Daytona Prototypes complete historic 28-straight hours of testing at Daytona.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Dec. 6, 2002) -- The crew and drivers of Brumos Racing celebrated in the pits of Daytona International Speedway on Saturday afternoon as David Donohue piloted the team's Porsche-powered FABCAR Daytona Prototype across the finish line to conclude a hugely successful 28-straight hours of testing.
This weekend Grand American Road Racing Association held a unique 34-hour endurance test for the Daytona Prototypes, which will be the premier class of the Rolex Sports Car Series beginning at the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Feb. 1-2. The endurance test began with a six-hour session on Thursday, and the 28-hour session started at 10 a.m. Friday and wrapped up at 2 p.m. Saturday.
The Brumos Racing Daytona Prototype performed close to flawless throughout the entire weekend of testing. The only problem suffered by the team was a minor oil leak during the middle of the night that was quickly repaired.
"It's a real testament to Dave Klym and FABCAR. I just told him when I got out (of the car) that he over built the thing. Because anyone can come and buy one of these now and go finish a 24-hour race," said Donohue after wrapping up the 28th straight hour of testing. "I've been a part of several development programs that were pretty high-end manufacturer programs. We've never had this close to a turnkey."
Donohue was one of eight drivers who piloted the Brumos Daytona Prototype during the test, which included five-time Rolex 24 winner Hurley Haywood as well as Scott Sharp, Scott Goodyear, J.C. France, Mike Borkowski, Wayne Jackson and Chris Bye.
"The car is very impressive right out of the box to be this reliable and steady," remarked Sharp, who will take a break from Indy racing to run the Rolex 24 in February. "The brand new gearbox from EMCO has been doing great. We're really pleased with that. The Porsche engine has obviously been running great. This is the kind of night that we need to have in a month and a half."
"We liked to believe that testing would go this good. We had a fantastic crew running the car. We felt very confident with that. There wasn't anything on the car that we felt uncomfortable with. You always hope that you have a test like this," said FABCAR designer Dave Klym.
Cegwa Sport also had much success with the first-ever outing for the Toyota-powered FABCAR Daytona Prototype. Darius Grala led a lineup of drivers in testing that included John Lloyd, R.J. Valentine, Doug Peterson and Josh Rehm.
After running consistently well throughout the day on Friday, the Cegwa team brought their car into the garage in the evening to inspect it for wear and tear. After finding its mechanics working perfectly, the Toyota Daytona Prototype returned to the track for additional late-night testing.
However the car spun into the guardrail just before 2 a.m., sustaining some suspension damage. While the damage was easily repairable, the team was missing a suspension part needed to get the car back on track. Because of the late hour, testing was put on hold for the Cegwa Daytona Prototype until morning when local race team Flis Motorsports could assist in locating a replacement part.
"We just had a little accident last night that sat us out. We attribute the accident to the fact that it got so cold, so fast that the driver was just not prepared for the changes in the track conditions. He made a small mistake and that cost us all night. If it weren't for that, I really don't think we would have had any more problems," said Cegwa crew chief John Shapiro, who has three Rolex 24 overall wins to his credit.
"Honestly, it went better than we had expected. The ideal would have been if we were able to do the full 24, but the problems that kept us from doing it are not ones that we are concerned with for the race," noted Grala.
The Daytona Prototypes will get one more chance to test at Daytona prior to their race debut at the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Grand American will hold preseason testing for all its competitors, Jan. 3-5.
Tickets for the 41st Rolex 24 At Daytona are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling the Speedway ticket office at (386) 253-7223. Additional information on the Rolex Sports Car Series and Daytona Prototypes is available online at www.grandamerican.com.