 60 Honda Ligier JS P2 prototype, set the pace Saturday night with a lap of 1:39.687 (128.562 mph).

He also posted the fastest time thus far in the three-day test – which serves as the final test before the 2016 season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona – running 1:39.445 (128.875 mph) on Friday afternoon.

Co-driving with Pla at Daytona are Ozz Negri, John Pew and AJ Allmendinger.

In the other three WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Series classes Saturday, new leaders emerged.

– Mike Rockenfeller led the GT Le Mans class with a lap of 1:45.256 (121.760 mph) in the No. 3 Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R co-driven by defending Rolex 24 class winners Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia.

– Maro Engel was quickest in Prototype Challenge, running 1:43.175 (124.216 mph) in the No. 88 Starworks Motorsport ORECA FLM09.

– Fabio Babini turned the fastest GT Daytona lap of the weekend, a 1:48.309 (118.328 mph) in the No. 28 Konrad Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3.

A total of 54 WeatherTech cars are due to race in this year’s 24.

The Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge also held a pair of sessions today in preparation for the season-opening BMW Performance 200 at Daytona on Friday, Jan. 29. Scott Maxwell led Grand Sport with a lap of 1:57.823 (108.773 mph) in the No. 15 Multimatic Motorsport Ford Shelby GT350R-C, while Seth Thomas was fastest in Street Tuner (ST), running 2:06.061 (101.665 mph) in the No. 38 Next Level European Porsche Cayman.

Pruett Looking For No. 6

Scott Pruett was a big story before the first car hit the track this weekend. He’s a five-time Rolex 24 champion, an all-time record he shares with Hurley Haywood.

In the quest for a new record, Pruett has changed teams for this year’s race, leaving Chip Ganassi Racing to join Action Express Racing; he’s co-driving a Corvette DP with reigning WeatherTech Championship Prototype class champions Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa, plus Filipe Albuquerque.

“Winning this race as many times as I have,” Pruett said, “there are those tracks and those races that are truly magical. For me, one has been Indy (Indianapolis Motor Speedway) and most certainly and more so, Daytona. I love coming here and being a part of (the Rolex 24).

“It’s exciting to be with Action Express and the whole group. It’s new, having been with my last team for 12 years. A championship-winning team is incredible to drive for … it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Legge Leads Session In DeltaWing

Katherine Legge led a fog-shortened morning session in the No. 0 Panoz DeltaWing Racing DWC13, running her final lap in 1:40.137 (127.985 mph) to edge out Ozz Negri. “It’s exciting to be back at Daytona and fast,” said Legge, who co-drives with Sean Rayhall and Andy Meyrick.

“Being on pace and up with the leaders shows just how much we’re improving,” Legge said. “The great news is that I still feel we have more to give.”

Rojas Enjoying Transition To GT Car 

Memo Rojas, a three-time overall winner of the Rolex 24 with Chip Ganassi Racing, is enjoying a new experience preparing for the 2016.

“I’ve done all my career with Prototype cars or open-wheel cars, so this is my first experience with a GT car,” said Rojas, who is testing with Scuderia Corsa in the No. 68 Ferrari 488 GTE that will make its competition debut in the GTLM class. “This is a brand-new car, and they just got it delivered at the track. Scuderia Corsa has done an amazing job with the car. So far, it’s been flawless, and they have been able to focus on the setup and getting time for the drivers in the car.

Freiberg Testing With Two Teams, Has Sprint Race Rides With Third

Things turned around quickly in the off-season for Ashley Freiberg as she went from searching for a seat to holding the keys to multiple rides for the 2016 season. Freiberg will co-drive the No. 96 Turner Motorsport Spectra Resources/United Steel/Valspar Paint/IHG Rewards Club BMW M6 GT3 during three of the four Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup races and also has landed a spot with the Starworks Motorsport Prototype Challenge team for the sprint races. She also is testing in the Continental Tire Challenge with the MINI John Cooper Work team.

“Honestly, I just worked my tail off to make it happen,” said Freiberg. “I know we had a great year last year, especially ending on a high note with the [Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race] win at Petit and we were all working hard to find a place to put me here, and luckily, there was a place to put me at Turner. The PC deal came together last minute and that’s super exciting, too. I think it will be a really nice addition to what I have here [with Turner].”

Bergmeister Aims For Fourth Rolex 24 Victory With Park Place Motorsports

Joerg Bergmeister will be with a new team in 2016, driving the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports/Jet Edge Porsche GT3 R with Patrick Lindsey. They will be joined in the Rolex 24 by Matthew McMurry.

“Our focus so far is to give Matt some time in the car during the Roar, and then I’ll get in more track time during the race weekend,” said Bergmeister, a three-time class winner in the Rolex 24 – including the overall victory in 2003. “It would be nice to go home to Germany with another Rolex on the wrist – that’s definitely the goal – but there’s a lot of competition with good lineups in GTD, with a lot of new combinations. It’s definitely going to be exciting. I’m looking forward to running the full series. It’s a great series with great racetracks, and it’s always fun to race over here.”

Wilson Takes First Laps At Daytona

“Now that I have my IMSA license, I’m officially a two-sport athlete,” said Major League Baseball star C.J. Wilson, who took his first laps in a professional race car on Saturday. Wilson was at the wheel of his new CJ Wilson Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport that will compete in the Grand Sport (GS) class. While Wilson is not expected to compete in the 2016 season due to his commitments pitching with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, he is planning to drive for his racing team in the future.

“Driving at Daytona is really cool, and the banking is really intense,” said Wilson, who turned laps in the afternoon session. His co-drivers are Marc Miller and Danny Burkett. “It’s not something you can simulate at any other track.”

Up Next

The Roar Before the Rolex 24 concludes with a pair of practices for each series on Sunday, beginning at 9 a.m. Spectators are admitted to the infield at $15, with Rolex 24 ticket holders admitted for free.

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, January 10 2016
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