Sunday at Daytona International Speedway was a day of contrasts. Olivier Pla set an unofficial track record in the number 77 Mazda with a lap of 1:33.324. The lap in the DPi qualifying session does not count as the official lap record. Official lap records can only be set during the Rolex 24 weekend.
Team Penske Acuras were second and third. Ricky Taylor finished 0.219 seconds behind Pla and Juan Pablo Montoya was 0.241 seconds behind the leader. Alexander Rossi led the practice round before qualifying in the number 7 that Taylor drove. The Penske Acuras look strong for the race.
James Calado led the GTLM qualifying session in the Risi Competizione independent Ferrari. His best lap of 1:42.685 edged Nick Tandy in the 911 Porsche by 0.001 seconds. Tommy Milner was third in the number 4 Corvette, 0.108 seconds behind. I was hoping for more from the Corvettes.
Four Lamborghinis, including all three cars of Team Grasser, were disqualified for running unapproved gear ratios in qualifying.
The affected cars, the 11. 19.and 44 of Grasser Racing Team, and the 47 of Precision Motorsports, lost their qualifying spots which determine choice of pit and garage space for the Rolex 24. The 47, driven by Brandon Gdovic, was the fastest of the disqualified entries, finishing 4th.
The LMP2 number 38 Performance Tech Motorsports entry also was disqualified for having the incorrect driver.
I hope this weekend’s weather, rainy and cold, is not a preview of weather for race weekend. It’s time for a warm, sunny Rolex weekend.
The DPi field looks to be very competitive. While Mazda led most of the sessions, Acura and the Wayne Taylor Cadillac each topped a session Sunday.
Ben Keating will drive in two classes in the Rolex. I’m not sure how that works with driver time limits.
The Roar is marketing genius. IMSA gets a respectable crowd the first weekend in January for an extended test session. Indycar might consider turning Spring Training into something similar. In addition to the test rounds and “qualifying”, there are two races for ladder series. I have seen this event grow since I began attending.