Daytona 24: Apple Motorsports Friday report

Team Works to Improve Handling Of Apple Motorsports Porsche Friday at Daytona DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Jan. 27 - The York-Pa. based Apple Motorsports/TPC Racing team opted to sit out the final qualifying session for Saturday's Rolex 24 endurance...

Team Works to Improve Handling Of Apple Motorsports Porsche Friday at Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Jan. 27 - The York-Pa. based Apple Motorsports/TPC Racing team opted to sit out the final qualifying session for Saturday's Rolex 24 endurance race at Daytona International Speedway on Friday, deciding to use the final day of practice to make minor adjustments to the team's No. 93 Apple Automotive Group Porsche GT3. The team will start the race 17th in the GT class, which pits the Porsche GT3 against Ferraris, BMWs and Corvettes. It will start 47th overall in the 66-car event.

Despite finding additional speed in the first practice session, the team decided to use the final day of preparations to improve the car in the corners. It's not where you start; it's where you finish," said crew chief Mike Goss. "In a 24-hour race your starting position is not that important. We would have picked up a few positions on the grid, but we decided to spend our track time improving the car."

Although the car continues to improve, as evidenced by the gain in speed, Gary Stewart and his nephews Dave and Rob Stewart and Bob Gilbert sat down with Tony Ave, who qualified the car on Thursday, to discuss ways to improve the car.

"After last night's practice session all the drivers got together and decided that the car was loose coming off the corners," said Rob Stewart. "Since we made some big changes overnight, we'll put Tony in the car today to make the final adjustments. We seem to like what Tony likes, so we'll all benefit from Tony's input."

While making the car stable and comfortable to drive is a primary concern, handling issues can contribute to other problems. "We've suffered from a slight imbalance in the car. It's been a little loose in the corners. That will make it difficult during the long runs because your tires tend to wear out when the car is loose," Ave said.

By putting Ave behind the wheel during both Friday practice sessions the team spent more time on the track and less time in the pits. "By not changing drivers, we were able to make the most of the limited practice sessions," said Goss . "The goal for today was to not put a lot of miles on the car but to continue to improve driver comfort. We gained some speed, which is good because we were not really pushing the car. We found a couple of things that worked and a couple of things that didn't, but essentially the car is in race trim and ready to go. We'll do some pit stops for practice but we're ready for tomorrow."

SPEED will cover the race live in three parts this year: from noon until 6 p.m. and from 8 p.m. until 11 p.m. on Saturday, and from 8 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. on Jan. 29. All times are Eastern.

Live timing and scoring is available online at grandamerican.com. More information is available at restartcommunications.com.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Tony Ave , Gary Stewart , Rob Stewart