TUDOR United SportsCar Championship’s three-day Roar Before The 24 test at Daytona International Speedway took place this past weekend with teams getting in final testing sessions prior to the 24 race January 25th & 26th.
As the Roar Before The Rolex 24 testing concluded, IMSA officials delivered the 2014 sporting rules package to teams participating in the inaugural TUDOR United SportsCar Championship (TUSCC). Teams have been patiently waiting for these rules to be delivered for some time now as they begin to prepare for the 2014 season.
Following the announcement, Scot Elkins, IMSA vice president of competition and technical regulations stated, “The final component of the merger between the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón and the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series is now in place. Bringing together two series, which operated under markedly different rules, was a mammoth undertaking. We took advantage of the opportunity to closely examine the rules and procedures utilized by GRAND-AM and the previous iteration of IMSA to create a package that includes best practices from both.”
Day One saw cooler than normal temperatures Friday as teams took to the Daytona International Speedway to begin testing. Christian Fittipaldi piloted the No. 5 Action Express Racing’s Corvette DP to an overall fastest lap for Day One with a time of 1:38.63 on the 3.56-mile circuit.
“All in all, it was a very good day. We managed to put into practice everything we learned since our last test here,” stated Fittipaldi. “The car felt very strong, but we still have a long way to go before the race.”.
The No. 54 CORE autosport ORECA FLM09 led Prototype Challenge competitors with a best lap time of 1:42.468, while Spencer Pumpelly was fastest in the GT Daytona group with a time of 1:47.981 during the afternoon session in the No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8 LMS.
Day Two saw additional teams hit the circuit for final testing, Jan Magnussen led competitors in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class, running a lap of 1:46.010 (120.894 mph) in the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R while the No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R of Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Robin Liddell set a time of 1:46.165. BMW Team RLL is competing at the Rolex 24 for the first time, with a two-car lineup including IndyCar regular and 2012 Rolex 24 At Daytona winner Graham Rahal.
“We’re going to focus on the strengths of the car and improve it, and see if we can find some time in the infield to make up for it,” said Rahal. “It’s been a busy couple of days, but it’s nice to get back in the BMW Z4. For me, this test is vital, because I haven’t driven a GT car here in years. The more time I can get behind the wheel the better.”
Day Three marked the final day for Roar Before The 24, and Jonathan Bomarito led the GT Le Mans class with a lap time of 1:46.496 (120.343 mph) in the No. 93 Pennzoil Ultra entry from SRT Motorsports. Patrick Long was second quickest in the No. 912 Porsche North America machine at 1:46.779.
“It’s an honor to be amongst this group,” Long said. “This is an opportunity that I’ve hoped to be part of for the past 10 years – an all-factory GT team here in the states”.
Level 5 Motorsports, who recently transitioned into GTD after taking three consecutive prototype titles in ALMS, saw their Ferrari 458 Italia hit the circuit for testing. Jeff Segal later stated “We’ve had a lot to learn, and we had a very productive test,” going on to state “The car has been really well sorted out after running for the past two seasons of development.”
2014 looks to be a year of excitement as the inaugural Tudor United SportsCar Championship season and the return of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge inches closer. Be sure to keep up to date with all TUSCC and CTSCC events and news with OpenPaddock.net