Pontiac Teams Make First Tracks In Preparation For Rolex 24 At Daytona SunTrust Racing Sets The Pace Going Into The Race Daytona Beach, Florida, Jan. 6, 2007 - Pontiac powered Daytona Prototype and GT teams laid their first tracks at Daytona ...
Pontiac Teams Make First Tracks In Preparation For Rolex 24 At Daytona
SunTrust Racing Sets The Pace Going Into The Race
Daytona Beach, Florida, Jan. 6, 2007 - Pontiac powered Daytona Prototype and GT teams laid their first tracks at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the Grand- Am Rolex Sportscar Series presented by Crown Royal Reserve season opening Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona to be run January 27 - 28.
Thirteen Pontiac powered teams comprised of 11 Daytona Prototype (DP) competitors and two brand new Pontiac GXP.Rs carried out a laundry list of prerace preparations as they ready themselves for the Super Bowl of the series in only 21 days.
SunTrust Racing's Max Angelelli set the pace on the weekend in his #10 Pontiac powered Daytona Prototype. Angelelli ran a time of 1:43.483 with an average speed of 124 mph around the 3.56-mile, 11-turn modified oval. Angelelli will share driving duties with former 24-hour winner Wayne Taylor, NASCAR star Jeff Gordon and GM factory driver Jan Magnussen.
Leighton Reese and his two Pontiac GXP.R GT cars turned valuable laps in preparation for the biggest race of the series calendar. The team finished the weekend by turning in a time of 1:54.045 good for 14th place on the GT time chart. "It has been a busy weekend. We really have two new cars here and you want to maximize your track time, get each driver a lot of laps, get a setup under the car and go away with a list of things to improve for the race. We worked through our plan and I think the drivers and the cars performed well all week. Now we need to go back and rebuild them and get ready to be at our peak for the race at the end of the month."
GM factory driver, Kelly Collins, #07 Banner Racing Pontiac GXP.R described the necessary rigors of the pre-Daytona test. "The goal for us this weekend is to get the car comfortable to drive over the distance. There is no point to go and try to knock off super fast times when the 24 is all about a fast, consistent pace. Our car wasn't supposed to be done until the practice at the end of the month, but Leighton's guys and the GM Racing and Pratt & Miller team really pulled hard to get the car here. We have been doing some testing, so Paul and I are up to speed. Andy is getting some good time in the car today and we will be looking to improve Pontiac's GT record in the 24 come the end of the month."
Four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon is looking forward to the challenge of taking to the road course at the World Center of Racing. "I have always wanted to run this race. I wanted to run as competitively as possible. So last year we scheduled it and I was able to do the test last month at Homestead and the test this weekend to really get acclimated to the car. Wayne and Max have really helped me sort through the data and get comfortable. I just want to do my part to help this team get to the winners circle at the end of the month. I'm having fun and enjoying it. It's a lot different peeling off that banking at the start/finish line and turning into the infield."
JJ Lehto, former F1 Benetton driver, brings his helmet bag to Krohn Racing for the 24. "I have not been in a racecar in over 14 months. This is my first visit to Daytona. The Krohn team are last years [DP] champions and they really have a good tune on the cars and know this circuit, so I really just have to learn my around and get comfortable in the car. I turned my first laps yesterday and I think it is good that I have had a gap before driving these cars. They are different to drive with the steel brakes and the overall feel from what I was used to driving. The speed differential across the whole field is pretty large; however the Daytona Prototypes are really close in time. You really have to pay attention in traffic, the time you spend on the oval has to be maximized to put slower cars behind before you get to the infield."
-credit: gm racing