Rand Racing was first and second in the SRPII class in final practice for Thursday's Rolex Sports Car Series race at Daytona International Speedway. Anthony Lazzaro was quickest of the team, covering the 3.56-mile infield road course in one minute 51.031 seconds in the No. 7 Nissan Lola. His co-driver Jerry Nadeau, who usually pilots a NASCAR Winston Cup car, drove the Lola for the first time Wednesday evening.
"I had a lot of fun," Nadeau said. "The car just reacts incredible, more than anything I've ever driven. It's got great brakes, the car's really controllable, it's just a blast! I ended up looking in my rear-view mirror too much, waiting for the fast cars to come by, but it didn't seem like there were many coming by, so it was fun."
Niclas Jönsson set the second-quickest SRPII time (1:51.164) in the No. 8 Lola, but contact with another car spun him into the wall. He was okay and the car sustained only minor gearbox damage and torn rear bodywork. It will be repaired and ready for Thursday's scheduled 11:15 pm race start.
"We were trying to get a good baseline for the race and we tried a few small thing to get a really good balance for the race," Jönsson said. "I came off NASCAR turn four and I got hit from behind by one of the prototype cars. Before I knew it, I was turned around and spun three or four times before I hit the inside wall."
Rand Racing uses its two-car team to double track results. Team engineer Jeff Braun said the team starts both cars with the same setup, then implements different changes on them. By splitting the workload, the team maximizes the results of test and practice sessions.
"The trick to a two-car team is to use a one-hour session and get two hours worth of information," Braun explained. "It takes drivers who can communicate quickly and who have similar driving styles, so we can apply what one driver finds on one car directly to the other car, and know that driver is going to like it. Yesterday, we tried aerodynamic things on one car and mechanical things on the other car, so were able to do two hours of work in one hour. It gives us an advantage because we get twice as many guesses!"