Well it is finally here! The 2014 Tudor United Sports Car Championship has completed the merger process and also completed their first major test in preparation for the Rolex 24 Hour race. I have said since last season that I was excited at the prospect of having both championships merged together and the exciting racing we could expect!
Like a lot of folks who tuned into the great coverage of various media outlets worldwide of the Roar Before the 24 test session, I was interested in speeds and lap times of the various teams. Some teams had new faces and other teams completely changed cars and class. My interest was focused on how the prototypes would settle with the powerful Daytona Prototypes at home on the high banking of Daytona International Speedway joined by their P2 counterparts. Chevrolet and their Corvette DP wasted no time in asserting dominance on the field. Action Express Racing set the fastest overall lap time with a 1:38.630. DPs made up positions one through six with five Corvettes and one Ford-powered car from the Ganassi camp. The Extreme Speed HPD prototypes managed only seventh position on the overall time sheet with a 1:39.750.
I was originally a little discouraged by seeing the gap in times between the P2 and DP cars, but got over it pretty quick. I would like to see some data on how long the P2 cars were able to run in regards to fuel mileage versus their powerful DP counterparts. Granted it was only a test, but I was a little disappointed that I didn’t hear more about the new Mazda program and the Oak Racing program, especially since Oak was able to take last year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans and the World Endurance Championship trophy.
The PC class was a fantastic follow. The thing that I really liked about PC was the strength of the entries. Starworks Motorsport and CORE Autosport led the test, but this class like the GTD is chock-full of amazing entries that promise to put on a fantastic show.
My favorite part of the field though did not disappoint. The GT section is full of cars that normal people can relate with and maybe even own. The new Porsche 991 RSR drew first blood against the Corvette camp. This battle will be one worth following the whole season as both manufacturers are introducing their new models into GT competition. Chevrolet and Porsche are no stranger to being rivals. I was pleasantly surprised to see the SRT Vipers making progress off of last season. I will admit I have been pretty skeptical of Dodge and their return to the GT ranks, but they are proving to perform well in what is a ridiculously competitive GT field. I love the looks of the Corvette and can’t wait to see the livery on it, but even with the Porsche’s time, I think the Chevrolet may be a double threat when we finally get to the Rolex in a couple weeks’ time.
The Flying Lizard Audi R8 (sounds weird doesn’t it!) was quickest in the new GT Daytona category. The GTD class was full of competitive Porsches as well. What is fantastic about GTD is the great entries that are listed. It will no doubt be an Audi/Porsche fight and will provide Porsche a chance to also claim dual class victories.
With the first test down and the rules now put in place, it is time for the Rolex and the start of the North American motorsport season! There are a lot of interesting storylines currently that will make this one of the best 24s in recent memory! Keep it here for more Tudor United Sports Car Championship news and opinion!