Daytona Test: Doran Racing Sunday report

Doran Racing Concludes Rolex 24 Testing Sunday at Daytona DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Jan. 9 - Sunday Doran Racing completed its third and final day of testing at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the Rolex 24 here on Feb. 5-6. Didier...

Doran Racing Concludes Rolex 24 Testing Sunday at Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Jan. 9 - Sunday Doran Racing completed its third and final day of testing at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the Rolex 24 here on Feb. 5-6.

Didier Theys, Fabrizio Gollin and Matteo Bobbi tested the team's gold-colored DORAN JE4 Lexus, #77.

Jan Magnussen, Bryan Herta, Bobby Labonte and Terry Labonte worked with the team's red DORAN JE4 Pontiac, #44.

There were two practice sessions Sunday. Although time charts don't mean much during test sessions because teams are experimenting with many different things at different times, in the first session Sunday the #44 ended up ninth overall when it was clocked in 1:49.345/117.207 mph. The #77 was 17th in that session with a 1:50.515/115.965 mph.

In the second session the results were reversed, as the #77 was eighth overall with a lap in 1:49.428/117.118 mph and the #44 was 16th with a 1:50.912/115.551 mph.

The only real incident for the team was when Bobbi spun in turn one with 15 minutes remaining in the last session Sunday. He hit a tire wall and the #77 suffered minor damage to its right-rear corner.

Driver quotes follow:

Didier Theys: "At the Homestead test we were pleased with the Hoosier tires, but here the rear tires are wearing more than we want them to. We're trying to find a set-up that will keep the grip longer on the rear tires.

"Traditionally it's always much warmer at the Daytona test than it is for the race. Sometimes that hasn't been the case, but usually it is. So probably on race weekend it will be a whole new ballpark anyway.

"But that will be the same for everybody, so we'll just have to wait and see."

Fabrizio Gollin: "On Friday the most important thing for me was to just learn the track, because I've never been here before. Driving at Daytona was a dream come true for me. I've known about Daytona since I was young; it's a famous place, and I'm very happy to be here.

"We did a lot in the three days, and worked very hard on the set-up. It's not important to be fast now; it's important to have a car that can finish the race.

"The biggest thing I learned was how the different changes affected the car. This test was very important to Matteo [Bobbi] and me because we had to learn this car, and we tried a lot of things. Now we will build on this experience. We understand the package we have to put together for the race, and how better to come up with a solution when we have a problem."

Matteo Bobbi: "We're not where we want to be, but we still have some time. We have a lot of work in front of us, but I think the race will be a different story.

"Everything is different for Fabrizio [Gollin] and me.

"The track is nice. I drove here last year.

"At the Homestead test we were fast immediately. Here we were off the pace from where we want to be, but at the end we were a bit better in the last session. We went from 52s to 49s, so we made progress.

"In the last session I went off because I made a mistake. I missed the braking point, spun and touched the tire barrier in the first turn. It was a very slow spin, and not a hard hit.

"I think we'll be OK for the race."

Jan Magnussen: "The biggest thing we accomplished was to get everyone enough laps so that all four drivers are fast. The Cup guys were taking a big step; they had to adapt much more than Bryan [Herta] and I did, but they've done really, really well. I think we'll be strong in the race.

"The tires are a big issue here. We had to change the car to try to improve our tire wear. It was good for three laps, and then it started to go off. We already learned a lot here about how to change the car to improve the tire wear, so that's good.

"I feel we have a strong driver line-up; we have four drivers in our car who are fast. Now we'll just try to learn even more, and just prepare ourselves mentally and physically for the race."

Bryan Herta: "I learned a lot about the car. It's a lot different than what I normally drive. When I come back in February, I'll know what to expect. The biggest thing that surprised me was how hard you have to hustle and slide the car around to get a good lap time."

Bobby Labonte: "I think the biggest thing we learned this weekend in testing was to just understand the car better. The shifting patterns and the downforce and just the power are different. Knowing when to brake was different, but the upshifting and the downshifting is the biggest thing.

"Terry and I have to rely on Jan [Magnussen] and Bryan [Herta] for the set-ups, because they have more experience with this kind of car than we do. But we were feeling more comfortable each time we went out. Before I drove this car this weekend I didn't know where its limit was; now I have a better idea.

"Every day we were here it got better. We're talking a lot more of the same lingo today than we did two days ago.

"It's neat to learn as much as you can. With my Cup car, if they change one thing on the dash, I question it. Here there are things on the dash that I still don't know what they do.

"I am really looking forward to the Rolex. And I hope that in a few years, I can look back and see that I've run more than one Rolex 24 too.

"I won't do too much differently to prepare for the Rolex than for any other race. If the weather holds I may take the shifter kart out awhile at home between now and the Rolex, though.

"I learned something every time I went out. It's a very interesting race. When you throw some Cup guys and some Indy car guys in with the sports car guys, it makes it more interesting to me. Hopefully it's appealing to the fans and the sponsors too."

Terry Labonte: "The traffic was pretty unbelievable out there today, but the whole experience has been fun. Every time I go out I learn something. It's different than what I'm used to though. I had to learn how to shift gears differently; the transmission is completely different. Having to brake with your left foot was different, and just getting used to a car that has so much downforce.

"I'm not going to do anything special between now and the Rolex; I'm just going to try not to forget what I learned here this weekend.

"I think we have a great team. If we can stay on the track and out of trouble, I think we'll have a good result."

-dr-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Terry Labonte , Fabrizio Gollin , Jan Magnussen , Didier Theys , Bryan Herta , Matteo Bobbi
Teams Doran Racing