Three Prototypes make Daytona debut during testing.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 3, 2003) -- Pre-season testing got underway at Daytona International Speedway on Friday as Rolex Sports Car Series teams and drivers continued their preparations for the 41st Rolex 24 At Daytona, Feb. 1-2. Three new Daytona Prototypes made their debut on the racetrack for which they are named, including the #8 BMW-powered Picchio, #58 Porsche-powered FABCAR and #88 Ford Focus Multimatic.
G&W Motorsports driver Boris Said spent a lot of time at the wheel of the #8 BMW/Picchio during Friday's testing. "It's been going really smooth. Now we are just working on handling. It's been really trouble free so far, which is unusual," noted Said.
"Cars are like girls I've dated. They're finicky. You have to find out what it likes and what it wants to get the most out of it. It's the same thing. We are just experimenting and trying different things. So hopefully we'll be ready to dance later," Said added with a grin.
Said is sharing driving duties in the Red Bull-sponsored BMW with fellow-American Darren Law, Austrian Dieter Quester and Italian Luca Riccitelli.
Ford Focus Daytona Prototype creator Larry Holt was relieved when his car finally took to the banks of Daytona this morning. "This morning I was really, really nervous. I didn't really have any reason to be, because I knew we had done all of our homework, but you can't help but to be nervous. There is a lot wrapped up in this. So first I was relieved, and of course now I'm very happy. The lap times are pretty good, and its just run. We haven't had any issues with it. With the first race being a 24-hour race, we need it to be reliable. And it's reliable," said Holt.
Multimatic driver Scott Maxwell performed all the testing Friday on the #88 Ford, and his co-drivers David Empringham and David Brabham will get their first chance behind the wheel on Saturday. "We're pleased with the car. We just have to keep plugging away for three days, and make it better each time out. This weekend our goal is to put a lot of miles on it and make it quick," commented Maxwell.
Other Daytona Prototypes on hand for testing on Friday including the #59 Porsche-engined FABCAR and #2 Toyota-engined FABCAR, both of which participated in the 34-hours of testing held at the Speedway for Daytona Prototypes in early December.
"It's very satisfying to have all three FABCARs on the track today," said FABCAR Daytona Prototype creator Dave Klym. "We've only run two laps on #58 Porsche, but everything we found with the first (Porsche), we put into the second car. So they should be pretty equal by the end of the weekend."
The quickest lap time of the day was recorded by the #58 Porsche-powered FABCAR Daytona Prototype of Brumos Racing. On its first-ever day of testing the #58 Porsche recorded at 1:48.980 lap at 117.600 mph. The #88 Ford Focus Daytona Prototype posted the second-fastest time with a 115.015 mph lap in 1:51.429.
The GTS class was led by Derhaag Motorsports #40 Corvette, with the father-son duo of Derek and Justin Bell sharing driving duties with Simon Gregg. The Corvette clocked a 1:51.377 lap at 115.015 mph. Orbit Racing's #45 Porsche GT3 R posted the quickest GT time with at 113.139 mph in 1:53.277.
Seventeen Grand-Am Cup cars are also at the Speedway this weekend including a Nissan 350Z from Schuitemaker Motorsports and a pair of Mini Coopers from Nuzzo Motorsports. The fastest cars in the first two rounds on Friday were #7 Doncaster Racing/Porsche in GS I at 2:02.875/104.301 mph, #41 Planet Earth Motorsports/Porsche in GS II at 2:10.670/98.079 mph, #20 Nuzzo Motorsports/Mini Cooper S in ST I at 2:22.620/89.861 mph and #44 HRPworld.com/Acura Integra in ST II at 2:27.937/86.631 mph.
Testing at Daytona International Speedway will continue on Saturday, Jan. 4 and conclude on Sunday, Jan. 5. A portion of the Oldfield grandstands will be free and open to the public for viewing of the test sessions.
Tickets are currently on sale for the 41st Rolex 24 At Daytona and may be purchased by calling the Speedway ticket office at 386-253-RACE. Additional information about the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the Rolex Sports Car Series is available online at www.grandamerican.com.