A Spine Chilling Roar


0106171430    It was the same weather that fans endured for the 1992 Indianapolis 500  and last year’s Angie’s List Grand Prix.  Fans arrived to a cold, windy, rainy track. But it is January, What else can you expect in India- oh, wait. This is Florida. The Roar before the 24 it’s called. I’m not sure if the name refers to the cars or the wind.

.  I have begun to rekindle my interest in sportscar racing.  Before the  Indycar season gets started it’s a nice way to see some racing early in the year. Since it is the off- season, several Indycar drivers drive in both the Rolex24 in Daytona and the Sebring 12 hour race.

The IMSA Weather Tech Sportscar Series holds this annual test the first weekend in January, three weeks before the Rolex 24. It is a chance to test new cars and see what improvements have been made to returning machines. The three day test consists of seven practice sessions.

Fans who have purchased tickets to the Rolex24 receive free admission which includes paddock access. The garages at Daytona are very open, providing easy viewing for spectators. Some garages have windows in the rear outside the paddock for viewing. This is more than a test; it’s an event. Driver and officials make scheduled appearances at the plaza for question and answer sessions and to talk about technical aspects of the series.

Yes, there are race cars. Lots of them.  All four classes participate in the test.  The prototype class has changed to a new formula this season. The cars are now known as DPi, Daytona prototype international. There are three engine manufacturers in DPi- Cadillac, Mazda, and Nissan. Oreca, Dallara, and Cadillac supply the chassis. The cars have distinct body styles, mainly in the front. All of them in my opinion are quite beautiful. They have brought back some of the shape of  cars of the past.  The other classes are basically the same as before.

I was impressed by the size of the crowd. The infield parking lots were quite full. Some people were brave enough to camp.  The greatest part of the weekend, though, was the fact it was the first week of January and I was watching race cars on a track. That went a long way toward taking my mind off the weather.

Below are some prototypes. Notice the differences in design.