Taylor Holds Off Westbrook for Rolex Pole

Photo: Business as usual for Wayne Taylor Racing: winning at Daytona. IMSA image

Ricky Taylor won the qualifying race yesterday and will start the Role 24 Hour race from the pole next Saturday. Taylor’s Wayne Taylor Racing Acura took the lead after pit stops and held off persistent attacks from Richard Westbrook in the JDC -Miller Cadillac over the final 30 minutes of the race. Westbrook’s car started on the pole for the race. Felipe Albuquerque qualified the car second, but the number 10 started last in class because of a technical violation.

Taylor clinched the victory just after the start of the final lap. Westbrook saw an opening going into turn one which Taylor quickly closed. Westbrook bumped Taylor, then spun, giving the number 10 Konica- Minolta car a clear path to the checkered flag.

Traffic helped Taylor stay in front, but once the contenders were clear, Westbrook closed in quickly. It was a great half hour battle.

Ben Keating and Mikkel Jensen won in LMP2. Keating started on the pole, and he will drive the number 52 in this class and the number 5 DPi Cadillac in the race. Keating has a good shot at a double win.

Jarrett Andretti Wins LMP3 Pole

Jarrett Andretti, son of the late John Andretti, teamed with Josh Burdon to win the LMP3 class in the Andretti Autosport entry. Attrition was high in this group, and is likely to be a factor next weekend as well. The number 36 Ligier started third Sunday.

Close Finishes in GTD Classes

Both GTD Pro and GTD saw close finishes. While the DPi cars battled, the GTD classes each had duels for the lead for the final 30 minutes also. Peacock gave some coverage of the fights, but I wish they had shown more.

In GTD Pro, the Lamborghini driven by Andrea Caldarelli and Mirko Bortolotti took first place. Bortolotti passed the Porsche driven by Alessio Piccarielli with 14 minutes to go and won by 0.475 seconds.

While the GTD finish was close- Lucas Auer and Russell Ward’ Mercedes won by just 0.509 seconds over the McLaren- the team led all but three laps from their outside front row starting spot.

Acuras 1-2 in Practice; Wickens Gets Up to Speed

All Photos in this post courtesy of Vincent Anderson

The DPi class saw the Acuras of Meyer Shank Racing with Curb Agajanian and Wayne Taylor Racing lead the two practices on the first day of The Roar before the 24. Just 0.4 seconds separated the first four cars of the top class. Indycar champion Alex Palou was third quickest in a Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac. The other Ganassi car was fourth with Earl Bamber driving.

Action in the international horseshoe

Tom Blomqvist reeled off a series of quick laps late in the afternoon practice to secure the top spot for the number 60 car, which will have Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud also driving. Felipe Albuquerque had the fastest time in the Number 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura. Alexander Rossi is a team member.

Corvette still looking for speed.

In the GTD Pro class, Mirko Bortolotti led the afternoon session in the number 63 Lamborghini Huracan.

Raffaelle Marciello led GTD practice in the number 75 Mercedes.

Wickens on Track

Robert Wickens returned to the track yesterday and turned the fastest lap of the Elantra tube video shows him leaving the pits.

I admit I got a little choked up watching this.

Today is qualifying for the qualifying race tomorrow. The 100 minute race begins at 2:05 EST and is streamed on Peacock.

Prototype Challenge races today and is on television:

IMSA.TV

Round 1 – Prototype Challenge (Available In The United States On Peacock) 12:05 PM to 3:05 PM ETPeacock

Round 1 – Daytona International Speedway

Sunday at the Roar: High Speed and DQs

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.

Lamborghinis Disqualified

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.

Notes

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.

Roar Before the 24- Lots of Changes for Full Timers and Indycar Drivers

The Roar Before the 24 began today with a totally different look for the IMSA Weather Tech field. Several full time drivers are with new teams. As a result, some of the Indycar regulars who serve as the extra drivers needed for the endurance races are also in new situations. The most notable Indycar drivers to switch are Scott Dixon, who will drive for Wayne Taylor Racing this year after Chip Ganassi’s Ford GTLM program ended after 2019.

The majority of drivers who participated in the NTT Indycar Series in 2019 are in the DPi class. Alexander Rossi and Simon Pagenaud are in Team Penske Acuras. Rossi is in car number 6 and Pagenaud in car 7. Dixon will drive in the 10 car. Ryan Hunter-Reay is with the number 55 Mazda. Matheus Leist, who at present does not a ride in Indycar for this year, is driving the endurance races for JDC-Miller in car 85.

Colton Herta returns to defend his GTLM win in the 2019 Rolex 24 with Rahal Letterman Lanigan in the number 25 BMW.

Part time Indycar drivers running this weekend at Ben Hanley with Dragonspeed in the 81 LMP2 entry and James Davison the number 2 Multimatic Riley, also in LMP2.

Katherine Legge returns on an all female team, but not with Henricher/MSR. She will drive the 19 GTD car for GEAR Racing powered by GRT Grasser. The Lamboghini Hurracan will be very competitive.

Go to the link to view the full entry list:

Click to access 2020_iwsc_roar_official_entrylist.pdf

 

Things Will Seem Weird

There are things about the Roar that will look strange. Wayne Taylor Racing will not have a driver named Taylor.  It was hard enough last year getting used to Ricky Taylor in the Penske Acura. Now we also need to adjust to his brother Jordan in a Corvette GTLM.

I will miss the Ganassi Ford GTLMs. I loved the look of the car and its distinctive sound. I’m glad that their regular drivers have found other rides.

Normally watching Sebastien Bourdais in the endurance races is no big deal, but it’s difficult to realize that the number 5 Cadillac will be his home for the season. I hope he can find something for the Indianapolis 500.

I hope the smaller field, just 40 cars this year, can see more entries starting next season. I understand it’s economics, but sad to see the numbers going down. Some of the shorter races may see even smaller grids.

The Schedule

Saturday, January 4

7:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Garages Open
7:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Scout Days Open Garage inside the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship garage
7:30 AM
Infield & UNOH Fanzone open
7:30 AM – 8:15 AM
Scout Days Start/Finish Line Track Walk
8:00 AM – 3:30 PM
DIS Tours available – Purchase at Daytona Ticket and Tours building
8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Scout Days fishing available on Lake Lloyd
8:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Pick up sheet to earn Scout Days Unit Excellence Ribbon at the GEICO Campgrounds information booth
8:45 AM – 9:00 AM
IMSA Prototype Challenge qualifying
8:45 AM
Scout Days STEMWERX Wind Tunnel activity signups at UNOH Fanzone Main Stage (limited spots available)
9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Rolex 24 At DAYTONA trophy photos in Gatorade Victory Lane
9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Scout Days Tram Track/Venue Tours departing from Tram Plaza
9:00 AM – 9:20 AM
Michelin Tire Workshop in Pilot Challenge Paddock
9:15 AM – 10:00 AM
IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge practice session #3
10:00 AM
Scout Days STEMWERX Wind Tunnel activity (must sign-up in advance)
10:15 AM – 11:15 AM
IMSA WeatherTech Championship practice session #3
10:15 AM – 11:00 AM
Autograph Session: IMSA Prototype Challenge drivers under FPL Solar Patio in UNOH Fanzone
10:30 AM
Guided IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Garage Tour Sign-Ups (limited spots available, UNOH Fanzone Main Stage)
11:20 AM – 12:00 PM
IMSA Prototype Challenge Pre-Race Access/Grid Walk
12:15 PM – 3:15 PM
Race – IMSA Prototype Challenge At DAYTONA (3 Hours)
12:30 PM – 1:00 PM
Driver Panel: AIM Vasser Sullivan in Driver Meeting Room
1:30 PM
Guided IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Garage Tour (limited spots available, sign-up begins at 10:30 AM at UNOH Fanzone Main Stage)
2:00 PM – 2:30 PM
Fan Forum: “Women in Motorsports” in Driver Meeting Room
2:00 PM
Scout Days STEMWERX Wind Tunnel activity (must sign-up in advance)
3:15 PM
Celebrate with the IMSA Prototype Challenge Winners at Gatorade Victory Lane
3:30 PM
Guided WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Garage Tour Sign-Ups (limited spots available, sign-up begins at 3:30 PM at UNOH Fanzone Main Stage)
3:35 PM – 4:05 PM
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice session #4
4:15 PM – 4:30 PM
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying (GTD)
4:40 PM – 4:55 PM
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying (LMP2)
5:00 PM
Scout Days STEMWERX Wind Tunnel activity (must sign-up in advance)
5:10 PM – 5:55 PM
IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge practice session #4
5:30 PM
Guided WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Garage Tour (limited spots available, sign-up begins at 3:30 PM at UNOH Fanzone Main Stage)
5:55 PM – 6:15 PM
Michelin Tire Workshop in Pilot Challenge Paddock
7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice session #5
8:30 PM
Scout Days movie showing inside the UNOH Fanzone
Sunday, January 5th
7:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Garages Open
7:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Scout Days Open Garage inside the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship garage
8:00 AM – 9:00 AM
IMSA Pinewood Derby at DAYTONA on UNOH Fanzone Stage
8:00 AM – 3:30 PM
DIS Tours available – Purchase at Daytona Ticket and Tours building
8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Scout Days fishing available on Lake Lloyd
9:00 AM – 9:15 AM
Scout Days Unit of Excellence Ribbons awarded at GEICO Campgrounds information booth
9:00 AM – 10:15 AM
IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge practice session #5
9:00 AM – 3:45 PM
Infield & UNOH Fanzone open
10:30 AM – 11:35 AM
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice session #6
11:50 AM – 12:05 PM
IMSA WeatherTech Championship qualifying (GTLM)
12:15 PM – 12:30 PM
IMSA WeatherTech Championship qualifying (DPi)
1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge practice session #6
2:45 PM – 3:45 PM
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice session #7
4:00 PM
Event concludes